By Jeff Sanford
Detroit, Michigan -- July 27, 2015 -- Increasing traditional revenue streams in collision repair can be very difficult. This is one reason for an interesting panel session at NACE 2015 that looked outside the traditional. The panel, Alternate Revenue Streams, examined various methods for facility owners to increase revenue.
As panel members pointed out, the increasing quality of cars has reduced the amount of maintenance the average person needs. New technologies like automatic braking are also decreasing the number of accidents. As a result, owners of both service facilities and repair facilities are more interested than ever in finding new ways to generate income.
The panel consisted of Bill Moss, President of EuroService Automotive; Chris Chesney, Sr. Director Customer Training for CARQUEST Technical Institute; Donny Seyfer, Co-Owner of Seyfer Automotive; Greg Buckley, President of Buckley's AutoCare, and Todd Westerlund, CEO of Kukui Corporation.
You would expect a session on alternate revenue streams to take a turn towards the unconventional, and the panelists fulfilled that expectation. Here are some of the more interesting:
- Proper positioning of car seats for children. One of the panel members talked about the need to offer this service. Car seats need to be set up in a very specific manner, and offering this service to clients for free may be a great way to build client loyalty. In some cases, some specialty car seats may require even more careful positioning than usual. The panelist spoke about a specific case where a customer had a baby with a liver disease and a special car seat had to be installed in a very specific way. The job took forty five minutes, but the client was extremely grateful. One idea is to put up an ad at a hospital explaining how it is your shop can help with this important task.
- Another panel member discussed how one shop in Arizona had local artists provide the art for the waiting room. The art was also for sale, creating another stream of revenue. The same shop also held wine tastings on a regular basis as a way of creating connections with clients.
- Put a note in the window of loaner cars indicating they are for sale.
- Sell packages of products, such as a “six-pack” of oil changes or other maintenance services.
- Digital marketing is more key than ever, but it’s not just on the Internet. New digital signs can provide all kinds of information to those in the waiting room.
- One of the audience members mentioned that he was specializing in alternative fuel vehicles like electric vehicles, natural gas and propane-powered vehicles. Airports use a lot of these types of vehicles, so it might be something to look into if you're near an airport or another area with significant numbers of alternative fuel vehicles.
- Finally, make sure to keep up to date on IT, technology and telematics. This is where the industry is going.