tow truck marketing

Tow Truck Marketing – 7 Powerful Tips

7 Powerful Tips To Build An Effective Marketing Strategy For Your Tow Truck Business

Every business – yes, including automobile towing businesses – needs a reliable marketing strategy. In an industry where the primary obstacle is high competition, without a smart, effective, and data-driven marketing strategy, your towing business runs the risk of becoming directionless, wasting money on campaigns that don’t yield results, and losing out prospects to your competitors. And even more importantly, without a smart marketing strategy, you will, quite simply, miss the opportunity to create brand awareness and develop a deeper understanding of your customer base. 2020 has undoubtedly been a weird year, and an industry that has seen a steady increase for much of the five years to 2020 is expected to decline -10.3% in 2020, according to IBISWorld. But in 2021, things are likely to take a turn for the better, and the U.S. economy and travel conditions throughout the country are expected to normalize. So, what does this mean for your automobile towing business? It’s pretty straightforward: it’s essential to have a revised marketing strategy in place. It doesn’t really matter how good your towing services are… if you’re stampeding into the automobile towing industry without a marketing strategy, or if you haven’t revised your existing strategy, you’re walking on thin ice. And it could crack at any time and swallow your business! tow truck marketing

A Reliable Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Have To Cost You An Arm And A Leg!

Budgeting… it can be daunting, right? While creating a reliable marketing strategy can be challenging, even on the best of days, adding budgetary problems to the equation increases the chances of making your efforts more daunting. But this doesn’t always have to be the case. For automobile towing businesses that don’t have unlimited marketing budgets, it is crucial to determine the right budget for their marketing strategy. An effective marketing strategy is about working smarter and without breaking the bank. And yes, your tow truck company can develop a powerful marketing strategy that is reliable, impactful, and cost-effective.

Set Up Your Automobile Towing Business For Success With These Marketing Strategy Tips

In an industry prone to frequent and unpredictable changes, you might wonder why your business should put so much effort into developing a marketing strategy that will likely need amending anyway? Well, it’s because retaining existing customers and getting new customers is an active task. You’re going to have to research your market base continually, find prospects, let them know your business exists, and more importantly, convince them to stay. And the only way to get you there is by creating a solid marketing strategy. After all, an effective marketing strategy – both online and offline – sets the overall long-term goals for your company’s marketing, and while it will require regular tweaks, it provides you with a template of where to start. This makes it easier to see similar and even improved results from each marketing campaign you undertake without having to start from zero. Is your tow truck business struggling to reach peak performance? Do you get the feeling that your marketing strategy is missing something? Maybe your business isn’t getting new customers, even though you have exceptional services. Or perhaps your competition is running you out of business? Whichever the case, a reliable marketing strategy can help you identify what’s working well, what hasn’t and allow you to identify new tactics that can set you up for success. Luckily, you don’t have to be clueless when creating a marketing strategy for your automobile towing business. This guide will spotlight some tips and strategies that can help kickstart your marketing strategy to success. Get ready to stretch your marketing muscles as you strengthen your automobile towing company’s ability to: – Stay on track more and get derailed less – Become indispensable to customers – Prioritize and focus on what really matters Below are the top things you need to focus on to create a marketing strategy that will make your tow truck business thrive:

1. Review Your Existing Marketing Strategy

This might sound obvious, but it’s a vital part of an effective and profitable marketing strategy. Before you can figure out how to tweak your marketing strategy in preparation for where you want your business to go, take your time to understand where you are. What were your goals for a given period? Did you achieve them? In addition to your marketing strategy, consider the specific marketing campaigns you launched and the tactics you tried. How did they work out? By taking your time to reevaluate your marketing strategy for 2020 and previous years, you’ll be able to clearly spot what worked for you and what hasn’t. Armed with this information, your marketing strategy can be tweaked, and future marketing campaigns can be tailored to replicate your success while avoiding failures.

2. Know Your Audience And Focus On Customer Preferences

Knowing and understanding your target audience could change the way you communicate your brand message and even the language you use to do it. So, does your current marketing strategy define your target audience? Do you have a clear idea of the people or businesses you’re trying to reach? Remember, your clients drive your tow truck business forward. Understanding what they want and need from your business will help you tailor your marketing strategy and campaigns to customer preferences. When defining your target audience, NEVER make assumptions. To define your target audience, you must: – Conduct market research to know exactly who your target audience is. – Research your competition to identify who other tow truck businesses are targeting, and think about how you can do better. – Create a buyer persona template. You’ll want to visualize your customers by asking questions about their motivations and behaviors, to the smallest details. To define your main persona, you can ask the following questions: – Who is my persona? Are they male or female or other? – What type of experience do your clients expect? – Where do they get their news? – What is the customer’s initial state of mind before the decision-making process? – Why are they choosing your business or competitor? – What concerns might your persona have when buying your services? Weaving a buyer persona into your marketing strategy could prove to be invaluable in customer retention. Besides, by defining your target audience, you gain the ability to strike the chord with your ideal customers, and you’re more likely to see a higher ROI (return on investment). One of the top reasons most tow truck companies fail is when their marketing efforts fail to identify customer preferences and pain points. Below a few useful suggestions on how to identify customer pain points: – Create a customer journey map from the point of interest to how they arrived at your online or physical business – Survey your customers – Talk with your sales team – Look at your competition

