Stop Leaving Money On The Table (Lesson 8)
Surprisingly, many of the auto workshop owners that we have met over the years have experienced the problem of not being able to maximise the booking capacity of their shop. This issue of under booking and even over booking is something that must be taken seriously if you want to be among the most successful auto workshop owners in your area.
Your profits will grow when your business is consistently booked to capacity. This might be easier to achieve than you think, and until your auto workshop can book to capacity your profits may never truly be maximised.
Every day that your business is under booked you are losing money. Every day that your business is over booked you risk losing customers. Both of these issues are usually the result of not having an efficient booking system that is designed to show the bookings clearly and highlight what space is available.
When your auto workshop is under booked you have staff that are not doing the core work that generates your profits, yet you must still pay them to be there. When your auto workshop is over booked you have customers who made a booking and expect the service they have arranged. If you have to re-schedule their bookings, then you have created an inconvenience for them and this can be enough to push them away from your business and straight to another auto workshop. It does sound a little harsh, but it can and does happen.
Your auto workshop will be in a much better position to succeed when your booking system is accurate and reliable, in fact it will be near impossible to grow your business when there are booking errors leaking your profits.
Imagine the problem of booking errors as being like a bucket with a hole in it. The faster you pour the water in, the faster it leaks out. Each day that your bookings are not full is another day your bucket is leaking, and each day that your bookings are too full is also a day that your bucket is leaking. To grow your business profitably, it’s important that you know your capacity on a day-to-day basis and that you work towards filling it exactly to the brim.
This means that you adjust your capacity when a staff member will not be at work. If you are short staffed, you cannot take bookings as if you had your full complement of staff. It seems so simple, yet this is where a lot of auto workshop businesses struggle. This is often because the person making the bookings is unaware of the staffing situation. If your staff have access to an easy and clear booking system you will successfully eliminate this expensive problem.
Todd, who I wrote about in an earlier article, had once had a lot of trouble with booking errors. Before he implemented his new system he constantly had to deal with double bookings and angry customers. Below is another story about Todd and the evolution of his auto workshop business.
Before Todd had implemented his new integrated information system, he was suffering the consequences of booking errors. His staff were frequently double booking the business to the point that the work was not getting done. Todd spent a lot of his time explaining and apologising to his irritated customers.
While he was explaining the errors to customers, and making new booking arrangements, he was actually getting further behind on his work because he wasn’t in the auto workshop taking care of his mechanical responsibilities. The more often it happened the more money his business was losing.
The final straw came with a telling reality check. A customer arrived to drop in her car, as per her booking. Todd was unaware that she had even booked and was left with a very awkward apology to make.
He explained to her that they probably wouldn’t get to it that day and convinced her to re-book the service for the next week. She was irritated, but seemed understanding, at least to Todd’s face. He noticed, however, that after she walked out of his door she headed straight across the street to his competitor.
Todd knew then that he had lost her business for good. He knew she wouldn’t show up for the new booking she had made. He knew then that he had to do something to change his business.
Every day that your business is under booked, is a day that is costing you money; every over booking risks losing you customers.
A booking system that eliminates these issues will improve your business success. It is not difficult to fix the problems associated with under booking and over booking and when you do, your customers will be happy, your staff will be happy and your new found profits will make YOU very happy.
You saw in the story above how Todd was prompted into changing his booking system. He was tired of apologising and he was tired of the mistakes. There was no one to blame. He knew his staff was not at fault because the system he had in place simply didn’t work. They could not clearly see what was booked, how many staff would be in on any given day, and sometimes cancellations were not being noted. It was chaos and it was up to him to take control and fix the problem. He eliminated the stress, he maximised his booking capacity and he experienced business growth. Systems that work are crucial to business improvement, profitability and growth.
How would you rate your current booking system out of 10? In what ways has it failed you in the past? I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences below…
To your success,
Australia’s #1 Automotive Business Growth Expert