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hancock18

Greetings from Riverview, Florida

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I am so glad to have made it to autoshopowner.com. Great articles and forum conversations! We own two shops located in Riverview, Florida. We have been at one location for 32 years and just opened a new location in 2008. It is really nice to be among those who are also shop owners with so much knowledge and stories to share.

 

Helen Hancock

Riverview, Florida

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  • Similar Topics

    • By abs
      Hi!  I'm looking to open a new automotive repair shop and I could use some help assessing a specific opportunity from the experts here.  To put this in perspective, I would be a new owner without prior repair shop experience, however, I understand repair work and have done almost all of my own work on my personal vehicles for nearly 30 years.  The scope of work I have personally performed included transmissions swaps, suspension, brakes, ignition systems, fuel systems, computer diagnostics and so on.  My formal training is in science and management and I've been in corporate positions for 20+ years.  I also have experience running my own real estate rental business.  I've always been interested in auto repair and I believe this business would be a very good fit for my aptitude, skills and experience.  I would plan to operate as the business owner and bring in skilled staff to handle repairs and customer engagement under my leadership.
      Here is the scenario I could use help with.  I found a 10,000 sq. ft. building which is split up between 6 existing bays (3 front and 3 rear), office space and retail area.  The section with the bays has about 5000 sq. ft. , about 1000 sq. ft. of office space and another 4,000 sq. ft. of retail area.  The property has not been used for auto repair in a long time but could be converted back very quickly along with opportunity to do something interesting in the retail area.    I have many potential ideas for the property.  I am running into two primary challenges in evaluating the opportunity.  The first is the competitive landscape and the second is how quickly I could ramp up the business along with how much business I would likely do from the location after ramp up.
      The property is located on a main road with 20-40k total vehicles/day depending on the day of week.  About a mile up the road, in a cluster, there are 6 name brand auto dealerships.  On the same road, within just a few miles from the site, there are three tire shops, one local and two name brand, along with a Midas and another local 6 bay garage.  Think of this as 5 competitors, each with 6 bays plus the new car dealers.  There are a handful of smaller local shops with 1-2 bays locally as well.  Also, there is a State DMV location, with inspection services in the same zone.  The overall geographic area is in a town that contains a Wal-Mart, Lowes, BJ's and a Costco plus restaurants, etc..  These stores are all within 10 minutes from the potential new location.  The next closest big retail areas are 30 minutes north or 40 minutes south of the target area described.  The demographics of the area skew affluent and population density is moderate - this is not a big city - however people are drawn in from at least a 30 minute drive time radius due to the shopping and other resources. 
      I have a few ideas to differentiate my business from the rest in the area although on Google, it appears that most of the competing businesses have decent reviews overall.  My shop would do all types of repairs including the heavier stuff and the bays are very tall so we could potentially accommodate trucks too.
      So, my questions are:
      Is this an opportunity worth considering given the competitive landscape? If I were to open a shop, how quickly should I expect business to ramp up? I am really looking for solid feedback from folks with deep experience in this industry to help me evaluate if this is a business proposition worthy of consideration at this location.
      Thank you!
    • By Mail Shark
      In today’s hustle and bustle world, consumers want to work with companies that make doing business easy & convenient.
      If your auto repair shop offers online appointment scheduling, you most certainly want to include content that conveys that message on your direct mail and other marketing. It can help position you as the local repair shop that makes doing business easy by giving customers another convenient way to schedule their repair or maintenance services.
      As a standard, I suggest my clients add the following verbiage or a variation of, positioned above their phone number and website
      “Call Today or Conveniently Schedule Online”
      484-202-3960
      TheMailShark.com
      In addition, I recommend utilizing a QR code, that when scanned takes your customers directly to your online appointment scheduling web page. Customers that are apt to schedule their appointments online will no doubt appreciate the convenience, making it even easier for them to book their appointment from their smart phones or tablet by simply scanning your QR code as opposed to having to type out a long URL such as:
      advancedautorepairream.com/appointments
      Attached is an example showing one side of a 5.5x10.5 Direct Mail Postcard:
      Now, I know what many of you may be thinking, “Do people still use QR Codes?” I’m not using my psychic abilities; I’ve simply been asked countless times by auto repair shop owners. Many shop owners seem to think QR codes are a thing of the past, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
      The QR code market is on a steep rise. According to Juniper Research, by 2022, 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes.
      In my opinion there is no reason you should not be using this technology. Utilizing a QR code can’t have any negative affect on your business and there is only upside potential to add more convenience and make your shop easier to schedule an appointment with.
      A few final thoughts:
      It’s important to note, after creating countless QR codes for auto repair shops, I have noticed that when clicking on the online appointment scheduling link on many shop websites, it does not take you to a different URL when accessing the online appointment page. Instead, it keeps you on the same page you are on with an online appointment scheduling pop up. If this is the case on your shop’s website, you will not be able to link a QR code direct to your specific online appointment scheduling page. You can still utilize it to drive your prospects to your website and then from there they will have to navigate to this page as compared to them scanning the QR code and landing directly on your online scheduling page.
      If your shop doesn’t offer online appointment scheduling, you can still utilize QR Codes for many different things. Below is a short list to give you some ideas of what QR codes can easily link your customers to.

