By Joe Marconi
One of the lessons from COVID is for repair shops to have a strong cash reserve. Shop owners need to budget their money each week, and allocate money to different bank accounts, such as payroll, operating expenses, taxes, etc.
Another account I would recommend is to have a Cash Reserve account, where money is allocating each week, and not touched unless their is a emergency, such as an economic downturn and or if an economic emergency occurs in your area or with your company.
While no one could have predicted the affects from COVID 19, I think we can all agree that being cash strong is a viable strategy.
You should have anywhere from 3 to 6 months of covered expenses in a separate bank account. I know, I know....it's a lot of money. Start slow and build each week. Anything set aside is better than nothing.
Of course, to have a reserve means that you need to have the profit to put away. Right? Well, another reason to know your numbers, revisit your pricing and make sure your labor rate is enough to support your payroll, operating expenses and have enough left over to set aside money for the unexpected.
Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
Kevin Syed, Owner of Integrity 1st Automotive, 8 Locations, Dallas Fort Worth TX, grew up with an entrepreneurial father and was always encouraged to lead. Having successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from University at Buffalo, Kevin went on to become a franchisee with Getty Petroleum / British Petroleum service centers for the better part of a decade in New York City. After gaining the knowledge, experience, and funding required to produce his own operation, Kevin went on to operate his own independent shops in New York. Kevin sought to find a new place to call home with his wife and twin girls; he longed for the community values and environment of the South and so his family made the decision to move to Texas. Integrity 1st Automotive was then born in Texas and Kevin has scaled his business to multiple locations across the Dallas Fort-Worth Metroplex. When he’s not working, Kevin enjoys local car rallies (e.g. Lamborghini Club Dallas), traveling, and hunting. Listen to Kevin's other Episodes HERE
Carl Hutchinson, Owner, Complete Automotive, 2 locations, Springfield, MO has been in the car industry since 1982, but has worked on vehicles long before that time. He has a passion for engineering, for understanding how vehicles operate, and how to repair a customer’s concern. Earlier in his career, Carl started working at a GM Dealership, then went to work at independent repair facilities as a technician and eventually became a service advisor. Carl’s experience in the automotive industry led him to his current position as co-owner with Maureen Hutchinson of Complete Automotive in Springfield MO., where he works every day to provide high-quality, valuable service to all customers. Carl is an Alumni with Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield MO Campus. He currently sits on the Automotive Advisory Board with Ozark Technical Community College, a member of South East Rotary, and a member of the Springfield Midwest Auto Care Alliance chapter. Carl has his Master ASE Certification, L1 and Service Advisor certification and is an AMI Graduate. Listen to Carl’s previous episodes HERE Kenny Wedow, Owner, Fine Tuned Auto, 2 Locations, Broomfield and Erie CO knows cars. A natural talent even at the young age of 17, he pursued it auto repair in shop classes in school then slipped right into the work field. Working for dealerships such as Saturn, and Nissan, as well as other independent shops, has afforded Wedow with extensive and well-rounded education. More importantly, before Wedow branched off to open the doors of Fine Tuned Auto in 2013, he already learned the importance of patient diligence. Many dealerships and independent auto shops can default to make generalizations about the problems with your car, sometimes not always seeing the things that really might put you in danger on the road. The patience Wedow has to pull everything apart if need be to find the root answers makes him unique in his field. It is a quality that got him promoted to foreman at a Nissan dealership when he was only twenty-three. It wasn’t that the six technicians under him weren’t experienced, in fact, some of them had worked considerably longer than Wedow. However, his attention to detail and follow-through put him above and beyond. Listen to Kenny's other episodes HERE
Key Talking Points
Building Trust- Focus on relationships, not transactions. Reviews, book of business, referrals etc. People always like to try something new, wow them. Make customers feel better- don’t fake it. Location Location Location- be selective. Walk-ins at an easy location will increase with oil changes etc. First chance to gain customers for life. First impression marketing- Kenny uses poker chips with his information to attract new customers. Signage, uniforms, customer waiting area etc elevate the professionalism. The image plays a huge role in sales, female-friendly bathroom/lobby, cleanliness, smell in the waiting lobby, convenience etc. Be mindful of female customers, educate and simplify. Direct mail, google ads, geofencing- who is your clientele? What advertisement is right for your area? Once you have multiple growing businesses- what is your year after year retention? Why do people choose certain careers/trades? What is the reason? Look at different industries and see what they provide. Focus on the relationship, not the transaction Be involved in the community Connect with the show:
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This episode is brought to you by Shop-Ware Shop Management. It’s time to run your business at its fullest potential with the industry’s leading technology. Shop-Ware Shop Management will increase your efficiency with lightning-fast workflows, help your staff capture more sales every day, and create very happy customers who promote your business. Shops running Shop-Ware have More Time and generate More Profit—join them! Schedule a free live demonstration and find out how 30 minutes can transform your shop at getshopware.com
Are you seeing auto shops in your area get hundreds of 5-star Google reviews and are you feeling left behind because your shop only has a few?
