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The Virginia Automotive Association lobbies the Virginia legislature continuously in defense of our industry. They are the ONLY organization that does so. They are able to do this only through the participation and membership of shops like yours statewide. The group's current initiative is to obtain a long overdue increase in the state inspection fee. Your help is needed on this and other issues that come up before the politicians in Richmond.
VAA has been supporting Virginia independent shops behind the scenes for 50 years. Today they need your support in return. You can sit around and grumble about only getting $15 to do a 30 minute inspection or you can work to change it.
I urge you to visit the Association website and learn more, then go to the membership page and sign up! The membership benefits alone more than cover the membership fee and think about how an inspection fee increase could impact your bottom line.
If you would like to actively participate in this effort, call or e-mail the association's Executive Director, Steve Akridge and volunteer or just join!
See how auto repair shop owners answer this question; “What are the most critical marketing strategies for auto repair shops, whether you’re starting out or have been in business for years?” Click here to read their answers: http://blog.repairpal-shops.com/marketing/5-critical-marketing-strategies-for-shops/
By Joe Marconi
This is not new topic for me, but I need to revisit it again. And I will keep revisiting this topic for the sake of our industry.
For independent repair shops to "thrive" today, you must take a proactive approach with regard to business. If you only want to "survive" you can stop reading now.
Waiting for the phone to ring, or for cars to breakdown, or for a customer to drive into your shop asking for a repair or service is business suicide. The days of broken cars lining up in front of your bays are over. Sure, cars still breakdown, but you cannot thrive with a wait-and-see strategy.
Make sure you perform multipoint inspections on all cars in for any type of service. Yes, any type of service or repair. Look up vehicle history on all vehicles. Let the customer know of needed services, missed services and services due. And lastly, book the next appointment. Yes, I know....Joe's been preaching this over and over and it does not work in your shop. Fine, then let me focus on those shops that do book the next appointment. Because those are the shops that are adopting a proactive approach...and I will see those shops in the future.
By Joe Marconi
Let me give you a prime example of what we are going through as a result of the Advance Marketing strategy:
Last week a customer came to us with a steering pull and requested a wheel alignment. After our routine inspection, we informed the customer that the ball joints were worn and they would need to be replaced before the alignment was done. The customer thanked us and said he would let us know what he decides.
The customer came back yesterday and told us, "I decided to go to Advance, bought the ball joints from them and they even LOANED ME THE TOOLS TO DO THE JOB!"
But, he is the real story: The truck now has clunks and noises and the steering wanders all over the road. His attempt to do his own ball joints, has now left his truck unsafe to drive due to his lack of expertise to perform the job properly.
This is what I have been battling with Advance and no one will listen. Why? They made the sale and that's what's important to Advance. Not the safety of the consumer, and certainly not the shop that lost the sale and is now stuck trying to figure out what went wrong.
The Advance marketing strategy will hurt the independents and send the wrong message to the consumer. Free testing, free battery installation, reading codes in the parking lot,loaner tools sets; will all do more harm than good to the relationship between Advance and the repair shops. How can Advance expect me to buy from them when they want to compete with me? That makes no sense.
And please don't tell me, "That's not your customer." I am so tired of hearing that. It is my customer! The entire motoring public hears and sees the advertising.
This is why I have serious issues with Advance, and cannot support them. And nothing will change as long as Advance listens to Wall Street and not Main Street.