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My shop is in a very rural area in South Carolina.  We are mainly a new tire dealer and we have been here for over 40 years.  We repair and replace everything from hand truck tires all the way up to large radial rear tractor tires.  We do alignments, brakes, front end suspension work, batteries, and oil changes.  We have been successful at what we do, but I see the effects of the internet and additional competition from car dealers, big box, etc. on tires and rims.  

I took over from my dad about 3 years ago and I added oil changes and focused more on the alignment and front end suspension work, which has been great.  I have a great alignment and suspension guy.  My background is more finance and the business side of things as opposed to the mechanical side of things.

I would like to get into doing more for our customers.  I want to get some opinions on what types of services we should offer, and how I can find a decent general maintenance tech.  I don't think that we should jump full on into engine and transmission work, but I could see doing things like master cylinders, ac work, fuel filters, general maintenance, etc.   

I am going to have a pretty steep learning curve on this, so any pointers you guys could provide will be appreciated.

 

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Not sure what you're already doing, but the basics are a good inspection on every car or truck and consistently looking up the factory maintenance schedules every time...then do the work that you find. We have signs around the customer area all about the benefits and savings of proper maintenance, so we stress maintenance over repair. Then we present that we inspect the car every time so they are safe and the car is reliable. We'd rather find a problem while they're car is in the shop then them finding it out on the road. I have signs with sayings like these so customers read them and the advisers have consistent word tracts. You could look up a variety of factory maintenance schedules to get ideas of services you would need at add.

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  • 3 months later...

Hammer, you ask great questions. I'm not going to comment on the services - but rather what you can do to, well, basically (what you asked was to) sell more to your customers. 

This is the best place to start. They're already fans and followers and they're the most likely to come back to you. But have you thought about this?? If (on average) it costs between $75 - $150 to get a new customer, would you spend $12 a year to KEEP the ones you've got?

I'm thinking you would, right? 

Then stay in front of them. I know this is going to sound a little "nuts", but it works. A simple "Newsletter" that's mailed out (real snail mail) does that. In total, about $1 per mailing - so that's about $12/customer per year. 

Now, don't hammer them with offers - there's a ton of stuff you can put in the newsletter - and yes, you can offer "NEW" or just drop a list that starts out "Did you know we also do...."

It's just building a relationship. Not quarterly - not every other month - it's got to be monthly. It works - it pays for itself, and really builds your position and authority in the market. 

Hope this help!

Matthew Lee
"The Car Count Fixer"

Join me at "Car Count Hackers" on YouTube

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      I am going to borrow a quote from billionaire, Warren Buffet, “The best investment you can make is in yourself,” This statement, while simplistic, speaks volumes. A shop owner is much more than a boss, a shop owner is a leader. And leaders are solely responsible for the success of their team. This means that you must work hard and commit to a life of continuous learning and improvement. It also means that if the team fails, a leader must always blame himself or herself for that failure and find ways to improve.
      For your business to flourish, you must invest your time and energy in understanding what your role is in your company. It also means that you must be committed to continually improving your level of competence. This does not mean that every task is your responsibility. However, it does mean that the buck stops with you. If your business is not where it needs to be, or you are looking for increased growth, then it is your obligation to do the hard work and set goals, have the vision, perform the research, and develop the plan to achieve your overall objectives.
      When you invest in yourself to become the best leader and the best businessperson you can be, others around you will feed off your energy and your passion. This sends a strong message to everyone on your team that you have what it takes to bring the company to the next level.
      One last thing, another obligation to your company is assembling the right team of people around you. Once you have the right people, you need to invest in them too. Find what truly motivates them, not what you believe inspires them. Be a coach to your employees and always strive to bring out the best in them. Be strong with your convictions and expectations, build strong relationships with your employees, and don’t be afraid of admitting when you drop the ball.
      While Warren Buffet is best known for making billions of dollars with his investment strategies, I want to believe that this quote has its basis in something that money cannot buy.
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