Should Your Body Shop Offer an Independent Lifetime Warranty?

As an owner of an auto body shop, you may be wondering how you can give your business a competitive advantage. Every city across the USA has a multitude of body shops, so what can you do to set your business apart from others? A proven strategy for many owners has been offering clients an independent lifetime warranty on some products and services. Read on to figure out what you can cover with your warranty and how it can benefit your business.

What is an Independent Lifetime Warranty?

While some auto part manufacturers provide limited warranties, you can offer your customers an independent lifetime warranty on some parts and repairs. While you may not be able to offer warranties on items such as engines or tires, you can offer to cover repairs on fit, finish, functionality and overall quality. You can cover items such as body work or paint jobs, mechanical repair, parts and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts.

Why Should You Offer Independent Lifetime Warranties?

As a small business owner, it may be difficult to manage costs as it is, and offering any kind of free work may seem like an unneeded expense. However, there are benefits to this incentive, such as:

Setting You Apart from the Competition

Many people shop around before committing to getting their car fixed or serviced at a body shop. They not only look for the most affordable price, but perks not offered anywhere else. You may not be able to beat the cheapest price in town, but you will be able to justify your cost by the fact that you stand behind your work!

Letting potential customers know that they don’t need to worry about bad service or faulty parts will set you apart from the competition and give new customers the faith to give you a try.

Repeat Customers

Another benefit of offering an independent lifetime warranty for your body shop customers is the promise they will keep coming back. A client may have chipped the paint on their car and came back to you for a free touch up, but chances are they may also require an oil change or a tune up at that time.

The promise of your guarantee will keep your clients coming back to your shop, where they likely will spend more money on additional work. This will lead to customer loyalty and more revenue for your business.

Word of Mouth Referrals

Individuals typically find body shops in two ways: through their insurance company or by referrals. Word of mouth referrals are incredibly important for small businesses, and offering an independent lifetime warranty is reason enough for your customers to share that information with their friends, family members and colleagues. This is not a common incentive for small body shops, and it is enough to impress your customers to recommend your business to others, growing your customer base!

If you are looking for effective ways to grow your auto body shop, you may benefit from a small business loan. Let IOU Financial help! Call us today to inquire about our fast and easy loans of up to $300,000.

 

 

4 Ways to Get an Organized Auto-Body Shop

Running an auto shop may seem pretty straightforward: cars come in, they get fixed, and cars go out. As simple as that sounds, there are more things to consider when turning those logistics into profits. One main consideration should be keeping your shop organized. Keeping your shop organized is not only good for the presentation and usability of an auto shop, it can be extremely beneficial to a shop’s efficiency and bottom line. In this post we will reveal the 4 ways to keep your auto-body shop organized and review why it’s important. Lets get started!

 

  1. Have a plan of where things go

The first place to start is in reviewing the current floor plan of your shop and outlining where you’d like things to go. Review what tools and equipment you have and place them in and around the area that makes the most sense. Map out the plan and outline how you want things to be placed. Keeping a clear layout and plan of where things go will help you get things in place and assist in keeping them there for years to come.

Why it’s important: By organizing the layout of your shop you can increase efficiency of staff accessing tools based on what services are done where and how tool placement can be strategically placed for less wasted steps around the shop! Keeping these objects in their place will reduce injury, and prevent equipment damage in day-to-day operations.

 

  1. Clean up at the end of each day

We all fall into the trap of “I will get to it later.” While our intentions are good, we often fall short and things we “should have” done turn into “never gets” done. Commit to cleaning the shop at the end of the day, put tools back in their places, and do not turn the lights off without everything being in order.

Why it’s important: Reducing the time it takes when opening the shop to find tools used the day before or tools blocking the flow of the workspace for staff will increase efficiency and reduce wasted time searching for parts, tools, or other needed materials at the start of a busy day.

 

  1. Review plans with your staff

What good is a plan if nobody knows it is in motion? If a shop is organized, the staff needs to know that the plan is in play. Sharing the plans with staff, what is expected, and where the tools and equipment are to return (by the end of work day) will help keep the shop organized on every day that ends in “y.” Don’t assume because tires are located in the “general tire area” that staff know they should also end back up there at the end of the day.

Why it’s important: In order to successfully execute any plan, communication is key. Keeping the well-outlined plans a secret mean you are the only one that will know where each piece of equipment goes, leaving you with cleanup at the end of each day.

 

  1. Label clearly

When starting an organized shop, one must consider labeling what tools you want to go where. Clearly label the sections for certain tools, the areas designated for larger equipment, and do not think any sign is too obvious. Be clear and exact with the labels so there is no question if the image used for screwdrivers is not interpreted as tire pressure gauges.

Why it’s important: Miss labeling will increase confusion of what goes where, thus increasing the time it takes to find a simple tool and decrease the time your staff are being paid to use it.

 

When it comes to organizing an auto body shop, the above 4 steps can be simple ways to start developing a well laid out plan for shops big and small. Understand the value and importance of shop organization is critical in adhering to those well laid out plans and steps towards maintaining not only the best shop in town but the most organized too!

If upgrading software, POS or other systems will help keep your shop organized, consider a small business loan from IOU Financial. You can receive working capital to streamline your operations in just 24 hours!

5 Ways Auto-Body Shops Can Attract and Retain New Customers

Auto body repair shops are in strong and steady demand. However, attracting new customers to your local auto shop can at times feel like a losing battle when there is other shop competition. Here are five ways auto-body shops can attract and retain new customers, and you can implement many of them right away.

