Even in this heavily interconnected era, nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website. Just having a website could be a way to bring new business to your car repair shop and allow you to invest in new tools and techniques. With so many drivers and so much competition, small efforts should be able to increase your customer base.
Here are 5 tips for improving business and bringing more people into your car repair shop.
1. Start a Blog
Believe it or not, writing a blog is one of the best ways to expand your customer base. When people are using search engines, they’re either looking for an answer to a question or for a specific product. You can capture both types of audiences with a well-written blog from your car repair shop.
People search for questions about their cars each and every day. They want to know what to expect before they bring their car in for a repair. If you’re willing to give out some basic advice, you could be known as one of the most customer-friendly car repair shops around before customers even walk through the door.
Use lots of local terms to note where you are. Name your city, neighborhood, nearby interstates and bridges, or any local landmarks whenever possible. This way, when people search from your region, search engines will find them the closest possible body shop, using the terms you’ve filled your blog with.
Your blog can become locally well-known as a public resource, making you the first car repair shop on the tip of everyone’s tongue. When it’s time for a repair, customers will reach out to you first.
2. Become Community Oriented
Car repair shops and the people who work for them benefit greatly from building a personal connection with their customers. When you become connected to your community, you can become a big part of peoples’ lives.
A good way to do this is to offer some classes for basic work like headlamp replacement or checking your oil. When you give back to your community and offer it for free, you’ll build generations of trust with locals. People will send their kids there, in-laws, cousins, and friends.
Find other ways to get involved with the community like hosting a table at a street festival or a charity event. You can have someone on hand to answer peoples’ basic car questions.
You should even consider sponsoring a local sports team. Little league teams around the country always need someone to donate money to pay for their uniforms. When you build a bridge to your community by showing that you care about the kids and families in the area, you will build lifelong customers.
3. Reassess Your Parts Distributors
If your car repair shop is finding your bills from your parts distributors are cutting into your profits, you’re probably buying from the wrong distributor.
Your priority with parts needs to be quality. However, there are lots of quality parts distributors who aren’t going to charge you an arm and a leg to ensure you keep your customers happy.
Do your customers need to have OEM parts? There are lots of companies that make high-quality parts that aren’t warrantied by the car manufacturers but work just as well or better. Get to know all the companies working in manufacturing parts for the kinds of cars you service.
How is your relationship with local junkyards? Local junkyards could clue you in when they get a batch of good quality parts from the kinds of cars you service. If you build a good rapport, you could be saving money on your parts and end up with even higher quality than you have now.
4. Offer New Services
Offering new services and staying tuned to trends is important to any business. While some elements of car repair will stay the same through the years, others are bound to grow and change. When you offer new services to your customers, you can expand your market and tell them you want to grow and change with them.
Is there a new dent removal tool or technique that you’re perfecting at your shop? Let your customers know by promoting new dent removal services. If there’s been a recent hail storm, you need to strike while the iron is hot.
Climate change has brought a lot of subtle changes to our lives. Air conditioning and heating are becoming constant facts of life in just about every climate now. If you haven’t been focusing on these kinds of repairs, you could increase your auto repair shop profit margin with these services.
5. Branch Into New Markets
The thing about running an auto repair shop is that once you’ve built your customer base on dedicated customers, they’ll come back again and again over the years. However, you always need to be branching out to new audiences.
If you’re located in or near a college town, you should try to reach out to college kids. Dents, dings, and fender benders are more common for younger drivers and college-aged kids. You’ll also find that if they’re using a family auto, they might need to fix little marks so that their parents don’t find out.
If you can lock in new drivers when they’re young, you’ll be able to keep them for decades. Use promotions that reward or discount people with college IDs or who are under 25.
No Car Repair Shop Should Struggle For Business
With so many cars on the road across the U.S., the only reason your car repair shop will struggle is because of the mistakes you make. For better or worse, the success of your company is solely in your hands. That means you could put your hands on the wheel and steer yourself to success with minimal effort.
One of the keys to success is organization, so make sure you check out our guide to ensure that your office is properly organized.