5 Ways to Make Your Shop Convenient

Published by Naseem Muaddi on May 10th, 2012

Customers base their purchase decisions on three primary factors: price, quality and convenience. While most auto upholstery shops already compete on price and quality, convenience is a factor that’s all-too-often overlooked.

Cunning business owners know that the easier you are to purchase from, the more money you’ll make. Below are five easy ways your auto upholstery shop can make itself more convenient.

1. Offer Free Pickup and Delivery

Offering free pickup and delivery service is a great way to secure contract accounts with fleet services and dealerships – especially those that are too busy or understaffed to deliver vehicles on their own. It could also help distinguish your auto upholstery shop from the competition, and even justify slightly higher prices.

Just be sure to properly cover your liabilities. Securing a “repair/towing” or “transporter” license plate will ensure that your shop’s liability insurance transfers to vehicles that you pickup and deliver.

2. Accept Credit Card Payments

Accepting credit cards simplifies the buying process for customers who may not have access to cash. A leaky convertible top, for instance, requires immediate attention. But if a customer doesn’t have cash on hand, he’ll likely search for an auto upholstery shop that accepts credit cards. By not offering this payment option, you’re basically leaving money on the table.

Aside from the traditional credit-card machine, consider offering online payments through services like Paypal. Upholstery shops that offer pickup and delivery service may also want to checkout mobile credit card machines and smart phone apps that allow you to accept payments on the go.

3. Extend Your Business Hours

Most auto upholstery shops operate during regular business hours – Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and possibly a half-day on Saturday too. Unfortunately, most customers also work during those hours, making it difficult for them to stop by for an estimate. Opening an hour earlier, staying an hour later or increasing the number of weekend hours you work will make it more convenient for customers to give you their business.

Shops that are unable to extend their business hours should consider a secure afterhours drop box. This way, customers can leave their cars on your lot and drop off their keys when they have free time.

4. Give Customers Something to Do

Customers who are unable to arrange for a ride back home tend to procrastinate in having repairs done. However, some jobs – like headliners and cigarette burns – can bring in quick money if these customers can be convinced to wait while you work.

To secure quick jobs, you’ll need to make customers’ hours-long wait convenient. One way to do this is by offering free Wi-Fi so that they can work or play online while you get down to business. Another great idea is to give them a print-out of nearby stores they can shop at while they wait. After all, what can be more convenient that knocking out a few errands while you get your car fixed?

5. Offer Email Estimates

It’s always better to give estimates in person, rather than over the phone or online. But sometimes there’s just no way around it. Customers are busy people too – so refusing to give them ballpark figures of what jobs cost can ultimately cost you jobs.

Over-the-phone estimates are always hard to give because it’s difficult to visualize the type of repairs or customizations customers want. However, giving them the option to email you high-quality photos and a clear description of the services they require can make giving estimates to busy customers easy for you and convenient for them. Just be sure they know that an exact quote can’t be given until you see the job in person.

Remember: price and quality will always play an important role in purchase decisions, but they’re not always the deciding factor. Distinguish your auto upholstery shop from the competition by making it more convenient for customers to give you their business.

Also, check out our article: 5 Ways Trim Shops Get Paid on Time

The Haartz Corporation

9 Responses

  1. Gilbert Hicks says:

    I think credit card payments are a must and I also like staying open later.

  2. clifton says:

    I do all of that now :)Credit cards are a must, i do allot of mobile services and i use square for credit card service.

  3. I started accepting credit cards about 4 years ago and customers really appreciate the fact that they’re able to make monthly payments instead of one lump sum. I just wish more people paid cash.

  4. onestopcustoms says:

    if you don’t want a c.c. machine accept payal… 😀

    • Nadeem says:

      Which charges a higher surcharge, cc machines or Paypal?

      • I’m pretty sure Paypal charges more.

        • clifton says:

          it sure does suck when you done with the job and the customer is like… aaaah i don’t have any money on me.. do you take credit cards…. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. ok why didn’t you ask that before we started…. that’s why i do C.C’s
          cash is always better tho…

          • Todd says:

            I do all of the above as well. By the time they add in all the charges and monthly statement fees we pay about 3.4% per transaction on a credit card charge. I always add in 5% to the bill. I will offer the customer a 5% discount if they pay cash. Atleast this way I don’t loose money.

  5. tinabanana says:

    There was a few tips i didn’t think about, great article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *