Quantcast
Jump to content

First Customers?


Recommended Posts

Hi guys, ive been a long time lurker and finally got around to opening my own place. We've been open a week now and our first day was great we had 3 customer show up, two of which converted to sales. Since then it though nothing seems to have happened, phone doesn't ring, no real walk ins. Granted I've only been in business a week and I know it takes time but my question is what was it like for you guys? When did you start getting at least a couple of calls a day? I have a website with autoshop solutions as well as adwords and SEO, Ive also done 3k mailers with mudlick that will be hitting homes this week, and Ive been distributing flyers on cars on my free time roughly 1k or so thus far.

Edited by Eurozone_Motors
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did you have a grand opening? Host a BBQ and get a local radio station to come out?

Don't forget that mailers are not a one-and done promotion. You'll probably get very low response from your first couple waves, but keep sending them to keep you in their minds.

Also, make sure your shop (if it's an older building) is surgically clean, especially the front and bathroom. You don't want to drive off a sales lead because of a dirty bathroom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3000 Mudlick cards should bring some business!! I would not just wait for customers though...I would go get some!!

 

Heat and Air companies, electricians, you name it!! We have a very good client who is a glass company with Chevy 3500 Express vans. Let them know you are open, tell them about your background and experience, and get them coming in.

 

***Warning ***

 

On the commercial accounts, get a charge card or company check for services rendered, because you need cash now, not later!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Congrats on the new biz!

 

We are still new (1 year 4 months) but we've been non-stop busy. Went to your website and looks like you specialize in a lot of cars we do so thought I'd give you my advice. Our first month or two was hard though. This is what we did:

  • Grand Opening with free food: we hyped up our event to the car community by offering free food and nice cars to look at. We had our friends' restaurant BBQ the food and our Biz partner who is active in the community brought all his friends with nice cars. Also, customers from past shops that my boyfriend worked at also hyped it up and organized drives to our event in the car forums. About 60 people showed up. If you havent done a grand opening, I think this is a great way to show your community that you are open for business and it lets customers see what you got.
    • Side note to free food and nice cars: We also just had our 1 Year Anniversary this past October and 300 people RSVPed on FB and over that amount showed up. From 60 people to 300+, they all say they came because we are the talk of the town, plus the free food and nice cars.
  • Business cards on cars in parking lots geared towards the market you're going for. First, make sure your business cards are nice and up to date looking. Second, go to the parking lots of car show, meets, and events. We got a couple customers this way. Also, helps to make bigger cards that can show photos of your shop (must be nice photos!)
  • Partner with car leaders/orgs of the community: being a nice new shop, we were approached by several people/organizations to make deals. For example, a popular car organization wanted to offer its members discounts on labor at our shop in exchange for them promoting us in all their media and events. Another example is a person who has tons of Instagram followers wanted a sponsorship on labor in exchange for him promoting us. At the very beginning, we said yes to most of these type of relationships and its proven to help a lot. We are known in the community because of this. I do want to mention however, that we said yes even to groups who were not necessarily aligned with the market we are going for...which obviously can present some issues later.
  • Social Media: looks like you guys are pretty active on Facebook and Instagram -- always always a good thing! Post nice interesting photos. Nothing blurry, shop must look pristine in every single photo. No trash in the background, no oily floors.
  • Events, Networking, Memberships: we are closed on weekends so that we can attend events. We do a lot of trackdays with customers but if that's not part of your biz model, I would go to meets and car shows. Networking is essential in most industries. Also, find car organizations that cater to your market, become members, and attend their events. For example, BMW Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, Sports Car Club of America, etc.....volunteer or just attend events. The term networking sometimes scares people because putting yourself out there is intimidating...but just going to events..they will start to recognize you and remember you.

Your shop looks nice also. I'm sure it will get better, just gotta keep at it and be patient.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the tips guys! We didn't have any sort of grand opening only because another portion of the building is being renovated and its all a shared lot so there was no space for us to house more than 10 cars. I just signed us up with yelp ppc after talking to a couple of the guys in the area and they tell me it has been working. Im sure things will pick up soon but patience isnt my forte :\

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Word of mouth. Make sure everyone you know, knows about you shop. If it's free, advertise in it. Craigs list, Facebook etc.. Always carry a stack of business cards.

Paying for advertising.

Anything in print has been a complete and utter waste for me. Less than .01 percent return. No mailers, newspapers, Welcome Wagon and even Mudlick (unless your planning on giving stuff away, which I would advise against).

What works for me (gets me 30-50 percent growth a year, just started year 5)

Affiliate with someone. NAPA, Parts Authority, FMP etc.. You need to be able to offer a decent nation wide warranty. Also it will get you on there websites and POS materials. Typically it runs 6-700 a year. Money well spent.

I offer 15 percent discount to all new customers. If your being shopped your going to have the lowest price. That will entice them to come in and try you. Going on 5 years and I still do this, although I may amend it soon if not discontinue it. Aside from this and a 10 percent military and AARP discount, I don't discount much of anything else. I don't run oil change specials etc.. I feel it brings in the wrong type of customer.

Yelp. Spend no more than $200 a month and no pay per click. Tell them that's your budget and no more. Tell them you may spend more if you see results. Yelp still brings me 20-30 new customers per month. Put the 15 percent off first time customers in your call to action for Yelp. Take care of these people. If you know they are happy don't be afraid to ask for a good review. You will live and die off internet reviews.

Google Adwords. Spent 2-300 a month the first year. Wrote my own ads and picked my own keywords. The phone would ring 3-4 times a day. When the money ran out, the phones would stop ringing. It seemed to work. I only used it the first year until I developed an internet presence.

After a year or 2 I got in with RepairPal. They are another review site with a very good online estimator. Costs about $200 a month and a couple hundred to get started. They will call you customer base and vet you. They will also ask for reviews. They got me 25 to start. That helped a lot. I probably get 6-10 phone calls a month, all that is trackable. I would say I convert most of them to appointments.

Customer Lobby. When you have a few hundred customers, you may consider them. They send out reminders and ask for reviews. They will post them to their website, your facebook page and ask for Google reviews.

Again, you can live or die by reviews. Take care of your customers. If you screw up...make it right. And, never,never lie. Just be tactful and straight up.

Grand opening. Never had one. Always though the time, energy and money would be better spent someplace else.

You may consider openbay.com. Got a call from them the other day. Sounds interesting. Not sure if it will take off or not. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

Good Luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can second the "grand opening" or social event. Originally, I was hesitant to do this only because I felt like giving away free food would only draw the attention of freeloaders. Once I was open for a month or so, things were definitely slow. I was a mobile tech before I upgraded into a brick and mortar shop. I saw a lot of my customers jump ship. Many of them just decided I would hike my prices I guess, and decided to find the next civil servant who would go to them. Eventually, one of my neighbors hooked me up with a social group of businesses, entrepreneurs, etc etc. I went to a couple of their meet ups, and they really sold me on getting involved with the community. So I decided to throw a small meet and greet at my shop at a local park just minutes away from my shop. The turnout was incredible! hundreds of ppl with cars that needed service, looking for a humble, honest, repair facility. I had a great time, met some great ppl, and produced a bunch of sales. The weekend following the party, I had ppl showing up asking for info, and scoping out the location. I been pretty steady ever since.

 

Some more advice I can give you is be honest with yourself, and the customers. I'm sure you will generate a ton of leads. The last thing you want to do is fall short on your promises to a customer. I started to turn away the bigger jobs (head gaskets, transmissions, etc) in favor of the tires, alignments, general maintenance, and same day jobs. It has worked out for me thus far. We are just a two man show. I eventually want to add more help, and start taking on the bigger jobs.

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?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
  • Similar Topics

    • By carmcapriotto
      Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX, NAPA TRACS, and Automotive Management Network By leveraging tools like digital vehicle inspections (DVI) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, businesses can significantly improve their operations and customer experience. These integrations allow for a more streamlined process, from diagnosing vehicle issues to maintaining consistent communication with clients. Ben Dexter, National Training Manager, NAPA TRACS Show Notes
      Ben's journey in the automotive industry (00:00:55) Ben's progression from service writer to National Training Manager and his experience in the automotive industry. Importance of shop management systems (00:02:04) The critical role of shop management systems in the automotive repair industry and the support provided by NAPA TRACS. Value of training (00:03:21) The significance of investing in training and the impact of leadership participation in training programs. Building customer rapport (00:11:22) Ben's approach to building customer rapport and the importance of effective communication and attention to customer needs. Significance of scheduling (00:13:12) The shift from reactive scheduling to a coordinated approach, addressing the issues of timely and accurate repairs through effective scheduling. The power of software integrations (00:15:37) The commitment to utilizing shop management software and the potential of integrations with other tools like DVI and CRM for business growth. Utilizing shop management systems (00:19:08) Encouraging the use of shop management systems and the availability of resources for business advancement. Role of technology in DVI (00:20:42) Discussion on the coordinated effort required for effective Digital Vehicle Inspections (DVI) and the benefits of real-time communication. Challenges in utilizing software (00:22:32) Exploring the reasons behind the underutilization of software tools and the need for effective leadership and training. Importance of testing and measuring (00:25:13) Highlighting the significance of testing and measuring business performance for improvement and growth. Communication and customer service (00:28:27) Emphasizing the importance of effective communication with customers to prevent unexpected breakdowns and enhance customer satisfaction. Impact of scheduling on service advisors (00:30:07) Discussing the influence of scheduling on service advisors' decision-making and the need for consistent customer recommendations. Rethinking business analysis (00:32:47) Encouraging a reevaluation of business statistics and reports to identify missed opportunities and improve overall business strategies. Morning Meetings and Reporting (00:33:21) Discussion on the importance of morning meetings, sales reporting by service writer, and constructive performance discussions. Maximizing Existing Resources (00:34:55) Emphasizing the significance of making the most of existing resources before seeking more car count. Linear Quantity Opportunities (00:36:32) Exploration of the linear quantity opportunities in parts matrix, addressing traditional matrix problems and opportunities for improvement. Commitment to Lifelong Learning (00:38:54) Highlighting the importance of lifelong learning for success in shop management and overall strategy. Thanks to our Partners, AAPEX, NAPA TRACS, and Automotive Management Network Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2024. Mark your calendar now … November 5th-7th, 2024. AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at http://AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR NAPA TRACS will move your shop into the SMS fast lane with onsite training and six days a week of support and local representation. Find NAPA TRACS on the Web at http://napatracs.com/ Get ready to grow your business with the Automotive Management Network: Find on the Web at http://AftermarketManagementNetwork.com for information that can help you move your business ahead and for the free and informative http://LaborRateTracker.com Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections            
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Minute-Efficiency: Becky Witt's philosophy on minute-efficiency is not just a practice but a way of life. She's fine-tuned her operations to ensure every minute counts, leading to optimized customer service and a thriving business. Becky Witt, George Witt Service in Lincoln, NE. Show Notes
      Becky's Unique Business Model (00:00:35) Becky discusses her efficient business model, working only two and a half days a week and enjoying her personal time. The Evolution of Efficiency (00:01:51) Becky shares her journey towards minute efficiency, realizing the need for rethinking her business to optimize operations and customer satisfaction. Understanding and Serving the Market (00:05:52) Becky emphasizes the importance of understanding her market, focusing on reliability and safety for her female clientele. Appointment-Based Operations (00:08:14) Becky explains the significance of appointment-based operations and the efficiency it brings to her business model. Transition to Calculated Customer Control (00:10:31) Becky discusses the transition to a calculated business model, cultivating and letting go of clientele to optimize operations and customer service. Analyzing and Implementing Efficiency (00:14:08) Becky highlights the importance of analyzing numbers and implementing efficient practices, such as saving time through proactive part management. Struggling to find technicians (00:17:14) Becky's challenges in finding skilled technicians and her innovative approach to hiring and retaining talent. Efficiency and precision in service (00:19:34) Emphasis on minute-efficient work, attention to detail, and precision in service to ensure customer satisfaction. Evolution of business model (00:22:13) Becky's evolution in understanding customer needs, optimizing operations, and focusing on serving the right clientele. Annual maintenance packages and scheduling (00:24:07) Discussion about the concierge model for scheduling appointments and offering annual maintenance packages. Building relationships with customers (00:21:56) Becky's focus on building strong customer relationships and providing exceptional service to retain loyal clients. Effective technician management (00:27:10) Becky's approach to managing technicians and minimizing interruptions to ensure efficient and high-quality work. Adapting business model to market (00:30:16) The importance of adapting the business model to the specific market and location to achieve success. Becky's Business Strategy (00:32:07) Becky's approach to customer satisfaction and business purpose, emphasizing the importance of keeping customers happy with their cars. Understanding Female Customers (00:32:47) The unique perspective on car issues from a female customer's point of view and the potential life-threatening situations they may encounter. Work-Life Balance and Business Commitment (00:35:10) Becky's perspective on work-life balance, the commitment required for business success, and her specialization in servicing specific car makes.
