Transparency In Pricing: It's Now A Mandate, Not An Option - Engine Builder Magazine
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Business and Management

Transparency In Pricing: It’s Now A Mandate, Not An Option

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There was a time in our industry when shop owners were the only ones who knew the cost of their parts. Additionally, the amount they charged for their services was typically not public knowledge. If customers wanted to know how much it would cost to perform a specific repair, they had limited options; they would have to either call for an estimate, or visit a shop.

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108856107984Com_00000059352As we all know, times have changed, and after decades of confidentiality in pricing, technology has now done more than just change how we  diagnose and fix automobiles; it’s actually made pricing transparent.  The days of holding your prices close to your vest are not only gone,  but if you continue to follow that age-old policy, you’ll more than  likely struggle in the coming years.

As we all know, the Web has dramatically changed how you operate your  business. It’s changed how you market, how you communicate with your  customers, how you order parts, and how you diagnose and fix vehicles.  Yet the one thing most shop owners are reluctant to accept is  that, unlike in the past, pricing on every conceivable repair and  service is now available within moments online.

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Now we all know that  those prices found online can be as incorrect as often as they are  correct, but the reality is this: as we move forward, more people are  going to be turning to the Web, not just for finding the right engine building  facility, but for a range in pricing, as well. It’s currently happening  in every other industry, so there is no reason to believe that it won’t  become even more commonplace in our industry as well. Here are the  things I encourage you to consider.

First of all, you should accept the fact that an increasing number of  your first-time visitors will have either ­already searched the Web for a range in pricing, or they will do so within minutes after you provide  them with an estimate. In many cases, they will do their price  comparisons with their smartphones.

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This brings me to the second point that I hope you consider, which I  refer to as integrity in pricing. With the ease of access that consumers now have to pricing information, in the coming years the top  shops will be competitive in pricing, and they will be proud of the  value they deliver.

Now before I go any further, I’m not suggesting that a shop can’t charge more than its competitors do, but if the prices they charge are viewed  as out of line with other well-run facilities, there is no question:  they’ll lose their customers, and their reputation, at the same time.  The proof is evident in every other industry, because history has shown us that no matter how good the hotel, airline or restaurant may be, if  their customers don’t feel that the pricing is comparable to similar  service providers, those companies never ­survive.

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So, here are my recommendations for those of you who want to grow more  profitable, successful businesses in the coming years. You should start  doing what your potential customers are already doing, and survey your  legitimate competitors. I’m referring to facilities that offer services  and benefits that are comparable to yours.

Secondly, ­ensure you are competitive with your prices. This doesn’t  mean you can’t charge more, but you have to be comparable, and you have  to ­believe in the value delivered.

Finally, I am not suggesting that you should quickly provide a price to  every price shopper, or that you should provide a price before you have  built value in the service. What I am suggesting is that you need to  embrace the fact that your customers are no different than you and me.  They have access to pricing info 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they not only expect transparency, but they demand it. There is no question: transparency in pricing is now a mandate, not an option, for every shop owner, worldwide.

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