Hey look, Broadly is your answer to getting more online reviews. With more reviews, your business will rank higher in search results — and that means more customers coming into your shop every day. Broadly helps you automatically request reviews so that your customers can promote your business with just one click. When you immediately ask for a review after service, when the experience is still fresh in their mind, you’re more likely to get a 5-star positive review. Plus, asking for feedback makes your customer feel valued and more connected to your business. Isn’t that what you want a connected customer? See how Broadly can help grow your auto shop. Visit www.getbroadly.com/chat to learn more.
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Champtires – one of the leading e-commerce used tire sellers – is not facing supply chain issues. In fact, over the past several months, Champtires’ inventory has grown exponentially.
“Luckily, we are still able to source really great tires right now,” said Brad Rea, president and founder of Champtires. “Ninety percent of our inventory has 7/32 tread or above, and we’re adding hundreds of Michelins, Pirellis, Continentals – tires in every brand really – every day.”
Reselling used tires with significant tread life left saves them from ending up in a landfill. And it allows consumers and auto businesses to save drastically compared to new tire prices.
“Relying on premium used tires is a responsible way to use recycled products while saving yourself a lot of money,” Rea said.
High quality used tires are perfect if you need to match one or two to a remaining set or when replacing all four tires. Every tire that enters a Champtires facility goes through a thorough three-step inspection process. Free FedEx shipping is included on all website orders to the continental U.S.
Learn more and shop now at Champtires.com.
By Jonathan Ganther
Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
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By Joe Marconi
For many shops, business during the winter can slow up due to a number of reasons. What I have found that works is to schedule a flood of service reminders and past recommendations to go out during the months of Jan and Feb. Maintaining touch with your existing customers is a great way to keep your shop top of mind, and it may just bring in a little extra work too.
Any winter marketing tips to share?
By Joe Marconi
This topic has been addressed before, but it's timeless in its importance.
Doctors, dentists, nail spas, hair dressers, pet groomers, boiler service companies, and chimney cleaning service companies all have one thing in common. They all book the next visit or service.
Want to increase future sales and smooth out the highs and lows in your schedule? Then remind each customer at care delivery of their next Oil Service and any other services that are coming due soon. Put the customer's visit in your calendar and have a process that reaches out to them when their visit is due.
REMEMBER: Every vehicle in your shop TODAY will need future services. The question is: Are they returning to you?
By Joe Marconi
Do customers really have clear expectations when they arrive at your shop? Think about it. Who is responsible for setting clear expectations? Consumers may have a preconceived idea about what to expect, but when it comes down to what or who sets the expectation, it's the shop's responsibility.
Great customer service is created by the shop and its people. The consumer will judge that experience, but they don't create it, you do.
We may think that the consumer will tell us what they expect from us. I think it's the opposite.
Henry Ford once said: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
By Joe Marconi
Here's a tip I preach at the Elite Fly with the Eagles Marketing course:
Study your competition in your local area, know everything about, learn what they do in your community, learn about their advertising strategy and marketing strategy, find what their strengths are, and find out what they do special for their customers.
Ok...once that is done, here is what you do: Ready? Don't do anything that your competition does!
That's right, in order to stand out, be different. Don't mimic what your completion does. Tell YOUR story and build a marketing and advertising strategy based on what YOU do that the competition does NOT do.
For example, If you are active in youth sports, then make that your community story. Promote that everywhere.
Remember, to stand out you need tell the world what makes you different.
By Joe Marconi
The common buzz in business is to market to new, potential customers. This is a smart strategy given that every business losses customers each year, and we need to replace those lost customers.
However, we also need a marketing plan that takes care of our existing customers. It is cheaper and easier to retain your customers, than to market for new ones.
What strategies do you employ to retain your existing customers?