3. Identify Market Trends And Pay Close Attention To Your Competition

When developing or revising your tow truck business’s marketing strategy, don’t make the mistake of overlooking market trends or your competition. While the automobile towing industry in the U.S. has no major companies, there are 40,000+ tow truck companies in the country. And guess what? These businesses likely have unique ideas about the best way to reach and retain customers. So you must carry out a competition analysis and figure out what tricks and tactics they have up their sleeves. Before you get the wrong idea, competitor analysis is not about replicating your competitors’ every move but rather about figuring out what’s working for them so you can do it better and, in the process, uncover untapped opportunities. Below are a few things to do when researching your competition: – Identify your competitors – Pick 1-5 competitors to focus on – Categorize your competitors. Are they direct or indirect competitors? – Catalogue the services they offer (including pricing, work hours, discounts, etc.) – Take a look at their branding and how they engage with customers Many tools exist that will streamline your competitor analysis and allow you to access data about other tow truck businesses in many different areas of operation – make use of them. Creating or adjusting your marketing strategy without a clue of what other tow truck businesses are doing is a disaster in waiting. Identifying market trends and researching your competition, however, allows you to create a marketing strategy that considers your current and future competitors, thus removing all guesswork.

4. Focus On Storytelling, Not Selling

Your target customers’ ability to recognize the name of your tow truck business, its brand and main services is a huge plus; however, it’s only a stepping stone towards a profitable marketing strategy. But how do you go about making your tow truck business recognizable to your target audience? It’s pretty straightforward: enable your customers to get to know, like, and trust your business. With a marketing strategy focused on storytelling, you’ll naturally increase brand awareness and equity. Storytelling is a powerful tool and can actively impact conversion rates. Instead of trying to get your target audience to purchase your services, tell your story and share your values. What does your business stand for? Centering your marketing strategy on storytelling will get you further than salesy marketing alone. Below are a few tips for business storytelling: – Be 100% authentic – Be consistent – Get personal – Allow customers to be a part of your story

5. Explore Partnerships

Identifying, exploring, and utilizing collaborations and partnerships can go a long way in helping you reach your ideal customer. While your tow truck business can survive alone, it can only really thrive when you develop effective partnerships with the community around you. Sometimes, developing partnerships and collaborations could give you access to a new customer base and help you achieve better results.

6. SEO And Other Digital Marketing Strategies Should Lead The Charge

Digital marketing should be the foundation of any modern marketing strategy for all businesses, especially medium-sized and small businesses such as automobile towing companies. Digital marketing encompasses many online marketing strategies, but above all, it helps elevate, advance, and optimize your brand. Now that you understand the importance of digital marketing, you need to select online marketing channels that fit your brand and services. Some of the main digital marketing channels to look into include: – SEO: Search engine optimization involves optimizing aspects of your website and content to generate more traffic and conversions. Effective SEO practices not only put your business on search engines’ top pages but also go a long way in telling your story. SEO also simplifies searches for prospects interested in your services, and, more importantly, it’s an affordable way to keep your tow truck business competitive with similarly situated businesses. – Social Media: Social media marketing focuses on telling your brand’s story and providing the target audience with content they find relevant, valuable, and want to share, resulting in increased brand visibility and site traffic. One of the main reasons social media is an integral part of any marketing strategy is because it ‘humanizes’ your business. – Email Marketing: Email marketing still works and remains an effective way to nurture and convert leads. This is because email marketing targets specific customers and prospects intending to sway their purchasing decisions. – Content Marketing: Content marketing involves different media types, from videos to podcasts to blogs and is an excellent way to promote your business in a way that gives useful information to your customers and prospects. Besides, you will stand out as a ‘thought leader’ in the automobile towing industry when you have great content. When it comes to digital marketing channels such as social media and content marketing, the traditional ‘hard sell’ tactics just won’t cut it! People don’t want to be prodded and treated like nothing more than numbers. They want things that are relevant, meaningful, and useful to them. That’s why social media and content marketing have become some of the most prominent and favorable marketing channels for marketers.

7. Survey, Listen, Monitor, And Learn

These are some of the most crucial steps in anything to do with marketing. Without surveying or researching your customers and competition, you won’t know about market trends. Without listening, you can never figure out what your customers want. Without monitoring market trends, consumer behavior, and your results, you can never figure what’s working and what’s not. After all, if you don’t have the data to guide your strategy, it won’t be easy to improve. Analyze the results of your marketing strategy because doing so will allow you to make to learn and advance your business. Without a focus on the things that matter, your marketing strategy may never help your tow truck business see the success it deserves. If your current strategy is underperforming, reevaluate. Luckily, now that you’re armed with the information regarding the top things you need to focus on to have an effective marketing strategy, you should have plenty of ammo to maximize the return on investment on your next marketing campaign.
tow business advertising

Grow Your Tow Truck Business

Digital advertising should be the structure of any type of modern-day advertising approach for all companies, specifically medium-sized and also small businesses such as automobile towing companies.

