Running a garage or MOT testing station can be hard at the best of times, but at the moment with heavily increased energy bills and winter on its way we are all looking to save money in any way we can, so how can you increase garage profits to help this situation? Thankfully as a garage owner, there are many things you can do not only to save costs but also to increase turnover and profits in the business, here are a number of top tips, keep reading to learn more.
- Optimise opening times
Inevitably there will be times when every garage is busy and others when it’s not so busy. Generally, opening times tend to stay fairly consistent for most garages despite these high and low periods of customers needing their vehicles repaired, serviced or MOT completed. As most of your garage work will be scheduled ahead of time and also most either booked online or over the phone you may be able to predict ahead of time each week or each month when quiet times are likely to be, or learn from historic work when there tends to be a lull in vehicles coming through the door. So why not adapt your opening times in line with the work, this may mean closing longer over lunch, not opening at all at a weekend, or perhaps opening earlier or later around customers working hours, but closing the doors during the day. This could help to reduce overall costs, and only pay electricity costs for the times when work is being done.
- Replace lighting with LED
To further reduce energy costs, consider replacing all workshop lighting with LED lights. LED lights generally consume up to 85% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs, so if you have ceiling lights in the workshop, also in reception, coupled with handheld garage lighting for working under or inside a vehicle this could give you substantial savings. When coupled with PIR sensors (where appropriate) to switch the lights off when there is no movement, this can further save electricity when nobody is working, or even if you forget to switch the lights off when you leave the building!
- Remind customers when MOT is due
We are all reminded when road tax or insurance is due on a vehicle, but unless we have specifically sighed up for a reminder service, we are never reminded when the MOT is due on a vehicle. Since the failure to maintain the MOT could lead to the vehicle being dangerous to drive, cause longer-term damage to the vehicle and potentially lead to a fine, it would seem sensible to be reminded of this important event. As a garage it’s in our best interests to have repeat business coming through the doors, so a call, email or SMS reminder to a customer reminding them of their upcoming need for an MOT test seems a simple way to offer excellent customer service, retain existing customers, increase repeat business and substantially increase profits for the business.
- Schedule customer’s annual service
Similarly to the MOT reminder, unless we have specifically sighed up for a reminder service, or our car is clever enough to tell us, we are never reminded when the service is due on a vehicle. Again the failure to maintain the service history could lead to more expensive repairs being required in the future, and the upkeep of this can help to increase the resale value of the vehicle, so scheduling this ahead of time, or a friendly reminder to the customer could save them a lot of money, whilst maintaining contact with these repeat customers to help build the relationship and keep them coming back in future, once more leading to increased profits for the business, which is always cheaper than the cost of gaining new business via costly advertising.
- Buy garage consumables in bulk
Many garage consumable suppliers offer substantial discounts when you buy in larger quantities. For example, wheel weights and valves will be in constant use in your garage if you are changing wheels or tyres. Often buying in larger quantities will lead to an overall reduced cost at the time of purchase, as well because you are not paying for shipping multiple times there is a hidden saving to be had there too. Furthermore, it will be less likely you will run out of these important tyre repair items if you have a bulk load in stock, so less panic buying in future, which will often be at a higher price due to the urgency or need for the same or next day deliveries.
- Upgrade the services you offer
If you are a tyre fitting business or small independent garage you may find you have to turn customers away for certain services. For example, if you don’t stock TPMS sensors and TPMS valves then many cars manufactured since November 2014 may not be able to use your workshop to have tyres fitted or repaired. Similarly, if you don’t have a tyre-changing machine capable of removing run-flat tyres, then a lot of modern lower-profile vehicles may need to go elsewhere, often to the most costly dealer to have this work done. This may prevent the same customer from coming to you in the future for work that you could have done such as servicing or MOT testing. If you don’t have any diagnostic tools the capability to diagnose issues with vehicles engine management systems can be slowed down immensely, and the addition of these valuable tools can be the difference between a customer having to go elsewhere or staying with you. Furthermore, the addition of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) calibration can complete a garage that has everything to change tyres and complete an alignment and with more cars getting collision avoidance and lane assist technology built in, this is increasingly becoming a necessity for any modern garage to offer. It’s worth considering the garage equipment you are using, as some may simply need upgrading, such as an attachment to enable you to change motorcycle tyres, or an alloy wheel protector to ensure you do not damage those valuable alloy wheels whilst changing tyres. You may even find that replacing your tyre changing machines could be less costly than you imagine, and this could open up a lot of additional services you can offer customers, therefore paying for the new equipment in less time than you think.
- Add an MOT bay to your garage
As well as considering your daily tyre changing equipment, if you don’t already offer MOT testing, you should consider adding this as a service you can supply. You may be surprised to find that the cost of maintaining both an MOT bay, as well as the additional staff to run it could pay for itself in under a year! After which time the profits increase even more. Check the MOT Bay profit calculator on the Concept Garage Equipment website to check the ROI you could expect on this valuable investment by adding or upgrading to an MOT Bay package into your existing garage
- Get money off your next garage equipment purchase
If you are thinking of setting up a new garage, upgrading your existing one, adding more garage services or setting up an MOT Bay to your workshop, then we are here to help. We are currently offering £300 of all ADAS calibration equipment and have some simply incredible garage equipment deals on tyre changing packages, TOPDON Diagnostic tools and Aircon regas machines.