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How to increase car count in a new shop.

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Hello all,


I opened up my new shop about two weeks ago. I bought an older building that was pretty run down, but had a bigger lot, came with another smaller building for an office/waiting area, and it was on a busy main avenue that backs up to a large residential area.


I spent all summer rehabbing the building. I re-paneled the three garage doors, painted the existing wood siding, fixed the inside, added a bathroom, fixed the exterior of the small building (I have not started on the interior), added lifts, machinery, electrical etc... then I ran into a problem when I opened.... I have little to no drive-in business from the street.


My building sits at a Fork in the road, right in the middle of the fork is an established tire shop. They just sell used/new tires and do light brake work. They don't have any lifts or equipment outside of tire machines & balancers. It is a two bay shop. To the south of them is my shop. At the front of my lot is the small building, then in the back is my garage. I'll admit the garage can be hard to see at times as its 100ft off the road with the small building blocking a lot of the view. I placed a 10x3 banner on the side of my building with a sign that says DUKE AUTO SERVICE and a big red arrow pointing to my garage. I also rented one of the 4x8 mobile signs yesterday. On the front of the building I placed a 6 foot banner that says DUKE AUTO SERVICE NOW OPEN and I listed some of what we do underneath.


I visited some of the used car lots to introduce myself etc... and try to get some work from them. One problem I am having is I am not from the area, its about 30 minutes south of where I live. I don't have many/any connections. So far most of the work I have done is from neighboring businesses and referral, but I need more.


Any tips from those who run shops that don't sit right on the sidewalk? I am looking for realistic ideas for my situation, radio & TV are not in the mix. I placed an ad on craigslist (so far a waste of time), I am actively pursuing used car lot work, and passing out business cards everywhere I go (you'd be surprised how many businesses DON'T want your card).

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