Digital advertising and marketing incorporates lots of online marketing techniques, however most of all, it helps boost, breakthrough, as well as enhance your brand name. Since you recognize the significance of electronic advertising and marketing, you require to select internet marketing channels that fit your brand and also solutions. Several of the primary digital advertising and marketing networks to explore consist of:

Search Engine Optimization: SEO involves enhancing aspects of your website and material to create more web traffic and conversions. Effective SEO practices not only place your organization on online search engine’ leading pages but likewise go a long way in informing your tale.

Search Engine Optimization also simplifies searches for leads curious about your solutions, and, extra significantly, it’s an economical method to maintain your tow vehicle business affordable with likewise located businesses.

Social Networks: Social media site marketing focuses on informing your brand’s tale and offering the target audience with material they discover appropriate, beneficial, as well as want to share, resulting in raised brand presence and also website traffic. One of the main factors social networks is an indispensable part of any type of marketing strategy is since it ‘humanizes’ your business.

— Email Marketing: Email advertising and marketing still functions and also remains an efficient method to nurture as well as convert leads. This is since email marketing targets particular clients as well as prospects meaning to persuade their acquiring choices.

— Web Content Advertising: Content advertising and marketing includes different media kinds, from videos to podcasts to blog sites and is a superb method to advertise your business in such a way that offers valuable information to your consumers and potential customers. Besides, you will certainly stand out as a ‘idea leader’ in the auto towing market when you have great material.

When it involves electronic marketing networks such as social media sites and also web content advertising, the typical ‘hard sell’ tactics just will not suffice! Individuals do not want to be prodded as well as treated like nothing greater than numbers. They desire points that matter, purposeful, and also beneficial to them. That’s why social networks and also material marketing have actually ended up being some of one of the most noticeable and beneficial marketing channels for online marketers. Ask us how you can grow your Tow Business today!

reputation management

Using testimonial marketing for your tow or auto repair business

In the past, a testimonial was commonly used to attest to someone’s character and qualifications. In today’s world, it takes the form of a sentence or paragraph to praise a product or service. It’s always been accepted that word-of-mouth is the most effective form of advertising. However, this is only true if it is a positive statement. Not only are testimonials used to praise a product or service, but they can also highlight how effectively a complaint was dealt with or how a problem was handled. So, how can you make the most of positive testimonial comments to place your tow or auto repair business in the public eye?

Offer a friendly thank you

Today, the ‘testimonial’ is a much less formal comment which is made by a satisfied customer on social media. This means it pays to take a moment to check Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or the like to see if your customers have left a comment. Replying with a simple ‘thank you’, or adding a little more detail to the story, strengthens the perception those reading it will have of you.

Use real world examples

You may, once in a while, be involved in helping a local personality or even national figure at your business. Of course, you’ll share this story if those involved are happy for you to do so. But most often, the public will respond better to examples showing how you helped ordinary people like themselves. This allows them to imagine a similar outcome in their own situation. Having a series of stories involving the different types of people most likely to use your services will help to build your reputation amongst your customer base.

Make yourself memorable

You should also describe situations that potential customers can relate to. For example, how you helped a family who broke down on the way to the airport or couldn’t get their car started to still make their flight. Other examples could include making a vital business appointment, or not letting the kids down on the way to a sports event etc. People reading these examples will be able to imagine themselves being helped by you in similar stressful moments – when that moment occurs, you’ll be the company they call. For more advice on marketing your tow or auto repair business, get in touch with us at ShopHawk today.
tow truck website design

What questions should your website answer about your tow business?

Most websites have a Frequently Asked Questions page as part of the content. Some of the questions are technical; others address worries or concerns potential customers might have. While this specific FAQ page is useful as a reference point, it won’t do much on its own to actually move forward your tow business marketing. Here are some questions to consider.

Under what circumstances do customers use your tow services?

While there may be some unusual situations, it’s likely the majority of people will contact you because of a range of accident or breakdown situations. Taking time to collate a list of these can mean that you can then address them in the content on your homepage – or a specific landing page. See our recent blog: ‘Using landing pages on your repair shop or tow business website’ for detailed information. This enables a visitor to instantly see that you can meet their needs.

What questions might be in their minds?

These can range from the need for a simple piece of information (How long will it likely take you to reach me) to the specific anxieties they might have (How can I be sure you won’t further damage my vehicle). Again, by gathering a list of these, you might provide a quick answer checklist in the content for those basic information questions. You can then consider the possible anxieties – or reasons why a potential customer might choose not to contact you – and provide both information and reassurance in your content. This might be a great place to introduce carefully-worded testimonials – and you can find out more about the process in our recent: ‘Using testimonial marketing for your tow or auto repair business’ blog.

Creating a positive environment in your tow business marketing

We’ve been referring to your website content, but the points covered above can be of equal value when constructing an email marketing campaign, or in making the best possible use of your social media opportunities. Being seen as a solution to an emergency, rather than simply another part of the problem, will create that positive message you’d want your tow business to offer.
tow business marketing

Local Business Marketing Strategies For Tow Truck Businesses

The demand for automotive towing in the country is expected to grow in the next couple of years. In today’s competitive business environment, word of mouth isn’t the best way to promote your towing business. One should have an effective online presence to take his/her towing business to the next level. If you are looking for effective local business marketing strategies to grow your towing business, you have come to the right place. This article provides information on some of the most effective local business strategies for tow truck businesses.

