9 Tips to Build a Profitable Auto Shop

9 Tips to Build a Profitable Auto Shop

Building a profitable business page:

We all want to be successful in whatever task we take on, and your Maslack family wants to make sure you have the tools you need to optimize your profits. With the right tools, you can work smarter instead of harder, which makes your business more productive, and when you build your productivity, you build your profits.

There are so many clever ways to increase your revenuesand we want to share those with you. This guide will walk you through 9 effectivestrategies that we believe can help increase your company’s productivity andprofits.

 

1. MUST HAVE: SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

A key point of differentiation for businesses around the world is customer service. The one thing top companies and the most successful businesses have in common with another is world-class customer service. In order to be competitive today, your business must exceed the expectations of your customers.

Make it a priority to carve out a few hours of every week to focus on delivering the greatest customer experience possible, and the payoff will be huge. One way you can do this is to start off by measuring everything from the customer’s perspective. When you first walk in the door, what is the first impression of your shop? Then, think of your first impression of other similar businesses in your area— how does it compare? Is there music in the background? Is it appropriate for your customer base? Are your customers greeted by a friendly and personable employee? Is there a waiting area for them?

These are some questions you can begin by asking yourself to analyze your customer experience. You can then dive in a bit deeper to other important aspects of the overall experience; how fast does your website load? Is your business information accurately listed on google (phone number, address, hours of operation, etc.)? Complete and accurate Google My Business listings get seven times more clicks than those that are missing information. This means that the businesses that are accurately listed on Google are 70% more likely to attract location visits.

 

2. CUSTOMER RETENTION VS. CUSTOMER ACQUISITION

Harvard Business Review proves that acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Instead of investing time and money on trying to grow your customer base to meet your bottom line, keep your current customers happy. Research proves that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. The bottom line is that retaining the right customers is very valuable.

TIP: Create a follow-up program and schedule the next appointment before they leave.

There is no better time to schedule the next appointment than when the customer is in your shop picking up their vehicle. Your customer is standing in front of you, it suggests that you’re organized, forward thinking, and it’s easy for them to say yes. If your customers leave without making an appointment, then they’re fair game for your competitors. In addition, taking good care of your customers’ vehicles is a process, so it stands reason that you will need to see them again to perform the services that will be due at that time. This will help you build a loyal relationship with them which is the first rule for any business to be successful in customer retention.  

3. TIME MANAGEMENT – WINNERS ALWAYS KNOW THESCORE

Time is money. As a shop owner, or manager, you need to maximize the time you have available to grow your business. You can do this with proper time management skills. You may think you’re good at gauging how much time you’re spending on various tasks, but the fact is, our minds don’t remember things accurately. Research suggests only 17% of people (on the planet) are able to accurately estimate the passage of time.

A time tracking tool can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks. Once you complete a day or two of time logging, you’ll quickly see where you’re wasting time and what could be better managed.

TIP: Embrace apps that are available to you!

Turn your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop into the ultimate tool for time management. There are endless apps our there designed to help you efficiently take charge of your schedule, workflow and tasks.

FREE APPS:

Microsoft To Do – an app that makes it easy to plan your day and manage your life. The app includes a personalized daily planner with suggested tasks, personalized and customizable to-do lists available on any device, reminders and much more.

Trello – this app lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. Trello enables you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way.

Evernote – this is a free online note-taking software. Keep your notes, files, photos and voice memo’s in one place, accessible from any device – for free! Do you use Google or Siri as your digital assistant? They speak to Evernote too. You can quickly create, update or search your note by voice command.

 

4. PEOPLE SKILLS & PROFESSIONALISM

People believe what they see, so whenever possible, you should get your customers visually involved. Complete vehicle inspections, proper documentation, and visually showing your customers what was discovered will go a long way. Since third-party documentation is usually viewed as a credible source, you should use your customers’ owner’s manuals, their service records, and print-outs that show industry recommendations and maintenance brochures.

TIP: Become a female and family friendly auto repair shop. Historically the auto-repair industry is male-dominant, and female customers may be reluctant to take their vehicles for service. No matter who walks in your doors, whether it be a man, woman, student or young family alike, show them that your team is trained to communicate repair issues in layman’s terms. Set coffee tables in the waiting area with magazines and/or books with a few toys for kids to make all your customers feel welcomed and comfortable.

 

5. THE RIGHT SUPPLIERS WILL SAVE YOU MONEY

Finding the right suppliers is crucial. Nothing is more frustrating for you and your clients than waiting around for hours or even days for your parts to arrive. It is in both of your best interests to have the process go as quickly as possible so that there is no down-time. Working with a reputable company such as Maslack Supply, with a fleet of over 80 delivery vehicles, ensures that you always be stocked on the parts you need to keep your business moving forward and your customers happy.  

