Most of us that are shop owners get up, go to work, deal with customers and employees, answer the telephone, schedule jobs, order parts, and by the time we get that done in a day, it is past time to go home.
But have you ever stopped to consider how a customer sees your shop? Why did he choose your shop over the one down the street? What sets your shop apart from your competition? How do you see your shop compared to your competition, and does your perception of your shop match your customer’s perception of your shop? The old saying is true…it’s all about perception.
Your accountant will remind you that just keeping the shop busy does not always make you money. If you are competing for the same jobs as the shop down the street it often comes down to price and who will work the cheapest. It doesn’t matter that not everyone’s overhead costs are the same. You’re in a dog eat dog market and the opportunity to work for free will always be there!
What if your shop was perceived as the quality shop, the one that does the highest quality work, charges the most per hour but the only one qualified to complete the precision jobs?
I discovered early on in my career that it takes about the same amount of time and effort to work for a rich customer as a poor customer, but the rich customer is often less demanding, communicates better, and most important of all, pays his bills on time. That is the kind of customer I want to work for.
Most of my customers were not born wealthy, but learned early on that the cheapest is not always the best.
They all say… if you find a shop that does quality machine work, does it right the first time, can meet deadlines, and can figure out a solution to the occasional difficult problem, that shop is a bargain. That shop will make you money. Stay with them!
That is how a wealthy customer sees it, which is not how a bargain customer sees it. The wealthy customers also know from being in business for themselves what it costs to run a business and to hire and keep good employees. They expect you to know that too and they expect to deal with the same employees every time. They watch things like turnover of employees because they know that can affect the quality of their job in the shop. They will pay for good quality and good customer service.
You as a shop owner can make more money doing specialized work because there is less competition and a better profit margin.
It may take some effort on your part to find out what type of high end jobs are available in your area and what your shop needs to do to get qualified to do those kind of jobs, but it will be worth the time and effort to establish you and your shop above the competition.
The additional benefit of your upgrade…
It also means the Mickey Mouse jobs will gradually disappear. Those ones you spend way to much time on because the customer wasn’t prepared, didn’t deliver what he said he had, was late delivering his job, which screwed up your schedule and affected your good paying customers, and then at the end is slow paying because the work cost more than he thought.
You need to pass those jobs on to someone else. As your public perception changes, those bargain customers will determine that you are too expensive for them to even consider having you do work for them. They couldn’t be more right!