Benefits of a Full-Service Automotive Shop

Chances are, you’ve probably taken a vehicle or two for a quick oil change at a chain auto repair shop in between major services, or used a national chain for brake or other specific repair work.

While many of these shops may be reliable and honest, their limited service menus and low pricing may compromise overall car care. Their mechanics may not be as seasoned as those in independently owned, full service shops. They may recommend more frequent servicing than necessary for low-cost jobs like oil changes, and use a cheaper, off-brand oil that might not be the best for your car.

Primary Care for Your Car

Mechanics in a full-service auto shop are sort of like primary care physicians: they see the entire car, and not just the brakes or engine. Full-service auto mechanic shops have lower employee turnover than the corporate shops, which are notorious for high turnover. At a full-service shop, mechanics are exposed to more cars, models, and technologies and are aware of performance issues that customers bring in along with their solutions.

Independent automotive shop employees receive more training about new car specs as well as services needed by older cars. They understand the impact of a particular climate on vehicle maintenance (for example, oil changes should be more frequent in extreme hot or cold climates) and can advise customers about what they can do on their own to prolong their vehicles’ life-cycle and efficiency.

Do Full Service Shops Charge More?

In general, you will get the most reasonable charges at a full-service shop and individualized serviced. Independent full-service shops charge a flat rate for their work, which are often lower than dealership charges because of lower overhead. (They are not, after all, paying for extra space used to showcase new or used cars, which are very sensitive to greater market influences.) Mechanics and technicians at independent shops are paid by the hour or receive a salary based upon their skills and job performance, just like most businesses. This frees staff from pressure to maximize the number of repairs they do and the temptation to cut corners.

More Attention to Customer Service?

Independent shops live and die by good customer relations. A good word from a customer to friends and neighbors or placed on Google is essential for an independent shop to thrive.

As with any service-oriented business, customer service can make a huge difference. Independent shops understand that customers value trust and work to build relationships with their customers. They will, for example, be more likely to get customers in a routine to bundle repairs, such as oil changes (at proper intervals) with tire rotation and balancing, which can save time and money.

Surveys Show: Independent Shops Preferred to Dealerships

Consumer Reports asks car owners each year about how satisfied they are with repairs they had over the past 12 months. The most recent data from 2012 follows a long-term trend that shows overall preference for independent shops over dealerships. Not surprisingly, dealership customers complained about high prices more than customers of independent shops, 42% to 32%.

Who prefers independent shops the most? An even mix of owners of mid-range and high-end cars and include Chrysler, Dodge, Jaguar, Jeep, Nissan, Mercedes, and Volvo owners. Dealership fans tend to be owners of the most expensive cars including Porsche.

Source: Car repair shops buying guide. Consumer Reports, June 2014.

Ford Kuga at the Geneva Motor Show

The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest car shows in Europe with all the car manufacturers attending in order to show off and promote any new launch that is going to happen in the next year. Ford announced at the event that the Ford Kuga and Ford Mondeo will both have new engines later this year to improve performance. Ford introduced the Kuga late compared to other car manufacturers such as Land Rover, Toyota and Nissan. But even though the Kuga was late to the party it doesn’t lack any of the features and charm of its rivals. In fact when Ford was designing the Kuga they probably researched the other models on the market to see what were the advantages and disadvantages of the 4×4 vehicles on the market. Ford has certainly got the style right with the Ford Kuga. In fact the stylish chassis is probably its best feature if you consider the price Ford is currently selling the 4×4 at. Its looks definitely play a part in why people love this car so much.

The technological features aren’t as good as other models from other manufacturers but you probably wouldn’t expect it to be considering a brand new Ford Kuga is priced at just £17,500. This is one of the cheaper 4x4s on the market which is stylish too. The Kuga is not only stylish but it is also very comfortable inside. The space might be a problem though with it feeling quite compact inside. Space is usually a problem with most 4×4 vehicles on the market, because of its robust build the interior is smaller than some estate cars for example.

Although the Ford Kuga looks fantastic and some of the other 4×4 models also look appealing they have received bad press in the past. This has ranged from stories regarding the increased impact of the vehicle when it hits a child in comparison to a smaller vehicle. In addition to this global warming has been a hot topic with the 4×4 vehicles mainly because it uses more petrol than other cars, but sports cars are probably the same in this respect. As technology is improving all the time though particularly when designing new vehicles the emissions of new cars are far less than cars built over 10 years ago.

