As the year winds down and we look forward to the next, it’s not uncommon to think about challenges in the year ahead and how you will be handling them. Many shop owners take a hard look at their business model and make strategic adjustments to buoy their profits and gain market share.
Those of you on the “front lines” of the auto repair and service business are no different. When readers of ImportCar were recently asked, “What are the top 3 concern of your business over the next year?” several respondents had similar comments that centered on profitability and staying competitive.
Specific number 1 concerns were: maintain and increase my customer base; increase revenue; steady business growth, ability of customers to pay for maintenance; customers’ tight budgets; updating diagnostic tools; increasing car count; keeping comfortably busy; increasing computer knowledge; cost of doing business/overhead; inflation; improving my business; staying in business; changes in customer priorities; soaring business costs (i.e. insurance); keeping up with technology; image; and higher energy costs.
Moving down a tier to number 2 concerns: retaining highly qualified techs; prepping for telematics’ service and maintenance; improving shop condition; maintaining high customer satisfaction; securing repeat customers; getting the latest tech data and information; replacing worn-out equipment; parts prices; training; increasing shop size; government “over-regulation,” repair order averages; customers’ unwillingness to maintain their vehicles; advertising/marketing; proper diagnostic tools; hybrids and the future of automotive repairs; increasing efficiency; and uniform rental increases.
And, number 3 concerns were: keeping current with diagnostic software; additional advanced level training; updating building curb appeal; raising the bar on shop moral; new shop equipment; shop reputation; finding qualified techs; increase loyal customer base; new customers; warranty hassles; quality of parts; credit card costs; and the cost of fuel.
The aftermarket has a proven history of turning challenges into opportunities, especially as it relates to tackling new technology and finding creative ways to add value to the products and services they deliver to the marketplace.
For repair shops to stand out from the competition and ensure repeat business, now is the time for you to kick things into high gear. More than ever, it’s time to network in a big way, communicate, share best practices, educate, gain skills, gather resources, seek out competitive advantages, market, promote, advertise and, in the process, you’ll become masters at working smarter, faster and more efficiently. A good way to inject some enthusiasm into your business plan, and add momentum to your bottom line, wouldn’t you say?