by Jeff Stankard
The saying, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression” is so true, especially as it relates to your customer relations efforts as you work to boost your business in today’s struggling economy.
Your shop’s exterior is the first thing that customers and prospects see as they drive into or drive by your location. So your shop’s “curb appeal” speaks volumes in terms of your shop’s expertise, repair quality and professionalism. If your shop’s exterior looks rundown, the grounds are unkempt and the windows are dirty, it doesn’t say much for what goes on inside the shop. On the other hand, if your shop looks “put together” from the outside, it’s a positive reflection of your business ethics, your staff and the caliber of work that’s performed.
With the goal of providing you with ideas to improve your shop’s exterior appearance, Babcox Research asked a sample of shop owner readers for their ideas on this topic. We received dozens of great responses, so thank you to those of you who responded.
10 Ideas to Improve Shop Exterior Appearance
- Make a daily routine of cleaning up the parking lot before customers arrive, to remove any litter, debris and/or cigarette butts. If the shop looks sloppy, customers will think your work is also sloppy.
- Keep a clean, well-maintained lawn, which you can enhance with good landscaping.
- When it’s time to paint the exterior, use attractive colors. It will make your shop appear “clean” and “bright.” But don’t wait until painting is way overdue; every four years is a good time frame.
- Install exterior lighting that will help give your shop a professional appearance.
- Don’t jam the parking lot with vehicles waiting to be serviced. At least 30% of your parking lot space should be left vacant for drive-by prospects, so they can park their vehicles to inquire at the front office about your shop’s services.
- Good curb appeal is essential. The first thing a customer sees should not be trash, old batteries or what appear to be scrap cars.
- Ask a neighborhood garden club if they would like to help beautify a repair shop. Flowers in planters are a nice touch.
- Make sure your shop’s windows are clean all the time.
- Too much signage looks tacky to customers and prospects. Focus on the essential messages that will help promote your business.
- Get the opinion of a woman who has never been to your shop of its outward appearance as well as that of the waiting room, and make modifications based on her impressions and suggestions to boost your shop’s appeal.
If you would like to offer any suggestions on this topic, just send me an e-mail ([email protected]) and we’ll add it to our listing on the website.