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I feel like my area is extremely competitive.  My area is a small town with about 8000 households (includes town and rural areas).  We have 6 legitimate 4-8 bay shops, 1 Chevy dealer, and at least 3 hole-in-wall/backyard guys (800 households/shop).  The next town over has 8000 households, 1 legit 8 bay shop, 0 dealers, and 2-3 hole-in-the-wall/backyard guys (2-3000 households/shop).  Just wondering what some of you are dealing with out there so I have some reference point.  Also, for those of you with multiple locations, does this sort of thing impact the success of individual locations?

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  • Similar Topics

    • By Mail Shark
      In today’s hustle and bustle world, consumers want to work with companies that make doing business easy & convenient.
      If your auto repair shop offers online appointment scheduling, you most certainly want to include content that conveys that message on your direct mail and other marketing. It can help position you as the local repair shop that makes doing business easy by giving customers another convenient way to schedule their repair or maintenance services.
      As a standard, I suggest my clients add the following verbiage or a variation of, positioned above their phone number and website
      “Call Today or Conveniently Schedule Online”
      484-202-3960
      TheMailShark.com
      In addition, I recommend utilizing a QR code, that when scanned takes your customers directly to your online appointment scheduling web page. Customers that are apt to schedule their appointments online will no doubt appreciate the convenience, making it even easier for them to book their appointment from their smart phones or tablet by simply scanning your QR code as opposed to having to type out a long URL such as:
      advancedautorepairream.com/appointments
      Attached is an example showing one side of a 5.5x10.5 Direct Mail Postcard:
      Now, I know what many of you may be thinking, “Do people still use QR Codes?” I’m not using my psychic abilities; I’ve simply been asked countless times by auto repair shop owners. Many shop owners seem to think QR codes are a thing of the past, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
      The QR code market is on a steep rise. According to Juniper Research, by 2022, 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes.
      In my opinion there is no reason you should not be using this technology. Utilizing a QR code can’t have any negative affect on your business and there is only upside potential to add more convenience and make your shop easier to schedule an appointment with.
      A few final thoughts:
      It’s important to note, after creating countless QR codes for auto repair shops, I have noticed that when clicking on the online appointment scheduling link on many shop websites, it does not take you to a different URL when accessing the online appointment page. Instead, it keeps you on the same page you are on with an online appointment scheduling pop up. If this is the case on your shop’s website, you will not be able to link a QR code direct to your specific online appointment scheduling page. You can still utilize it to drive your prospects to your website and then from there they will have to navigate to this page as compared to them scanning the QR code and landing directly on your online scheduling page.
      If your shop doesn’t offer online appointment scheduling, you can still utilize QR Codes for many different things. Below is a short list to give you some ideas of what QR codes can easily link your customers to.

      ·    Any Website URL
      ·    Google Maps Location
      ·    Facebook
      ·    YouTube Video
      ·    Contact Details
      ·    Image File
      ·    Etc. etc.
      Finally, we have some PRO Tips to help you get the most out of the use of your QR code.
      PRO Tip #1: Basic QR codes should be FREE from your direct mail partner and many QR code services give you the ability to create a special QR codes that allow you to track the number of times your QR code is scanned. You can then test the use of your QR code and have transparency as to whether your QR code is being scanned by consumers.
      PRO Tip #2: Never Use a QR Code without labeling it with what its purpose is. You will most likely get zero scans or far less using a QR code without a label.
      PRO Tip #3: I don’t recommend using more than one QR code on your direct mail marketing piece. Use the link you feel customers will find the most convenience in and stick with a that one.
      PRO Tip #4: You can also create custom QR code images to further enhance the appeal of your QR code. This is typically with paid QR code services. Attached is an example of how Mail Shark created a custom QR code to make it seamless for our prospective auto repair shop clients to get a quote and samples.
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail
       

