Technology marches on. Trucks become more complicated with each new model or accessory system designed to make trucks safer, more efficient, and productive. But what does that do to the small repair shop?
It’s tough enough to get all the training necessary to master new repairs never seen in your shop before. Inexperienced technicians can turn a small job into a rabbit hole with no end in sight. So how do you handle it? You’re not an island, after all.
You don’t want to throw your hands up and say, “Sorry, we don’t do that job here.” And the customer has to go elsewhere to get their truck repairs completed and is never seen by you again. And it’s a kill shot in your heart when that customer tells others you can’t handle the job.
Your Shop’s Reputation Counts
Reputation is everything in this business. Bad mouthing can kill it. You need your customers to be upbeat when they talk about your shop. That’s what brings in new customers and keeps your shop busy with a generous stream of revenue.
How do you get your customers to promote your shop? Simple. By always doing your best to complete repairs quickly and accurately for a fair price. I know that you already know that and don’t need us to tell it to you.
You’re not alone in this business. There are other small shops around your area that could be a source of information on repair procedures that your shop is lacking. Get to know them and foster friendships that can turn into alliances.
Remember that in those alliances you will also be looked upon to contribute help. Yes, they are your competitors but that shouldn’t make you fearful of losing customers. Outside shop managers who are aware of your work and how good you mostly do for your customers will respect your ability and right to earn a good reputation. They will at times lean on you for help and you will feel a sense of pride for being able to give it to them.
Another way to gain needed repair procedures is to join an association for truck repair shops. It becomes a meet and greet exercise for getting to know knowledgeable persons in your industry. Many small shop personnel including techs represent their company in associations that foster the sharing of helpful information.
Use an icebreaker to start a conversation. For instance, “Has your shop ever run into such and such repair or problem?” If yes, ask how did they handle it? If no, the person will likely know someone within the group who has encountered it and will offer to introduce you. What could be easier?
Even your parts manager can gain from other association managers and learn from the group how to form bonds with others as a way to acquire discounts on frequently used items. It’s also a good way to get quick delivery of parts you’ve been unable to find to facilitate a rapid repair.
It’s all in working together for the benefit of everyone’s customers.
But what if There is No Association Nearby?
Again a simple answer: form one. Talk it up with your competitors locally to show how such an alliance could benefit everyone involved. Let them know it would be open to be represented by both managers and technicians.
In an association you can find out about current and coming trends to help you stay on top of what the industry is doing. Knowing where business is headed will keep you primed for what’s new.
Creating an association gives other shops a heads up on who you are and what you’re best at. Working together means everyone wins.
Try it. What have you got to lose?