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Three great ideas for detailers

October 22, 2008
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These three management tidbits are courtesy of

Is your price always the same?

Should it be? Hotel prices typically vary a large amount depending on days of the week. Yet their costs remain close to the same. Gas prices frequently go up during holiday periods. Rental prices are often seasonal.

Might this approach be applicable at your shop? Are you slow or busy when you are preparing an estimate? What does your schedule look like?

When you are saving estimates for future use, enter both an ideal price and a minimum acceptable prie. Following basic supply and demand principles may be an excellent way for you to keep the work load steadier while improving your gross profit.

Estimates on your website

Internet usage is growing rapidly and will continue to do so. More and more customers prefer the ease of using the internet instead of stopping in or calling your shop.

Develop a specific estimate request form on your web site where customers can submit information to you. Once it is received you can take your time to research the options and contact the customer. This will also allow you to get their email and other contact information for your marketing efforts.

Remember that estimate requests are often the first step to gaining new customers. The easier you make the process, the more new customers will end up at your shop.

Parts gross profit

Often we place our focus primarily on what we charge for parts. While that is certainly important, make sure that you also concentrate on what you pay for parts.

It is generally agreed that the cheapest part is not always the best way to go, however successful shop owners make sure that they are getting the best price they can for the products which they prefer to use. Great vendor service is critical, but it also needs to be complemented with excellent pricing.

Working on both ends of the parts gross profit picture is the best way to achieve your targets.

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

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