Maximize Profits at your Auto Shop with These Tips

improve profits

An auto shop in a busy city should have a high turnaround, but sometimes economic conditions contribute to a slowdown in business. It might feel like you’re powerless, especially in places where brand name shops dominate the landscape. The truth is that both you and your staff have a great deal of control over your opportunities to increase profits.

Here are a few ideas you may not have considered, alongside some ideas and tips to help implement them.

Efficient Infrastructure

One of the first places to save both time and money is in the back office. Automotive management software that remembers past customers, and can provide invoicing for parts and labor is invaluable as a time saver.

Infrastructure isn’t the obvious place shop owners look to when considering cost-cutting measures, but the pros outweigh the costs and the effort. Infrastructure hosted off-site takes the pressure off of your staff, which probably isn’t trained in IT. You can easily access customer information and prepare detailed reporting on the fly, cutting the time spent diagnosing a problem. Professional reports give your shop its best face, so customers know they are dealing with a quality business.

Work on Your Phone Skills

Using your newly acquired database, you can start querying some of your past customers for service appointments. Quick mileage estimates will help you determine which customers might be due for service. Do you have direct mail campaigns? Start calling your list to make sure your local customers have received your mailers. Offer them a discount on oil changes, which tend to have fast turnarounds and allow technicians to diagnose other problems. Just be upfront that the diagnosis is free, so no one is surprised if there is a problem uncovered.

Customer service goes a long way in auto repair. Train technicians to take control of a call, asking open-ended questions and listening to the customer’s issues. Listen in on a few calls and designate some service technicians to handle the phones during downtime if they show a proficiency for it.

Reach Out

Local businesses in your area may need fleet technicians, but may not realize your rates or your services exist. Local pizzerias that maintain company cars, rental car companies, and even security companies are just a few of the many markets that would require regular maintenance. Landing such a contract might require that you keep a traveling technician on staff, but the profits would make the efforts worth it.

Regular business from these small and mid-sized companies can sustain your shop when consumer business is slow. Make a few phone calls and send out some emails to see who might need help. Trade shows and auto shows in your community are other good places to reach out to people who likely own more than one car. You can also visit other business owners to pitch your services directly.

Ideas and Final Thoughts

Clean your website a bit, eliminating pages that contain little to no useful information. Post a few YouTube videos that show off your shop, maybe a few basic repair tips, and get yourself a social media presence.

You can also use technology to offer a unique service: photo documentation. Customers will be interested to see the process of swapping out a part, with photographs showing damage the technician notes. Backups can be emailed to the customer, creating an opportunity to market to them via email and direct mail.

Maximizing profits requires a bit of outside the box thinking and a good phone voice. Practice excellent customer service, and make sure your technicians are well trained.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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