Even the best online marketing strategy won’t help your business if you don’t know your target audience. In fact, you should know who your target audience is to generate the right leads for your business. Reaching an audience that has no interest in your service is a waste of your time and money. That’s why you need to take time to know your audience before you implement an effective local business strategy for your towing company. It’s the best way to find the greatest amount of success for your business.

Once you understand your ideal customer, it’s time to set up a professional website for your towing company. Every towing company needs an effective online presence so that people looking for towing services can find your business easily. If not, your competition will take advantage of the situation, and you will lose highly targeted customers in the process. In fact, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t already have an online presence for your towing business. A lead generation website is one of the greatest weapons in your marketing arsenal when you want to take your business to the next level. Your website is an important asset that helps convert uncertain customers and increase your conversions over time. A great lead generation site will make it difficult for highly targeted leads to ignoring your offer. It will result in more conversions and profits for your business.

Your Google My Business (GMB) Page is an important component of growing your business in your locality. When a potential customer needs immediate roadside assistance, he or she will perform a search on the mobile device. The results that come up for such a search is known as the “Local 3 Pack.” It’s based on the proximity of your business to the searcher. Claiming your Google My Business Page plays an important part in ranking in the Local 3 Pack and attracting highly targeted customers to your company. That’s where GMB optimization becomes so important. Make sure you spend some time on claiming and optimizing your GMB page. NAP (name, address, and phone number) of your business should be included in your GMB page. NAP accuracy across all your online properties is crucial to ranking your business in Google’s “Local 3 Pack.” You should add photos, Google reviews, and Q&A’s to engage your potential customers.

Establishing a good social media presence is another important strategy to increase your online presence and attract highly targeted clients to your business. Social media helps establish your company as a trustworthy business in the area. You should engage with potential clients via your social media networks by providing interesting content and answering their questions. Make sure you use the right hashtags on your social media platforms to attract organic traffic and create more potential leads in the process.

Email marketing is another tried and tested strategy for your towing business. Email is one of the most effective communication methods even in this mobile era. It’s a great way to connect and communicate with those prospects who haven’t still decided whether or not to do business with you. You can offer them more information about your services and special discounts to entice them. On the other hand, email marketing can easily create repeat sales for your business. A towing business should always follow up with its clients to make sure they remain with the company. Email is the best way to do it.

The demand for automotive towing in the country is expected to grow in the next couple of years. In today’s competitive business environment, word of mouth isn’t the best way to promote your towing business. One should have an effective online presence to take his/her towing business to the next level. If you are looking for effective local business marketing strategies to grow your towing business, you have come to the right place. This article provides information on some of the most effective local business strategies for tow truck businesses.

Even the best online marketing strategy won’t help your business if you don’t know your target audience. In fact, you should know who your target audience is to generate the right leads for your business. Reaching an audience that has no interest in your service is a waste of your time and money. That’s why you need to take time to know your audience before you implement an effective local business strategy for your towing company. It’s the best way to find the greatest amount of success for your business.

Once you understand your ideal customer, it’s time to set up a professional website for your towing company. Every towing company needs an effective online presence so that people looking for towing services can find your business easily. If not, your competition will take advantage of the situation, and you will lose highly targeted customers in the process. In fact, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table if you don’t already have an online presence for your towing business. A lead generation website is one of the greatest weapons in your marketing arsenal when you want to take your business to the next level. Your website is an important asset that helps convert uncertain customers and increase your conversions over time. A great lead generation site will make it difficult for highly targeted leads to ignoring your offer. It will result in more conversions and profits for your business. 

Your Google My Business (GMB) Page is an important component of growing your business in your locality. When a potential customer needs immediate roadside assistance, he or she will perform a search on the mobile device. The results that come up for such a search is known as the “Local 3 Pack.” It’s based on the proximity of your business to the searcher. Claiming your Google My Business Page plays an important part in ranking in the Local 3 Pack and attracting highly targeted customers to your company. That’s where GMB optimization becomes so important. Make sure you spend some time on claiming and optimizing your GMB page. NAP (name, address, and phone number) of your business should be included in your GMB page. NAP accuracy across all your online properties is crucial to ranking your business in Google’s “Local 3 Pack.” You should add photos, Google reviews, and Q&A’s to engage your potential customers. 

 

Establishing a good social media presence is another important strategy to increase your online presence and attract highly targeted clients to your business. Social media helps establish your company as a trustworthy business in the area. You should engage with potential clients via your social media networks by providing interesting content and answering their questions. Make sure you use the right hashtags on your social media platforms to attract organic traffic and create more potential leads in the process.

 

Email marketing is another tried and tested strategy for your towing business. Email is one of the most effective communication methods even in this mobile era. It’s a great way to connect and communicate with those prospects who haven’t still decided whether or not to do business with you. You can offer them more information about your services and special discounts to entice them. On the other hand, email marketing can easily create repeat sales for your business. A towing business should always follow up with its clients to make sure they remain with the company. Email is the best way to do it. 

