Marketing Budgets for Auto Repair Shops
By Bob Cooper
In the world of auto repair and service, one thing is for certain: You are going to lose customers. They will move, no longer have a need for their automobile, turn to one of your competitors, or buy a new vehicle and then take it to the dealer for service. Accordingly, you need a consistent stream of new customers, and since you more than likely have competition in your community, you need to help those potential customers see that your shop is the right shop. The way that you accomplish this goal is by identifying who your targeted customer is, and then investing in your marketing and advertising programs, along with your customer retention programs. The question is; how much money should you be investing in those programs? Well, here are the guidelines that we share with the top shops in America.
If you have a general repair shop, a good place to start is at 4-5% of your annual sales. If you have a transmission shop, you may find that you need to increase your budget to 6-8%. Bear in mind that your budget needs to be a percentage of your “targeted” sales, not your current sales. For example, if you are currently generating $800,000 in annual sales, but your target is $1,000,000 in sales, then your marketing budget would need to be 4-5% of $1,000,000, not $800,000.
The second thing you should do is something that very few shops do, which is invest at least 50% of your budget into what we at Elite refer to as non-traditional advertising programs. Whereas traditional programs include media like direct mail, TV, radio and websites, non-traditional programs are comprised of media such as fund raisers, social media, car care events held at your shop, and any other advertising programs that are outside of the mainstream marketing channels typically used in your community.
Now here is one of our best kept secrets at Elite. We have long recognized the Y Generation (born 1980 – 1990) as the emerging market. These people are not only your customers of tomorrow, but since this generation was brought up using search and social media on their Smartphones, they are often turned to by older generations that are looking for a good auto repair shop. Accordingly, we encourage all of our coaching clients to invest 50% of their non-traditional advertising budgets into programs that are specifically directed toward the Y Gen’s in their communities. We have to remember that the first to reach this emerging market will benefit the most, so why not you?
For help increasing your car count and bringing in more of your ideal customers, learn how you can receive marketing training from the top shop owners in America through the Elite Coaching Program.
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