There are a number of differences between auto repair shops that demonstrate regular growth and profitability and ones that will eventually close their doors. What strategies do successful shops use to manage their businesses and ensure profitability? One of the most critical is implementing systems, procedures, and policies and making sure your employees follow them.
As anyone who works in this industry knows, employees do come and go. Job turnover can be high in this field, which means that the person answering your phone today may not be the same as the one who answered it two months ago. This should not be obvious to your customers, however. Since even the best and most loyal workers differ and react differently to situations based on any number of factors including experience, mood, stress, incentives, or health, it’s so important to decide how you want your employees to complete their tasks in detail, create a manual of policies and procedures, and train your employees to follow them.
Which aspects of auto shop work should have clearly communicated procedures in place? All of them. It is always best to maximize routines and predictable outcomes when it comes to car repair so your customers are never surprised or disappointed. It’s especially important when you have customers who may be predisposed to distrust, and it’s more likely to happen if your workers are familiar with what you expect of them and have instructions to follow for the kinds of problems that regularly crop up. We’ve talked about a number of them before, but these would include:
- Customer follow-up – How soon, how often, and in what manner it should be done
- Written scripts and tips for answering the phone so that your customers feel welcomed and trust your auto shop can and will give the the help they need at a fair price
- The right way to present an estimate to a customer
- How to sell automotive maintenance rather than just fixing or replacing broken parts
- Employee issues like cell phone use and a dress code
- Established safety procedures that employees are familiar enough to follow even in a stressful situation
Whether you own the auto shop business or manage it, you can’t be everywhere all the time to ensure your employees are representing your shop in a way that reflects well on both you and the business. If you do not have policies and procedures in place in your shop, it’s not too late to create and communicate them to your workers. A more profitable and better run repair shop is in your future if you do.