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Boosting Your Shop’s Competitive Edge

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What are the building blocks of your shop’s success? Lately, have you thought about what factors are directly linked to your shop’s profitability? Such an evaluation will provide direction for new initiatives and put the spotlight on areas where improvements are needed.

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In a recent survey of ImportCar readers, we asked, “What changes will you make at your shop this year to be more competitive and profitable?”

The planned changes are both fundamental and insightful. They involve everything from upgrading, advertising, appearance and training, to expanding services, efficiency, better communication, productivity and focusing on maintenance services.

Here’s why those core business-building elements are important:

Updating equipment and scan tools promotes service expertise, which enables technicians to tackle more sophisticated repairs. Actively advertising a shop’s expertise and services attracts new customers. Upgrading a shop’s appearance makes better first impressions. Training fosters service excellence. Adding services enhances the value that’s delivered to a customer base. Efficiency directly affects customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Communication reinforces a commitment to customer care and high standards for vehicle repair. And, focusing on selling and promoting preventive maintenance (timing belts were specifically mentioned) helps to ensure customer satisfaction through vehicle dependability, safety and preservation, and translates into loyal, repeat customers.

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Additionally, respondents indicated they plan to:

  • Get involved in vehicle safety inspections;

  • Consider the impact of their shop’s layout on repair efficiency and make appropriate adjustments;
  • Add more lifts to increase service capacity;
  • Institute a customer follow-up program;
  • Add signage and displays to promote their services and special promotions, and;
  • Charge appropriately for diagnostic time and not undervalue their work, just to get the job.

Take the time to analyze your total service offering through an internal evaluation. Determine your shop’s strong points, but also identify the weaknesses. As you make a commitment to make improvements and reach new goals, dedicate resources to carry out your plan. Motivate your team to offer input and suggestions.

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By doing so, you will enhance your shop’s competitive edge. Positive results in the areas of productivity and profitability will follow.

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