How to be the Best Auto Shop

September 5, 2017

best auto shopGetting a small business to stand out from the competition is a tall order in any industry, and is especially tough when it comes to auto repair shops. Between quick-lube franchises, full-service car dealerships, and all the single service providers (think tire stores, brake repair shops, and muffler specialists), customers have more choices today than ever before. In order to attract these customers and keep them coming back, it’s important to run a world-class operation that exudes quality and professionalism from top to bottom. Here are 5 tips on how to be the best auto shop in town:

  1. Keep the building and grounds clean and attractive. Curb appeal is just as vital to small businesses as it is to residential properties, so be sure to run a critical eye over the building and grounds. Attend to the lawn, shrubs, walkways, parking lot, and other landscaping tasks regularly, and keep the waiting rooms, customer service area, and restrooms pristine at all times. Schedule more thorough cleanings and bigger upkeep projects (such as painting the exterior) as needed.
  2. Invest in the best equipment you can afford. Give your mechanics and techs the tools and equipment they need to perform their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible. This not only includes hydraulic auto lifts, state-of-the-art wheel balancers and tire changers, and fluid exchangers, but also hand tools, power tools, air compressors, floor jacks, creepers, and appropriate safety gear. Provide ongoing training on all equipment, and adhere to manufacturer recommended maintenance protocols.
  3. Emphasize customer service throughout the organization and continually monitor customer satisfaction. Excellent customer service takes on many forms, from friendly interactions to free coffee and tea in the waiting room, courtesy pickups and drop-offs, and on-time work completion, and all of these should be hallmarks of your auto shop. In addition, following up with calls or emails, sending out questionnaires or surveys, and requesting online reviews are great ways to monitor customer satisfaction and alert you to any shortcomings.
  4. Engage in ethical business practices. Nothing dooms an auto shop quicker than a reputation for inflated prices or shoddy workmanship. In order to be the best, commit to ethical business practices such as fair and competitive pricing, providing written quotes or estimates, using quality replacement parts, and hiring qualified mechanics with proven skills for the types of repairs your garage offers.
  5. Don’t neglect the administrative side of the business. Run a professional shop behind the scenes too with orderly record keeping, job scheduling software, and up-to-date personnel files. Furthermore, hire a tax professional to ensure accuracy and avoid penalties, and use other specialists (e.g. lawyers or financial advisers) as the need arises.
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