If you’ve been in this business for a while, I’m sure you’re aware of National Car Care Month and have probably participated in a vehicle check-up event (where you do free vehicle inspections in a parking lot or fire station). With roughly 150,000 independent shops across the country, how many vehicle check lane events do you think were conducted in April 2005? 50,000? 25,000? 10,000?
The answer is 400 official events and this was the highest number ever. There were probably a few dozen more where the inspection forms were not returned to the Car Care Council, but I wouldn’t guess the total exceeded 500. From what I hear from shop owners who participated in these events, they’re not only a great opportunity to attract new customers but also a way to help support a local community cause. Plus, they can help make driving a safer experience for all of us. Statistics from last year’s events show that 85% of the vehicles inspected had a failure of at least one part or system.
The Car Care Council is committed to growing the number of events that are held each year and wants to help you get organized. They’ve developed a new CD and DVD with extensive information and marketing materials to help you get involved. The DVD features a 12-minute “how-to” video with step-by-step instructions on how to plan and host a vehicle check-up event. The CD includes a comprehensive event planning guide, complete with sample press releases, radio spots, camera-ready ads, samples of vehicle check-up event inspection forms, brochures, logos and more. To request a copy of the two-disk set, go to www.carcare.org.
I’ve heard from some shop owners who are hesitant to have a check-up event because they don’t have the personnel or time to be at the event. Not to worry. We are preparing a list of high schools and votech schools from our Tomorrow’s Technician magazine readership who are willing to help. If you are interested in participating with a school, send me an e-mail ([email protected]) and I will help to arrange it.
The check-up event will help to educate your current customers and potential new customers about why a well-maintained vehicle is safer and more fuel-efficient, and also serves as the perfect introduction to your shop. Marketing your business to the consumer takes an investment of time and money, but is crucial for your success. A vehicle check-up event doesn’t need to be complicated and can be a nice first step to improve your shop’s performance.