When you consider opening a mechanic shop, you likely feel overwhelmed by all of the details that go into it. A step-by-step blueprint might be nice, but it could skip over some of the crucial elements that make your business unique. Instead, there are some general rules of thumb that you can consider to lay the right groundwork for your business.
If you are thinking about how to open a mechanic shop, let these tips influence your business development.
1. Develop a Business Plan
You’ll have a hard time growing your business if you have no idea where to start! Developing a business plan for any type of auto repair shop or mechanic shop is the key to ensure that you are meeting all your goals.
This requires a lot of planning for where you want the business to go and which objectives you want to meet. A few things to consider when writing your business plan include:
- Objectives of the business and a detailed description
- Structure of your business with different positions you will need to hire for
- Marketing plan to get in front of more customers
- Market analysis for your area and services
- SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis
You should also incorporate some financial planning into a solid business plan. Estimate your projected revenue alongside your monthly expenses. Account for the cost of hiring staff, the overhead on your building, maintenance, business insurance, and taxes.
2. Research Your Competitors
Chances are that you aren’t opening the only mechanic shop in your area. Most shops will have some healthy competition from other businesses that offer the same services or a slight variation on those services.
Do some homework to compare and pinpoint how you can differentiate your shop from the competition. Consider what your competitors do well and how you can improve upon their processes. What advantages does your shop have? For example, you might offer a unique service that none of the competitors in your area offer or you could do it a slightly different way.
No matter how small, these differentiating factors can make for great marketing material to put you top of mind for new customers.
3. Strategize Your Floor Layout
An efficient mechanic shop is one that has been optimized for success – and that starts with your floor layout. When planning your new business, make sure that you have all of the key areas that both your employees and your customers need.
Loading bays are the most obvious need, but you will find that you need other spaces as well, including:
- Administrative space for service advisors and front counter staff
- Storage for parts, tools, and machinery
- Waiting room with a front counter for customers
Once you have nailed down all of the areas that matter to your customer, focus on the overall aesthetics of the shop. People will be more drawn to a mechanic shop that is visually pleasing and relaxing.
4. Prioritize Marketing
Customers can’t choose you if they have no idea that you exist. Learning how to start a mechanic shop is very similar to marketing for an auto body shop. The best thing to jumpstart your sales is to start tracking your efforts.
Know what your return on investment is for each marketing strategy that you decide to employ. This might mean asking customers how they heard about you or monitoring open rates on text messages or emails. Be aware of what makes your business unique and what sets you apart from competitors. These are powerful differentiators for your advertising efforts.
Another key to successful advertising is personalization, which can make your customers feel valued and seen within your business model. This can easily be done with email or text marketing. To this end, you can use automated marketing software like BayIQ.
All of this should direct potential customers back to your mechanic shop’s website. Make sure your website is optimized to convert cold leads into customers by making key information readily available. In a similar vein, you should put out regular content that your audience finds helpful and that sets you apart as an expert in your field.
5. Focus on Customer Loyalty
The easiest way to promote customer loyalty is to provide quality service. This keeps people coming back for all of their vehicle needs. You can reward this sense of loyalty through a loyalty program that encourages customers to spend more, increases overall engagement, and improves retention.
Another way to keep your business top of mind for your customers is to get involved with your community at events. This tends to be a low-cost way to connect with people. It can even teach them something new if you host a clinic or class on car maintenance, for example.
When you have more interactions with your loyal customers, you are more likely to encourage an influx of positive reviews and word-of-mouth marketing. Both serve as free advertising, so be sure to prioritize them!
6. Monitor KPIs and Adjust as Needed
How does your brand measure success? Where can you stand to improve? Monitor key performance indicators for your business before, during, and after every initiative you launch.
Track the data behind your efforts allows you to see what works and what doesn’t. This is true for marketing as well as other areas of your business. If you offer free coffee in your waiting room, do customers actually use it? When you raised the costs for your services, did your ARO go up or down?
If you notice that something isn’t working, it might be time to abandon your efforts in this area and pivot. On the other hand, if you see an initiative working well, you may be able to capitalize on that and optimize it even farther.
Improve Your Mechanic Shop with BayIQ
The easiest way to grow your new mechanic shop is to make sure that you’re outfitted with the right technology from the very beginning. BayIQ makes it easy for you to connect with customers in a meaningful way through email and text marketing, loyalty programs, and online appointment booking.
All of these features coalesce to give you better sales, improved customer retention, and more revenue through the door. Reach out to us today to schedule a demo of our software and help your business thrive!