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Knowing and Understanding Your Value

Do you understand what value you bring to your customers?

What is your service worth? 

What is it about the automotive repair industry that causes us to take pride in our poverty?  There are many shop owners who feel they have to discount to attract and retain customers.  When we discount, what message are we sending?  We tell our customers that our work is not worth that much.  We tell our employees that they are not worth that much.  We send a message to the world that our industry is not a professional industry and that we overcharge people.  By discounting we are in a race to the bottom.  We set a standard for ourselves that is lower than the service we should provide for our clients.  It is up to us, as owners, to raise the bar for our businesses and the industry.  Anyone with a set of tools and a heartbeat can have a business; the setting of standards is up to each of us. Rather than lowering expectations, costs and cutting corners, it is much more important to find ways to increase value brought to customers, retain and pay great employees what they deserve and enjoy a fair profit.  In the automotive industry, we may be able to deliver work on discounted prices, but we can never deliver on a better value to our clients.  This damages our shops and brands as well as all other shops as each of us represents a small part of the automotive industry.

No more focusing in discounts! 

We should be seeking to elevate our own businesses and, in turn, the industry.  No one ever sought out a Surgeon for a major procedure like open heart surgery because they had a coupon.  When people seek your shop out it should be because you’re the best with happy customers and great reviews, not because you are the cheapest.  It is important to strive to be the best.  We find ways to add value to our customers’ experience such as: providing a three-year 36,000-mile warranty, offering complimentary loaner and rental cars, washing our client’s cars, using good quality parts, being honest and having a clean and comfortable place for customers to wait.  Focus on providing the best value rather than lowering prices, using inferior parts, and hiring unqualified people to do the job because there isn’t enough money to keep the good employees. 

This isn’t just about raising your prices

There’s much more that goes into providing value than that.  There’s a new and better way of doing business.  With this new way comes an opportunity that allows us to make a fair profit, provide a great place for employees to work, and give our clients much more value for the money. When you increase the value you are offering then you will attract and retain customers who are looking for value and are willing to pay a fair price for it. We need to charge enough to provide training for employees, buy and repair equipment, provide benefits for employees and their families, and to do marketing.  When we don’t charge enough or when we discount then we cannot provide the things that add value and make the prices worth it. Most of us got into this industry because we love fixing cars and we like helping people.  We can’t do either of these well when we don’t charge a fair price.

Only you can change your value

Only you can change what you do, what value you offer, and how you run your business. Every business is different but most customers just want to be treated like customers and receive the best value for their money.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from clients “I wish I would have made the change to this shop sooner!”  We have an opportunity every day to decide who and what we are.  Knowing and understanding your value is the first step in a process of transformation so ask yourself who are you going to be? Are you the low cost discount shop that drags the industry down or the shop that provides increased value to their clients, a great work environment to their employees and a fair profit for the owner?  The good news is that it is never too late to change.  This industry is evolving every day and those that provide an increased value to their customers, have the resources to attract and retain top talent and adapt to the changes will survive and thrive; and those who don’t, won’t.

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