The Building Exterior
An attractive building brings in customers and gives them their first impression about your operation. Even if someone is only driving by and doesn’t need your services just then, chances are they will remember you and come back when their car does need work. An attractive outside appearance will bring in customers.
Careful landscaping, a professional looking building exterior, a nice sign and easy parking all make a big difference in attracting customers.
Don’t let your property become cluttered with jobs you haven’t started, surplus parts, a hodge-podge of storage buildings, or anything else that’s unattractive.
Estimating and Sales
This is usually the first, and often the only area of your shop that a customer sees. Studies show it is the area where most sales are made or lost, so it’s very important.
- Place your estimating area in a protected, climate controlled location.
- This area should be very well-lighted and include a lift to allow a complete vehicle inspection.
- Power washing equipment and floor drains should be available, if possible, to allow for easy clean-up, and rain and snow coming off the -vehicles in inclement weather.
- Upper and lower level color-corrected lighting is highly recommended.
- A reel-mounted trouble light will aid on internal inspections.
The customer will appreciate the extra effort and feel more confident that your estimator saw all the damage and made a complete estimate.
More sales are won or lost in the estimating / sales area than any other, so giving it a little extra in your planning will pay off.
Here are some more things to keep in mind as you design your estimate area:
- Install a large automatic garage door to make entering and leaving the area easy.
- Placing an estimator’s office next to the estimate area reduces wasted time getting back and forth from the estimate area to their office.
- Computer and other electronic equipment may require special wiring and hook-ups.
- Consider increasing your estimating efficiency with a drive-through estimate area with doors at both ends of the bay.
- Keep the area neat and clean. Again, customers may see nothing else in your shop, so they may base their opinions about your operation and the quality of your work from what they see here.
A larger number of customers getting estimates are female. Make sure your estimate area is attractive to female customers. Female customers may bring young children with them when they come in. Consider a television and/or a play area in the waiting area for these customers.