    • By Joe Marconi
      We all have those customers that focus on price alone. And we all struggle with our persistent attempts at converting them into believers. Believers of the concept that, while we cannot totally dismiss price, it’s the value of the product or service the customer needs to consider when making a purchase. What’s funny about these customers is that each visit tends to start with a complaint about price, even before the car is looked at. We recently had a situation that started off on the wrong foot, with price being the issue; but ended up a win for us, and for the customer.
      Charlie Challenge (not his real name) arrived at our shop and asked for an estimate on replacing the timing chain for his Nissan Altima. My service advisor responded with, “Mr. Challenge, that’s a big job.  How do you know your car needs a timing chain?” Charlie replied back, “Another shop checked it out and they told me it does. Can you please give me a price?” My advisor continued with, “Well, before we do anything, we need to perform a few tests to make sure you really do need a timing chain.” Charlie emphatically replied back, “And how much is that going to cost? All you guys want is my money! I asked for one thing; a price on a timing chain and you just want to make more money on something I already know I need!” 
      It took a lot of composure, but my advisor calmly stated all the reasons why testing is the best way to go, emphasizing the fact that if we replace the chain and it’s not the problem, the money spent would be wasted. Charlie shook his head, threw the keys on the counter and authorized the testing. 
      I’ve known Charlie for a long time. He’s not a bad guy. But price is always the topic of discussion. He has told me in the past that I should take a look at what other shops charge, and be more competitive with my prices. I have told Charlie that I don’t, and never will, price my services by what other shops are charging. I have also told him to look beyond price and look at the value you get. Besides, all the quality shops that I know are pretty much the same when it comes to pricing.  
      During the write-up process, Charlie revealed to my service advisor that the check engine light had been on, and that’s why he took his car to the other shop. The other shop replaced a valve timing solenoid, but that didn’t fix the problem. He was then told that the next step was to replace the chain. 
      Later that morning, the car was dispatched to a technician. A multipoint inspection was performed, along with all the tests related to the check engine light; which was a timing error.  After the MPI and the tests were completed, we found a few things wrong with Charlie’s car. His Altima needed an oil change service, a battery, rear brakes, an air filter, the cabin filter had a mouse nest in it and the car needed an intake timing control sensor, not a timing chain. This engine has two intake control solenoids. One was supposedly replaced by the other shop. So, did this car have two bad sensors? Or was the wrong sensor replaced by mistake? 
      When my service advisor called Charlie to tell him the good news, he was silent for a moment.  He was shocked that the car didn’t need a timing chain. He authorized the solenoid replacement, the oil change and replacing the mouse-infested cabin filter. He declined the other work.  
      I purposely did the follow-up call with Charlie a few days later.  He was happy to hear from me and told me that car hadn’t run this good in years. I had to needle him a bit, “So Charlie, are we really expensive? We saved you a ton of money by doing the tests first and not just replacing the chain.” He said, “Ok Joe, I get it, I really do this time.” 
      During our conversation, Charlie did confess that he didn’t go to another shop, but actually went to that all-knowing, all-powerful place on the internet known as Google. It was Charlie that replaced the solenoid, not realizing there were two, and not knowing how to properly test the system either.  
      When I asked Charlie why he didn’t let us replace the battery, air filter and the rear brakes, he replied, “Joe, come on, I can do that work myself, and besides, you guys are expensive.”
      Sometimes you win the battle, but it’s hard to win the war with some customers. 
       
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on October 1st, 2019


      View full article
    • By Mail Shark
      It’s critical that you understand the pain points of your targeted prospects in relation to the products and services you offer in order to be able to strategically choose the marketing content that will be most compelling for them.  This will enable your client to react and consider you for their next repair or maintenance service.  

      For example, in a 2017 Survey from AAA, the findings show that one-third of drivers in the US could not afford a repair bill that was unexpected. 33.33% is a pretty significant number of vehicle owners that have tight budgets.
      With that in mind, if you offer any type of financing options for repairs, it’s important that your marketing message contains content that informs your prospects that you have options.   These options will help them get financing for their repairs or maintenance and get them back on the road fast.
      Depending upon how much content and space you have available on your marketing, there are a few different ways to promote your financing.
      Below are a few ideas to promote financing options on your direct mail marketing.
      1.    Create a burst or some other type of call out that promotes your financing option.
      2.    If you are listing other benefits your shop offers, you can include financing info here.
      · Financing Options Available
      · Quick & Easy Financing Available
      · NO Credit Check Financing
      3.    Utilize your financing company’s info, logo, etc. to create a larger impact.
      Below is an example of a new project that just came by my desk demonstrating one of the many ways to promote your shop's financing. This example shows one side of a Jumbo 8.5x10.5 postcard.
      Included is a bullet point calling out “Quick & Easy Financing Options” under the: Why Choose Auto Clinic? section.  Since this is a critical message, we placed it first in our bulleted list based on the Primacy/Recency Effect, in order to drive home to the consumer . In other words, people tend to recall information provided at the beginning of a list (Primacy), and end of a list(Recency) better than information presented in the middle of the list.
      We then reinforced this with another message addressing their customers' potential problem: “Unexpected Repair”, & our Solution “Fix it Today! $0 Down”.  In addition, we incorporated the EASYPAY FINANCE branding. 
       

