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Five Tips for the Busy Season

The busiest season for most auto repair businesses is the winter.  When your auto repair business has defined highs and lows, capitalize on those highs by working a strategy during the lows.  Here are five tips to help you prepare for the busy season when business is slow.

The slow period is not a time to panic or take a break.  Business will pick up and you can be ready with a few simple preparations.  As an auto repair shop owner, seeing the big picture is a constant struggle.  But, we must continually work on our perception to see into the future.  Without the benefit of a crystal ball, use the five tips below.

1.  Beef up your mailing lists.  The heart of any business is its customers.  Be sure that your website has a place for visitors to leave their information so that you can communicate with them.  Let customers know when you add new features to your website and your storefront.

2.  Develop an email campaign.  Most people who are linked to the Internet have an email account.  If they are like me, they probably receive a ton of junk mail also.  But, they do check the titles of all the mail to see exactly what it is.  Use that to your advantage and create directed emails with catchy titles to peak their interest.  Don’t send too many — just enough to keep your name in their memory so that they think of you when the busy season rolls around.

3.  Find new clients.  We always put out feelers when we are starting our business to create a customer base.  Once we have something to start with, we forget that this is still a useful way to bring more clients in.  Were there potential clients who didn’t come on board initially?  Sending cards to these potential clients lets them know you are still interested in having them on board.

4. Networking, networking, and more networking.  There is never a time that networking is not in fashion.  You never know who you might meet.  Maybe your auto repair shop could benefit from a partnership with a new supplier or wholesaler who is willing to dropship products for you.  Setting the wheels in motion when business is not so demanding puts you in the position for the big payday when the business picks up.

5. Learn a new skill.  Business is about meeting the demands of the customers.  A customer who can get all the services they need from one provider won’t want to deal with one who only offers one service.  Increase your services and more clients will come.

What are you doing in the slower periods?  Preparing now for the future will pay off handsomely.  Let the ideas flow and lead you into new directions.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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