There are a lot of positive economic signs that consumers are becoming
more comfortable with their financial situation and are beginning to
open their wallets.
A recent report states that department stores, grocery chains and even
toy stores are seeing consumers move toward higher-priced and
higher-quality items. As an example, cashmere is gaining in popularity
and a New York coffee shop
recently introduced a $12 cup of coffee!
While these examples are excessive, the fact is that retailers are
adjusting their inventory from low-priced items to higher-priced ones
and there are opportunities to offer new services. If the customer
wants to buy more of an item or a higher-priced brand, I say the
customer is always right.
In the automotive world, we see positive signs of better days to come in the form of:
– An increase in the number of miles being driven;
– An increase in the average age of vehicles;
– Scrappage rates for vehicles are starting to moderate;
– An increase in consumer confidence rates; and
– An increase in total, overall employment.
Far too many shops experienced a reduction in engine repair orders in 2009
and many of the ROs were at lower average dollar levels. Motorists can
extend maintenance intervals for only so-long. Eventually, the engine repair
work needs to be performed so you should start to see an increase in traffic because of this pent-up demand.
So now several questions must be asked:
Are you ready for more business and is your shop prepared to handle these customers?
Do you have enough employees?
Are they trained?
Have you been delaying equipment purchases?
Does your shop have the specialty tools needed to be productive?
Does the shop need a thorough cleaning or a fresh coat of paint?
Do you need to update your scheduling and management system?
Is it time to have a website or update your current site?
Do you have the technical information you need?
Is your current parts supplier providing you with the service and support you need to be successful?
Does your main supplier have the brands and coverage to satisfy the changing vehicle landscape in your area?
I ask all these questions to provide you with a checklist to make
sure you are ready to take full advantage of the massive population of
vehicles on the road that need engine service.
Let’s make it an easy decision for your customers to get the best experience from your shop.
Jeff Stankard is Publisher of Babcox Tech Group Publications.