May/June 2013 Archives - Shop Owner Magazine
Maintenance Mindset Racks Up Miles And Service Opportunities

How many miles do you think a pampered engine could rack up? Hundreds of thousands? How about millions! Irv Gordon, a Long Island, NY, resident who has traveled the U.S. for nearly 50 years, can attest to that. He’s driven the same vehicle, a shiny, red 1966 Volvo P1800, racking up nearly 3 million miles.

What’s Your Competitive Advantage?

Creating a list of your competitive advantages will help every shop owner position their business in the market. It is an advantage that enables you to survive against competition over a long period of time. In today’s era of hyper-competition, shop owners are better able to capture the customers they are looking for if they plan to create and focus on what sets them apart.

Is Groupon For You?

We all know about the rage that is going on with the Groupon-type services, and with many businesses, I see where it can be a really good fit. Examples would be in the fast food industry, and with companies that sell commodities like soap or shoes. Yet, when it comes to the auto repair business, with just two exceptions, I feel that this type of marketing is a bad fit. Here’s why …

New Car Sales Are Up! Prepare Or Beware?

As the economy recovers, new car sales will increase. The aging U.S. fleet, which was predicted to be a boom for repair shops, never really materialized as we thought it would. As an industry, independent repair shops survived and some fared quite well; just not to the extent that many of us predicted. That’s not to say we did not have opportunity, we did. However, as we painfully found out, when people are out of work, feel poor, and when consumer confidence is low, it makes our job a lot more difficult.

Summer Performance Incentives Drive Up Sales And Profits

For most of you, summertime is when you can skyrocket productivity. So rather than telling your techs that you’ll provide them with a bonus if they reach certain productivity goals, give them the bonus up front, with the understanding that it is theirs to lose.

The Trend In New Vehicle Sales And The Impact On You

Here in the states, you don’t have to look very hard to find Hyundai and Kia vehicles. They are not only becoming quite popular, but in the first half of this year their combined U.S. market share was 9%; putting them ahead of Nissan, and right behind Honda. I am mentioning this to you because it wasn’t very long ago when these two brands were unknown in the U.S., and because I feel this increase offers a peek into the future.

The Importance Of Non-Solicitation Agreements

Business owners work hard, often for many years, to develop a customer base. The last thing they want to see is an ex-employee who’s working for someone else (or self-employed), targeting their customers. These ex-employees often know many of the customers quite well, or when they leave, they’ll make a point to take all the customer contact data with them.

Consumer Confidence Increases, Back-to-Back Monthly Gains Spell Good News

The Consumer Confidence Index is up and that should spell good news for your business. Posting another gain in May, standing at 76.2 (up from 69.0 in April), consumer confidence is now at a five-year high.

Selling More A/C Work

Here’s a tip that’s particularly effective during the hot summer months! Tell your techs that when they go for a test drive, they should stick a thermometer in the A/C outlet. If it’s not as cool as it should be, all that they need to do is write the recorded temperature down on the repair order.

When Exceptional Customer Service Is Not Enough

A good customer called me the other day to let me know that he has concerns regarding the quality of our work. Last week, we installed an exhaust system on his Maxima and two days later it sounded like the muffler had fallen off. There was so much noise, he was afraid to drive the car. We went to his house to pick it up. We found that the baffles had broken apart in the brand new muffler we just installed.

Holding Back On Service Recommendations

A long-time customer approached me with a concern and asked, “Why is it that almost every time I come to see you, you recommend something? You are also more expensive than other shops. Why not just fix what I came in for?”

Trends In The Industry – The Future Of Your Business

There are a number of changes that are occurring in our industry, and there is no question, some of them will have a profound, long-term impact. To name just two, automobiles are being built better, and as we all know, service intervals are constantly being extended by the manufacturers.