Most businesses face a dry spell during some parts of the year and auto repair businesses are no exception. Auto repair shops are usually busy but it’s said that only 10% of the auto repair shops in the US classify as busy for 52 weeks of the year. Though owners of auto repair shops know that their business might dampen a few times in a year, they usually are not able to predict specific months. The slowing down happens due to various reasons including the financials of the auto owners and also the seasonality.
Here are some ways to take advantage of the slow times:
- Offer a Package Deal: Flash sales or giving away free stuff or services are tricks that improve business in other industries and are not usually used in the auto repair industry. However, giving a free car wash after a maintenance or providing engine oil and a car cleaning kit after a repeat maintenance visit is a great idea!
- Equipment Care: When the business is slow, take advantage to closely assess your equipment. If there is any repair work or up keeping to be done when your auto repair business is slow is the right time to complete these tasks. Properly functioning equipment will draw more customers to your auto repair shop because they know there won’t be delays to their service due to malfunctioning or broken equipment.
- Host Events: Hosting events is another way of upping your game as an auto repair business. If most of your existing/potential customers are car enthusiasts, you can host an event showcasing the ways in which they can maintain their vehicle to extract maximum mileage from it. It can also get new customers in the door-becoming part of the chamber of commerce in your area and hosting a meeting gets you in new customer’s and local influencer’s minds.
- Collaborate with Local Businesses: How great will it be if truck drivers came to drop off their vehicle for service and receive free coffee or a cool t-shirt?! Collaboration is an amazing way in which two businesses can benefit without much of a cost involved. Partnering with local brands can utilize their network to bring traffic to you.
- Take Advantage of the Seasons: Let us assume that your auto repair business sees a downward trend during the holiday season. Most people do not budget for a service during a gifting season. You can run a holiday special or take advantage when it rains or snows. A lot of cars need maintenance during these seasonal weather occurrences, if you run a special they will opt for your auto repair business.
- Offer a Subscription Plan: The best way to retain your customer is to make them a consistent customer. A subscription plan or a privileged customer tag helps you to retain your existing customers and attract new customers even during the “off-season”. But, make sure your subscription model does not affect your overall profit margin.
From waste of time, there can be no salvage. It is the easiest of all waste and the hardest to correct because it does not litter the floor.
We understand that as a small auto repair business owner it’s not easy to accept that slow days can help the business, but it’s best to be productive. There are many additions and alterations you can do to your auto repair shop and the way it runs.
- Fix your finances: Slow business days gives you time to analyze your finances from the past few months and to plan a budget for the future. You can also consider auto repair financing for your business if required.
- Train your staff: Conduct staff training sessions and activities to improve the efficiency of your employees. This could end up increasing the work you take in.
- Streamline processes: If you had not revisited your process flow for the past few months, then this is the right time. Optimize the flow and fill the loopholes that might bring in any inefficiencies.
- Maintain customer relationships: If customers don’t come to you, you go to them. Send them email newsletters or reach out to them on social media to express why they should stay loyal. Share your story! With so many businesses cropping up every now and then, it is essential for you to stay at the front of the customer’s mind.
- Market your business: Marketing your business is as important as running it. You might be missing out on actively marketing your auto repair business during your busy days, hence the slow time is the best time. Brainstorm and bring in creative ideas to market your shop and think digital first to appeal to a larger audience.
Most of the auto repair businesses confine themselves to be a very serious and niche market thus failing to promote themselves in all possible ways. Your target audience might not resonate with you on a daily basis except if they are from the transportation business. Compartmentalize your customers and personalize their experiences starting from marketing through to customer service. Businesses can be slow at times, but you need to build a loyal customer base to bounce back from a dry spell.