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5 Ways You Can Improve Your Workshop Turnover Today Without Overcharging Your Customers.

Boost Efficiency and Satisfaction in Your Workshop Without Raising Prices
  • David French
    Published by David French
    on 18 June 2024

1)        Schedule follow-up appointments for your customers.


Do you include any free servicing with the bikes you sell? Get those jobs booked right away. It’s a good opportunity for you to make good on the service you promised to the customer in the sale which does more than just create a reason for them to return to the store; it increases your reputation as a trustworthy business which makes good on its offers. Furthermore, you get weeks or even months of forward planning on your workshop lead times, which keeps you busier through quiet periods, and most importantly improves the cycling experience of your customer.


But don’t just stick to doing this for your bike sales! Speak to your customers about their mileage and other expectations and book them in for a repeat service while they’re collecting a repair. You could go so far as to offer a discounted price on those services (again, it keeps you busy through the winter AND adds value for the customer) or even something simple like free collection or return when booking in advance. Similarly, if you have a customer who’s just had a tubeless tyre fitted, they NEED you to inspect the sealant in a few months’ time, otherwise, they’ll be out and stranded with dried-up sealant and it’s going to put them off!


2)        Remember some items ARE safety critical.


Do you know those little spring clips on Shimano pad retainers? They’re installed for a reason. The same goes for cable end crimps, which prevent frayed cables from jabbing into someone’s skin when they brush past the bike. How about a bell? Or some fresh batteries in someone’s light? All these bits shouldn’t be glossed over when you do a service, and when explained properly to the customer can add up to 5% extra revenue on a basic service which actually ADDS VALUE for the customer.

 

There are also a ton of other similar items which, although aren’t safety-critical, are important ways to improve your turnover WITHOUT anyone off. Take another brake-related example, the bleed nipple cover. That’s £2 in your till now, but critically the customer isn’t going to end up with a calliper full of mud or needing a new bleed nipple when they come to need a brake bleed. This is a positive sum game as both you and the customer benefit from adding on these critical, but often overlooked, items.


3)        Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter.


If that bolt is meant to be torqued to 6Nm, for God’s sake, make sure it’s at 6Nm. If the product specifies a particular weight oil or a certain strength thread lock, again, use it. Why is that? Because in my experience nothing puts egg on your face faster than having to explain to a disgruntled customer why his slipping Onyx hub had Polylube in the clutch, or how come Shimano won’t warranty a brake because it’s green inside. Exceptions could be made provided you discuss the option with the customer in advance, for example, they’ve baulked at £23 for some Ultegra pads and you offer them a cheaper alternative. But PLEASE, if you want to make sure you save face and generate return custom: Stick religiously to the manufacturer’s guidelines!


4)        Set up a proper QC procedure and stick to it.


How much time do you spend dealing with customers bringing their bikes back? If you don’t know, start making a note of it. Firstly, you can be sure they’re annoyed, and you might be lucky enough to get a chance to put your mistakes right, but for every customer that came back with a problem, there are probably five who just went somewhere else or just put up with the problem. You just lost them, probably forever. If you have more than one mechanic, get into the habit of test-riding and M-checking each other’s jobs. There’s no better way to improve the quality of your work than having to answer to your colleagues. At my old shop, we would also run a torque wrench over 6 – 10 random bolts on each other’s jobs and test rides were signed off by another member of staff. That was the single biggest improvement to productivity I ever made in a workshop. It cost next to nothing and added incredible value to the customer!


5)        Install dedicated workshop software like Bikebook.

 

Ok, so you didn’t expect a blog post here not to plug bikebook, did you? A dedicated program like Bikebook lets your customers feel in control of their repair, which can mean a lot to people when there’s a dwindling agency in their day-to-day lives. Let that be a standout for your workshop! It also gives you a high degree of control when you’re giving servicing reports to customers because they get high-quality images of any issues you’ve found and a comprehensive list of any extra work they need.

 

What’s more, how many times have you gotten to the end of the job, only to notice the customer had requested a particular part be replaced? By using software like this, communication between mechanics and your future self is streamlined, meaning less do-overs.

 

Lastly, being able to schedule your work effectively (especially for your follow-ups) and see job histories all in one place will cut down massively on wasted time and motion, which will ultimately see your workshop revenue UP and your customer’s bills DOWN!

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