Google “car repair” and then your neighborhood. For me, it would be Winnipeg. What comes up first? On the first page, exclusively? That’s right! Independent repair facilities. I repeated the search for multiple cities including Toronto and Chicago with the same type of results. I find the results quite interesting. I have two approaches to consider; one from the dealership standpoint and one from the independent’s view.
Dealerships rarely appeared on the first page of a car repair google search. In the highly competitive market of automotive service where the rates of both parts and labour never seem to hit a ceiling, dealerships are missing out on a substantial segment. This segment includes exhaust repair, brake replacement, glass repair, diagnosis and malfunction indicator scans, and performance accessories. When I see this short list of vehicle repairs and maintenance, I see dollar signs. Cha. Ching. Money missed by the big guys.
A really quick 3 things dealerships can do to on their websites to fill their shop and their coffers.
-advertise value-added service packages to the target audience that believes dealers are too expensive.
-don’t be too expensive! Do a cost-comparison for common repairs locally and advertise a competitive rate on your website.
– hire people that know what they are doing to write your advertisements. I know of too many managers who fumble through creating their own ads; at least one I know of didn’t even complete high school. Doesn’t seem like the best use of their time or dealership money, does it?
Now on to the independent repair shops. GOOD JOB! You’ve got a large segment of the market for common repairs and maintenance captured. People search for you and the services you offer, and they find you! You spend a lot of money keeping the doors open, paying the utilities, paying the staff, and it’s great when it pays off. Now, how do you keep that business coming in your doors?
– don’t fall behind! You’ve got a web presence, now keep it current! A consistent blog, twice a month or more (no less), with relevant information or tips related to your shop will do wonders for keeping your regular customers in touch.
-let people know where you are. I’ve known of several shops that have moved to larger facilities and didn’t update the website contact info or address. A google map of the RIGHT address is fantastic.
-create a subscription list. People are keen on being kept in touch for the right reasons. Have a monthly or quarterly newsletter you send to subscribers filling them in on recent pertinent news.