So you’ve decided to take a step back and review your current workshop space. GEMCO has some advice for you when it comes to getting the most out the space you’ve got, by making use of the best quality equipment.
Making the most of your space
Whether purchasing a tyre changer or a complete ATL test lane, it is key that you think of space. A well designed workshop, with an effective use of space, can speed up maintenance tasks and ultimately make or break a business, especially one that is limited on space. At GEMCO, we encourage customers to arrange a site visit with their local GEMCO sales person. Their years of knowledge will help you decide what is best for your business and customers. This, combined with an experienced CAD drawing team, will ensure that your space is used effectively.
Budget, quality and reliability
The first thing you need to have in place is a clear budget. When purchasing equipment with a limited budget, it can be tempting to buy the cheapest lift you see. You need to understand where the equipment you are purchasing is manufactured and the back-up that comes with that manufacturer. As the old saying goes, ‘if you buy cheap, you buy twice’ and this rings true when it comes to garage equipment. Furthermore, health and safety considerations should be paramount.
Have a clear plan of where your garage is now and where you want it to be in the future. Who is your current target audience? Are there any opportunities that you could be missing out on, for example offering an air con service or motorcycle servicing for your customers?
The first thing on your list should be lifts, whether you have 10 or 1,000 customers. Lifts are essential and will bring you a high return on investment. Before purchasing a lift, the first question you need to ask yourself is what type of vehicles you wish to service. At GEMCO, we offer everything from three tonne through to commercial lifts.
Although bigger jobs might bring a higher return on investment, small jobs should play a key part within your business plan and will keep you afloat, especially when building up a loyal customer base. The tyre market has been revolutionised by price comparison websites such as Black Circles, so if you want to compete on price in a heavily price dominated market, having a contract with a comparison site is a good starting point. Although this would initially cut in your margins, it would give you the opportunity to get customers through the door and possibly ensure some loyalty.
A brake tester is something that every MOT garage requires. In order to save space and increase staff productivity, it is best to purchase a one-person test lane, meaning that the second member of staff can be changing tyres whilst the other is conducting the MOT test.
Customer loyalty should be at the heart of your business plan. There are certain things that you can do to help ensure customer loyalty, including:
- Providing a three to five year servicing contract, in a similar way to dealerships, is a great way of ensuring that customers come back.
- Having a social media presence for your garage is a useful reminder for your customers to buy into your services. On the flip side, good old fashioned word of mouth also still plays a key role in getting new customers and retaining them. In a similar way to car insurance family multi car incentive schemes, your garage could run family group special offers and refer a friend promotions. Be creative!
- With the recent announcement that the time new cars are allowed on Britain’s roads before requiring an MOT could rise from three years to four years, drivers with new cars are a key audience that you should be looking to attract to your workshop – for new tyres etc. – so they return to you for the first MOT of their vehicle.
- Having an effective IT system in place, which enables you to send customers reminders for their next MOT or service. This increases the professional image of your workshop and keeps you at the front of the customer’s mind.