 

Are you looking for effective local marketing strategies to promote your towing business? The aforementioned article provides information on some of the most effective local business strategies for tow truck businesses. The aforementioned article provides information on some of the most effective local business strategies for tow truck businesses.

grow my auto repair shop

How to Run a Successful Auto Repair Shop

Running a Successful Automotive Repair Shop

Automotive repair works is a highly competitive field and if you want success in it, you need to make sure your shop is managed well and attracts a good number of customers. The right planning and execution can help you stay ahead of the game and establish a good reputation in your local area and provide you with a consistent customer base. Here are some tips that will help you run a successful automotive repair shop.
  1. Customer service matters
  Modern customers place a lot of importance on customer experience and will shun businesses that don’t provide good quality customer service. That’s why it’s essential to focus on customer service in all aspects of your interactions with vehicle owners. Your customers should have a good experience from the moment they walk into your shop till the time they walk out of your shop. Train your repair technicians to communicate with clients in a friendly and professional manner. You should also have a dedicated customer service phone line so clients can contact you in case of emergencies.  
  1. Offline marketing
  The auto repair industry still relies on word of mouth so it’s a good idea to spend some time on offline marketing. Distribute pamphlets, place ads on your local publications, send newsletters to your existing clients and include promotional offers in them. All these small marketing strategies will help you establish a local reputation and presence. Without offline marketing, you’ll be a relatively unknown entity in your local area and won’t get as many customers as you otherwise could.  
  1. Focus on quality
  Modern customers don’t hesitate to criticize businesses if they don’t live up to expectations; and they have a big platform that allows them to publish their opinion. They can post reviews on websites like Google, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. They can also comment on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This criticism can have an impact on your reputation, which is why it’s important to focus on the quality of service. Make sure you have a well-trained staff and use good quality spare parts in your service.  
  1. Relationship with your customer
  Most auto repair businesses will have regular customers that seek out their services every time there’s car trouble. It’s a good idea to develop a good relationship with these customers and keep them engaged. You can send them emails, engage them on social media, and provide them special offers on different occasions. These strategies will help you develop a steady customer base that can help keep your business afloat even during slow periods.  
  1. Online marketing
  While offline word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, you need to market your business online as well. Online marketing will help prospective customers find you and learn more about your business. You can use strategies like paid ads, SEO, and social media marketing in order to establish an online presence and gain more visibility. These factors will help you establish your auto repair shop and develop a steady customer base. Your business will last for a long time and have a steady stream of customers.
warranty work

Warranty Work – Pain or Profit?

Attitude – it determines a lot of what we have in life. Take warranty work. Some shop owners hate it, but other businesses profit from it.

Two Different Ways to Handle Warranty Work

Suppose a shop owner, let’s call him ‘Old Fashioned Ollie,’ has a good customer who is complaining that the air conditioning compressor he had replaced failed at 30,000 miles. That’s long after Ollie’s 12 month/12,000-mile warranty expired. But this customer brings in all his family’s cars and always pays full price. If Ollie wants to keep the customer happy, he must do the repair again, and make it free or at a big discount. Either way, Ollie loses money. The technician also wants to be paid for his labor. Nobody is happy.

A Better Way

Suppose another shop owner, let’s call her ‘Modern Mary,’ has a similar ‘A+’ customer complain that his A/C compressor failed at 30,000 miles, long after her standard 12 month/12,000-mile warranty expired. Same deal, right? No. Mary’s shop has a separate bank account just for warranty work. She takes money from it to buy the new compressor and all it’s related parts and supplies, and to pay her technician for the job. Everybody is happy. But where did that money in Mary’s separate bank account come from, if not out of her shop’s normal profits?

 This is Nothing New

Remember the last time you bought something new from your local home center, perhaps a new washer and drier set, a refrigerator, or even something as small as a power tool. After you agreed to buy it, the very first question they asked you was “Do you to buy want the extended warranty on this purchase?” Prices of extended warranties vary, but are typically 10% to 15% of the purchase price. For that extra money, the store will typically double or triple the original manufacturer’s warranty.

What Does the Store Do with the Warranty Money?

When you buy an extended warranty, that is not the store’s money. They set it aside in a separate account. Then, as warranty claims arise over time, they use that money to cover the claims.

Where’s the Profit in That?

Because as time goes on, the store will see they are spending less on warranty claims then they are collecting. We’re talking long run, like three years and more. That excess money collected eventually becomes profit for the store. They can take it from the separate account and spend it as they see fit.

You Can Do the Same Thing

Let’s go back to the original A/C compressor job as our example. Suppose both Ollie and Mary’s shops charge $1,200 for the new compressor, accumulator, expansion tube, flush kit, oil, refrigerant, supplies and labor. But Mary offers every A/C compressor customer an extended warranty for an additional $150. That will extend the customer’s warranty to 36 months/ 36,000-miles, and raise the ticket amount to $1,350. Over time Mary sees that 15 out of 20 new compressor customers buy the extended warranty, but in the long run, only 2 in 20 of those customers has a compressor failure under the extended warranty. Suppose it costs Mary $600 to buy the parts, supplies and to pay the technician for a warranty repair. See the point? How much extra profit is Mary earning from selling extended warranties? Hint: She collects $150 times 15, but only spends $600 times 2. Remember, we’re using round numbers just to illustrate a point. Your actual numbers will depend on your circumstances.

