A reliable, trustworthy mechanic is worth their weight in gold to many drivers. And once a customer trusts your establishment, it’s not unusual for them to ask for help on a wide range of motor-related issues, even if they don’t usually fall under a typical mechanic’s role.
Customers are also much more likely to refer their family and friends to a mechanic they trust, which can prove to be a very important source of new customers for motor mechanic trade businesses.
Beyond providing a reliable and trustworthy service to your existing customers, there are a number of other things you can do to help grow your motor mechanic business. Here are four, for starters.
How can the service you offer as an independent garage go one better than your larger competitors? Are there any quirks in your local community you could use to your advantage?
The best ways to tweak your services will depend on how your garage operates and your customers’ needs. For instance, you might want to consider offering unconventional hours a couple of days a week to make it easier for people with a set routine to work around their job.
Alternatively, you could consider offering a local pick-up and drop-off service to remove some of the hassle for your customers.
Or could you start a flat-rate monthly payment scheme so that people can cover their annual servicing and maintenance costs in a predictable way?
Trust is hard to earn, and once you have the trust of your customers it will expand to most things automotive. With that in mind, could you consider selling or buying cars for them, or simply providing an inspection service?
You could even start making referrals for other services, such as insurance or car security. Do any of your customers carry out some basic maintenance themselves? Could you sell common parts and fluids to these people? Could you offer a parts delivery service?
Whether you’re buying and selling cars or offering a collect and drop-off service, making sure you have the correct motor trade insurance in place is a necessity. If you want to compare insurance prices, Quotezone is a good place to start.
Whether you use social media or local networking events, or both, get your name out there. Create social media accounts and be active on other local community pages.
Even a busy garage probably only caters to a small percentage of their local community. Spending some time building trust and getting known can bring new customers to your door. Always be aware you’re representing your garage, not yourself, be professional and helpful and avoid controversial posts or disputes.
Have a Strategy for Growth
Once all of your efforts start paying off, you might find you need extra employees, more space, and new equipment. You may even wish to add other services to your portfolio. All of this requires investment. Ignoring the need for growth can lead to crisis management and, ultimately, you’ll end up letting customers down, which will negatively impact the reputation you’ve built. Some proven strategies to help you grow will help the whole process go more smoothly.
Add Strings to Your Bow
If there’s a natural progression for your business to expand into a new area that you don’t feel you have the skills or expertise for, don’t be afraid to learn some new skills. Online courses are available for every discipline from an increasing number of reputable sources. You can fit your learning around your normal routine without any difficulty.
Alternatively, you could employ someone who already has the skill set you require. However, even if you employ someone, it is a good idea to have a rough overview and a working knowledge of the skills yourself. This is in case cover is needed if an employee leaves, and it also allows you to better assess what the employee is doing in relation to their role.
Don’t Neglect Your Current Customers
It can be easy when looking for ways to grow to forget the reason you’re in the position you are. Are there any ways you can improve the customer experience of your established and long-standing customers? Could you incorporate some sort of referral or loyalty program that would benefit the customers that have been the most loyal to you? Can you use previous past experiences with these customers to encourage repeat business or referrals?
Whatever you decide is the best route for your garage, ensure you do the research and have all the necessary equipment, insurances, and people in place to take full advantage of the opportunities that will now come your way. Understand what aspects of your business have made you successful and make sure you don’t neglect these by focusing too heavily on creating change. Whatever route you take should add value for everyone, not remove value or alienate established customers.