Detail Shop Technology
When the subject of Detail Shop Technology is brought up, the first thing you usually hear from most shop owners is that they just can’t afford the cost of implementing tech into their shops. I get it. Regardless of what the Government says, we’re still in a recession; people are tightening their belts, and car details are considered a “luxury.” Technology is one of those things that smart shop owners realize they need but don’t believe it’s in their budget.
Some thoughts on Costs of Detail Shop Technology
A few things I’ve learned over the years about detail shop technology: 1) it’s never as expensive as you think it is as long as you aren’t hiring some consultant or tech pro to advise and install it for you. And 2) if you take some of your free time at night to research what is out there you would probably be surprised at how uncomplicated technology is.
Time Reduces the Cost of All Tech
The important thing to consider is that most of this stuff has been around for years. In nearly every case, time reduces the cost of all tech because they eventually become commodities. Think about it like this. If you have a waiting room for customers, you probably have a small flat screen tv for them to watch while you work on their vehicles. Flat screens can be bought now for a little over a hundred bucks, but when first introduced they were thousands of dollars.
A perfect example of rapidly changing detail shop technology costs is the recent introduction of 4K flat screen tvs. Buying one now will set you back some serious cash. They’re awesome, but also ridiculously priced. In five years 4K tech will be standard, and most of the tvs will be much more affordable. I simply use this as an example of why so many people mistakenly believe that any “technology” is “expensive.” It’s much more affordable when you look at everything that’s out there.
It’s the same with all tech. Think about PC towers and laptops. As recently as a few years ago you would have been laughed out of the store for trying to buy a laptop for $300 to $400. Now it’s not unusual to see prices for computers starting even lower.
Working On Your Business vs Working In Your Business
Have you ever thought about working on your business vs working in your business? I have a post planned that covers this subject in more detail. For now, just consider how much time you spend thinking about big picture issues related to your business and how technology fits into this.
The important thing here is that shop owners need to take some time and look at their entire business versus thinking about what bills are due or which employees are causing problems. Instead of these distractions, take some time to think about where you want the business to be, where you want it to be heading, what you need to do to accomplish your goals, etc. If you don’t do these things, nobody else will. The time you spend thinking about this “big picture stuff” will show when your business will begin to distance itself from your competitors.
Ultimately one of the parts of making it better is introducing services to make it easier for your customers to hire you. This is where technology becomes more integrated into your business.
Use Technology to Impress Your Customers
Technology for customer engagement and customer service has been around for decades. One of the easy ways to start slowly introducing new technology into your business is by adding services that your customers are probably already using elsewhere. Did you know that Google Apps for Business only costs $5 a month per user? So you can setup an entire Google Apps account with you as the owner and only pay $5 a month. A new domain will cost you $7.99 total for a year. Eight bucks! Hosting services run less than $10 a month. So with all this, you might be looking at $25 to start and around $15 a month to have a professional email address like firstname.lastname@example.org and a professional website for your customers to see online. See what I mean? This stuff doesn’t cost that much at all. The important thing is your customers expect this. If you don’t have a professional online presence, then they will look around until they find another place with real detail shop technology.
If You Don’t Have a Website You Aren’t a Real Business
Personally, I don’t even consider local businesses that don’t have a website. To me, it seems like if you don’t have a website you aren’t a real business. Tech is cheap nowadays, and if you can’t be bothered to spend some time and money to help your business, then your customers are going elsewhere.
You can spend some money and get all the tools that Google gives businesses and use it to bring in more money. It’s not hard to learn and you don’t need to hire anybody to help you with it. They even have videos that will walk you through each part of setting everything up. It’s that easy.
If you still haven’t added tech like online scheduling, email newsletters and a password protected part of your site for customers, you need to do it soon.
Technology is Affordable
I have LOTS of thoughts about technology, so I’ll leave you with that for now. If you get one thing from this post, hopefully it’s that technology is affordable and not as complicated as you might believe. If you automatically believe you can’t afford to improve your business with simple and inexpensive technology, eventually your competitors will if they haven’t already done so.
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