 

  1. Coupons & Package Deals

People like deals. Even if the deal is a small deal, people search for the best value for the price. By offering new or existing customers a simple and clear coupon you increase the chances that they will come in the door.  You could also offer a flat rate off an oil change or a discounted bundle such as a free car wash with service, and you will often attract new customers just based on the deal. Once they are in the door you can then use other methods (see our blog about loyalty programs) to retain them.

 

  1. Clear, Upfront Pricing

When people look for auto repairs they want to know how much they should prepare to pay, even in the worst of situations. Some local auto repair shops lose customers when the price of a tune up is M.I.A. and other services are simply listed as “call for quote.” People’s behavior suggest they will leave your ad, website, or phone call if the price is not shared clearly and upfront. Do not shy away from listing the cost of services out of fear it will scare customers away. Be honest with your pricing.

 

  1. Market Correctly

Marketing correctly is often overlooked or underestimated. Simply posting an ad online that says “We Have Great Services” does not speak to the customer who is looking. By having a clear, creative, and strong call to action in their marketing, local auto service dealers can increase their traffic almost immediately. Create clear campaigns, offer newsletter sign ups and discounts, and encourage word of mouth perks to generate steady traffic.

 

  1. Get Social

Whether it is social media or social events, being visible in a variety of mediums will draw attention to your auto body shop. Post deals, news, services, even testimonials on a social media page and encourage people to share. If there is a community event, try sponsoring a prize booth, participate in a raffle, or even hold a demonstration booth to educate the community. By being visible you can stand out from the crowd of auto repair shops servicing your community’s vehicles.

 

  1. Brand Yourself Correctly

Your shop may have the best deals, service technicians, and tools. But if nobody knows your name or your name is hard to remember, you may be forgotten in the crowd of other shops. If this is the situation you find yourself in, focus on re-branding your name or strengthening your existing brand. By having a trustworthy name and brand, you will attract a range of customers who look for the name just as much as the services offered.

 

Attracting new customers to any local auto repair shop can feel like a daunting task. With the help of these simple ways to attract new customers the process can be less daunting and more profitable so you can focus on creating and servicing long-term customers.

 

If money is the only thing holding you back from kick starting your new marketing campaign or re-inventing your brand, call IOU Financial. We offer affordable working capital for auto-body shops that are looking to grow their customer base or take advantage of new opportunities.

Slow Season Business Plan for Auto Repair and Body Shop Owners

Summer is here, which means soaring gas prices and as a result, the slow season for many auto repair businesses. Although your shop may be empty, it is important to use this time wisely. There are many things to be done during the slow months to help you take advantage of your busier times of year. What you do during the summer can help you plan ahead and make necessary improvements, especially if you’re in an area of the country with harsh winters and are busy making accident-related repairs during the colder months.

Take the time to follow this body shop and auto repair business plan now so you can cash in later. Here are the steps:

 

Know Your Numbers

You will have very profitable months and other times when business is very slow, so you need to learn your numbers and plan accordingly. Calculate your bottom line – how much you need to make to keep your business up and running. This includes your rent, employee salaries, insurance and other fees. If you need assistance in budgeting and notating, there are tons of free resources to use. Check out the Business Budget Smart Sheet to assist you in keeping daily and monthly costs.

After you have started figuring out your numbers, analyze how many cars you are able to fix in one day, as body shops are limited by the amount of staff and available days for repair. Once you know your numbers, you can plan on ways to maximize steady work depending on how many repairs you are able to logistically make.

 

Create a Seasonal Calendar

This task can be hard for new auto repair owners, but should be elementary for anyone who has ran the business for over one year. To plan for slow season, know when the slow times will occur. These can happen for a few days around certain holidays, a week if a local fair comes to town, or a few months during the summer. Once you know when your business is bound to slow down, you can create strategies to bring in more sales and work on your business during that time.

 

Implement Marketing Strategies

Many body shop owners make the mistake of increasing marketing during busy months as the extra cash provides an opportunity to invest in advertising. However, that is the wrong strategy. You are limited by the available bays and employees, and could end up turning clients away or asking for long wait times. Instead of attracting new clients when you are already busy, save the profits from the busy months to invest in auto repair marketing strategies during the slow months.

When advertising, consider what marketing strategies you can offer to encourage clients to visit your shop. You can offer slow season discounts on car repairs and maintenance, such as a free car wash with an oil change or a free $20 gas card with a repair job over $250. Consider what special services you can offer in addition to regular ones; options may include window tinting, car detailing and roof rack installations. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your auto repair marketing.

 

Make Improvements

When times are slow, enlist your staff in making improvements to your business that you would not otherwise have time for. Cleaning and organizing will make the busy months go by more smoothly. Take inventory of your equipment to check if anything is outdated or broken and needs to be replaced. Survey your entire business to see if anything needs improvements that you can make when times are slow. Perhaps your driveway needs to be repaved or your waiting area needs to be redone.

 

Research a Small Business Loan

If you take the steps listed above and discover that equipment needs to be replaced, you need to launch a marketing campaign, or you need more cash flow, use this slow time to research your small business loan options. Alternative lenders like IOU Financial offer loans for these types of situations and offer fast turnaround times. You can have your cash in hand and implement your auto repair business plan before summer is over, positioning yourself well to get ahead of the competition and make the most of your next busy season.

 

Contact us to learn more about using a loan to get ahead this summer.