I have been thrashing The Garage drum (check out www.NetProfitTraining.com) for a number of columns now. We and a hundred of our closest dealer friends have learned quite a bit this past year, both from victories and gaffes while implementing this unique and highly profitable concept.
In case you have missed it, I am on an insistent campaign to get dealer service and parts pointed towards second and third owner vehicles, where the serious parts and labor gross profit is flourishing. Almost all of this highly lucrative toil is being done in independent shops; of which there are just over 80,000 registered (compare that to a dealer count of 16 to 18,000 depending on the day of the week and who’s counting).
One calculation we do in The Garage workshop is to determine how much monthly gross profit is generated in a quickie lube stall versus a real “Garage” stall, both functioning at full steam. I let the attendees input their own figures, but inevitably the results tally at some $8,000 a month gross profit for the lube stall, and $20,000 a month for the Garage stall. You don’t have to be a brainy scholar to finalize a decision on which effort pays off.
Attracting the oldies
These are some generally accepted facts:
1. Second and third vehicle owners don’t use dealerships (check your used car service retention if you think I’m wrong).
2. Home-grown dealership people have little interest in working on these vehicles (check your used car service retention if you think I’m wrong).
However, we discovered that, when featured properly, these bucket drivers will indeed utilize a dealership “Garage”service. That’s where the concept of featuring a “Garage”, rather than the “Service Department” comes into play. Most interesting, we are getting a lot of attention by utilizing Craig’s List on the Internet, which is essentially free almost everywhere. In one short posting alone, we got over 400 clicks on our links in less than two weeks. Sounds great, except it didn’t generate much actual action (moola).
Wrong locker room
It became immediately obvious that our current “dealer” web sites (the butter knife here) didn’t fit the image or message, which we needed to convey to these persnickety landlords of land yachts. Let’s face it; dealer web sites are more about selling new sheet metal than about servicing the check engine light — and dang all this fancy schmancy web work makes the place look wicked expensive to boot.
So, we have determined that a secondary and poignant Garage web site (the gun in the gun fight), befitting that of actual car repairs (versus parts replacement and maintenance), is imperative for successfully attracting this unique (to us anyway) crowd. To that end we have designed the “almost perfect Garage web site” (mentions trucks, trains, rain, prison, and mama).
What do ya want from me?
Put this in perspective: 28 years old, two curtain climbers, dead-end job, newly married spouse who recently lost the job when The Party Hut closed down, home devalued 28.73% since last March, and now the 01 Clunkermobile ain’t running too spiffy. What does this person want to see in a web site for car/truck repairs? How about those $399 payments for a new Koolmobile? Forgetaboutit.
This challenged and maybe little frustrated individual wants to know:
1. What exactly do you do?
2. How much do you charge?
3. Are you honest?
4. What kind of deals do you have?
5. What kind of parts options do you offer?
6. When are you open?
7. Are your techs trained?
8. Can you arrange financing?
9. Do you provide guarantees?
10. How long will it take?
11. Where are you?
12. Can you gimme some good reasons to consider your business for my business! You will recognize these as service and parts relationship fundamentals, no fluff and certainly no BS.
So, if you are interested in a sample “almost perfect Garage web site,” just write to me at ekovalchick@Dealer-communications.com — Subject Line: Almost Perfect Garage Web Site and I will e-mail you a rough draft, which may tickle your innards, as well as make you consider directing these old-car owners to a place where they and you are more comfortable — off the showroom floor.