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If you wanted to double your car count, what would you do?


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Hey Folks,

 

My wife and I currently run a 1 bay operation. We are looking to expand into a larger facility. We are currently hitting 60-70 cars per month. Running the numbers to operate a 5 bay facility that we're looking to purchase. We should be doubling our car count to stay profitable.

 

Here is my marketing strategy to accomplish this, I would love your feed back as well:

 

-Ribbon cutting event, grand opening party, live music, food, beverages, give aways, have other vendors come out to support event, etc

 

-Direct mail campaign - MudLick mail? ValPak? (Thoughts)

 

-Google pay per click advertising

 

-Signage - it would be on a major road in community

 

Looking for the best bang for the buck opportunities to get up and running and then explore other marketing ideas for the future.

 

Thanks for your input!

AJ

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Great Tire Deal

Hey Folks,

 

My wife and I currently run a 1 bay operation. We are looking to expand into a larger facility. We are currently hitting 60-70 cars per month. Running the numbers to operate a 5 bay facility that we're looking to purchase. We should be doubling our car count to stay profitable.

 

Here is my marketing strategy to accomplish this, I would love your feed back as well:

 

-Ribbon cutting event, grand opening party, live music, food, beverages, give aways, have other vendors come out to support event, etc

 

 

 

This is nice to do because it's fun, but your not going to get many customers out of. You'll get the initial influx of people that want to try you out, but it will taper off and be a poor return on investment.

 

 

-Direct mail campaign - MudLick mail? ValPak? (Thoughts)

 

 

Direct mailing generally has one of the lowest return rates out there. Ask yourself, when is the last time your purchased a service that you found out about from junk mail. Myself, never.

 

 

 

 

-Google pay per click advertising

 

 

If you do it right, this is a great thing. However, you have to have a great website that changes content, stays current, and is mobil optimized. I pay to have this done for me. I don't have time or the skill to do SEO. How are your stats now? Who does your website? What are you spending per month on it? How important is yelp in your area? ( over 91% of my new business is from yelp! I track it! but I'm in a major city ).

 

-Signage - it would be on a major road in community

 

Signs are fine, but people aren't going to come to you because you've got a nice sign. Brand recognition is more important.

 

Looking for the best bang for the buck opportunities to get up and running and then explore other marketing ideas for the future.

 

Thanks for your input!

AJ

 

If you can swing a 5 bay shop off of 140 cars and turn a profit you must be doing something amazing. I think you need to rethink your numbers a bit is my honest opinion. What your ARO? Gp? Realize coming from 1 bay to 5 your going to need 2 service writers and at least 2-3 techs. Plus a shuttle driver/parts guy/ shop gopher.

 

The best way to grow is to get to the point where your running super efficient and productive and then your getting to the point where's it's costing you money if you DONT expand. Meaning your losing business because you can't keep up. Granted you can grow before that but you better have your SOP locked down and know how to run it because it can become chaos if you grow that fast.

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SMMotors,

 

Thanks for the feedback. Currently at $550 ARO and 53% overall GP on tickets. I also neglected to mention that we would be working out of a 5 bay shop and there is a second building that we would be leasing out until we max out capacity of the first building.

 

With our business plan in place, the wife would be the SA, I'd also have a GS tech and a more experienced technician to start. I'd also have a CSR at the front counter/office. I'd run day to day business activities and transition out of the shop.

 

AJ

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Hey Folks,

 

My wife and I currently run a 1 bay operation. We are looking to expand into a larger facility. We are currently hitting 60-70 cars per month. Running the numbers to operate a 5 bay facility that we're looking to purchase. We should be doubling our car count to stay profitable.

 

Here is my marketing strategy to accomplish this, I would love your feed back as well:

 

-Ribbon cutting event, grand opening party, live music, food, beverages, give aways, have other vendors come out to support event, etc

 

-Direct mail campaign - MudLick mail? ValPak? (Thoughts)

 

-Google pay per click advertising

 

-Signage - it would be on a major road in community

 

Looking for the best bang for the buck opportunities to get up and running and then explore other marketing ideas for the future.

