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Sick days, loaner cars and holiday marketing

November 05, 2008
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Here are three tips to reduce unnecessary waste and expenses at your detail shop, courtesy of

Eliminate sick days

What causes sick days? Sick employees, of course! So, how about doing what you can to prevent them from getting sick in the first place?

Before winter arrives, offer free flu shots. They really do work. When winter arrives, do what you do at home; fire up a humidifier. Offer to assist with a health club membership.

Basically, make a list of all of the things that you do (or should be doing) to maintain your health. Then see what you can offer to your staff. When the car count explodes during lousy weather, your odds of having a full staff will increase.

How to effectively offer loaner cars

Oh, the curse of loaner cars. If you don't have them, it's a problem. Of course, if you do have them, it's a problem, too. The trick is to take the time to create a good system to address the issues which occur when offering loaners.

Excellent procedures will reduce the vast majority of the problems that tend to happen. Develop a solid system for loaning the cars out. Set a budget and stick to it no matter what. Make a weekly inspection checklist to keep the cars ready for use.

In today's market, most shops should offer loaner cars. Figure out how to do it right and you will appreciate the benefits.

Holiday marketing -- no matter the season

It's common for shops to tie some type of marketing to the Christmas season. Some may also do something for the 4th of July.

Now, if we take a look at our calendars we quickly see that there are plenty of other holidays; and it seems like there are more being added every year! It's pretty easy to pick one holiday each month and figure out some type of marketing to coincide with it.

Get creative and make it fun for your customers! A holiday of the month promotion might be a great marketing system for your shop. After doing it for the first year, you will then have it solidly in place and you can repeat the system annually with only minor modifications.

Tom and Deb Ham are the owners of Automotive Management Network, an online forum to exchange information about the management of all types of vehicle service facilities, independent auto repair shops, car and truck dealers, franchises, fleets, body shops and more. More information can be found at