Watch the Legalities

Extended warranties have value, and give the buyers certain legal rights, as expected. But those rights vary by State. Each state has its own unique warranty laws you need to comply with, as well as national trade laws you must be aware of. For that reason, consult your business attorney and have him or her draft up an extended warranty agreement that complies with all applicable laws. Likewise, consult with your CPA or accountant about the special booking procedures you will need to keep separate reserves for warranty claims.

Display Your Extended Warranty Proudly

We’ve all seen receipts that had verbiage like this stamped on them: “Warrantied for xx miles or xx months, whichever comes first. Does not include towing. All work to be done in our shop only. You might have other rights under applicable law.” Some businesses have rubber stamps made with the wording their attorney provides, and stamp it on each relevant invoice. You’ve got to show off what you sell.

Keep the Customer Happy

The greatest benefit of offering extended warranties is that it keeps your customers protected from repeat major expenses. That makes them happy. Imagine how happy your clients would be to receive an expensive repair done free. That earns you referrals.
auto repair shop marketing

How to Keep Your Technicians Loyal, Happy and Productive

Getting the Most out of Your Shop’s Employees

Larry has always paid his techs above average flat-rate commissions. In fact, he pays the highest commission rate of all the shops in his area. Larry prides himself on that and has always believed that money is the biggest motivator of people. But despite the generous pay plan Larry’s techs eventually leave to work at other shops. Even the best ones leave. That hurts his business. Why does Larry have this recurring problem?   Learn the True Things that Motivate People Decades of research into human behavior has shown that money is a poor motivator in the workplace. Money does not encourage loyalty from employees, as Larry has discovered, and it certainly does not motivate workers to strive for excellence. Other things motivate people more than money does. Ignoring those things, or even trampling on them, can be disastrous, as Larry is experiencing. But nurturing those aspects of human behavior can yield great results for your shop. Let’s look at three basics of motivation and examine some easy ways you can apply them in your shop. auto repair shop employee retention

People are Born Motivated to Succeed – Acknowledge That Fact

Years ago a scientist named Maslow asserted that people are born with three innate motivations. We all are driven to survive physically, to belong, and to feel important, in that order. I am simplifying this a lot, but you can Google ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’ for more detail. It’s very interesting. If your techs, then, come to you already motivated to achieve success, to be productive, and to become an important part of your business, what makes them leave? Simple. The way you run your business is demotivating them. Let’s see what might be wrong.   Our Basic Motivation – The Drive to Survive Starting from earliest time, humans have been born with an inner drive to eat, to have proper clothing, adequate shelter and all the basic necessities of life. That means that every tech you hire already wants to earn enough money to pay his rent or mortgage, and to buy food, clothing and medical care for himself and his family. Make sense? If a tech is not earning enough money to provide all that for his loved ones, he is not lazy. If you hire intelligent, skilled techs but see them quit, the fault lies with your management methods. Do you hamper your techs’ productivity by making these three common mistakes?
  • Do you assign only one car at a time to each tech, when they can easily take responsibility for two or three vehicles and plan their own work flow?
  • Do your techs have a lot of dead time in each day, like when they have to wait for each new assignment or for you to sell the work? Keep them busy instead. Learn how to delegate your work flow better and then trust your techs to get it done.
  • Do you avoid asking customers to buy upsells that your techs recommend because you promise every vehicle finished by 6:00 pm the day of drop off? Learn to manage your customers better.
  Our 2nd Motivation – Our Need to Belong What is the culture like in your shop? You might have heard this famous management saying: “People don’t leave jobs; they leave people.” Let’s look at two ways managers strongly influence their shop’s culture: how they handle mistakes and how they provide training (or ignore it). Mistakes; everybody makes them. When mistakes happen, though, is the standard operating procedure to make the tech feel embarrassed or inferior? Are the techs punished or penalized beyond having to make up the work at no pay? If so, then you are teaching your techs that they are not important to you. Don’t expect loyalty. Why not use mistakes as an opportunity to improve your business? Learn why the mistake happened. Investigate what the tech was basing his diagnosis on. What unclear instructions or complaints did you receive from the customer, and how poorly did you communicate that information to the tech? What time pressure was making him or her rush through the diagnosis, what faulty equipment and information system (or lack thereof) played a part in the mistake? Many factors contribute to mistakes, and often much of the ‘blame’ falls on the work environment, and not entirely on the tech. Training. Techs get into this field because they enjoy learning about cars. Why not incorporate some training into your weekly schedule? Find out what areas each tech is weak in and then teach them a little on that topic every week. Find journal articles that explain those topics, and give that reading material to your techs. Develop a culture of constant learning in your shop. Help your techs advance their skills and then watch how their attitude towards you improves.   Our 3rd Motivation – The Need to Feel Important Admit it, some customers would rather talk to a technician about their car than try to explain it to you. Give your techs a role in customer service. Put your ego aside. Also on that note, some of the best pricing and marketing ideas will come from your techs. For example, you could encourage them to suggest bundled service packages, and then you could post those specials in your waiting area. Here is one example of bundle pricing. Rather than list your services a la carte on a menu board, try grouping related items together for a small package discount. You could advertise a tire balance and rotation, a road test, a steering and suspension inspection and a wheel alignment as a ‘Vibration and steering service,’ all for one price. That makes it easier for customers and better for you and your techs.   Summary Learn the basics of motivation and profit from them. Stop doing things that demotivate your techs. Instead, build on the things that feed their inner motivation. They will be happier and you will be richer. If you’d like to speak to one of our experienced shop owners to receive actionable tips on how to get the most out of your employees, contact our auto repair shop consultants today!
how to hire good mechanics