       
      Finally, knowing that 33% of drivers may be struggling financially is also a compelling reason to have a strategic coupon offering. Giving prospects the ability to save on repairs, in conjunction with providing them financing options, can help position you as the best option for their repairs.
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail
    • By Mail Shark
      There’s an old adage in marketing: “features tell and benefits sell.” This is critical to keep in mind when you’re promoting your auto repair shop. If your prospective customers don’t understand the features your shop offers, how they’ll benefit from these features, and why they should consider your shop for their next repair or maintenance service, you may lose them to your competition.
      The main constraint you’ll encounter when emphasizing benefits on your direct mail is usually space. There are a lot of important elements an effective direct mail advertisement should contain, all of which are fighting for valuable space. Furthermore, putting too much information on an ad can make it cluttered and hard to read, which could diminish your return. A great solution to this problem is to provide a clear, concise, and organized list of your shop’s features that can easily be scanned by your prospects.
      Depending on the available space, there are two ways you can do this. If you have limited space, you can simply list your benefits out in a bulleted list. If you have extra space, you can list them out in conjunction with an icon to help illustrate the benefit and call additional attention to them.
      Here’s a starting point to help you develop and build a list of your shop’s features and benefits.
      Quality
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      -Do you offer a warranty on your work?
      -Do you offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee?
      Affordability
      -Do you offer any financing options?
      Comfort
      -Do you offer any amenities in your waiting room?
      Convenience
      -Do you offer any type of shuttle service or loaner car service?
      -Do you offer same day service on most repairs?
      -Do you offer early drop-off and/or after-hours pick-up?
      -Do you offer roadside assistance?
      -Do you offer online appointment scheduling?
      Trust
      -Are all repairs approved by your customer before any work is done?
       
      Pro Tip: Make sure you give your list of benefits a header. Something like: “Why Choose XYZ Auto” or “Our Benefits For You.” or “10 Reasons to Choose XYZ”
       
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail
    • By Dakotaj96
      Hello everyone, some of you may have seen me around already and know I’m in the process of opening a new shop. Was wondering if any of you would be willing to share your monthy expensives with me to help me get some ideas for my business plans? Not asking for all your personal info mostly just fixed cost such as rent, insurance, equipment lease, etc. I know everyone may not want to share this but I think it will be neat to compare what other shops have to shell out each month depending on there size or location. 


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    • By RiverhillAutomotive
      In may I quit my job of 9 years and purchased an auto repair shop. I was previously employed as a field mechanic for Cummins. At my shop we focus on general repair. It's been a whirlwind since I bought the place but i couldn't be happier to be here. I've included some pictures of the shop. 







    • By Mail Shark
      I hear a lot of auto repair shop owners say they don't want to offer a cheap oil change coupon on their direct mail marketing. They feel the cheap oil change coupon brings in the wrong clientele, and they don't want to devalue their brand and position themselves as the cheap oil change shop.
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      However, having an oil change coupon as part of your shop's direct mail marketing strategy is critical. Here are a few reasons why.
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      Here is a snippet from our blog post entitled "WHY YOU SHOULD BE SENDING DIRECT MAIL COUPONS:

      It might seem surprising, but wealthy people love saving money with coupons. In fact, households with annual incomes of $100,000 or more are twice as likely to use coupons than households earning less than $35,000 a year.
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      You can check out the entire blog post here.
      https://www.themailshark.com/resources/blog/send-direct-mail-coupons/
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail

      Oil Change Coupon Example.pdf
    • By tirengolf
      I was looking for some input into advertising. I have really not done any the last 25 years. We are rebranding or should I say changing directions a little. Going back to tires, brakes ,alignment and maintence. When I did it last other than the phone book we did a little newspaper. I think those have basically gone. So many options out there, I just do not want to throw a bunch of money away on the wrong advertising. Any help would surely be appreciated. Sincerely David
    • By Mail Shark
      If you haven’t considered or utilized direct mail postcard magnets to attract new customers, now is the time to reevaluate this medium.
       
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      Why is now the right time to mail a postcard magnet?
       
      Postcard magnets are effective all year round. However, now is the perfect time to capitalize on the recently released NFL schedules, which will give you a great opportunity to beat your competitors. You’ll be the first company to get your region’s favorite team schedules on the fridge of your prospective customers.
       
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      I have attached a few samples to give you a better idea of what the product can look like.
       
      If you have any questions, please let me know.
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail




    • By Mail Shark
      If you are currently sending or considering sending out direct mail by carrier route, there is one specific type of address you should be aware of called a Drop Stop AKA Drop Address.
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      If you have any questions regarding Drop Addresses or would like to see if there are any in your immediate area, please let me know.  
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail


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