Marketing, what is it? Do I need to do it? How do I know?
I deal with clients from coast to coast and border to border and together we have developed a marketing plan and have it implemented. We know what our car budget is for every year, quarter, month, week and day and from that we develop our marketing plan. As hard as it may be to believe some auto repair shops don’t need more cars! They just need to do a better job on their ARO or Average Repair Order.
ARO is the total dollar amount on each ticket. This has long been one of the standards for judging the health of an auto repair shop. Most clients when they come to me are doing less than $200 in ARO. Now, I know what you are thinking. What is a good ARO? Every shop is different. As a rule of thumb your ARO should be about 5X’s your labor rate. For an example, if your labor rate is 75.00 then your ARO should be about $375. If this is not the case there could be several factors that keep you from getting there. If your ARO is less than this number then there are some things that need to be fixed before we start getting more cars into your shop. If your ARO is greater than 5X’s your labor rate, then good for YOU!
If your ARO is ok it’s time to consider some things about your business. How many new clients do you get every week? How many return and how often? Where do they come from? If you don’t know any of these things then it’s time to start tracking it through your POS. If you don’t know what that is then it’s time to talk about something else as well.
Once we know how many cars we need and where they come from then we can start to put together the picture of how we get the cars we want.
What is marketing? There are several definitions but here is my favorite: Marketing is an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer and the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service. In my mind YOU are the product and you promote your services to the public. Don’t be afraid to sell yourselves and all the good things you do in your community. What makes you different than everyone else in your market?
Timing, how long does it take to reap the rewards of your marketing efforts? That depends largely on individual markets and what you are willing to do to get people to act on an offer. If you are willing to do an oil change for $9.99 then you should see an immediate impact. If not, then you should be prepared to wait 3 to 6 months for new client acquisition to pay off. There are things you can do to get your current clients to repeat more often, but that is a different article.
I currently reside in West Texas. Unfortunately with the recent oil collapse out here it seems that the radio waves have been overwhelmed with repair shops that seem to be struggling for cars or at least they think they need more cars. I can’t help but think that If they had prepared a little more and came up with a marketing calendar that they might not be struggling like they are right now.
Do you need more cars? Do you know if you need more cars? If not then contact me for a free business consultation and let’s define what your needs are and then make a plan to for SUCCESS!