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Joe Marconi

Anyone Holding A Car Care Event?

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For the past few years I have held some sort of event during the month of April to piggy back National Car Care Month. This year we are holding it with an awareness on tires and safety.

 

We will have the local Radio Station there to help promote it, we will be grilling hot dogs and burgers and giving away prizes. It does cost money and it's mostly a P.R. day, but we do get a nice bounce after it and since we have been doing it, people will talk about the event the rest of the year.

 

Has anyone done an event or is thinking about doing one? It does take a little planning, but it's great for the community.

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We did a women's car care clinic last October. Usually a nice cool mild month here. It was just awesome. We all had fun. The planning is rather intense especially for the first time and it does cost money to do it right. Well worth the time, funds and effort though. Our women's care care clinic was all hands on and we gave each participant a Safety Girl Roadside Emergency Kit plus CarCare.org literature. We formed up groups of four or five and had two mechanics at each station. Starting out with the basic maintenance. We had pizza deliver from the local pizzeria and plenty of cold water and soft drinks. It was a success and is now a permanent part of our event calender. We are hoping to also organize a teen car care and driving safety clinic, still working out the details but there's tons of interest in our community especially among women. I'll post some pictures from our first clinic.

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How much did you charge for that event or did you give everything away? I love those kits but at $70 each to give away would get kinda expensive.

 

We had a car care event last weekend. Unfortunaly since it was our first event, we didn't have very many cars. Pretty disappointed in that but the good thing that happened was we were here to lift a car off the neighbor who was trying to change his oil his garage and had the car fall on him. Thankfully he wasn't seriously hurt.

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I'm doing free 20 point inspections (tires, belts, hoses, fluids, etc..) along with allowing the customer to follow along, many don't know how to look at these simple items and are wanting to learn. it doesn't tie my bays up for long and allows me to point out how my service differs from their current shop if they are not already a customer.

 

Dave

Dave's Shop

-Power & Machine-

Camden IN

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I held my Tire Safety Event this past Saturday. We had the local radio station doing a live remote, we cooked hot dogs and burgers, gave away prizes and raffled off a set of tires. We had about 150 people stop by and we inspected a ton of cars for free. We sold a lot of tires and other work, but more than that, it was a good PR day and boosted our brand in our community.

 

I know it's a lot of work, but I have been doing these events for years and it is always a success.

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it was a good PR day and boosted our brand in our community.

 

 

I have to really make a decision, if I want to grow and take it to the next level or stay where I am in terms of size of business.

 

Your comment has made me think about seriously developing a brand identity for marketing purposes.

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I have learned a lot about marketing the past few years, especially about grass roots marketing in my community. In fact, I hold seminars for Elite on marketing and I share a lot of what I have learned.

 

For independents with limited resources, it would be foolish to go head to head with the market leaders in our market areas. In other words if the Toyota dealer is open 7 days a week and gives out loaners cars like candy, it would not be a wise thing to think that I can compete with that.

 

In fact, when a company tries to COPY another company, this is often looked upon as a copycat and you can loose your credibility. Remember, in marketing the company that brings something to the market first will always be considered the expert. It's why we say, "Make me a "Xerox" copy".

 

But, we can take a page from Sun Tzu's, The Art of War, which states: "Win without fighting". So in order to grow in your community, find out what the major players are doing, and don't do any of that. Find out what makes YOU different and what you can bring to your market that will make you stand out.

 

For me, it's my involvement in the community; The Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary, kids sport team sponsorships, Car Care Events, consumer clinics, seminars at the local libraries, local fund raisers, customer appreciation days, etc. This gives me a ton of free press and these are things that the big guys don't do. They never think locally, they are just too big for that. Their business spans a much larger area.

 

So I win with this tactic, and never engaged in any warfare with my competitors. And the best part, it really does not cost that much, and it can work better than traditional advertising.

 

Growth is important for any business, take it slow, one brick at a time. Make the foundation strong and the roof will be in place a very long time.

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When I had my business across the drive from a auto repair shop I was asked to donate for the cause. They were having a free auto safety check for single parents from two or three, maybe more? churches in the area. These were different denomination and not for any one church religion. The pastors, or clergy had to sign the letter that gave some kind of proof that these were indeed needy individuals from that church. They also got donations from the various church goers and auto parts stores, and other businesses in the area so they had a small pile of money to fix the cars as needed. They were amazed at the conditions of some of these cars, you had to wonder how they even ran, or stopped or moved with the worn,failed or broken parts on them. I recall about 50 cars going through on a Saturday and the money in the kitty was spent to fix these cars. Some got a tire or tires, some got shocks, brakes,wiper blades, tune ups, heater fixed, fan belts replaced, leaking hoses replaced and anything to make them safe and then the church groups washed them when done. Sometimes it looked like the windows had never been cleaned in years. Each person that got their car worked on or looked at got a receipt of what was done and who had contributed. Each church got a letter saying like a break down of what amount of cars got what, not naming any person who got the work. It might say 50 cars were seen, 27 got wiper blades, 14 got 1 tire, 4 got 3 tires, 1 got 4 tires and so on. Besides making the crew feel pretty good bout doing something for people that really needed help, the shop was rewarded in many new customers from the various churches from folks that wanted to thank them for doing what they did.. It was a win win deal. As I understand since I no longer have my shop and moved away that the fellow who started this has died and I don't know if it has continued or not.

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When I had my business across the drive from a auto repair shop I was asked to donate for the cause. They were having a free auto safety check for single parents from two or three, maybe more? churches in the area. These were different denomination and not for any one church religion. The pastors, or clergy had to sign the letter that gave some kind of proof that these were indeed needy individuals from that church. They also got donations from the various church goers and auto parts stores, and other businesses in the area so they had a small pile of money to fix the cars as needed. They were amazed at the conditions of some of these cars, you had to wonder how they even ran, or stopped or moved with the worn,failed or broken parts on them. I recall about 50 cars going through on a Saturday and the money in the kitty was spent to fix these cars. Some got a tire or tires, some got shocks, brakes,wiper blades, tune ups, heater fixed, fan belts replaced, leaking hoses replaced and anything to make them safe and then the church groups washed them when done. Sometimes it looked like the windows had never been cleaned in years. Each person that got their car worked on or looked at got a receipt of what was done and who had contributed. Each church got a letter saying like a break down of what amount of cars got what, not naming any person who got the work. It might say 50 cars were seen, 27 got wiper blades, 14 got 1 tire, 4 got 3 tires, 1 got 4 tires and so on. Besides making the crew feel pretty good bout doing something for people that really needed help, the shop was rewarded in many new customers from the various churches from folks that wanted to thank them for doing what they did.. It was a win win deal. As I understand since I no longer have my shop and moved away that the fellow who started this has died and I don't know if it has continued or not.

That was a nice program.

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