If your shop offers mechanical services in addition to auto body, what kinds of things have definitively brought cars to the door? Coupons? Free diagnostics? I have a client with a small one location body shop who is looking to beef up the mechanical side of his business (brake jobs, oil changes, alignments, etc). I'd love to know what has been effective in your shops. I can help him get found, but I'm looking for some good workable attraction ideas to change visits into leads (jobs). Thanks in advance for any tips.
Satisfied customers provide all the word of mouth referrals you will ever need. At the risk of bragging, I do not advertise in any shape form or fashion, not even in the phone book and I have always had all the business I want, sometimes more than I want. Any doubt a potential customer may have up front disappears after they are referred by more than one satisfied former customer. New car dealerships with no bodyshop are also another excellent source for continuing business and an excellent way to start building a satisfied customer base.
I know a lot of people believe diversification is the way to attract more business, but why deviate from what you know and are already good at? If you aren't good at what you do, go into another business that you can be good at. You're in the wrong one.
Aligning yourself with car dealerships that have no bodyshop. When I first opened my business, it was a very modest beginning. I did the math and worked out that I had to have $38,000 a month in business to break even. I had already established relationships with several car dealerships that I did used car repair and warranty work for. It was on the very low end of the profit spectrum, but it gave me access to the customer base of each dealer I did work for with no advertising budget necessary. Every vehicle I repaired got one of my business cards placed in the glovebox. I also bought my parts from the referring dealer and sent any peripheral service work that I could not do myself to the referring dealer. The more they referred, the better it was for me and them.
I remember a very bad situation involving a warranty repair on a new Mazda where we had to paint a door on a vehicle that had just been sold. It turned into the repair from hell and what should have taken only 2 days wound up taking a week. Of course, the customer was having a fit and the service advisor who sent me the job was in a tight spot because this dealer did, in fact, have it's own bodyshop. It just happened to be a lousy one.
When I finally returned the vehicle, I wrote a brief note to the customer, apologizing for the delay and explaining to her that the service advisor had no idea what a mess this would turn into because it was the first time such a thing had happened. I also enclosed a check for $100 and asked her to allow me to treat her to dinner as an expression of the sincerity in my aplology. She has been a customer for years and the dealer continued to refer work to me until the day they went out of business. The key is to never put the referring person in an embarrassing position, EVER.
I currently receive referrals from 6 new car dealerships and the list of repeat customers has mushroomed over the years. Remembering that only the customer is the customer is also paramount to success. Remembering to never embarrass anyone for mentioning your name is equally important. It took only 3 years for my business to become unmanagable in terms of volume and it allowed me to pick and choose what I will and will not do, based on customer attitude and profitability. Throwing open your doors and expecting any insurance company to fill it with work is the worst mistake possible. Your business is exclusively your own, so run it as such.
well i have seen one, what they did is they have a free estimate tool to make the customer to easily check the price for an auto repair. i got this from an auto service centers, the automd.
I have to say it like i have said it a thousand times. The best way to grow your business is think of it as running for political office. You need to get embeded into the community and be a part of the community. No longer is it about being a sponsor of the little league team, now you need to sponsor and volunteer. I have grown my business with a grass roots approach and have made some great relationships along the way.