 

Thanks for your input!

AJ

AJ,

 

What sets your business apart from your competition?

 

In other words, if I were a customer in your area, why would I choose your shop

over all the other choices? (The answer to this question is going to drive any

marketing you are considering.)

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Be careful of what you wish for. Higher car counts mean exponentially more headaches not directly linear with more profits if you don't have time to fix them all. $550 aro with >50%gp is good, trying to double car count without double the qualified help will net you a decrease in gp.

 

One bay isn't best, so jumping up to a 5 bay shop is a wise investment. That by itself will increase car count as customers relate to shorter wait times. Add another tech to handle the flow, then add another tech/sa as the car count increases.

 

Advertising helps a little, but by far your reputation is what will drive customers into your bays. Give your customers outstanding service and ask them to refer their co workers, its the cheapest and the most effective form of advertising.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Unless you want to be a "plate spinner" where once you stop, the shop stops, you have to get into a 5+ bay situation. 50 vpm x $500 is $27,000+ so 50% gp would be $13,500 to appropriate now. You're increasing your capacity x5 but not your overhead and you probably have a good start on the necessary shop equipment to facilitate the new place and extra guys. How much work are you losing by spreading yourself so thin? Some of your best advertisement will be not just that ribbon cutting but joining the chamber of commerce, bni's, small business groups etc. Because they're small business like you and they "get it". Screw mail, it's dead! Get business cards and go shake hands with the business neighbors and everybody nearby. If they know your name and what you do and they like you.. Odds are, they'll support you! Social media like Facebook and Google are great if you use it correctly. Quit doing the stupid $xx.xx off service or $xx.xx brake jobs etc. The average consumer doesn't even know what the prices should be and just wants someone they can trust! Just advertise that you're in business and you're in business for them, that you're about the relationship, not just the transaction.

 

Sent from my SM-N900P using Tapatalk

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  • 1 month later...

I bought a franchise 18 months ago. My shop business is down 20%. Since I bought the place one shop that was closed reopened, two new shops opened up inside of 2 miles of mine. One of the two shops is a ten bay super-store with a huge marketing budget. I'm doing 60 - 100 fewer cars per month. My ARO is on the upswing and we're looking at our inspection and maintenance process as a way to improve sales and work more efficiently on the cars we DO have.

 

I've spent thousands on internet and direct mail campaigns. I see very little from either. My plan for 2016 is to stop discounting and start meeting as many people that I can get to know. People come to my shop for different reasons. Some for the cheap discounts, some for location, some because we provide great service. I want...I need strong relationships to get car counts back up.

 

There is no easy way here, guys!

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Hey Folks,

 

My wife and I currently run a 1 bay operation. We are looking to expand into a larger facility. We are currently hitting 60-70 cars per month. Running the numbers to operate a 5 bay facility that we're looking to purchase. We should be doubling our car count to stay profitable.

 

Here is my marketing strategy to accomplish this, I would love your feed back as well:

 

-Ribbon cutting event, grand opening party, live music, food, beverages, give aways, have other vendors come out to support event, etc

 

-Direct mail campaign - MudLick mail? ValPak? (Thoughts)

 

-Google pay per click advertising

 

-Signage - it would be on a major road in community

 

Looking for the best bang for the buck opportunities to get up and running and then explore other marketing ideas for the future.

 

Thanks for your input!

AJ

 

AJ,

 

If you are on somewhat of a tighter budget, my suggestion would be to invest in internet marketing and grass roots level marketing. SEO, Yelp, Google Adwords, Google+, Facebook. Also hit the streets with business cards and introduce yourself. In the future you may add a direct mail campaign to your marketing efforts however to do so on a large scale would be very expensive. You may want to spam your area maybe once just to help you get the word out. Also something else that won't cost you as much money is CRM. Look into your data base and figure out a good speech to pitch. Something like, "Hi this is AJ Nealey Automotive. We are reaching out to our really great customers to let them know that we are moving to a bigger location! We are really excited to be able to better serve our community. We would love to have you come to our grand opening. Also with a new larger location we will be able to serve a lot people. We would be honored if you would refer us to some of your friends..."

