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"We looked at each other like, 'How are we going to pay for this?'" ...
It’s no secret the automotive collision repair industry is contracting. There are a number of reasons why. For instance, technological advances in automobile manufacturing has produced vehicles that last longer. Also, safety innovations such as collision avoidance systems that warn drivers of potential collisions are included in many newer vehicles. This means there are fewer accidents and, ultimately, a reduction in the number of vehicles in need of repair.
Because of increasing environmental regulations, especially concerning painting restrictions, solvent recycling, safety equipment needs and hazardous waste requirements, a financial burden has been put on many shops. Which has led some auto collision repair shops to have to close. These are just a few of the factors affecting the industry.
So what can you do to remain competitive? One major factor is to consider diversifying your business. If your repair shop is currently running efficiently, then perhaps you might consider expanding your scope from just collision repair to include cosmetic care. This can become a great source of increased revenue for your collision repair business if it’s implemented and managed properly.
Diversification can happen a number of ways. For example, car washes often expand their offerings to include snack shops, gift shops, even selling DVD movies and car accessories. Detailers also offer additional services to include windshield chip repair, paint touch-up and paintless dent repair.
Be aware that, diversifying doesn’t always work out. While many shops have found success with it, others have realized that there was little increase in revenue and that it’s simply not worth the headache.
In many cases, the owner of a poorly managed repair shop decides to diversify his business to increase revenue. Doing so often requires as much or more management than the core business. The result? The same poor management is seen in attempting diversification. Simply put, if you’re planning on offering additional services, be sure your business is being run efficiently and smoothly first and foremost. This will practically guarantee your expanded offering will be successful and you’ll witness an increase in your bottom line.
It pays to take a critical look at how efficiently your business is operating. If you determine that everything is satisfactory, then you should definitely consider diversifying. However, if some areas need improvement, tend to these problem areas first. It’s also important to make the most out of the space, personnel and equipment you currently have. You also need to determine the additional demand that will be added to your floor space and training that will be required, as well as the investment needed when you offer new services.
One of the best methods of figuring out what services your shop should add is by conducting a brainstorming session. This can be done either during lunch break or after hours. Try providing food and beverages to make sure everyone gets involved. It’s important to announce the session well in advance so your employees will bring their best ideas with them.
Another idea-generating method is to conduct a survey of your customers. Ask them which services they’d like you to offer. By picking their brains, you’ll be in a position to better satisfy their needs. This generates word-of-mouth advertising for your repair shop, and that’s some of the best advertising you can get.
After you gather a number of possible services to offer, compile them into a master list. Next, determine which ones are available and which ones are right for your area. Then you can narrow down the ones that make the most sense for your shop.
There are a couple of benefits to offering a more diverse range of services. You’ll be providing an increased level of satisfaction to your existing customer base. You’ll also increase your revenue fl ow. What’s more, you’ll attract new customers, and that’s a good thing.
A few new services to consider adding are: window tinting, window-chip repair and paintless dent removal. These are add-ons that customers search for and they could be profitable services to invest in.
If you own a larger repair shop that works on heavy-duty trucks, you have a perfect opportunity to expand your business. You can work on farm, industrial and construction equipment. The key is to focus on larger vehicles that can be accommodated within the size of your shop. Another alternative is to go out into the field and perform repairs on site. It’s an operation that is not only convenient for customers, but can also reduce down time for them.
As mentioned earlier, you needn’t be concerned about which products or equipment are needed to repair recreational vehicles. They’re the ones you already have on hand to perform repairs on autos. You’re already geared up to repair any type of vehicle out there. Your shop likely has a supply of adhesives for metal, plastic and cross-bonding adhesives — plus, repair adhesives for rigid and flexible substrates and two component seam sealers. Your technicians can utilize the equipment you already own to perform these repairs with manual and pneumatic dispensing guns for adhesives and seam sealers.
Sometimes, diversifying can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to repairing vehicles other than autos. This is where many suppliers can assist you. They can provide you with detailed info sheets and brochures featuring Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). These explain how to properly bond metals or fix plastic substrates in any application. The SOPs will take your technicians through the entire process — from identifying a repair and choosing the correct repair material, to prepping the surface, applying the material and completing the repair.
The SOPs also provide technical tips to guide your technicians through the steps of repairing damaged vehicles and can help determine whether the repair is cosmetic or structural.
Making the transition to working on alternative types of vehicles should be a snap. After all, bonding metals is bonding metals. No matter which type of vehicle is being worked on, the products you use and the process you apply are basically the same. The only difference is you’re expanding the types and number of vehicles your shop is handling. And that means an ever-expanding revenue stream.
You may feel reluctant to change your business model, as well as offer new services. It’s easy to get comfortable with the way your business is currently operating. Your customers are increasingly look for convenience when they have their cars worked on. And, they appreciate the notion of one-stop shopping.
By offering other services, you’ll see your business steadily grow. Not only will you satisfy you current customers, but you’ll see new faces coming through your door. What’s not to like?
If you are serious about diversifying and are in need of equipment like transmission jacks, lifts, car wash systems, etc., you can find everything you need at www.moparessentialtools.com.