 

6.    MUST HAVE: ONLINE PRESENCE

We are working in a technical world, with new advancements in innovation for automotive shops. Garages are capitalizing on business by staying on top of these new technologies. It’s vital to have an informative and up-to-date website and/or social media pages, like Facebook for example, where current and potential customers can find you. After this, the next step is making sure your website is smartphone ready, which means it will display on all devices, including desktop, mobile and tablets. This ensures no matter what customers are using to find you, if they search, “find auto mechanic” or “automotive shop”, your site is able to come up in the search, and you will not fall behind your competitors that have an online presence.

If you’re not convinced, here are some pretty interesting statistics:

-       50 - 77% of people report purchasing a product or service after seeing an ad for it on social media, namely Facebook

-       78% of small businesses attract new customers using social media

-       71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a company on social media will recommend them to their family and friends

-       85% of online orders from social media come from Facebook

-       Customers report spending 20% - 40% more money with companies that have interacted with them on social media

Odds are, your competition is using social media to engage with, and reach new and current customers. Your business must follow suit if you want to compete. Social media presents an amazing customer service opportunity that should not be ignored.

 

7. DIGITAL TOOLS

If an automotive repair shop is working on the latest technology, it needs to be equipped with the latest information and tools to service it properly. Your shop needs to evolve alongside the vehicles you service.

Here are 3 digital tools to consider for your business: Online Scheduling, Digital Inspections and a Shop Management System (SMS).

Online Scheduling:

Allowing your customers to book their own appointments online for a service repair is a brilliant way to stay organized and on top of all repairs. This may also eliminate the need to have to employ someone to do this for you. Some more advanced booking systems will accommodate instant quotes, which allows the shop owner to input pricing for simple jobs like oil changes. Customers are usually more willing to do business with a shop that displays all car maintenance costs online, and it saves you the phone calls with customers requesting these prices.

Another benefit is automated appointment reminders. Surely you have had clients who have lost track of time and forgot about their appointment. Using an automated system that sends emails or texts to your customers to confirm their appointment closer to the date of the repair means no down-time for your shop.

Digital Inspections:

Digital vehicle inspection software allows your technicians to make a thorough and accurate assessment of the vehicles overall health and communicate its immediate and future needs clearly and efficiently. In todays society, most people want complete information instantly. This is even more important when it pertains to something they may not fully understand, like their vehicle. Digital inspection software allows you to better communicate sophisticated information to your customers, provide automated live updates via text or e-mail, and increase sales.

Shop Management System (SMS):

An automotive shop management system (SMS) is an automated system for auto repair workflow management. Before SMS, the only predictable way to increase profits was to have more vehicles in the lot, and with more vehicles, comes more paperwork. Investing in an SMS helps shops better manage and save time, thus increasing profits. There are many shop owners who have seen an increase in their profit margins using an SMS which has increased turnaround time and car count.

 

8. LEADERSHIP

You are the shop owner, which means you are the leader. The strength of your business begins and ends with you. Given two equally talented sports teams, the difference between the winning and losing one is usually leadership. A leader motivates others by understanding what drives the individual. Next time you walk through your shop, pay attention to the mood of employees. If your employees are not engaged, it means they are not aligned with the goals and vision of the business, and you are not aligned with theirs. Engaged and happy employees equal productive and efficient ones, which drives profits. The best performing businesses have the highest quality /right people in the right positions.

TIP: Do not underestimate the importance of proper training. Investing in your employees means investing in your business. Puta training plan in place for each employee. Find out what each team member will need to become more efficient. Your business is going to depend on it.

Choose your staff carefully, and make sure they are well-trained before they start to work. So many businesses fail because of inefficient labour management. One good staff member is worth two bad ones. Don’t be tempted to recruit novices to your team only because they are ready to work for less money.

 

9. VALUE ADDED SERVICE

Customer loyalty isn’t always an easy task. As we previously mentioned, it’s a known fact that it is much cheaper to keep a current customer than to bring in a new one. One way to increase customer satisfaction and retention would be to include value-added service or a bonus for being a loyal customer to your shop. Maslack Supply can offer you and your customers all sorts of benefits that will keep them coming back. Some of our exclusive programs include shop marketing tools, special pricing, online ordering, industry leading parts and service warranty, roadside assistance and other specially designed tools and programs for your shop.

Contact us today for more information!

“Maslack has been one of our key suppliers for over 12 years for all sorts of industrial and paint supplies. What really sets Maslack apart is their impeccable service. Truly sets them apart from many others.”

Robert Brouillette, Owner / President - City Welding Sudbury Ltd.

“Exceptional service and support combined with quality parts and automotive supplies. Their knowledgeable staff will help you find exactly what you are looking for at competitive prices and make certain it is delivered to you when you need it. A true leader in the industry!!”

CARSTAR Sudbury Autoworks Paint and Collision

In a business where every minute counts, the timely delivery of parts is crucial to keeping our customers happy. Maslack allowed us to become an Auto Value Group Member, a change which has given us access to better training, industry information, and improved warranties.

Jim’s Automotive Services – Rod Wendler, President

We have been partnered with Maslack Supply as our trusted and number one supplier for high quality automotive parts for over 20 years. They provide excellent training opportunities and help us navigate challenging parts sourcing for today’s high-tech vehicles.

Right Way Automotive – Mark Weiss, Owner

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