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Why Give Away Wheel Alignments?


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  • 1 year later...
I agree, shops that work on volume price their services low and when repair shops charge the price we need to we are seen as high. Then I find myself explaining why I charge more.

 

I have found that lowering the price of an alignment I am doing more, but I won't give it away. I find over the course of a day that the law of averages works in my favor. Sometimes it may take a while (Audis) but some alignments are done very quickly.

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  • 1 year later...

We personally run a $55 alignment special for most vehicles. We also give a free alignment with the purchase of 4 new tires. It was said above, and I agree, that alignments generate a ton of front-end work. It is also, in my opinion, the easiest to sell. The customer is typically in the waiting room (rather than a drop-off) and I can bring them out there and physically show them the issue. It is a strong selling point and a great money-maker.

 

I view alignments the same way as I do oil changes: A way to get a customer in the door, get their information in the database, and start them on a regular maintenance program.

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Do you think that due to increased competition, many shops are using more and more services as lost leaders? Major companies put items "On Sale" as a way to bring people thru the door, but the truth is the "special sale price" is still sold at a profit. Some times the promotional sales price is the actual price of the particular item. When we "give away" lost leaders as a means to gain a customer base, are we losing much needed profit?

 

I bring this up only to stimulate conversation, I want to hear from other shop owners and how they market lost leaders and other forms of marketing to bring new customers in.

 

 

Competition is certainly the driving factor for me. My main competitors in the area are larger shops or corporate chains. They spend quite a bit on advertising in both mail and radio. I can't afford to do as much of this but I do have a great location on a high traffic street. So I run specials like this to get people in the door. I run oil change, alignment, and free rotation specials all of the time and it really increases traffic and leads to bigger jobs. Because this shop is a newer location for me (just passed 1 year), I am more concerned with growth than I am with profit. My other locations (which sell only tires) generate the profit I need to run my overall business. Therefor, my main goal after break-even with my service location is to build my repeat customer base and increase overall community "buzz". I have found that, by doing this, I am building a loyal customer base and gradually attracting the more profitable jobs.

 

If this were my only location, and I was dependent on it for my livelihood, this strategy would never work. But, since I am able to do this, I feel it gives me a key advantage over my competition and will eventually allow me to grow to the point that I can eliminate some of these lost leaders and realize more profit.

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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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