If you love nothing more than tinkering underneath the bonnet of a vehicle, then opening a repair shop is the perfect business for you. However, in addition to your mechanical skills, you will also need to have a good grasp of the business side of things if you want to ensure success! Keep reading to find out more.
Use your labor efficiently
Labor is a business resource like any other, and that means it must be managed efficiently. Otherwise, it will end up costing you a fortune and eating into your profits in the long term. Of course, you cannot run a repair shop without labor, but you do need to think carefully about how you use it.
For example, only employees who are new to the field may seem like a better choice because their wages will be lower. However, if you only have a shop full of novices, they may not have the level of expertise necessary to complete the work you have on to the correct standard, something that can lead to you losing customers.
Additionally, do consider how you are scheduling your employees. Be sure to not schedule too many at one time, as they may not have enough to keep them busy. Similarly, don’t allow your busiest times to be attended by only one person, as this is a recipe for delays and stress.
Automate everything you can
While auto repair is traditionally thought of as a ‘hands-on’ type of business, there is no shame in automating any suitable tasks. Indeed, automation can apply to any industry and save your business a great deal of time and resources.
Within auto repair, using software that automates diagnostic sheets and invoices is a great way to reduce costs while continuing to look as professional as possible. Additionally, using automated appointment booking software can help you reduce double bookings and missed appointments. It also allows the customer to choose a time that is most convenient for them and reschedule quickly and easily as well. All while saving you time and money that can be used in other areas of your business.
If you want your repair shop business to be a success over the long term, you will need to find your specialist niche. This means finding a specific area of repair that you can do well. It could be specific types of cars like four-wheel drives or sports cars, or particular aspects of a vehicle such as a carburetor, or the paintwork.
You may even choose a particular make of cars like Ford or Saturn, or it could be. Although, if you do decide to specialize in a specific brand, you will need to invest in the right training and materials for your employees. That means using things like these Ford Mustang factory shop manuals, as well as doing brand specific training courses. Then you will truly be able to deliver the best-specialized service to your customers possible.
The value of specializing in automotive repair is that it helps to build trust with your customers and sets you up as an expert in your field. This is good because it gives customers confidence that you will be able to do what they need, and it also you to charge a premium for your services. After all, customers will always pay a little extra to have someone work on their vehicle that knows what they are doing.
Guarantee your work
Trust is always a big issue when it comes to the work of an auto repair shop. After all, it’s not just about doing what you promise; there is also a real safety issue involved when working on the vehicles of customers. With that in mind, offering a guarantee for your work can help to build customers, trust, and show them that you are confident in what you do.
The type of guarantee that you offer will depend on your business, but some good options include guaranteeing either the parts or the work you do for a specific length of time. You can offer free repairs or a refund if customers need to come back to see you again before that time runs out.
Another way you can ensure your repair shop is successful is to build your customer base by encouraging loyalty. Of course, great work and service need to be a part of this. Indeed, making sure that everyone receives a high-quality experience when they come to visit you is essential.
However, you may wish to have a stamp card system, where customers come for a certain number of services and then get the next one free. You could even collect their email address and send them money off coupons too.
Encouraging online reviews
Reviews for your business can seem scary, with many owners wondering what to do if they receive a negative one. However, even the less than perfect reviews can be used in your favor if you correctly handle them.
For example, by replying professionally, addressing a reviewer’s concerns, and showing you have done your best to correct them, you will inspire trust in others considering using your services. Just avoid being emotional at all costs as this will put customers off, as it seems unprofessional.
Indeed, it could be argued that in this information age, having no reviews online at all may make a potential customer think twice about the legitimacy of your business.
Partner with other businesses
Lastly, if you truly want your repair shop to thrive, making connections and partnering up with other businesses can help you achieve your goal. This is because there are plenty of businesses that can send customers your way.
In particular, car dealerships make great repair shop partners as they can not only recommend you to their clients but also send work your way in the form of tasks that need to be completed on their current stock. Of course, offering discounts or referral fees can help oil the wheels of this type of relationship.