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Repair Shop Advice

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

When you open a new shop, it can take years for locals to think of you when they hear the words “auto repair.” But there are steps you can take to increase your visibility and memorability, which will speed this process up considerably.

Click here for five of the most effective techniques to become known more quickly.


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

At big businesses, revenues are just now starting to come under pressure after a solid decade of growth.  Because they are focused on quarterly earnings, their response is predictable; they’ll fire staff, reducing their service quality so they can boost profits.  Of course, this will result in a flood of customer cancellations, but that will be someone else’s problem three or four quarters from now.

Small businesses, many of which have been pillars of the community for generations, know they can’t afford this mentality.  Customer loyalty is what businesses need most during challenging financial times, and companies don’t earn it by treating their customers worse.  In fact, spending more on customer service can boost profits handsomely at auto repair shops.  Here are three blogs that highlight ways to do that:

Bad Customer Service is Like Setting Money on Fire

In any given year, over half of all people will back out of a purchase because of bad customer service.  During most of these transactions, the business probably has no idea why they lost the customer.  That’s because bad customer service isn’t generally an intentional decision – it’s an unconscious choice to prioritize your job over your customers.  That’s a bad idea, because you can’t have one without the other!

Upcycle Your Auto Repair Shop’s Customers

It’s expensive to gain new customers.  Whether you’re relying on postcards, online ads, or just the time and effort it takes to maintain a solid business rating online, marketing is a major expense for most shops.

That’s why it’s so important to make the most of the customers you already have!  If you aren’t ‘upcycling’ your best customers by converting them into advocates for your shop, you’re missing out on most of the return on investment you could be earning from any marketing initiative.

You Want the Job, But What’s Your Body Language Saying?

Many customers’ first interaction with an auto repair shop is via phone, so unsurprisingly there are plenty of resources that explain phone etiquette.  Not all customers call before visiting however, and even those that do present many opportunities for service sales beyond that first call.  That’s why it’s important to know the basics of body language.  You might be following a great script, but are you still coming off as disinterested, evasive, or untrustworthy because of some simple signals you don’t even know you’re conveying?

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your auto repair shop earn more business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Big businesses use something called “bus factor” to make sure they aren’t set up for failure down the road.  The bus factor is a funny, yet morbid, way of referencing how prepared you are for employee emergencies.  The bus factor is defined as:

How many people would have to be hit by a bus before this project falls apart because there aren’t enough people who know how to run it?


The good news is that none of your employees are likely to get hit by a bus.  But unfortunately, every day there are auto repair shops that unexpectedly have to deal with an employee who suddenly can’t come to work for months; some employees never make it back to work.  This often happens during bad circumstances, like a sudden illness or injury, or a death in the family.  Referencing an uncommon event such as being hit by a bus is a way to avoid having to discuss planning for unfortunate events that lead to team members being at the shop one day and suddenly gone the next.

Although many independent auto repair shops have a small, tight-knit team, that doesn’t make the bus factor any less important.  In fact, it makes it more important.  If you’ve had the same staff for years, the odds are high that everyone has been performing their own unique tasks for years.  That means there’s very little knowledge overlap on certain tasks – and if one person was suddenly not at your shop, there would be a steep learning curve to make up for that employee’s absence.

To avoid this fate, at least two people need to be cross-trained on any critical shop task or service.  The “back-up” should also have an opportunity to practice the task or service from time-to-time, to make sure they remember how to do it and that no major changes have arisen since they were last trained.

Documentation is also important.  People do forget processes that they don’t get to use regularly, and it’s a terrible time to realize you’ve forgotten a process after the primary task owner isn’t around to remind you.  Documentation is extremely important for tasks that have a single point of failure for security reasons, such as maintaining shop books or paying staff.  Without training or documentation, a shop can easily go bankrupt while family and staff scramble to learn how to accomplish the most basic elements of business management.

Cross-training also has the major side effect of lowering stress levels.  When employees do need to be out of the office unexpectedly, it’s often because of a stressful event that has happened in their lives.  Knowing that someone is able to take over their duties at work and execute them well allows the employee to focus on getting through whatever personal curveballs life may have thrown their way without feeling like anyone is being let down by their absence.

