How to Find Additional Repair Work

How to Find Additional Work

A topic that I’m finding our Elite Body Shop Solutions community is interested in lately is where to find additional repair work.

While some auto body shops have been negatively affected by the pandemic, others have become more efficient and found additional capacity they want to fill. Either way, I have some powerful ideas to share that encourage focusing on existing customers. Over the years, I’ve come to realize they are the best source of work, even if you have already finished repairing their vehicles.

Marketing and attracting new business are big topics. There are many, many ways to go about approaching them. It can quickly become overwhelming; therefore, I want to keep it simple.

I am a firm believer that the best source of additional work is through existing customers. Think about it. While most shop owners and managers look outside their businesses for work, why not consider turning your focus inward?

If you walked through your auto body shop right now, you might be surprised to find how much cosmetic damage is on those cars. There is a good chance it is not on your repair order!

For various reasons, your estimators may be reluctant to perform upsells. They might not feel comfortable selling or don’t know the best approach to use.

I’ve found that estimators are often held accountable for reaching certain key performance indicators (KPIs) from some insurance companies. If this is the case at your auto body shop, employees may be reluctant to upsell valuable repair work for fear of extending cycle time.

Although it commonly occurs, this is neither logical nor acceptable. Ideally, estimators should be trained to upsell without feeling uncomfortable or even “sleazy” because it is actually helping customers. Providing great service shouldn’t feel sleazy!

Performing a good check-in process with customers present is an excellent opportunity to discuss unrelated cosmetic damage. It can minimize miscommunication and help set clear expectations on what customers can expect to receive.

If you want to create targeted marketing, the easiest way to do this is by advertising to people who already know and trust you. You may be amazed how many of your loyal followers have a small ding or scratch on their cars, but because it’s minor, they don’t want to turn it into their insurance company. Instead, they choose to live with it.

One thing that the pandemic has taught us is there are more convenient ways of doing business. Many shop owners and managers have discovered photo apps such as which allows you to start a conversation with consumers without them making a trip to the auto body shop.

Since you have (or should have) a customer list, consider sending out a compelling special offer by mail or email. Another option is running social media ads targeted to past customers, explaining how easy it is to go ahead and get that unsightly bumper scratch repaired. In most cases, you’ll be able to pick up their vehicle and have it returned within 24 hours!

By implementing some of these marketing techniques, you should be able to get that low-hanging fruit and find additional repair work for your body shop.

For more information about how to turn customers into a powerful salesforce, consider becoming a member of Elite Body Shop Solutions’ online body shop management training community. Join Operations Monthly LIVE (OML), an online management training program and community of high performers. Here you’ll find hours of world-class training. With a very affordable OML subscription, you can join me live for an hour each month, where you will learn a new, relevant topic and be able to ask questions while interacting with many of North America’s best collision operators. To learn more, subscribe to the Dave Luehr YouTube channel and visit the Elite Body Shop Academy at

About the Author:

Dave shares his experience from over 30 years as a collision repair industry leader in leadership, lean and Theory of Constraints. Once the owner of a body shop himself, Dave draws on the realities of a real world collision repair shop in his consulting, writing and keynote speeches.

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