People ask me all the time What is the future of the industry? It’s great to be looking towards the future of the Auto Repair Industry but I see a majority of shops that aren’t doing things that are must do’s from 5 years ago. The following list are things that I see successful Auto Repair Shops doing day in and day out. I also see a lot of unsuccessful Auto Repair Shops not doing these things. You may have programs that provide similar services to some of these. This list is what would be happening in my shop if I were to open one today and I am going to list the vendors by name that I would be using. Each one of these suggestions will make your shop a better Auto Repair Shop. Score yourself 1 point for each of those that you are doing and email me your score when you get done reading the article. [email protected] Put: Chris my score is: in the subject line. Feel free to ask me any other questions in that email as well.
Snap Finance--All auto repair shops should be offering financing to their customers. It removes the hurdle of “I don’t have the money for that” There are lots of other places to get financing from but Snap is far and above the easiest to deal with and get customers approved. You can add a link to your website for people to click and get approved. You can also text your customers the link so they can fill out the application over the phone. Snap Finance can get funding to just about anyone as long as they don’t LIE on their application.
Adwords--This is where it’s at as far as making the phone ring and getting customers through your door. I would also suggest a minimum spend of 500.00 per month in most markets. From what i’ve seen recently anything less than that amount doesn’t get you full coverage. What I mean by this is if you go over your ad budget by noon your ad doesn’t continue the rest of the day. Kind of like locking the door and not answering the phone after you get back from lunch. Make sure you are keeping an eye on your keywords etc...and only fund ads that are providing results.
Bing--I’ve noticed a significant increase in Bing search results in the past few months. While not nearly as important as your Google Business page being verified Bing is one of those that is a must do. If you haven’t verified it yet and aren’t putting up specials Start NOW. At this time I’m not really seeing much in traffic generated from paid ads, this is one of the things I will be following closely.
Women--This should have been number one on my list. I hear lots of complaining in the industry about not having techs, service writers etc..If we increased the women in our shops by 10% we would be able to fill those rolls from them alone. It’s high time we made our shops female friendly both from an employee and customer standpoint.
Protractor--This is hands down one of the best POS systems that I have seen recently. There are things that could be improved but there is so much this program does it’s unreal. I love the way it integrates with other vendors. This software WILL make you money if you set it up properly.
DVI--Digital inspections are where it’s at people. I am seeing shops that consistently do a digital inspection with double the ARO of shops that don’t. My favorite for this is AutoServe1. It also allows the service advisor to prepare the estimate in its entirety and present it without the service advisor getting in the way of the sale. This is no substitute for actually being a great salesperson but will greatly enhance your chances of success.
Profit First--This is a cash management system that will allow you to actually keep the money that you make in the business. It also helps you control your operating expenses and provides an outlet by where your year end taxes and weekly taxes are paid back to the owner. (or Uncle Sam)
Apprentice Program--If you don’t currently have an apprenticeship program in your shop by which you are growing your own technicians, shame on you!! You can’t complain about it unless you have exhausted all resources internally. Start a program today. If you can’t think of one get with other owners in your areas and actually work together to fix the problem.
Auto Shop Specific Accountant--Stop letting your bookkeepers and general accountants do your taxes. There is a great company out there that works only with Auto Repair shops. If you would like me to get you in contact with them send an email to me at: [email protected] and put in the subject line: Accountant Needed
Tires--Tires if done correctly can provide as much profit as your regular repair services. Notice I said if done correctly. I hear from people all the time but people don’t come in when I quote over the phone. I want you to start selling to your current customers first and once we get that down we can start selling to outside people. If you have a car count of 50 per week you should be selling about 35 to 60 tires a week. How many of you are actually coming close to that? Tires also lead to front end work, alignments, rotations and balances etc...
Website--I see lots of struggling shops with NO website at all let alone a good one. Gone are the days when you could throw up a Wix site yourself and get people to see it. You have to get a great company such as Kukui or NetDriven that can drive traffic to your business and make the phone ring. Stop spending advertising dollars on things that don’t work and are un-trackable and start making your advertising work for you.
Exercise--Get up and get moving! Your brain and your bodies work better when you get up and get active. It can also be refreshing to just go outside and take a walk to clear your thoughts. Exercise not only directly reduces your stress by releasing endorphins into your body (giving you the famous “exercise high”), but it also allows you to better maintain reduced anxiety when confronted with issues.
Business Coach--Ok, so here’s the bonus item. Get involved with someone that can look at your business from outside of it, someone that isn’t emotionally involved. Someone that CAN see the forest for the trees. Someone that can lift you up when you are down. It can be a business coach, mentor, advisor, 20 group member. I don’t care because I can’t coach you all. In a perfect world I could but it’s just not feasible time wise for me. But promise me you’ll find someone that can help you and reach out to them.
In a country filled with big box, cookie cutter Auto Shop Coaching companies that haven't come up with anything new in the past 10 years isn't it time your auto repair shop got the attention it deserves from a coach that you can build a lifelong relationship with and that can build a shop specific program that is built around you and your shops needs, goals and dreams?
Chris Cotton is a former shop owner having had a general service repair facility that also did tires and a quick lube that did tires as well. He has been in the customer service industry for 40+ years and has been in the Auto Repair and Tire Industry for over 25 years. He loves helping shop owners just like you get to where you want to go. Chris is currently in Washington living his dream of traveling the country with his family and helping shop owners every day through his Coaching Program or during his Business Development 20 Group Meetings. If you are interested in either or just want to talk about business Feel free to email him at: [email protected] or call him at 580-491-3519