Google places information I can share:
Question by Craig: what's the best method of advertising for a small auto repair business?
besides google places, bing and yahoo. already done that. thanks in advance for your advice.
Answer by Jeff Wampler
Internet may not be the ideal place to spend your resources, but if it's being effective for you, kudos.
The most effective thing you can do is be an honest mechanic. Being on the other side of the garage, so to speak, it takes a great leap of faith to go to an auto repair shop you've never been before sight unseen. It's important to remember that no matter how stressed you get at the shop, to not take it out on customers. I'm not saying you do at all...I'm just saying to never let it happen. Never let them see you sweat, as the old saying goes.
Now, for specific strategies. Do you have a yellow pages ad? If not, get one. Many people still go to the yellow pages especially when looking for auto mechanics. Your ad will look different from every other ad in the pages. It will say:
Don't Hire Any
Auto Mechanic Until
You Call This Toll FREE
Consumer Hotline For:
"10 Mistakes Consumer Make
When Choosing An Auto Mechanic"
This call will lead them to a 3-5 minute message telling them about how to choose the right mechanic (YOU) and scaring the hell out them with tales of other mechanics (don't mention anyone specifically) charging them for unneeded repairs, charging for repairs that weren't done, or any other unfair practices that go on in this business (you know about un-ethical business practices in your industry, right?). Then the solution is to call you, Mr. Honest Mechanic. Some 800 services will then forward that call to your shop. If you think you can't afford another line, you can. There's a company called Kall8 that charges per month for an 888 number plus 6.9 cents per minute. Not bad at all.
Don't limit this to yellow pages. This ad could be in any print media. Perhaps there's a local magazine that restaurants hand out for free in their lobby (newspapers are WAY too expensive), although you may be able to advertise in the classifieds profitably.
For current customers, after you've done a terrific job repairing their vehicle, ask them to write down the names and addresses of 5-10 of their friends that may be in need of car repairs.
With this information, you write a letter to their friends saying that their friend (mention the name specifically) had their car repaired at your shop and was very pleased. Just because they referred them, you'll send them a coupon for 20%(or whatever) off any repair they have in the future...or, you'll do their next oil change for FREE, just pay the cost of the oil and filter.
Now, you won't get 5 or 10 people for every customer...but you'll get a few...and in a year, that will snowball. Keep your honesty, keep your integrity. I swear to you, an honest mechanic is REALLY hard to find, and if you get that niche, and you're good at what you do, you'll make a lot of money for a very, very long time.
Just a few more ideas. I don't know what kind of vehicles you specialize in, if any. But you can buy a mailing list of people that own a particular brand of vehicle that live within a certain radius of your shop. For example, say you specialize in domestic vehicles pre-1990's. You can buy a list of people that own those vehicles that live within 10 miles of your shop. You send them a postcard for a FREE checkup, and boom, you got tons of business. Mailing lists can be rented by mailing list brokers...perhaps you have some in your local area, check the phone book or do a search online.
Anyway, sounds like you're sitting on a goldmine. If you need further help developing any of the above, don't hesitate to contact me...this is what I do. Good luck!
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