Keep Auto Shop Busy in Winter

November 3, 2017

Winter can be a dead period for auto shops. Customers are put off from all but the most pressing car repairs not only by cold temperatures, heavy snows, and icy roads, but also by holiday spending that drains their ready cash and credit. As a result, many service garages struggle to meet rent, payroll, and other financial obligations during the winter months. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With some careful planning and strategizing, you can ensure that your auto shop stays busyauto shop winter business all winter long. Here are some ideas to help see you through the season.

  • Send out service reminders: Make use of your customer email list to send out service reminders for oil changes, tire rotations, and other periodic vehicle services that are coming due. You can also promote recommended winterization procedures such as changing to snow tires, checking the radiator and heating system, and rustproofing to protect against road salt.
  • Offer special deals and discounts: If ordinary email reminders aren’t delivering conversions, consider offering special deals and discounts to bring customers in the door. Free inspections, buy 3-get-1-free snow tire sales, and 20% off service bundles (e.g. oil and filter change plus tire rotation) are just some examples of the kinds of deals customers love.
  • Schedule one-off or longterm projects for the winter: Do you sometimes turn away classic car restoration and other longterm projects during busier months because you can’t afford to occupy a vehicle bay or take up a valuable employee’s time on a single job? If so, try scheduling these types of one-off projects for your repair shop’s slowest days and weeks.
  • Tend to your equipment and tools: The winter is also a good time to inspect the most heavily used equipment and tools in the shop and to perform routine maintenance where necessary. This may include standard cleaning and lubricating, as well as tightening loose components or replacing damaged parts. In addition, slow days are ideal for installing major new equipment such as a hydraulic auto lift or paint booth.
  • Many auto repair shops experience winter slowdowns that strain finances nearly to the breaking point. But now you can take a proactive approach to staying busy in winter by trying out the above tips in the coming months.

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