The Three Biggest Problems Auto Mechanics Face
1. Everyone believes that car problems are “Google-able.”
Auto mechanics aren’t the only professionals to fall victim to this problem. You can learn how to do just about anything on the internet these days. If you can learn to do it yourself from a YouTube video, then what’s the point in taking your car to a mechanic? Unfortunately, this thought process is also to blame for the dwindling interest in joining the auto repair industry. Because you can learn so much from the internet, auto mechanics is seen as more of a hobby than a full-time profession.
In reality, we know that watching a few videos doesn’t make you a professional in any sense of the word. Using the wrong equipment or not understanding the bigger picture can result in worsening the problem. There may be smaller issues here and there that can be fixed at home, but at the end of the day, the do-it-yourself method will more than likely still land you in an auto shop.
The solution: This may seem counterintuitive, but take it into consideration. Educate your customers on how to do things themselves. Sharing emails or social media articles on how certain things are done can do one of two things. You may teach your customers how to know when things can be fixed at home and when to come to the professionals. Or, they could truly see that the steps and equipment used are a lot more than they’re willing to handle. Either way, it’s a win-win for your business.
2. High-tech knowledge, low-end business sense.
It’s the classic problem of the small business owner. You have a competitive service to offer your community. But with all of your knowledge wrapped up in your craft, who has time to be a marketing whiz? Some people manage to get by trying to do both, but at the end of the day, your expertise is needed in the work bays, not in the office.
The solution: Understand when you need to outsource. We’re not built to do it all ourselves. And just like you have a wealth of knowledge in the auto industry, there are more than enough professionals out there to handle the marketing side of your business. Research local agencies and advertising professionals who can take a few things off your plate, like print and radio advertising, social media management, and content creation for your website.
If hiring outside professionals isn’t in your budget, take it back to step 1. It’s true – you can learn a lot on the internet. If you have office staff that are willing to delve into online education, there are tons of short courses and webinars on advertising strategies that could fit into your budget. They don’t need to become experts, but staying up to date on current practices for social media and email marketing could make a huge difference to get new customers in the door.
3. Regulations jack up your costs.
Air and water quality requirements can drastically increase the cost of running an auto repair business within the guidelines of environmental regulations. If you’re not willing to hemorrhage money (and who is?) this will inevitably result in increased costs for your clients. It’s a tale as old as time itself – the misunderstood mechanic is often seen as trying to pull a fast one on the unknowing consumer. It’s bad enough that you’re constantly accused of trying to use your auto knowledge as a means of overcharging. Now, your prices have increased for perfectly legitimate reasons outside of your control. Who will take the blame for this one?
The solution: Practice price transparency. Whether you’re sending out an email to your loyal customers or posting information inside your shop, break down your costs before you increase your prices. Customers are more likely to be understanding if they’re well informed about where their money is going. Explain how the new equipment or processes that you’re required to use will not only benefit the environment but the level of service that they should expect to receive.
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