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GENUINE

Car Count

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This topic has probably been addressed, but I dont see a search feature here so please direct me if it has.

 

The eventual question regards increasing car count. here's a short back story and how I found myself in this quandry....

 

After 14 years working with a partner in a mixed business facility, in an economically "challenged" area (we sold used cars...cash or buy here pay here (his half) and operated a repair shop (my half)

 

Despite our initial business plans, the two bussinesses ended up working against one another as opposed to enhancing one another.

The general public perceived us as a used car lot thinking we only sold cars and the shop basically serviced the cars we sold. And It was very hard earning the repair business of those car buyers...even offering a discount on service to those buyers. Maybe it was the type of customer shopping at a buy here pay here for the type of car we offered that made it hard to make a customer of them at a legitimate shop....maybe it was a trust thing having the lot that sold it work on it...I still don't know but the two didn't work well. Over this time, in addition to the customers I brought with me to the partnership I was able to establish a pretty good base of solid customers, but after the split and the taking away of all the prep work for the car lot and the time it absorbed (time that usually pushed away paying customers, put a strain on both, and finally forced us to part ways.) we are struggling to book full days now

since we are essentially starting over.

 

Other than my wife who handles the front and books, and a shop "helper" to clean up, stock, do some simple unskilled things, myself handing all "work", we chose to let all other personnel go and start over with a new mindset focused on service customers and customer service! Running the shop like a shop, with the intention of hiring another tech but car count is hindering that..

 

Now the question. We are struggling with effective ways to bump car count. Wife RELIGIOUSLY sends repair recommendations for work not sold during inspections, makes follow up calls, sends thank yous, pushes our referral program, sends seasonal e-mail blasts to our limited e-mail base, etc. All the internal stuff.

 

I have also spent thousands on a direct mail program that I thought (and was told) was a sure fire way to get the phone ringing opening the door for me to get them in the shop and make a customer of them (not working quite as expected)

I have effecient and specific proceedures in place for handling cars and customers, essentially doing all things right internally (i think) we just cannot seem to get them accross the curb to set the hook!!

 

Is anyone else faced with similar challenges. Not the business split, but being a professional facility in a "poorer" area boardering more affluent areas that you cannot get into your shop becaues of it's location? We are right on a major commuter route with HUGE car counts, 1/2 mile from an interstate, nice, clean, well manicued, well equipped facility, I'm a 23 year certified tech...just cant break the stigma of our location and build our customer base.

 

Any help you might have to offer as far as marketing a situation like mine? What's worked for you? Etc. Management Success! told me years ago that we just need to know what buttons to push to get them in the door..and for 10K$ MORE they'd tell me what they were. (Other than moving...loooking at that option but can't do it immediately)

Hoping someone has some personal insight/experience.

 

Sorry to ramble, thanks for reading and thanks in advance for your replies.

Edited by GENUINE

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