The motor vehicle maintenance and repair market in the UK brings in an annual revenue of £27.5bn. This is according to a UK market research report from IBISWorld, which also shows that the industry employs 212,582 people across 43,081 businesses. That’s a lot of car mechanics!
And the market is expected to grow – by 3.3% between 2014 and 2019, IBISWorld predicts. And while there’s been a recent rise in the number of new cars on our roads, which tend to require fewer repairs, the fact that there are more cars in general has fuelled industry demand.
Now to another report, this time from the Freight Transport Association (FTA), cited by Motor1.com.
It predicts that there’s going to be a shortage of mechanics in the near future, particularly within the logistics industry. It says that over half of mechanic, technician and fitter vacancies will not be filled in the coming years.
Making your business stand out
Just because demand for mechanics is strong, doesn’t mean that competition isn’t fierce. Whether you’re in the initial stages of setting up your car mechanics company, or have been in the industry for some time but want to grow your business, you need to start thinking about how you can stand out from your competitors.
Whether your business is new, old or not quite set up yet, bear in mind that you’re going to need to take out a motor trade insurance
policy. This cover will protect you, your livelihood and any staff working for you.
Insurance Choice has access to a leading panel of insurers. We’ll take the time to understand the unique needs of your business, before finding a policy to suit you and your business.
So, how can you make your car mechanics business stand out from the crowd? Here are some tips to get you started…
Reviews mean everything
These days, when we want to find out more about a certain company, hotel or restaurant, the first thing we do is go online and read customer reviews – it’s because we trust them the most.
This will be exactly the same for people looking for a great garage, meaning that signing up with a reputable network like TrustaTrader can be a great way to boost custom.
If your customers are really happy with the service they’ve received, politely ask if they wouldn’t mind leaving a review of your business to inspire other people to visit. You might want to attach a business card encouraging reviews to your receipts.
While your goal is to please everyone, you must accept that it’s nigh-on impossible to do it! You’re likely to receive the odd bad review; when you do, replying promptly and politely shows you take their feedback seriously and sends a good message to others who could be reading it.
Introduce a loyalty programmeCustomers like being rewarded for their loyalty. So, think about launching your own programme that offers people discounts or freebies after a set number of visits.
For your sake, keep things nice and simple. Introduce a punch or stamp card that entitles customers to a certain free or discounted service or product. That way, you won’t have to deal with lots of admin.
Encourage customer referrals As well as loyalty schemes, you may want to incentivise customers for referring their friends, family and colleagues to you. These incentives could take the form of a freebie, service discount or even a competition entry to win something car-related.
If you’re going to launch loyalty and customer referral schemes, make sure you tell your customers about them! Share the news on your social media channels, put posters up in the waiting room, and don’t neglect the old fashioned word of mouth when serving your customers.
Share some car-related knowledge on a blog We all know how important it is for businesses to have a digital presence these days. In particular, a decent company website that contains all the necessary information and is easy to navigate. And let’s not forget social media channels – like Facebook and Twitter – that are regularly updated with informative and engaging content.
A blog can prove to be a real asset to your company website. It can help to increase your website traffic and get your company to feature higher up on Google’s results pages (a lot of people don’t click past the first page).
A car advice blog will offer value to people who land on your website, while also being an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise – a great way to subtly promote your company and services.
Embrace email marketing Email remains a popular and effective marketing tactic. But before you start sending messages to past and prospective customers, it’s really important to familiarise yourself with new laws under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Included in this legislation – designed to protect consumers and their data – are rules around marketing communications. An example would be the need to ask customers to actively ‘opt in’ to receive emails from you. There are plenty of useful, free guides available on the web.
Once you’ve educated yourself on GDPR, you can start thinking of your email strategy. Because you’ll probably be pressed for time running your own business, you could do something simple like send a weekly or fortnightly newsletter.
This e-newsletter could include company news, service deals and links to your latest blogs on your website (which will drive website traffic).
Another good idea is to send out service reminders to customers a couple of weeks before they’re due. They’re bound to appreciate the reminder and, hopefully, will feel compelled to book in with you again.
Don’t forget motor trade insurance Insurance Choice appreciates just how important it is to get the right level of cover for your business. That’s why we’ll work hard to find you a motor trade combined insurance policy that offers robust protection, matching your identified requirements for a competitive price .