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Hello to all. I have just recently started an auto repair business in Tallahassee, fl. After just closing down our car-lot, we decided to open a mechanic shop. Employing just myself and my partner (girlfriend). How do you guys attract costumers? we have only been getting 1 call a day with only 2 cars a week. We advertise on craigslist, have just sent out postcards and have put up flyers around town. What do you suggest?

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Welcome to the site. Good to have you here. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to say and hopefully, have something to offer to you. I don't do any advertising at all myself. I have tried and it was a waste of money for me. All my business is direct referral. Of course, its only me and an afternoon helper so I can't take any more work than what I have.

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Welcome, as a new business owner you have stumbled into a potential gold mine of information here. There are many learned people on this site who will be happy to help you any way we can. Your question started me a thinkin...............what did I do for advertising when I had a new business and a limited advertising budget. In the early days we used to have a local printing company ( not many personal computers around way back in 85) print a one page flier or door hanger with a special offer. Next, I would contact a local group such as a Boyscout troop, church youth group or a similar group and offer a donation to their organization in return for delivering the fliers door to door to homes within 5-10 blocks of your shop in every direction. You will be shocked at the number of neighbors that did not realize you were even there.

Now let me explain what I think a special should be. My specials are always a service we offer at the regular price but I add value by adding an extra that I can make sales suggestions from. How about an oil change at XX.XX and with this new client special we will include both a 21 point safety inspection and a free tire rotation. My thinking here is my oil change will be paid at regular price, the 21 point safety inspection is something you should be doing with every oil change anyway. The tire rotation is just so you have the chance to inspect the brakes. Focus on VALUE rather than price. LOF in our shop does not stand for lube,oil and filter but for Labor Opportunity for the Future. Please, please, please, whatever you do resist the temptation to offer a discount on labor. You will struggle mightily to get paid for all the hours you spend on a car as it is , don't cheat yourself right out of the gate.

Just my 2 cents worth. Use what you like and ignore what you don't. Remember this is like a buffet, if you don't like the broccoli , don't eat it!

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I have already discounted labor, and learned my lesson. The offer will be over on the 22nd of this month. This is a big college town so it is hard to get these people to pay for anything, and right now i can not turn away work. Thanks for the advice i do appreciate it. Oh and by the way, my location isn't that great, but the main street that runs by me is always busy. Unfortunately its a 45mph speed zone. I need signage!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      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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