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Cheap Oil Change Coupons Attracting Wrong Type of Customers?


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We advertise in a number of different channels (Valpak, Radio, House Hold Savers Magazine, Internet, etc.) with coupons and specials we are running. For about 1 year we ran $19.99 Oil Change and $24.99 Oil Change Tire Rotation coupons. We saw increased car counts from these coupons but also noticed that we were getting customers that were not interested in hearing about anything wrong with their vehicle or preventative maintenance related. For the most part it seemed as though these types of customers were only interested in getting the "cheap" oil change and getting out as quickly as possible. For the last 2 months we have gotten rid of these types of coupons and added different coupons. We have noticed a drop in car counts related to this course of action. Just wondering how many of you all use these types of coupons and if you have any luck converting these customers?

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We advertise in a number of different channels (Valpak, Radio, House Hold Savers Magazine, Internet, etc.) with coupons and specials we are running. For about 1 year we ran $19.99 Oil Change and $24.99 Oil Change Tire Rotation coupons. We saw increased car counts from these coupons but also noticed that we were getting customers that were not interested in hearing about anything wrong with their vehicle or preventative maintenance related. For the most part it seemed as though these types of customers were only interested in getting the "cheap" oil change and getting out as quickly as possible. For the last 2 months we have gotten rid of these types of coupons and added different coupons. We have noticed a drop in car counts related to this course of action. Just wondering how many of you all use these types of coupons and if you have any luck converting these customers?

How many people actually bought stuff you suggested? What is the average repair order $ amount for customers using these coupons? Are you following up with customers that you made suggestions to? That's an important question.

 

If you're increasing car count and your ARO is staying the same, then it's worth it. If they are calling back and scheduling the additional work, it's worth it.

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It's been my expierence that if a customer fully understands how important the right oil is for their car and they still want the $20 sludge then they don't care about their vehicle and preventive maintenance or even vital repairs are things they are not interested in. I want customers that understand the value of their vehicles and treat them accordingly.

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How many people actually bought stuff you suggested? What is the average repair order $ amount for customers using these coupons? Are you following up with customers that you made suggestions to? That's an important question.

 

If you're increasing car count and your ARO is staying the same, then it's worth it. If they are calling back and scheduling the additional work, it's worth it.

 

I use Mitchell 1. You can track tickets that used certain coupons. Not sure if it will figure ARO of just the cars with certain coupons, but you could easily figure that number yourself. If you're not following up with you customers, you have no excuse.

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First off, Wow! $19.99 oil change? Where is the margin profit in that?

 

We tried that for a while at our shop and had the same end result as you. Seemed to attract customers who did not care much for their vehicles, or the type of oil recommended. Additional services were always offered but almost never purchased ( filters, fluid flushes, etc). These customers always seemed to cause problems (my car was not like this before, noise now, leak now, etc). So, we stopped and have changed up our tactics and now are upselling better oil and additional services.

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At our shop 2 of us were store managers for Monro muffler for many years and I can tell you that they run the oil changes because it costs them nothing and takes business away from other shops. They can't even make money off of it so how can an Indi that doesn't buy 20,000 gal of oil at a time. And the customers that come in are just disturbing.

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As a technician, I spend a lot of time with these ROs, doing these cheap oil changes. I have taken the time to peruse the vehicle service history and notice that it is all oil changes and all coincides around the date of our mailings. I see previous recommendations, including the gravy stuff like brakes. You will see when they come back at the next coupon mailing that the brakes are nice and new, but your shop didn't do them, but you are stuck with the 19.95 loss leader oil change time and time again.

 

I have always said to myself, when it comes time to open my shop, that I will not bother with these. The type of people not willing to pay a fair price for an oil change (29.95 to 49.95 depending on vehicle capacity, filter and oil type) are not the customers you want. They almost always never end up doing any upsells which was the point of getting them through the door with the coupon in the first place. Let Jiffy Lube have them with their horrid service from unqualified techs. http://www.jiffylubeproblems.info -- it exists for a reason.

 

A friend of mine has a better system in place. I don't remember all the details, but if you bring in a vehicle for an oil change with-in +/- 50 miles of the recommended interval from their last sticker, you get 2 points. +/- 100 miles and you get 1 point. Every 5 points you can get a discounted oil change or save up to 10 points and get an oil change with a free tire rotation. I figure this can be customized to offer many different bonuses at multiple point levels. It will have the same desired affect of building customer loyalty and getting them through the door for upsells, but it will not affect your bottom line as negatively, if at all.

Edited by ADealerTech
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In Manchester, TN, today I saw an oil change advertised today at $14 for up to 5 quarts. WOW!!!!!

That kills me when I see an ad for a $14.95 oil change... Not sure how you can have a sound business when you are putting a check in the glove box for each LOF!

 

I suppose, like everyone else, I prefer that these type of customers flock to those coupons as my techs will not accept IOU's come payday.

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Wow, Í don't think I've ever seen an oil change coupon for that cheap. Even at $19.99 it seems a bit too cheap. I appreciate everyone's comments/suggestions. Its nice to know that other shop owners feel the same way as we do in regards to these coupons. I do see the chains (Monroe, Good Year, etc.) pump out those coupons on a monthly basis and sometimes it makes you feel as though you should as well to compete with them but from our own experiences, this may not always be the case. As a business owner you don't want to miss out on any customers but as a lot of you have already stated in this thread, not all customers are good customers.

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Years ago one of my competitors thought it would be a good idea to offer a free oil change to the first 10 cars on a given day. I believe the special was advertised on BMW enthusiast forums. I am not sure of what the outcome was ultimately, I do know a few of those people were acquaintances/customers of mine that said they literally waited an hour outside of this shop for a free oil change and wanted nothing else. I could never get myself to do such things.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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