5 Ways Shop Managers Ruin Good Techs

Why Is It So Difficult to Find Good Mechanics?

There once was a famous garage owner who achieved fame as a NASCAR mechanic and engine builder. Self-educated, and a former military pilot, he was so brilliant that OEMs hired him as a technical consultant. But he eventually closed his garage, saying there were “no more good mechanics” to hire. If you know the story, you recognize that as a popular quote attributed to Smokey Yunick. Despite Smokey’s complaint about good mechanics being hard to find, thousands of great techs have been repairing trucks and cars for decades since his lament. So, what was it that Smokey, despite his high level of intelligence, did not know?

Management is Succeeding Through Other People

As with many highly skilled people, Yunick did not understand how to get other people to ‘want to do what he wanted them to do.’ In a nutshell, that is the science of leadership, and a hallmark of good management skills. Let’s look at some common ways that shop owners create problems with techs.

Assigning Work Orders to the Wrong Skill Level

Wouldn’t it be nice if every tech you hired could do any repair on any vehicle you take in? Those days are long gone, given the complexity of today’s cars. Every tech you hire will have his or her strong areas as well as weak areas of talent. Mismatching work to skill level is a poor management practice that slows productivity. You breed frustration and lose good techs when you create work systems that mismatch human labor to tasks. How can you tell which mechanical areas tech are good in, and identify the areas in which they have room to grow? Trial and error, with the resulting comebacks, is a lousy system for evaluating technician capabilities. The ASE eight basic CMAT exams area a better indicator of skill levels. Have all your new hires take all eight ASE tests. Pay the test fees for them if you have to. Then use the results to match talent to repairs. Like a skilled military leader does, it is good practice to match your human resources to the tasks at hand. Make sense?

Having No Formal System Training in Place

If you can realize that your management decisions might be causing some of your technician problems, then you can take steps to eliminate the problem issues. Institute some weekly training. It could be as simple (and free) as finding articles and trade literature for your techs that shed light on their weak areas. Many techs struggle with electrical and electronic systems. How about sending them to a local trade school at night for some classes in that? An even greater benefit of training is that it makes your techs feel important and valuable. If you studied psychology in college, you know that all humans have an inner motivation to seek out recognition and appreciation. Recognize that as a valid need of theirs, then meet it, or lose techs. It’s your choice.

Not Providing the Information Needed to Repair Today’s Vehicles

Yes, repair information is expensive, but losing talented techs is much more harmful to your profits. If you investigate why comebacks and misdiagnoses are happening in your shop, you will find that the fault in many cases is a lack of relevant, complete and timely repair information. People can tolerate only so many errors before they start looking for employment elsewhere. Then when you hire their replacement the problems start all over again for you. It’s better to attack the root of the problem directly. Smarter too.

Poor Soft Skills – Wasting Tech’s Talents

Face it, some of your customers would rather talk with the tech who will be working on their car than to discuss their mechanical issues with you. It’s normal. So, put aside your ego, and let your techs and your customers transact business more efficiently. Identify those techs who are good at talking with clients, as well as those who are not. Allocate those soft skills when necessary, as situations present themselves. If you don’t do that, and insist that every piece of customer communication always flows through you, then you are creating a ‘bottleneck’ of communication. Miscommunications and trouble will follow. And you will eventually burn out from the stress.

Stop Punishing Your Techs

  • The flat-rate pay system is antiquated. If you want techs to commit 40 hours a week, or more, to your business than you have to commit some money to them in return. Yet few techs have any guarantee of minimal earnings in place.
As a manager, you have the responsibility to become skilled in marketing and advertising. It takes time and effort, to learn how to attract a steady stream of new customers to your shop. Penalizing techs, making them go without earnings when business is poor, is making them suffer for your lack of marketing skills. Think about it.
  • Every tech meets people socially. Do you have business cards printed for each tech, so he or she can proudly hand them out? It’s cheap advertising, and very profitable. Do you pay an enhanced commission when techs bring you new business like that? If you don’t pay your techs for that financial benefit, then they won’t give you the benefit of new business.
  • Are your shop’s work hours inflexible? Some techs would rather come to work an hour or two early, and then leave early to pick their children up from school. Likewise, other techs might have a difficult time dragging themselves to work on time every day, but would be very happy to work past normal closing times, if they had the choice.
Rather than forcing everybody to work on your personal schedule, why not accommodate them as reasonably as possible? If you’ve been thinking about having extended shop hours to facilitate more customers’ busy schedules, and to compete better in the market, this might give you the opportunity to do that.