The government scrappage scheme was launched to help car dealers and car manufacturers during the recession but it also meant to help take of inefficient cars from the road. I’m sure in some cases this actually happened but the large majority of car dealers I spoke to suggested that it was the people with fairly efficient cars that took part in the scrappage scheme. Although my mother used the scrappage scheme to buy a new car and traded her 14 year old Ford Galaxy. People carriers as get bad press about their size and the amount of emissions they produce.

As technology is improving we shouldn’t feel too guilty about buying 4x4s. The Ford Kuga is a very stylish and reasonably priced SUV on the market.

Automotive Care: Take Care of Your Car Now

When it comes to your car, all you need is love. Just like any other product that you purchase, the better care you take of your ride, the longer it will last. Of course this means regular oil changes, transmission fluid flushes, and the occasional brake replacement. But what about the outside of your car? What can you do to show it a little love?

Most people keep their car for a few years and then consider reselling it and upgrading. The exterior matters here because a chipped and scratched paint job lowers the resale value. Plus, it just looks bad. No one wants to drive around in a cool car with a compromised paint job.

One of the best ways to protect the exterior is with protective films. No, not movies. I’m talking about clear layers that are made out of vinyl and provide a durable, protective coat on your ride. The best thing about these protective films is that if you’re savvy enough and purchase them ahead of time, no harm will come to your car at all.

Forget about all of those flying rocks and road debris. Taking your car off road for a little romp through the woods? No need to worry about paint scraping tree branches. By placing protective films on your car you can effectively reduce both everyday road hazards that cause chipping but also non-everyday paint compromises like foliage.

The best films are easy to apply, and custom cut to fit your ride perfectly. No one wants to deal with one large sheet of laminate that you have to cut yourself to fit your car. The simplest method is to order it specialized by providing the vendor with the make and model of your car. That way, you’re ensured a perfect fit every time.

Also, make sure to order a laminate that’s forgiving application-wise. The “one and done” method of adhesive is annoying and attempting to peel off sticky laminate has the potential to leave residue on your ride. No one wants that. So be sure to look out for something that’s easy to apply and will allow for multiple attempts just in case you need them.

The best way to show your car a little love is to protect it. Keep it pretty by applying protective films that are not only strong and rugged but apply easily and are guaranteed to last.

5 Great Ways To Use Vinyl Banners For Your Automotive Repair Business

Knowing how to use a vinyl banner to the benefit of your automotive repair shop will help build awareness and, ultimately, new business for your shop. It’s important to think about what your repair shop has to offer and how a large vinyl banner could help grab attention, increase new customers, and improve current customer retention.

The bold design and vibrant colors of a well-designed advertising banner are great for making an impact, and a strong message can be enough to build trust with new service customers. Here are some of the most-effective uses for vinyl banners for your automotive repair business.

Listing Specialties

Identifying your automotive specialties builds confidence in your training and service. Hang a vinyl banner to help build your competitive edge and specifically-list your specialty training in imports, transmission repair, brakes, etc. Customers are more-comfortable knowing their car is being serviced by an experienced professional who is a confident authority on their specific repairs.

Customer Loyalty Programs

Advertise your customer appreciation cards, returning customer programs, service cards and any other special incentive programs that you offer to customers. An advertising banner that shows your customer appreciation will encourage return customers and develop a dedicated customer base. Place your custom banner in the waiting room so customers will be motivated to sign up for your customer loyalty programs while they wait.

Special Offers

As your part suppliers and distributors offer promotions, take advantage of this time to advertise special offers to your customers using a vinyl banner. Place an outdoor banner across your repair shop to announce the promotion, or hang an indoor banner over the parts section to help direct customers to the short-term deals. Always make sure to include a deadline which motivates customers to purchase.

Services

If you run a full-service repair shop, make sure current and potential customers know everything your shop provides. Hang a vinyl banner over your shop entrance or in your lobby. This will help your service representatives market your capabilities and lets customers know up-front everything that your shop can perform.

Promoting Events

If your service shop specializes in classic restoration, or if your employees have other specific interests, use this as an opportunity to participate in local events. Showing off your custom abilities and getting involved in the local community is a great way to market your shop. Don’t forget to order a vinyl banner which shows your business as the event sponsor or announces who is responsible for the restoration.