By: Stan Creech, IGO President and Owner of Creech Import Repair
What a roller coaster year 2020 has been and a game changer to say the least. The first quarter was business as usual, and then came late March and Covid-19. Compared to the events of 9/11, Covid seems to have affected our lives in so many more ways. A lot of the changes have yet to be seen. And some already seen will last a lifetime. When planning for 2021, we should all consider the likelihood that there will be a second surge that in some way will have a negative impact on business. Staying up to date with Covid-19 safety protocols and communicating your efforts with your customer base through social media, text and emails is a must. Assuring the safety of our employees and their families, and the safety of customers should be part of your ongoing planning for 2021.
Many shops took advantage of government stimulus loans such as PPP through the Small Business Administration in the second quarter of 2020. What seemed like “free money” could have huge tax repercussions. Working closely with your CPA during the year and into 2021 would be wise now more than ever. If you don’t have a good CPA, it’s time to hire one!
A key number most every shop owner tracks, and one of several indicators of how the shop is doing is number of cars serviced. In April and May our car count dropped around 30% which of course was a result of Covid. At that time no one really knew what to expect. But by June our car count had rebounded, and it seemed like we were back in business as usual. Will it happen again? What can we do to limit that from happening again?
Advertising to existing customer base. Be sure you have a good CRM program in place and pay attention to it. Texting and emailing your customer base regularly is the cheapest and most effective way to advertise. A discount isn’t as important as the “touch” you give your customer when you send an email or text. The content isn’t always as important as the contact.
Follow-up with existing customers with checklist/declined items. Again, the best source of income is the existing customer base.
A different world.
Covid has changed our lives and the way we do business in the Automotive Industry. So, when planning for 2021 think outside the box. Get creative and cover every aspect you can of the foreseeable and potentially unexpected year ahead.