Don’t Be Like Smokey

Good management means bringing out the best in each of your techs. That’s why it is called human capital, because their talents and willingness to work for you have monetary value. Don’t waste that capital.. Check out our article on how to keep technicians happy, loyal & productive
marketing investment

Can I Afford Your Services? If That’s Your First Thought… This Article is for You

One of the first questions shop owners want to know when they call our company is: How much does an auto repair shop website cost? Although this is a very difficult question to answer, I will try to do my best here to explain some general pricing guidelines.

The purchase of a website is much like the purchase of a vehicle or even a house. With so many options to choose from, price ranges can vary drastically. Just as a Toyota Camry can start around $20k with just a base model package, the cost can quickly increase to well over $30k once a buyer adds such items as power windows, CD player, all-leather interior, chrome finishes, built-in GPS, etc. Maybe you travel long distance and a hybrid vehicle is better suited to your needs. Worried about power and performance? Upgrade to a V6 for an extra few grand. You get the point, right?

Considering that the average American sells or trades in their vehicle within the first 5 years of purchase, why do so many buyers still concern themselves with these possible upgrades? The answer is because most people understand the importance of getting what they want the first time so there are no regrets down the road. This is known as buyer’s remorse, and it most definitely applies to your website as well. Because your website is going to be your business’ primary point of contact for your potential auto repair customer, it is important that you choose your needs carefully.

When a visitor lands on your auto repair website, you only have a few seconds to capture their attention and ensure they stay long enough to decide if your auto repair shop can service their current needs. Here is a list some of the most common elements added to a website, all which can affect the total cost, as well as how effective a platform it will be to attract visitors, and convert them into qualified leads.

  • Responsive (Mobile Friendly)
  • Modern Logo
  • High Resolution Images
  • Hours of Operation
  • Clear Calls to Action (Phone Number / Contact Form)
  • Social Media Integration
  • SSL Certificate (Trust)
  • Testimonials
  • Service Pages
  • Map / Get Directions Link
  • FAQ’s
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • Google Analytics
  • Blog/Resource Center
  • Good Hosting (Security + Fast Loading)
  • Business Email Addresses

This list can go on and on depending on your auto repair shop or collision center’s immediate needs. Don’t be overwhelmed with the choices, either. Your web design agency should consult with you regarding what other successful local business sites utilize, what your shop currently has that is working or not working, and even what can be added down the line as you grow. The good thing about a properly built website is the fact that adding on new features should not be too costly or time consuming if designed properly from the beginning. Therefore, it’s so important to not rush your choice in web designer. I’ve seen plenty of shop owner’s rush into this decision just to save money upfront, or get a website up “just to have one.” This decision could cost you 10’s of thousands of dollars every year, and tarnish your brand’s integrity. Take it seriously.

How platform choice affects the cost

When a customer approaches us for either a new website or website redesign, platform choice is a key factor is final costs. While most auto repair shop owners are looking for a solution that won’t add more work to their plate, others may have a staff that will require access to the new website to update pricing, upload photos of vehicle repairs, change coupons out, etc. For this particular need, a Content Management System or CMS would be the way to go. At ShopPulse, we put the bulk of our customers on our proprietary platform, whereas the shop owner need not worry about changes themselves, or having to redesign their site 12 months from now, or pay for every little addition they think of. Essentially, we create constantly evolving websites, built by shop owners. If we are tasked by Classic Auto Collision to build a before and after gallery, we then approach you with what we did, how it affected the website, and ask if you wish to have the same feature on your business website. For the purpose of this article, however, let’s keep the topic on pricing.

How hosting affects website pricing

We’ll keep this one short, as you as the business owner shouldn’t concern yourself with servers or bandwidth or megabyte schmegabyte. All you need to know if in this day and age, your website needs to be fast and secure. Although you are the decision maker, it is the job of the web designer to educate you on different pricing levels and benefits. Don’t be alarmed, for a standard website such as your auto repair or body shop, we’re only talking a matter of a few bucks a month more here and there, but ultimately you need to know there IS a difference in hosting providers. We can certainly advise you on some providers we know to be perfect your small business website, and we also offer hosting solutions with each website we build. The most important thing is you choose the right solution for your needs. Think of it as the difference between factory and after-market parts for your customer.

The Bottom Line on Pricing

I wish I could have answered the pricing question more specifically, but hopefully you now understand how many factors are involved when a website designer prices your project.  You should always be thinking long-term value over upfront savings. An efficient website should be bringing you qualified leads 24/7, and help your brand stand out from the competition. If you have any specific questions regarding pricing, or even if you are considering a few options from other agencies and want a third-party’s opinion, I’m always available to speak to business owners and give them a helping hand. Don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with me if you have any questions or concerns about how much an auto repair shop website should cost. I hope this helped… good luck!

Ryan Lamothe

CEO, ShopHawk