1. Reduce employee turnover rate.
This first one is pretty true for all businesses, but especially in auto repair. Keeping good employees on your team is invaluable. As you probably have figured out – good mechanics don’t grow on trees.
In the long run, training new employees and dealing with the inevitable mistakes of an inexperienced staff is more costly than just paying good people more. Don’t make the mistake of letting a valuable asset go. Keep them happy by offering good wages, competitive benefits, and respecting their wants and needs.
Having the same staff also adds value to your customers. Your business will appear much more trustworthy and stable if the same people are there every time a customer brings his/her car in for service.
2. Reward loyal customers.
Loyal customers are something to be cherished. Don’t let them go. Reward customers for their loyalty by offering special discounts or even give them a free oil change from time to time. The end result is a large client base who is incentivized to give you their business instead of the competition.
3. Use online appointment scheduling.
These days, people want to be able to to do everything online. So what are you waiting for? Give the people what they want! Having an online scheduling tool makes it easier on your customers and prevents your team from missing appointments or overbooking. Better scheduling and more reliable customer service? That’s a win-win.
4. Have a clear ethics statement.
In general, there is a sense of unease about dealing with auto mechanics. Since many people don’t understand how their car works, they rely on their mechanic for recommendations. Your customers want to know that you’re honest and have their best interest in mind. So tell them! Create a statement of ethics and spread it around to your team. They should know it well. Not saying they have to have it memorized, but they should know the major points.
After your ethics statement is developed, find a way to prominently display it in your shop. Maybe it’s a framed poster or engraved on a plaque. This will put your customers at ease and give you a leg up on the other guy who may not be as trustworthy.
5. Get the right tools.
Having the right tools can go along way. There may be an upfront cost in getting the latest and greatest gear. But nothing is more valuable than having your team working efficiently. In this business, time is money. So the longer you spend on each job, the less you make. If your guys are moving faster, you’ll be able to turn around jobs quicker. And quicker turnaround means happy customers. Happy customers become returning customers.
It’s honestly that simple.
Investing in tools that save time is a good place to start. In a way, these tools end up paying for themselves. For example, the FlareForce is a tool that allows mechanics to flare brake lines directly on the vehicle in about 10 seconds. That’s huge time savings compared to stripping the brake line off the car.
That time that you saved can be realized in a higher margin on the job, getting another vehicle repaired, or both. Over time, the money you make back will outweigh the cost of most time saving tools such as the FlareForce.