Jump to content

Should we specialize?

Recommended Posts

Hello, we are a new shop (open for 1 year) and right now, we work on a lot of different types of cars. We have been lucky enough to have a great customer base and enough work that keeps everyone busy every day (sometimes have to be selective), but the question I discuss with my significant other (owner of the shop) is Should we specialize in a type of car? If so, when?


This is how I see it:


Pros of specializing:

-People trust techs that work over and over on their type of car

-Easier for techs to become masters of their work
-No more spending on tools/manuals that are specific to other cars


Cons of specializing:

-It would close the door to a lot of potential customers

-We find that the variety keeps day to day interesting



Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are general service, but chose to ally ourselves with The Hybrid Shop and specialize in hybrid vehicles. I believe that hybrids have a strong future in our business. The first ones that came out are aging and need help. Hybrid owners are almost cult-like and really love their cars. We used our special skills training and equipment to rescue distressed cars and became a used car dealer. The Prius has a huge following and the damn things last forever. One of our company shuttle vehicles is stuck at 299999 on the odometer and we proudly point that out to customers. Soon we will be maintaining the hybrid city buses under contract to the local transit administration.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If things are going good, why fix what isn't broken? We specialize on European cars. Namely, the German big 3. I'll get into the pros and cons of that in a minute, but first I just want to say that if the system you have in place is working for you, why make such a drastic change like specializing in specific brands? That would be fine if you were a specialty shop to begin with, but if you have been providing general service for a year now, and suddenly want to cut your customer base off and cater to selective ones, I don't know but that just sounds like bad business practice to me. Turning customers away is a bad move IMO.


Specializing has its pros and cons like everything else. For one you are limiting your customer base to a specific demographic. This can stunt your growth some. You will not have as much traffic as a general repair shop, or income potential off the bat. You should do some research of your immediate area, and see what kind of vehicles are predominant in your community, and cater to those. Definitely, you want this choice to sync with your business plan. The other issue is personnel. If you plan to specialize, you may want to hire staff which is knowledgeable in the brands you service. This can limit your hiring options, and may bring up compensation issues as well. Hiring in this industry is tough enough as it stands. Some pros: specializing really allows you the flexibility to expand your coverage and support for the brands you service. You can focus more funds on buying specialty tools and equipment which give you deeper coverage and repair options most other repair centers won't have. This is expensive, but since you will be seeing the same cars everyday, these tools and equipment will pay for themselves fairly quickly, so its justified. For example, with the Star Diagnostic scan tool, I have the ability to replace and reprogram ALL modules, keys, and perform system re-flashes on Mercedes Benz just like the dealership. I also have special manufacturer tools which make repairs more efficient, and less time consuming, and expand my repair coverage. Plus like the saying goes, repetition breeds familiarity. Seeing the same cars everyday will make your operation much more efficient and time saving. For example, I can get a BMW in, and just on the mileage alone, I know exactly what services I need to sell, and what issues to look for because I see these cars every day. In about 15 minutes, I can perform an entire inspection on a vehicle, and have plenty of upsell work ready to present to the customer. It is also easier to sell the work, because you pitch it so many times a day, you learn to perfect it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

This industry is constantly evolving and will continue to do so. One hundred thousand mile factory warranties, free maintance, lifetime tires, Etc., all mean you will have to adjust your business plan in the future. Be carefull limiting your opportunities by establishing a brand that doesn't include potential future customers. Once you establish your brand it is nearly impossible to change without rebranding at great expense.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      A recent study, done by Harvard Business School, concluded that the real problem with attracting and retaining employees has more to do with the workplace environment, not pay or benefits. While the study did find that an adequate pay plan and offering an attractive benefits package did help with recruiting and retention, it’s not enough to satisfy the needs of employees, especially those of front-line workers.
      The study also stated that in 2021, many companies were convinced that giving raises, sign-on bonuses, and other perks would solve the worker shortage problem and prevent people from quitting. However, this strategy did not work. So, what does work regarding attracting quality people and keeping them employed?
      Essentially, it all comes down to the culture of your company.  Management: do all it can to consider the individual needs of your employees. Your employees want to feel that they have a voice, that their opinion counts, and that their role in your company is both respected and recognized. Yes, pay and a great benefits package will go a long way toward making your employees feel secure, but that’s only financial security. People want more than money.
      To attract and keep top talent requires creating a company that people feel proud to work for. You need to reach the hearts and minds of your employees. Become a leader that people are enthusiastic about working for. You want your employees bragging to their friends and family that your shop is a great place to work!
      Step one to attracting and retaining quality employees: Create an amazing workplace environment for your employees!  Trust me, happy employees make happy shop owners too!
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By Joe Marconi

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By Transmission Repair

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By ASOG Podcast
      David & Lucas React: Flat Rate Master Gets Fired & Calls Out Shop Owners
    • By carmcapriotto
      Hey friends! Welcome to our newest episode of the Auto Repair Marketing Podcast. 
      Thank you to our friends at RepairPal for providing you this episode. RepairPal is the key that unlocks more business for your repair shop. Learn More at RepairPal.com/shops.
      Talking Points
      This recent trip out west - taught me some things about being connected Our own story of feeling like we were “on an island” Shop Owners are disconnected and feel the same way It doesn’t have to be that way Conversations that pointed me to the movie “Cast Away”  We were not created or designed to be alone. We need community.  Chuck Noland (in Cast Away) found a companion in “Wilson”. Who is your tribe? Other Shop Owners Facebook Groups 20 Groups Masterminds What resources do you have? What do you have to give? Coaches Industry groups/associations Industry Events You find what you’re looking for. So, look for connections. Take action.  As we visited shop owner after shop owner, we found ourselves having similar conversations about this ‘island’. Now we’ve connected our shop clients to the industry, other shop owners, and resources. Be a giver, a connector, a helper  
      How To Get In Touch with Shop Marketing Pros
      Group - Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind
      Website - shopmarketingpros.com 
      Facebook - facebook.com/shopmarketingpros 
      Thanks to our partner, RepairPal. Visit the Web HERE
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio

  • Our Sponsors

  • Create New...