Do you own a business that fixes cars and want to make more money or grow it further?
If you answered “YES” to the above question, this article will help.
Some auto repair shops have a lot of cars coming in for service, but they don’t make money because their processes aren’t working well. In other cases, services and processes might be fantastic, but there might not be enough customers. For this business to work, there must be a perfect balance between all of its parts.
Find this middle point of success in your auto repair business by learning how to run it well. In this article, we share a few tips that can help you keep the cars, and the money, coming in.
While you’re here…
Mechanics are skilled professionals who work on a wide range of vehicles, from cars and trucks to boats and airplanes. While mechanics take great care in their work, accidents can happen, and mistakes can be made. That’s why mechanic liability insurance is so important for mechanics. Having the right insurance coverage can protect mechanics from financial losses and legal liabilities that could arise from unexpected events, such as injuries to customers or damage to their vehicles. Additionally, insurance can help mechanics feel secure and confident in their work, allowing them to focus on providing top-quality service to their clients. With the right insurance policies in place, mechanics can enjoy peace of mind and protect their business against potential risks.
21 Ideas for Running and Growing an Auto Repair Business
1. Develop a unique brand
In an industry with a lot of competitors, one way to grow your auto repair business is to have a unique brand. There is no brand that is “perfect.” There are only things that work for you and things that don’t. One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to learn from the other people in your field.
Try to resist the temptation to copy what your competitors do. Instead, look to them for ideas and inspiration. Just take what works for you and leave the rest, but make sure that what you come up with works well for your business.
2. Specialize in unique areas
Another key that can help you grow your auto business is to specialize. People would be more likely to come to you if you only worked on certain brands of cars or if you only worked on certain parts of cars. That way, people will trust you more and buy from you more.
To stand out from other auto repair shops in your area, you could benefit from carving out a niche for yourself and then sticking with it. This will make you stand out from the competition and give your business the status of an expert authority.
3. Focus on solving your customers’ problems
This one is quick and easy, but it’s often missed. When people bring their cars to your shop for repairs, they may have problems like how to get to their next appointment, where to wait until the car is ready, how much it will cost to tow the car, etc. You can help out by being creative. For instance, you could:
- Offer a shuttle service or a discount for using Uber or Lyft. The customer can take care of other important things while the car is being fixed.
- Give free towing as part of your service.
- Make sure you have good coffee on hand to get you through the long wait. You might be surprised to find out that customers rate your service based on how well your coffee tastes.
- Make sure the waiting room and bathroom are clean and comfortable. If you wouldn’t let your mother use your bathroom, your customers probably shouldn’t either. Scrub it!
- Give away free Wi-Fi. Your customers would love this since it would keep them from getting bored while they wait.
4. Be aware of how much your labour costs
So many businesses fail because they don’t know how to manage their employees well. They hire a lot of people and end up paying salaries even though the work isn’t worth it. Carefully choose your employees and make sure they are well-trained before they start working. One good employee is worth twice as much as two bad ones. Don’t be tempted to add new people to your team just because they are willing to work for less pay. This could mean disaster for you.
5. Lower the number of employees who leave.
When running an auto repair shop, it is very important to establish reliability and consistency. This is hard to do when there is a lot of employee turnover because new workers may not have much experience and need to be taught how to do things better, which can take time.
Reduce the number of people leaving your company by treating them well, giving them good benefits, and paying them well. This will also make your customers feel more comfortable working with you, and they’ll appreciate the sense of familiarity that comes with seeing the same mechanics every time they come in for auto work. When a different mechanic works on their car every time they come in, they may question whether they can trust you.
6. Automate where possible
In the auto repair business, you should learn how to automate your daily tasks to make your business faster, more efficient, and more profitable. Use the tools and software for auto repair that is best for your business. This will give you more time to work on other ways to improve your business.
7. Make your auto repair shop is female friendly
The auto repair industry is dominated by men, and some women are afraid to take their cars to be fixed in these “macho” places. You can show that your team knows how to explain repair problems to people who don’t know much about them. Set up coffee tables with magazines and a place for kids to play in the waiting room to make your female customers feel comfortable.
8. Provide a guarantee
Offering a guarantee for the work you do is a great way to gain your client’s trust. When you offer a guarantee, it also shows that you are sure of your skills. This can be as easy as telling the customer that their car is as good as new or that the repair or parts change will last for a certain amount of time.
You can make it even better by telling them that if the car breaks down before the given time, they’ll either get a free repair or a refund. If you fix someone’s brakes, for example, it will show them that you don’t do a bad job, which will make them come back in a few months to have the same work done again. Give them a reason to trust your work, and they will be more likely to hire you again.
9. Have a statement of ethics and put it in a visible place.
Since many people are nervous about working with an auto mechanic, develop an ethics statement that explains how you feel about doing honest, trustworthy work. This type of approach demonstrates that you are serious about offering high-quality work.
Inform your customers that you will only do the repairs and services that they need and that you won’t try to charge them for things they don’t need. Once you’ve written the ethics statement, put it in a place where everyone can see it in the guest waiting room.
