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Moving A Shop...3 Blocks Away, Advice Is Appreciated


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So I will give a very quick background. We have been in business for roughly 25 years. Over the past several years business has been slowing down, and I am trying to figure out why.

 

The current location we are in, is on a fairly busy street in the area, next to a gas station. It is all mostly open air, with tarps over the lifts, concrete needs to be re-done. Office way in the back, with two seats next to the smog machine as a quasi-"waiting room/area."

 

We specialize in Volvo, BMW, Audi, Mercedes but will also work on Japanese imports.

 

I believe we are an eye sore as for as pure aesthetics and I think some customers are not returning or I see them pull in, and pull back out after taking a look around.

 

 

Do I invest to make this place prettier? (We tried to build an 8 bay building on this location 10 years ago, but ran into so many permitting problems that we stopped trying.)

 

 

We own a warehouse 3 blocks away, also a fairly busy street, but not as busy. Quick Freeway access. The building is basically the same size of the lot, except only 6 parking spots in front, and one door for cars.

 

My gut instinct is to move into this place, epoxy flooring, very nice and large customer area and also 3 offices in the front.

 

The only complaints about this place are parking and that moving cars would be a little tighter.

 

We own both properties and I am wondering do I move to the other location, try to run both locations, split services between both locations (Engine Overhaul and Suspension @ one, and quick services at the other) add tire sales also? I considered asking the neighbor with an empty lot for a few spots if I could rent them.

 

 

 

There are a lot of thoughts and "possibilities" in this post so I understand it might be hard to read. Anyone been in a situation like this, can give some advice, or point me in the right direction? We are a family business and I think we are reaching the limit of our knowledge and expertise and perhaps no one will really know? Regardless I am looking at as many channels of information to make the best informed decision. (which is why I am here)

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I'm not sure how much business you actually get due to drive by traffic. We actually have the busiest street in our town in front of us, 30k cars/day and I cant remember getting a drive by customer ever. I also believe that most shops do not pay enough attention to appearence so I would say move to the nice shop.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Way back when I opened my first place I was weighing the pricing difference between a high visibility building and one 3 blocks off that same street for 1/2 the price. I asked people I thought were smarter than me and was told by 2 of them, if your good, priced right, nice to deal with and do as you say your going to do, people will find you no matter where you are. The other two guys said go for the exposure and by accident you will make money because of the exposure. I went with the cheaper place, did exactly as I was told, excellent work, clean offices and waiting room and the shop was like an operating room, and priced my self higher than the other guys. It worked, so to me location is not necessarily going to be a deterrent.

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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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