 

 

 

If you can swing a 5 bay shop off of 140 cars and turn a profit you must be doing something amazing. I think you need to rethink your numbers a bit is my honest opinion. What your ARO? Gp? Realize coming from 1 bay to 5 your going to need 2 service writers and at least 2-3 techs. Plus a shuttle driver/parts guy/ shop gopher.

 

The best way to grow is to get to the point where your running super efficient and productive and then your getting to the point where's it's costing you money if you DONT expand. Meaning your losing business because you can't keep up. Granted you can grow before that but you better have your SOP locked down and know how to run it because it can become chaos if you grow that fast.

 

Your ARO seems healthy however your overall GP of 53% is a bit low. 60% or better should be the target. With that being said you can survive off 140 cars a month if you raise your ARO. Even at $550 x 140 cars = $77,000. Thats a pretty healthy number.

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I can't tell you everything we did, I can tell you some of the big ones.

1: go above and beyond with every customer, educate them and treat them as much like friends and family as possible (don't cross the free line)

2: communicate proper expectations, and notify them on plan changes as soon as possible.

3: Admit when your wrong. Always be as honest as possible.

4: If it breaks and it's your fault, fix it. And tell them it was and honest mistake.

5: explain in as much detail as possible the issue and educate them. Teach them how the system works.

6: make sure to do thorough look inspections when you see the car, inform the customer with out being pushy about sales. (I think we all forget, when customers come to us - regardless of how ridiculous an expectation it is - they expect us to find upcoming failures so they don't while driving. The more of these you catch the better.

7: don't be nervous about the price, don't over think the price. If your nervous about what your charging you can bet they are picking up on that.

 

Honestly, for me it all comes down just be a quality repair provider.

We are a small 2 bay shop.

We don't advertise outside of our website, Google listing and a Facebook page.

We are telling customers 3-4 weeks before we see the vehicle, and we're turning down work we don't want.

My point in this ridiculous and long post is simple, don't over think increasing aro/car count - if your being a quality shop, and treating your customers right it won't be long until you realize aro/car count are great tools to stay on top of the performance of the business. But focusing on them may give you tunnel vision that sees the customers wallet without seeing the customer!

 

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

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I can't tell you everything we did, I can tell you some of the big ones.

1: go above and beyond with every customer, educate them and treat them as much like friends and family as possible (don't cross the free line)

2: communicate proper expectations, and notify them on plan changes as soon as possible.

3: Admit when your wrong. Always be as honest as possible.

4: If it breaks and it's your fault, fix it. And tell them it was and honest mistake.

5: explain in as much detail as possible the issue and educate them. Teach them how the system works.

6: make sure to do thorough look inspections when you see the car, inform the customer with out being pushy about sales. (I think we all forget, when customers come to us - regardless of how ridiculous an expectation it is - they expect us to find upcoming failures so they don't while driving. The more of these you catch the better.

7: don't be nervous about the price, don't over think the price. If your nervous about what your charging you can bet they are picking up on that.

 

Honestly, for me it all comes down just be a quality repair provider.

We are a small 2 bay shop.

We don't advertise outside of our website, Google listing and a Facebook page.

We are telling customers 3-4 weeks before we see the vehicle, and we're turning down work we don't want.

My point in this ridiculous and long post is simple, don't over think increasing aro/car count - if your being a quality shop, and treating your customers right it won't be long until you realize aro/car count are great tools to stay on top of the performance of the business. But focusing on them may give you tunnel vision that sees the customers wallet without seeing the customer!

 

 

Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk

This is how I operate and it's worked for me. I've never done any advertising and my little 2 bay shop is always full. People just want someone they can trust.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
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      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
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