Would your shop survive the absence of any one employee?  If not, your shop and the families that depend on it would benefit from a plan to execute in the absence of any one of your key employees. That list should include you.

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help your shop earn more business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at

Thursday, June 20, 2019

After ten years of economic growth, things may finally be starting to change.  Some economic indicators are trending negative, and a recent survey of CFOs across the US found that half of them expect to be in a recession within a year.

For most industries, a recession is bad news.  During a recession, people make less and spend less.  That means fewer jobs and lower pay, which helps to feed a negative cycle.  While there are very few industries that are recession-proof, there are some that are recession-resistant.

Is auto repair one of those industries?

The answer is yes – but that doesn’t mean that the industry isn’t affected.  For every person who holds on to their vehicle longer (providing more revenue to the shops who maintain them) there’s another person who puts off a needed repair because they can’t afford it.  For each dealership that closes, there’s another one that’s trying to boost service center revenue to offset reduced vehicle sales.  For every customer that leaves for a cheaper shop, there’s another who can’t afford the dealership or franchise upcharge and might make your shop their new home.

In short, auto repair shops that survive best during the recession are those that understand how the customers and community are being affected, and adjust their services to help them meet their current challenges.  This isn’t a wordy way of saying that you should lower your prices – if that’s necessary, it’s still only one component of an effective response.

Here are three things that happen during a recession, and what you can do to help address them.

  • Consumers are less able to handle large purchases. When recessions hit, many consumers are forced to dip into savings to handle large expenses – if they have any savings at all.  This is due to job losses and a reduction in hours worked for hourly workers.  Consumers are also less likely to have large lines of credit available, because credit standards tighten during recessions.  Selling maintenance plans and emphasizing warranties will help consumers have confidence that they’ll avoid an expense they can’t afford, and end up without a means of transportation.

  • People hold on to cars longer. People don’t want to make large purchases during a recession, so they hold on to cars instead of trading them in.  Remember “cash for clunkers”?  It was a vehicle trade-in program funded by the government during the last recession. The program was intended to boost the economy by encouraging people to trade in their old vehicles, in part because dealers were badly hurting for sales.

    People holding on to older vehicles is great news for independent shops, because those older vehicles will need maintenance to stay on the road.  To really benefit from this, however, you’ll need to put time into customer education.  Customers must believe that the trade-off between short-term maintenance and long-term reliability is real, or they may elect to delay maintenance, too.

    If there’s wear on a part, make sure to show the customer what a worn part looks like and what a new part looks like.  Provide customers with an honest explanation of what might reasonably happen if they don’t take a preventative step, and leave the choice to them – once they understand the consequences, they might reconsider their decision to wait.

  • Consumers start to cut costs. It’s often during recessions that new business models overtake old ones.  There are certainly plenty of threats out there that could lead to high-value repair shops being bankrupted by cheap shops.  For instance, if a company like Amazon launched a price-based system where people could buy services like brake and tire replacements, it would quickly lead to a race-to-the-bottom mentality for shops racing to get that business.  While customers might not appreciate the cut-rate quality of the parts and service they’d get in normal times, a product like this is primed to take off during a recession, where people are looking for easy ways to cut costs.

    As your customers go down their bank statement looking for monthly transactions to cut, will your shop stand out as a cost-cutting opportunity?  That may depend on whether they view your shop as a cost or a

    Do your customers understand and appreciate all the value they get from having a home for their car that’s staffed by technicians they trust?  Every time you present customers with information about their car that will help them make good decisions in the future, you’re reminding them of what they’re going to lose if they move to the cheapest fee-for-service alternative in town.  Take advantage of the opportunities you get, because you’re not likely to be a part of the conversation when they decide whether price-shopping for cheaper shops is worth it when they’re in a financial pinch!

To learn how Repair Shop Websites can help boost your business, call us at 866-665-1605 or email us at

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nine out of ten people read online reviews, and only a quarter of them would do business with a company rated 1 or 2 stars. Click here for a process to boost the reputation of your auto repair shop with almost no added work on your part.


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I cannot believe what a state of the art website that you created for us. We started getting website contacts and telephone calls from our website almost instantly! The first 5 customers spent $1,723 and we got 9 new customers in the first month alone.

John Aldridge, owner
A & A Tire and Auto Service


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