5 Tips to Grow Your Auto Repair Business
So, you’re looking for ways to grow your auto repair business. You may have covered all your bases with a website, direct mailers, maybe even a little PPC budget from time to time. But still, you’re unhappy with the results. The problem with the automotive repair industry is that people don’t generally tend to think about your services until they suddenly need them. So how do you make sure that yours is the first business they find when they start looking? I’ll go over 5 surefire ways to increase your car count and grow your auto repair business.
- Brand Loyalty. Does your business have a narrative? People don’t just make decisions on a whim. We like to buy from people not only because of their pricing, or cool logos… but because we know WHY they do what they do. You want to capture the emotions of your customers, and then justify their decision with logic. An example of emotion may be that you’re an active sponsor of the town’s little league teams or for every vehicle serviced you donate a portion of your profits to Kars4Kids. The logic side of the buying decision would be your “We’re ASE Certified” or “we have a night time drop off service.” Pro-tip: If you’re thinking about attaching a mission to your business like I just described, please don’t just choose one and toss it up on your website. It should be something that is meaningful, and can be woven into every decision your staff make. So often I see business owners who say “Yea, I have a website, I don’t need your web design service.” But do you have a website or marketing campaign just to have one, or have you really taken the time to define your audience, define their needs, and then offer a solution to their problems? My guess is for most of you, you haven’t. As a business owner myself, I completely understand where you may have dropped the ball on this. Running around servicing your customers, putting out fires with employees (real or otherwise) phones ringing, sick kids…. I get it! But I highly recommend scheduling some time with your key employees and taking it back to the basics. Why did you start this auto repair business in the first place? What drives you to wake up and come to work every day? Feel free to use our brand tuneup worksheet to get the creative juices flowing. Have FUN with it! Growing your auto repair business doesn’t have to be difficult.
2. Solve Your Customer’s Pain Points. This is a quick and easy one that is often overlooked. I won’t spend too much time on this point because it’s really a matter of who your specific audience is, but here are a few surefire offerings that will benefit you no matter where your auto repair shop is located.
- Offer either a shuttle service or a rebate for an Uber/Lyft service. Having to worry about asking someone to follow you to the shop to drop your car off is always a concern for your customer. Addressing this ahead of time takes the stress out of the equation.
- Offer Free Towing with service.
- Coffee. And I mean good coffee, not coffee that’s been sitting on a crusty, cold burner for 3 days. Trust me on this one… if you have bad coffee, your customer will assume your service is just as bad. Don’t believe me? Ask the next customer what they think of your coffee and watch their face.
- Clean your waiting area and bathrooms. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t ask your mother to use your bathroom, it’s probably not suitable for your customers either. Clean it!
- Wifi. This one’s a no brainer. People are literally obsessed with their phones (and phone bills) and love to see that oh so prominent Wifi logo in your shop’s window. There’s an article I read recently that said people touch their phones almost 3,000 times a day. Yikes!
3. Female Friendly. That’s right. I said it! Women account for billions and billions of auto repair service dollars every year. They also are extremely choosy of where they get their vehicles serviced, being this is a male dominated industry. You can even become Female Friendly Certified through AskPatty.com. Now, imagine your wife is looking at two auto repair shop websites. One of them has your typical “Best Shop in Town!” slogan, and the other has a female friendly certification badge, empathizes with their concern about dropping off their car and offers free shuttle service, and playfully boasts about having the best coffee in all of Austin, TX. Which shop do you think she’s going to choose?
4. Become a Subject Matter Expert. This one will help you both short and long-term. Chances are the majority of your competitor auto repair shop owners are not taking the time to do this. Write a blog post once a week, create a monthly newsletter, heck.. Even throw an annual workshop for your community. When writing blog posts for your website, try to approach it from a “They Ask, We Answer” philosophy. What do your customers need to know? Perhaps how to perform a DIY Oil Change, or What to check for before taking a long road trip. The type of content subjects that really seem to move the needle in terms of conversions, engagement, leads and sales are what we’ll call The Big 5. They are as follows:
- Pricing & Costs
- Versus & Comparisons
- Best in Class
All of this will help build trust, which is crucial to success in the automotive industry, and generate new leads from customers looking for a trusted guide for their vehicle servicing needs.
5. Ask for Reviews & Referrals. . This one you can start implementing right away. Reviews not only provide social proof for potential customer looking for auto repair service, but they also play a major role in search engine rankings. Referrals are well.. Referrals. There’s no easier sell than having a friend suggest your business over the next. If you’re offering transparent service that you are proud of (think back to the mother comment) then you shouldn’t be shy about asking for a review or a referral. You’d be surprised how quickly this little trick can scale your business and increase your car count. I’d even recommend adding the ability to have your customer visit your shop website to leave the review, where it could post to all major review sites like Google+, Yelp, Etc…
I hope this article helped you guys out a bit. I know they aren’t all innovative ideas that nobody ever told you before, but they definitely are all important and often overlooked. If you take the time to make these a priority in your shop, you will see how quickly you can grow your auto repair business.