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections    
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Changing The Industry
      Today is the last day for registration - Send us a message on HOW to register for this show.
    • 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 carmcapriotto
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Recorded Live at Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo, Jeremy O'Neal shares his journey of transforming a struggling business into a thriving enterprise, emphasizing the critical role of service advisor training.  Jeremy also highlighted how understanding the business, the owner's goals, and team dynamics is essential before implementing any training program. It's not just about fixing cars; it's about creating an exceptional customer experience that drives business success. Jeremy O’Neal, Advisorfix, Freedom Auto Repair, Hesperia, CA. Previous episodes HERE. Show Notes
      Service Advisor Coaching & Training: https://www.advisorfix.com/ Jeremy's Transition to Shop Ownership (00:00:36) Jeremy discusses his transition from service advisor training to owning Freedom Automotive. The Impact of Vision 2024 (00:04:17) Jeremy and Carm discuss the impact of the Vision 2024 event on their lives and the industry. Youth Presence at Vision 2024 (00:04:48) Carm and Jeremy discuss the significant presence of young talent at the Vision 2024 event. Jeremy's Business Growth (00:06:56) Carm inquires about the growth of Jeremy's business over the past eight years. The Importance of Service Advisor Training (00:07:11) Carm and Jeremy discuss the critical need for service advisor training in the automotive industry. Jeremy's Business Transformation (00:08:55) Jeremy shares the transformation of his shop, including significant growth and plans for expansion. The Role of Service Advisors in Business Growth (00:09:29) Jeremy discusses the potential for business growth by adding service advisors and technicians. Customer Service Challenges (00:10:45) Jeremy and Carm discuss the decline in customer service and the impact on the automotive industry. The Role of Customer Experience (00:12:21) Carm emphasizes the importance of creating a great customer experience in automotive repair shops. Parenting and Cultural Observations (00:13:24) Jeremy shares his observations and concerns about modern parenting and societal changes. Firing underperforming staff (00:15:20) Jeremy discusses his commitment to high service standards and the consequences for those who don't meet them. Training and standards (00:16:07) Carm questions Jeremy about his work-life balance and the importance of training in maintaining high standards. NAPA Auto Care Center program (00:16:55) Carm discusses the benefits of the NAPA brand and the Pro Image upgrade program for automotive shops. Employee commitment and performance (00:19:00) Jeremy shares his experiences with committed but underperforming employees and the impact on customer service. Service advisor training and culture (00:21:20) Jeremy emphasizes the importance of daily coaching and the shop owner's role in guiding training and culture. Continuous improvement and learning culture (00:23:03) Jeremy discusses the importance of employees having a learning culture and the availability of educational content. Phone call analysis and customer service (00:24:22) Jeremy explains the value of listening to service advisor calls for assessing competency and customer responses. Service advisor's impact on top-line sales (00:26:26) Jeremy highlights the significant impact of service advisor competency on the shop's top-line sales. Life Cycles with Customers (00:30:57) Jeremy shares a personal anecdote about a customer's car and the importance of understanding customer needs. Building Trust with Customers (00:31:35) Jeremy discusses the importance of building trust with customers and ensuring they follow the shop's process for repairs. Market Trends and Automotive Industry (00:32:52) Jeremy talks about market trends, the impact of COVID-19, and the future of the automotive industry, including the rise of EVs and hybrid vehicles. Success in the Marketplace (00:34:19) The discussion revolves around the importance of solid processes, good people, and effective marketing to succeed in the marketplace. Communication and Networking (00:35:18) The conversation shifts to the significance of communication and networking, including a mention of the Disney Institute's emphasis on personal interaction. Reflecting on Life's Milestones (00:37:21) Jeremy reflects on life beyond 50, the legacy he aims to leave, and the importance of capturing special moments with loved ones.
      Thanks to our Partner, NAPA Auto Care Learn more about NAPA Auto Care and the benefits of being part of the NAPA family by visiting https://www.napaonline.com/en/auto-care Connect with the Podcast: -Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RemarkableResultsRadioPodcast/ -Join Our Private Facebook Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1734687266778976 -Subscribe on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/carmcapriotto -Follow on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carmcapriotto/ -Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/remarkableresultsradiopodcast/ -Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RResultsBiz -Visit the Website: https://remarkableresults.biz/ -Join our Insider List: https://remarkableresults.biz/insider -All books mentioned on our podcasts: https://remarkableresults.biz/books -Our Classroom page for personal or team learning: https://remarkableresults.biz/classroom -Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/carm -The Aftermarket Radio Network: https://aftermarketradionetwork.com -Special episode collections: https://remarkableresults.biz/collections    
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • Our Sponsors










×
×
  • Create New...