10. Always thank customers who stick with you.
Everybody likes getting something for free once in a while. Make your regular customers feel like you appreciate them by giving them something for coming back. Send them coupons for work at a discount or give them a free oil change every so often.
You might lose some money at first, but it will pay off in the long run as you build up a customer base that will only come to you for auto repairs and won’t go anywhere else. Those customers are also more likely to tell their friends and family about you.
11. Use a software program for making car appointments
Most people need to have a car that works, and the last thing anyone needs is to be without a car for several days because of missed appointments or overbooking. By using an automotive service scheduling program, you can cut down on missed appointments and double bookings, save yourself time, and provide more consistent and reliable service.
12. Show your customers you appreciate them.
Even though it’s a simple idea, a thank you goes a long way. Keep in mind that your main goal is to get your current customers to tell their friends about you. The more memorable their interactions with you are, the more likely they are to tell their friends and family about you.
If you want to thank your customers but don’t know what to give them, you can find lots of thank-you gift ideas online. The best part is that these gifts don’t have to be expensive.
13. Be a People Person
Social media channels were made to help people talk to each other, and you can use them to your advantage. You need to share information on your social networks that helps and entertains your customers. All that matters is having an online business presence that people want to follow. Your Facebook business page needs to have content that is useful, interesting, and about your business. This will make people think of you as an expert at what you do.
When people go to a real place, they often “check-in” on Facebook. This lets more people know about your business because their friends will see that they mentioned you. People can also mention your business in posts. When a friend on Facebook asks for a recommendation for a body repair shop, for example, other friends can tag your business in the comments. This approach helps companies to get customers without spending a dime.
14. Solicit reviews
Some business owners don’t like reviews because they’re afraid of what people will say about them. But you should know that even neutral reviews are better than no reviews at all when people are looking for information on Google, Yelp, or Facebook.
Also, reviews on these sites are great because they can be a kind of indirect word-of-mouth recommendation. If you go to a dent doctor’s Facebook page and see that two of your friends have checked in there, you’re more likely to trust that business than one you don’t know at all.
15. Ask for Referrals
There’s nothing wrong with using the people you already know to grow your business. Tell your customers when you see them that a referral would be very helpful. Make sure you have business cards to give them, but more importantly, make sure you have their contact information. If you send them regular email newsletters, they’ll always have your contact information, unlike if you just gave them a business card.
When someone sends you new customers, make sure you thank the person who sent the customer your way. If you have the money, you could thank the person with a small Amazon gift card. It gives your customers even more reasons to keep sending other businesses to you. As long as you keep surprising and delighting your loyal customers, they’ll do the same for you.
16. Set up a web presence
We live in the Internet Age; there’s no doubt about it. If you don’t have any kind of presence online, you’re hurting your business. For many people, especially younger people, you don’t really exist if you can’t be found online.
Spend some time making even the most basic website. It will get your name out there and add credibility to your business. You use an online service that offers a drag-and-drop interface to make your website, or you can hire a professional web designer to do it for you.
17. Get good at SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your website rank higher on search engine results pages. For example, where does your website show up when a potential customer searches Google for “affordable auto repair in Auckland”? Is it among the top five? Top ten?
You might be wondering what the big deal is about SEO. Well, data shows that 70% of the time, when someone searches Google, they click on a link on the first page. In other words, people are more likely to click on websites that rank higher. Spend some time learning about how to improve your SEO.
18. Talk to local companies
Small businesses have some advantages over big businesses, and one of those is that it’s easier for them to make relationships with other local businesses that are good for both of them. For example, you can make a deal with a local restaurant so that customers of your auto repair shop can get a discount there. In exchange, the restaurant can advertise your business.
The other benefit is that you’ll get a good reputation in the local community. Check out the area around you. There may be ways to grow your network right around the corner.
19. Schedule future appointments
Don’t let your current customers fall through the cracks. When someone comes in for an oil change, make an appointment with them for another one. If someone comes in to recharge their air conditioning, give them a date to come back so you can look at it again.
Remind your clients that taking care of their cars is an ongoing job that shouldn’t be put off until the last minute. At the end of the day, you don’t just offer the service to make money. You do it to make sure your customers are safe and worry-free on the road.
20. Become known in your field
Almost always, the most important thing is to make sure that customers are happy with the service. But how can new customers get a good idea of how skilled you are before they give you their car? You can become a thought leader in your industry, for example, by making educational content. This can be done through blog posts, podcasts, video tutorials, social media conversations, and much more.
By keeping up with the latest trends in auto repair and giving your own ideas or taking part in discussions about the industry, you can show customers that they can trust your knowledge and professionalism.
21. Have a deal with a local insurance company
Insurance companies are very helpful to businesses that fix cars, so you will need to find a way to work with them. Make reasonable contact with insurance companies in your area to become their preferred auto-repair shop when a damaged vehicle comes in for an insurance claim. This will be a good, steady way to make money.
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