9 tips to increase your average automotive repair order (ARO)

9 tips to increase your average automotive repair order (ARO)

As an auto repair shop, you know that your average automotive repair order is a key metric you need to track. If you can boost your average automotive repair order, you’ll be able to generate more revenue and increase your profit. In this article, we will discuss 10 tips that can help you increase your average automotive repair order.

Offer combo package deals:

A great way to boost your average automotive repair order is to offer package deals. For example, if a client comes in for an oil change, you could offer them a seasonal maintenance special. Throw in a tire rotation, wiper blades, etc into one package price. This encourages clients to get more services than they originally planned. This works just like the “would you like to make that a combo” question you always get at the drive-thru.
Here is just an idea of a service package you can offer any season for a bundled price.
  • Replace engine oil and oil filter (specialty oils/specialty filters extra).
  • Lube chassis (as required).
  • Analyze charging and starting systems.
  • Rotate tires and adjust air pressure (as required).‡
  • Inspect and top up fluids (to a maximum of one litre).
  • Inspect brakes and suspension.
  • Inspect all exterior lights, wiper blades, belts and hoses.
  • Test engine coolant and inspect for leaks.

Upsell with add-ons.

When is already in your auto shop, make sure that you are upselling them on additional services. Studies show that vehicles 4-5 years old have an average of 3.5 hours of maintenance services needed per visit. Clients who want to keep their vehicles for 10-15 years are willing to pay to keep them on the road longer. Selling extra services is easy when you do the math for your client.
What’s the monthly payment for a new similar vehicle?
Now, what’s the total amount of maintenance and minor repairs that vehicle may need in the next 2 years? Divide that total by 24 months.
Now the client can see that you’re the more affordable solution.
Example. A 2022 Jeep Cherokee is $35.000
With a $5000 down payment and a 60-month term at 2.99% interest, the monthly payment is $538.93
You’ve assessed their current 2014 Jeep Cherokee needs about $2000 worth of work today. In the next 24 months, it’s going to need other maintenance like tires, tune-up, flushes, and a few other things. Your estimate is another $2000 over 2 years.
That’s $4000 over 24 months which is $166.66/month on average.
By maintaining their vehicle and keeping it just for two more years, you’re helping them save $10,014.48

Use predictive maintenance technology

Technology can be a great tool when it comes to boosting your average repair order. Most shops don’t realize that there is a technology that predicts a vehicle’s maintenance needs. It predicts this by seeing which maintenance has or has not been done, and ages them by miles driven per day. Using technology like this allows you to see what that car needs before it even enters the bay.
The more informed you are upfront the better you look to the client. The more you can prepare them for what the inspection will likely find with this data, the less stressful they are waiting. And we all know, happier clients spend more.

Scheduling the client’s return

This is a no-brainer. Not only will it bring in more revenue but also help your auto shop develop a strong relationship with the client. The question that always comes up is how? Here are two very effective ways to keep clients coming in regularly.
a. Pencil in the next oil change date. You know how much the vehicle drives daily on average and the type of oil they use. You can estimate the next oil change date and explain to them why they should pre-schedule.
b. Bring up the client’s other vehicles while they’re in the shop. Most families have multiple vehicles. Again, if you’re using the tools that predict maintenance needs, you can bring up work you know they need. Get their other car booked in for later in the week or the next.

Provide incentives to your best clients

Offering incentives is a great way to encourage clients to spend more when they come into your auto shop. Over the years I’ve seen shops use various methods of doing this. I’m not a believer in one size fits all solutions. Different shops serve different demographics, so you may need to adjust accordingly. Here are a few proven examples.
  1. VIP membership: Create a VIP program where clients pay monthly or annually. Include oil changes, priority services, discounts, etc for buying into this program.
  2. Maintenance program. I’ve seen shops create an annual maintenance plan. After inspecting the vehicle they determine the maintenance needed for the next 12 months. They then break down the cost into 12 equal payments and do the work over 2-3 visits throughout the year. Again, add some sort of bonus for joining the plan.

Educate clients:

One of the best ways to increase your average automotive repair order is by educating your client. The trick is not getting too technical and staying focused on your client’s pain and fears.
Remember, clients, don’t want transmission flushes, tire rotations, or battery tests. They want peace of mind at a fair price. That is always the focus of your education. Teaching them about the services is secondary.

Offer financing options

This one depends on your target market. Some demographics might find the cost of the repair/maintenance too much. Offering to finance allows clients to buy the services without breaking the bank. This can help you increase your average automotive repair order by making it easier for clients to afford more expensive repairs.
You can find a lender who will finance the work. Or you can work out a monthly payment plan that allows you to do maintenance as you get paid.

Client referral system

Wait. This sound like a way to increase car count, not ARO. You’re right, but it’s both. Here’s the thing. Your best client, the ones that spend good money. They associate with other good potential clients. They work in similar neighbourhoods. They possibly work in similar jobs. They live similar lifestyles. They even drive similar vehicles. What better way to get new clients in that pay good money for your services than through a referral?

Hire experienced technicians:

Finally, this is probably one of the most important tips. Hire experienced auto technicians who know what they’re doing. Do warranty work because of bad workmanship kills your ARO. Also, if you’re paying your tech by the job (Which you should) they can perform at 125-170% efficiency, which does wonders for the ARO.
By following these 9 tips, you can help increase your auto repair shop’s average automotive repair order and boost revenue at the same time! Good luck on your auto repair journey!

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