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#19 But, How Much Did You NOT Sell?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Of course all shops track what they sell. But how many track what they didn’t sell? This is very critical and should be tracked carefully in every shop. Simply note a total of all items estimated before the sales call is made to the customer. Then after the call note the total of the unsold items. At least one company offers software specifically for tracking and creating detailed reports about unsold work so that management is able to make adjustments and improve overall sales.

#18 Get Those Emails!

Updated
August 21, 2008

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If you have not started yet, it’s time to get going. Email is fast becoming the way to market and communicate. There are many creative ways to gather emails, but the best one is to simply get in the habit of asking every customer. Make it a policy for you staff. The future benefits will be huge!

#17 Ten Items to Include On Your Web Site

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Keep it simple and practical. Include the following: Night drop form, prices for common services, current special, pictures of the staff, request an estimate form, appointment form, brief list of what you do, a map, transportation options, and a number to call for towing.

#16 There’s Money in Those Abandoned Cars!

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Every shop gets them and every shop needs to make them disappear somehow. Instead of having them hauled away, try to secure legal possession. Then spend a small amount of time making them look presentable, take a good assortment of pictures, write a thorough description, and place them on Ebay or similar sites. It is often surprising how true the phrase: “Once man’s junk is another man’s treasure” can be!

#15 Can You Afford That New Marketing Idea?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Most shops have an advertising line on their statement where dozens of items are lumped all together. Take a few minutes to list each item separately along with a few details and the annual costs. This will greatly help in controlling spending and allow you to quickly see whether you can afford to add something new and where you may need to cut.

#14 Are Those Shop Projects Getting Done?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Treat them just like a service on a customer’s car. Create an RO, write the details of what needs to be done, assign it to a staff member, place it on the schedule, and give it a priority. Do this for every project at your shop so they are ready to go when staff time is available.

#13 How Is Your Shop Doing Right Now?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Most shop owners wait until the end of the week or month to see what is going on. Technology today provides ways to monitor technician, advisor, and shop progress live. Consider software like this for your shop so you can address issues before it’s too late to fix them.

#12 The Most Used Tool in Your Shop

Updated
August 21, 2008

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The keyboard is fast becoming the most used tool for everyone in the shop including the techs. How good is your staff? Set up a typing game on each of your employee’s computers. Make it a competition to see who can improve the most. When the shop is busy this could make a significant difference in how much work gets done.

#11 The Four Key Numbers You Need To Watch

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Watch them closely and work on them in the following order to make sure your business is profitable.
1: Total expense percentage.
2: Total gross profit percentage.
3: Car count.
4: Average RO dollars.
Too often shops work on these in a reversed order and constantly have a hard time showing a decent profit. All the sales in the world won’t do much good if the expenses and GP are off.

#10 A Plan for a Better Average RO

Updated
August 21, 2008

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It’s really quite simple, yet most shops do a poor job of the following:
1: Inspect every car thoroughly.
2: Estimate everything the tech notes, no exceptions.
3: Inform the customer of everything that is found, no exceptions.
It is the responsibility of the shop to fully inform the customer about the condition of their vehicle. The shop should not be deciding which information the customer should receive.

#9 Improve Relationships with Your Employees

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Create a schedule where you take each employee out to lunch once every month or two away from the shop. This time can be used in many ways to help the employees, you and your shop.

#8 Increasing Hits on Your Web Site

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Look into multiple ways to increase your web site traffic including optimization, pay per click, and specific wording on your main page.

#7 Low Cost Marketing Ideas

Updated
August 21, 2008

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1: Have some business card size stickers made which list the basic information about your shop. Place one under the hood of every car that you service.
2: Buy a sandwich board type sign with changeable letters. List specials or other shop information on it and set it out by the street during the day.
3: Install flags near the front of the shop to attract attention.

#6 Expenses Made Simple

Updated
August 21, 2008

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While there are literally hundreds of numbers we can review when we look at expenses, sometimes it’s worth taking a very basic look at our costs. Here is one method that’s very easy to remember. Of all of the dollars you take in allow 25% for tech wages, 25% for parts purchases, 25% for all other expenses leaving 25% for you and the company. If you can stay within these numbers, you should do alright. The best shops will beat these numbers and do that much better.

#5 You Put That Offer Out There. Don’t Waste It!

Updated
August 21, 2008

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You created a special for brake inspections. A new customer shows up at your counter with the special in hand, but she is not looking for a brake inspection. Instead she needs a wheel alignment and asks if she can get the discount in your brake special. Odds are one of the biggest reasons you created the special was to get some new customers. Do you really want to chase her away? Smile big and tell her: “Yes, we can do that!”

#4 What Does Your Accountant Know About Auto Repair?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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In many cases, they know very little. Most accountants service many types of small businesses. The numbers from those other businesses are often of little value when looking at the numbers from an auto repair shop. Look for an accountant who is an auto repair shop specialist or one who services a significant number of auto repair shops. They will be much better suited to give you valuable advice about your numbers.

#3 How To Fix the Management of Your Shop

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Have you ever completed a jig saw puzzle? How many pieces did you put in place at a time? One? Maybe two or three occasionally? That’s how to fix the management of your shop. By taking on just one or maybe a few pieces at time you will begin to fix those things that are in need of repair.

#2 How Would They Handle This in Mayberry?

Updated
August 21, 2008

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Recall for a minute a few of the customer situations which have gone bad in your shop. How would the folks in Mayberry have handled them if they were on your service counter? Take a few minutes and imagine what they would have done. Odds are this will lead you to an approach that will work pretty well with most reasonable customers.

#1 Customers Who Resist an Initial Fee for Testing

Updated
August 21, 2008

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  • Sometimes you just need to build a little trust. If the customer appears to have some potential, write them up for a “No Charge Quick Check”.
  • Allow for and pay the tech for a few minutes to “take a look” at the issue. If the solution is obvious, estimate it and offer the repair.
  • If more than a quick look is required, offer testing as you normally would do. You will find that in many cases these quick checks will turn into profitable jobs.