Motor Equipment News - - CONTENT - By John Ox­ley Not just about price

Come WoF time, I al­ways used to take my car to the same work­shop, mainly be­cause it was con­ve­niently sit­u­ated to the of­fice – I could just hop over the fence, and didn’t need to worry about trans­port to and from the ‘shop.

Ev­ery­thing was OK for a while. It wasn’t a very mod­ern or even clean work­shop, but the peo­ple were nice and heck, I was only go­ing there for a WoF!

How­ever, there came a time when I had to take my wife’s car in for a ser­vice, and that’s when I dis­cov­ered this wasn’t a good work­shop at all. The up­shot was that soon after hav­ing a new cam­belt in­stalled the crank­shaft broke at the cam­belt end, and the car had to be scrapped.

The work­shop, of course, de­nied all re­spon­si­bil­ity…

Did I ever go back there? I couldn’t – he went out of busi­ness and closed his doors soon after, and I had to write it all down to ex­pe­ri­ence…

I’ve moved towns since then, and my wife has a new car, which she re­li­giously takes to the fran­chise dealer she bought it from, and noth­ing I say will make her look at any other work­shop.

Which brings me to the pur­pose of writ­ing this ar­ti­cle; how do you grow your au­to­mo­tive busi­ness in an at­mos­phere of re­duced WoF busi­ness and in­creased com­pe­ti­tion?

The first thing to re­mem­ber is that when cus­tomers come to your work­shop there is an ex­pec­ta­tion that it’s go­ing to cost them money, although in most cases it’s a grudge pur­chase, money they don’t want to spend, although they know they

At the same time their cars are im­por­tant to them; in fact in many cases they are vi­tal.

YOUR job isn’t just to do the work that will get them go­ing again; it’s im­por­tant that you have em­pa­thy when you ex­plain what has to be done, and why it has to be done. Safety and re­li­a­bil­ity are what most peo­ple want from their cars, and it’s im­por­tant you of­fer them both, per­form­ing a pro­fes­sional and trans­par­ent re­pair that is go­ing to sat­isfy them that their money has been well spent.

Don’t try and be mys­te­ri­ous or su­per­cil­ious, or fob them off with tech­ni­cal­i­ties; in th­ese days of the In­ter­net and smart de­vices, they can eas­ily look up what you’re talk­ing about even if you make it com­pli­cated, so it’s best to keep it sim­ple. Be com­pe­tent and con­fi­dent in your com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your cus­tomers, and they will bring you their busi­ness. At the same time as putting your cus­tomer’s – or po­ten­tial cus­tomer’s – mind at rest about the qual­ity of the work you’re go­ing to do, you must also con­vince them that good qual­ity comes at a price.

Un­less you’ve got a fi­nan­cial fairy god­mother, cut­ting prices to at­tract cus­tomers isn’t good busi­ness (un­less it’s a short-term “spe­cial” at those times of the year when busi­ness is slow) as ul­ti­mately you’ll run out of cash!

At the same time you don’t want to get a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing “cheap” as cus­tomers will then sus­pect that maybe you’re tak­ing short­cuts in your work.

To do qual­ity re­pair work doesn’t just re­quire skill and knowl­edge; you must al­ways in­stall qual­ity parts from trusted man­u­fac­tur­ers, or you could end up hav­ing to do the whole job over, at your cost!

One of the things my wife likes about her cho­sen work­shop is that they send her re­minders when a ser­vices is due. And when she picks up her car they leave a note if they ex­pect an ex­tra re­pair will be needed at the next ser­vice, such as new drive belts. That way it’s not a sur­prise, and she can bud­get for it.


There’s an old say­ing, “He who whis­pers down a well, about the goods he has to sell, doesn’t make as many dol­lars as he who climbs a tree and hollers.” It’s a good adage; you can’t at­tract cus­tomers in a vac­uum.

How­ever, at­tract­ing cus­tomers isn’t just about of­fer­ing “deals” As we men­tion above, peo­ple want qual­ity, and you can only pro­vide qual­ity at the right price.

What’s much bet­ter is to build your brand. And brand build­ing has two main driv­ers – you, and your staff. Build­ing a brand is as much about per­cep­tion as re­al­ity. The re­al­ity must be that you do a good job; the per­cep­tion that you do THE BEST job, that your staff are po­lite yet knowl­edge­able, that qual­ity comes first, that the cus­tomer is the most im­por­tant per­son who walks through the door.

All your work­shop com­mu­ni­ca­tion touch points, ads, so­cial me­dia, ser­vice and all cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tions must re­flect a “qual­ity over price” brand im­age; that way you will grow your busi­ness.

An hon­est job, at an hon­est price, friendly com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and with the best work and the best parts qual­ity; that’s the se­cret to grow your busi­ness and es­tab­lish your brand to the con­sumer, re­sult­ing in more re­fer­ral busi­ness and a high cus­tomer re­ten­tion rate.

Re­mem­ber, it takes 5.6 times the ef­fort and cost to get a new cus­tomer than it does to re­tain an ex­ist­ing one!

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