      ·    Any Website URL
      ·    Google Maps Location
      ·    Facebook
      ·    YouTube Video
      ·    Contact Details
      ·    Image File
      ·    Etc. etc.
      Finally, we have some PRO Tips to help you get the most out of the use of your QR code.
      PRO Tip #1: Basic QR codes should be FREE from your direct mail partner and many QR code services give you the ability to create a special QR codes that allow you to track the number of times your QR code is scanned. You can then test the use of your QR code and have transparency as to whether your QR code is being scanned by consumers.
      PRO Tip #2: Never Use a QR Code without labeling it with what its purpose is. You will most likely get zero scans or far less using a QR code without a label.
      PRO Tip #3: I don’t recommend using more than one QR code on your direct mail marketing piece. Use the link you feel customers will find the most convenience in and stick with a that one.
      PRO Tip #4: You can also create custom QR code images to further enhance the appeal of your QR code. This is typically with paid QR code services. Attached is an example of how Mail Shark created a custom QR code to make it seamless for our prospective auto repair shop clients to get a quote and samples.
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail
       

    • By JustTheBest
      USA Today article (Friday September 27, 2019 by Nathan Borney - USA Today) shows that “the average age of cars and light trucks on U.S. roads reached an all time high of 11.8 years in 2018.”

      The article goes on to claim... “By 2023, there will be about 84 million vehicles on the road that are at least 16 years old, reflecting a 240% increase from 35 million in 2002, according to IHS.”

      Are you getting your share?
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      Auto Service Marketing - Fix Your Car Count FAST!
      Hope this helps!
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      "The Car Count FIxer"
      P.S.: Join me on YouTube at Car Count Hackers! FREE Help to grow your Car Count, Income and Profit! 
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      P.P.P.S.: Have you registered in my FREE Training? "How to Double Your Car Count in 89 Days"
    • By Mail Shark
      It’s critical that you understand the pain points of your targeted prospects in relation to the products and services you offer in order to be able to strategically choose the marketing content that will be most compelling for them.  This will enable your client to react and consider you for their next repair or maintenance service.  

      For example, in a 2017 Survey from AAA, the findings show that one-third of drivers in the US could not afford a repair bill that was unexpected. 33.33% is a pretty significant number of vehicle owners that have tight budgets.
      With that in mind, if you offer any type of financing options for repairs, it’s important that your marketing message contains content that informs your prospects that you have options.   These options will help them get financing for their repairs or maintenance and get them back on the road fast.
      Depending upon how much content and space you have available on your marketing, there are a few different ways to promote your financing.
      Below are a few ideas to promote financing options on your direct mail marketing.
      1.    Create a burst or some other type of call out that promotes your financing option.
      2.    If you are listing other benefits your shop offers, you can include financing info here.
      · Financing Options Available
      · Quick & Easy Financing Available
      · NO Credit Check Financing
      3.    Utilize your financing company’s info, logo, etc. to create a larger impact.
      Below is an example of a new project that just came by my desk demonstrating one of the many ways to promote your shop's financing. This example shows one side of a Jumbo 8.5x10.5 postcard.
      Included is a bullet point calling out “Quick & Easy Financing Options” under the: Why Choose Auto Clinic? section.  Since this is a critical message, we placed it first in our bulleted list based on the Primacy/Recency Effect, in order to drive home to the consumer . In other words, people tend to recall information provided at the beginning of a list (Primacy), and end of a list(Recency) better than information presented in the middle of the list.
      We then reinforced this with another message addressing their customers' potential problem: “Unexpected Repair”, & our Solution “Fix it Today! $0 Down”.  In addition, we incorporated the EASYPAY FINANCE branding. 
       

       
      Finally, knowing that 33% of drivers may be struggling financially is also a compelling reason to have a strategic coupon offering. Giving prospects the ability to save on repairs, in conjunction with providing them financing options, can help position you as the best option for their repairs.
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/AutoDirectMail
    • By Mail Shark
      There’s an old adage in marketing: “features tell and benefits sell.” This is critical to keep in mind when you’re promoting your auto repair shop. If your prospective customers don’t understand the features your shop offers, how they’ll benefit from these features, and why they should consider your shop for their next repair or maintenance service, you may lose them to your competition.
      The main constraint you’ll encounter when emphasizing benefits on your direct mail is usually space. There are a lot of important elements an effective direct mail advertisement should contain, all of which are fighting for valuable space. Furthermore, putting too much information on an ad can make it cluttered and hard to read, which could diminish your return. A great solution to this problem is to provide a clear, concise, and organized list of your shop’s features that can easily be scanned by your prospects.
      Depending on the available space, there are two ways you can do this. If you have limited space, you can simply list your benefits out in a bulleted list. If you have extra space, you can list them out in conjunction with an icon to help illustrate the benefit and call additional attention to them.
      Here’s a starting point to help you develop and build a list of your shop’s features and benefits.
      Quality
      -Are your technicians ASE certified?
      -Do you offer a warranty on your work?
      -Do you offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee?
      Affordability
      -Do you offer any financing options?
      Comfort
      -Do you offer any amenities in your waiting room?
      Convenience
      -Do you offer any type of shuttle service or loaner car service?
      -Do you offer same day service on most repairs?
      -Do you offer early drop-off and/or after-hours pick-up?
      -Do you offer roadside assistance?
      -Do you offer online appointment scheduling?
      Trust
      -Are all repairs approved by your customer before any work is done?
       
      Pro Tip: Make sure you give your list of benefits a header. Something like: “Why Choose XYZ Auto” or “Our Benefits For You.” or “10 Reasons to Choose XYZ”
       
       
      Josh Davis
      Mail Shark
      Executive Vice President of Sales
      Direct: 484-948-1611
      Email: [email protected]
      www.themailshark.com/Auto-Direct-Mail


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