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Repair Shop Advice


Thursday, March 14, 2019

For many people who live in cities across the United States, Uber and Lyft have changed the way they move around.  Compared to taxis, they arrive more quickly, are cheaper, are easier to call, and the drivers are individually rated and often friendlier.  All of this has been good for the business of Lyft, whose filing to become a publicly traded company has now gone public, and Uber, whose filing will likely become public soon.


The document these companies have to file to become public, called an S-1, is among the most detailed filings ever required of a company.  Among other things, the document must detail how they see the future of the company unfolding.  And Lyft’s vision could have major implications for independent automotive repair shops.

Here are three ways (both good and bad) that shops will be impacted if Lyft’s vision becomes a reality.

Fewer Vehicles, and Fewer Vehicle Makes and Models

Lyft’s goal isn’t to provide a taxi service for people who are enjoying a night on the town or whose cars are in the shop.  Lyft wants to replace the family vehicle.  According to Lyft, vehicles are only used 5% of the time and vehicle ownership represents most of the $9,500 per year that people spend on transportation on average.

If people in urban (and suburban areas) do forego vehicles, then the number of vehicles in use will decrease dramatically.  The diversity of models will also decrease – as vehicles become a business expense, the extra costs of providing models to appeal to everyone’s personal tastes will become a burden for manufacturers.

If this vision becomes a reality, it would reduce the amount of business that many auto repair shops see, especially for repairs that are due to a vehicle’s age rather than its usage.  On the other hand, a reduction in models could reduce the ever-increasing knowledge base required to be a general maintenance shop, helping to make shops more efficient at their work.

Vehicle Maintenance as a Sound Business Decision

One of the most frustrating things for many service managers is when customers refuse to take steps to maintain their vehicle because of the cost.  This doesn’t just prevent the shop from increasing its Average Repair Order; it also costs the customer thousands of dollars in long-term expense, ultimately leading to them purchasing a new vehicle long before it would have been necessary.

If vehicles become primarily a business expense, however, people will make much more informed decisions about maintenance.  For Uber and Lyft drivers, vehicle usage doesn’t represent 5% of their day – it is critical to their livelihood.  Shops that provide a fair price and trustworthy service to these drivers will see them far more often than other customers, and these drivers will make better maintenance decisions in order to maintain their own profit margins.

Automation Is the Goal

While they don’t dedicate pages to the topic, Lyft also doesn’t make it a secret that the long-term goal is to eliminate their drivers entirely for many rides.  In fact, one of the risks they highlight is that eliminating their drivers from their business model will lead to negative publicity.  In their vision of the future, fully automated cars will be transporting people, so they don’t have to pay a driver (or create a job) at all.

Lyft also anticipates that “autonomous vehicles will be most effectively and affordably deployed through ridesharing networks rather than through individual ownership”.  This is among Lyft’s most dangerous predictions for independent automotive repair shops, because any large corporations that own thousands of these autonomous vehicles are likely to rely on large corporations (including possibly themselves) to maintain these vehicles.  A future where all of us get in an identical corporate-owned vehicle to be herded to our jobs and back via autonomous transport is not a pleasant future for repair shop owners.  Fortunately, it’s not really a pleasant-sounding future for anyone – so despite Lyft’s hopes and dreams, it’s unlikely to become a reality anytime soon.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help bring more business to your auto repair shop, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

People today face the highest levels of information overload in history. If you provide them with more (or less) than the information they need to make a decision, they’ll decide to do nothing instead. Click here to learn how to avoid that.

 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

In the business world, everyone wants you to think of them as a partner, not a vendor.  Companies use the word as a marketing tool, as if calling themselves a ‘partner’ will make you willing to pay more for their services.


In reality, there aren’t many companies out there that qualify as partners.  In fact, even most businesses that call themselves partners don’t really want to partner with you.

Whether a company qualifies as a partner or not isn’t just about whether you trust them.  It’s about whether they trust you.  Partners share risk – and when things don’t work out, they share in the losses.  Partners aren’t motivated by the value of their first transaction with you – they know they’re going to lose money on that.  They’re much more interested in making sure that you’ll see value in them over the long term, so they have a chance to make back the money they lose by investing in the relationship up front.

If a vendor offers you a discount in exchange for signing a contract, they’re just a vendor.  If a vendor tells you about how they’re going to invest in the relationship so that you can both make more money, they’re at least talking the language of a partner.  But it’s only when they follow through on that commitment, that they’ve earned the right to be judged on more than their speed, or their price of their last transaction.

So the next time a company tells you they want to be your partner, ask them what they invest in shops like yours to help you be more successful.  Ask them what they need from you, to help make the partnership more successful.  If the response is all about how much money changes hands, that “partnership” probably isn’t worth your time.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites helps shops across the United States get better marketing results, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

 


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Most customers don’t know a “good price” for vehicle repair and maintenance. However, they are looking at signals you are sending through your marketing to determine whether to push back against the price that you quote them. Click here for three ways to maintain your margins.

 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Every business owner has parts of their job that they love, and parts that they don’t like at all.  That’s especially true for small business owners, who find themselves doing a little bit of everything.  Maybe you love repairing vehicles, but hate showing the value of a service to a skeptical customer.  Or maybe you enjoy both, but hate dealing with taxes and bills.


It’s probably not so much that you dislike parts of your job – it’s that you have three jobs, and you really wish you only had one.

Back in 1986, Michael Gerber published a book called the E-Myth.  A lot has changed since then, but one thing hasn’t – every business needs an entrepreneur, a manager, and a technician.  And if you’re the only person at your shop, then you have all three jobs.

The technician is the job you probably wanted if you started your own auto repair shop – the person who focuses on doing the task at hand.  Technicians pride themselves on doing good work, and doing a lot of it.  But as you know, it takes more than fixing vehicles to make a shop successful.

The manager is the planner.  They enjoy running processes – scheduling, bills, employee training, ordering parts, and generally trying to reduce your shop’s costs and increase its profits.  The manager’s job is to keep the bays full, and to make sure that all of the technicians are doing whatever they can do at that minute to make the company the most money.

The entrepreneur is the visionary.  Their job is to look five years down the road.  They build a long-term plan for the manager to execute.  They focus on growing the value of the company, so they can sell the company and move to the next project or phase of their lives.

Unfortunately, all three are required in a business.  If your technicians have low productivity, then there’s no work time or money for the manager to manage.  If you don’t take the time to train employees, order parts, or design efficient shop processes, you’ll find yourself too overwhelmed by process failures to do a good job of keeping customers happy.  And if you don’t have a plan for where you’re taking your shop, five years from now it’s likely to look a lot like it does today – or worse.

So if you find yourself in your shop day and night but not getting where you’d like to be, stop and ask yourself if it’s time to focus on the other two jobs you probably have.  It might be difficult to be your own manager, but you’ll be surprised at how much it can help!

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help you grow your business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at Team_RSW@RepairShopWebsites.com.

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