So, you want to grow your truck repair business. Huzzah! We’re thrilled to hear it.
Keep in mind that how fast you grow—and how much you grow—isn’t solely based around you putting down your coffee cup and announcing, “I’m going to grow the business!” Some of the factors that can impact your efforts at expanding are the market in your region and the size and training of your staff. You may also have limitations on space and equipment.
We took those elements into consideration while putting together this list. The suggestions we’re about to offer will work in just about any size shop, in any location, and they don’t require massive expansion of space or employees (although if you can do that, more power to you!).
So, what should you consider when trying to expand?
1. ADD A NEW SERVICE
While doing research for their second State of Heavy-Duty Repair report, our partners at Fullbay looked into what services repair shops offered. They discovered something interesting: While 75% of shops provided in-shop repair, there was a sizable gap between the percentage offering “standard” services (including mobile repair and welding) and those offering less standard services. For example, only 38% of shops offer tire service, and only 16 percent provide collision repair services.
Take a look at your immediate competition (other shops in your area and region) and make a note of what they do and don’t offer. Talk to your customers. Find out what services they have to go elsewhere to receive.
Then ask yourself: Is there a service gap you can fill?
Think about what your customers need and how they’re getting it. Then make sure you’re the one offering it.
2. SUBSCRIBE TO A BREAKDOWN DIRECTORY
Breakdown directories are pretty much what they sound like: registries of repair shops that a driver or fleet manager can call on for repairs if they’re broken down by the side of the road. Most of the popular directories are available as apps or websites; some still print physical books, like a Yellow Pages for breakdowns, that a driver can thumb through if something goes wrong.
You do need to pay a fee to get your ship listed in these directories. With that said, the fees are typically reasonable (starting at under $100 per year and going up, depending on the registry and what kind of profile you want listed)—and don’t forget, you’ll generally be charging higher rates for emergency service.
Utilizing one or more breakdown directories can lead to a steady income stream for your shop, but don’t forget that showing up in an emergency can lead to other, non-critical work down the line. If you come to the rescue of a fleet truck stranded on the highway, they’ll remember you; they may come back to you for maintenance in the future (see #4 in this article).
3. BOOST YOUR MARKETING
Business growth is largely fueled by customers—so you need more of them.
Enter marketing, or how you reach people. You want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to reach your potential customers.
Going digital has made it easier than ever to reach thousands, even millions of people. Make sure you have a website to act as your internet shopfront (and make sure it’s mobile-friendly—57.3% of all traffic is now mobile). Next, get your Google footprint established (hey—we’ve got a detailed article about how to do that, so read it now!).
You can also turn to social media, looking into options like Facebook or LinkedIn ads. Many trade journals and publications also have a digital version now, so look into getting an ad placed in those.
4. PROVIDE PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE
If you’re seeing a few trucks from the same fleet here and there for repairs, consider getting in touch with the fleet manager and asking to take over preventive maintenance. This is a win for everyone:
The fleet manager: They’ll have their trucks maintained, minimizing downtime and maximizing safety.
Your shop: Suddenly, you’re not just repairing the fleet’s trucks here and there. You’ll be providing general maintenance to the entire fleet. That’s a steady flow of work and revenue; PMs can even become a cornerstone of your business.
FOCUS ON GROWTH
How much your repair business grows will come down to what you can offer your customers and how many of those customers you can reach. You may not want or be able to implement all of these ideas, but we hope you’re thinking about them as you go forward.
We’ll leave you with a word of advice about marketing. There’s honestly a lot you can do with it—or rather, a lot an experienced marketer can do for you. If you like the idea of reaching more people but are already wearing a bunch of hats, the team at Dieselmatic is here for you. We only work with truck repair shops specializing in the diesel industry, and we want to help you run a stronger, more predictable business. Seriously, we’d love to chat—get in touch with us here.