According to the industry market research company, IBISWorld, the auto mechanic industry in the US has an annual revenue of $50 Billion, and with over 120,000 businesses throughout the country. In other words, the industry is in-demand, profitable, and highly competitive (based on the number of auto repair business). As with all competitive industries that deal with vehicles and repairs, even the smallest mistake can have detrimental and lasting effects on an auto shop’s reputation and profit. As such, we’ll be taking a look at the most common mistakes auto repair shop owners should be aware of and avoid.
Hiring the Wrong (Unqualified) People
To be more specific, auto repair shop owners hire friends/relatives who clearly aren’t skilled or knowledgeable in the trade. The consequences of hiring unqualified mechanics could range from something as simple as delays in repair schedule to more detrimental issues such as improperly performing the task and/or damaging the client’s vehicle. Many competent auto shops have had their reputation and brand tarnished because of unqualified mechanics. However, if you’re keen on hiring someone who’s unqualified, it’s important to have them undergo proper training, and have them “shadow” and assist your skilled and seasoned mechanics, instead of directly assigning jobs to them at the get-go.
Focusing on Mistakes, Forgetting Recognition
While it’s important to be wary of mistakes in order to uphold your auto shop’s standard and guarantees, you should give notice to the right things your mechanics do, as well. An auto repair shop heavily depends on its mechanics, not machines, but auto shop owners sometimes forget that when they’re too busy managing the business and looking at numbers, schedules, and reports. Recognition through incentives or simple “Employee of the Month” awards can go a long way in motivating your mechanics, leading to better productivity and retention. Something as simple as telling your mechanics that they’ve done a good job, goes a long way.
Skimping on Equipment, Tools, and Parts (and Maintenance)
Quality output requires quality tools. If you provide low-quality repair equipment and parts to your mechanics in an attempt to lower costs — either to provide a more competitive price or simply to have a higher profit — you’ll end up with subpar work. Some skilled mechanics can make the most of even the most low-quality tools and produce a good result, but imagine how much better and faster they can do their job if they have high quality and well-maintained tools and equipment. Your shop and mechanics should have access to suppliers with high-quality spare parts to be used for repairs. It could also be quite advantageous to partner with local custom gear manufacturing firms in Wisconsin that makes custom worm gear sets and other gears you’ll need for repairs.
Not Marketing Your Auto Shop
Marketing and promotions are essential for new auto shops (or any new business for that matter), but even established auto repair shops shouldn’t forget to continuously and consistently market themselves. Yes, you may already have a stable client base, but if your competition aggressively markets their brand, even long-time clients would be curious to try them out. That said, never neglect offline (flyers, signage, and commercials) and online (website and social media accounts) marketing. Either hire staff to be in charge of marketing and promotions or hire a marketing firm to help you out.
No matter how well-known and established your auto repair shop is, it only takes a few mistakes to “drive” away even long-time clients and ruin your brand. And the best way to avoid these auto repair shop mistakes is to be aware of them.