Last week I was visiting a friend’s auto body repair shop and I overheard a conversation that will make most PDR business owners stop and take notice. The discussion was between the owner of a large seven-location regional MSO and his General Manager about bringing PDR in-house.
It seems that a tool distributor was in the shop and offered to train a few of the technicians for free on how to do PDR in an effort to sell PDR tools to the shop. It made me think that if this discussion is happening at this shop, it is probably happening in other shops and dealerships across the country, and begs the question, how immune is your business to a lost wholesale account?
As a PDR business owner who relies on the steady work that comes from your hard-earned wholesale accounts, have you ever considered what the impact to your business would be if any of your wholesale accounts decided to go to an in-house model? Today we will discuss the implications of such a move, and next week, we will discuss the challenges the body shop would face and how you can use those to your advantage.
As a seasoned PDR business owner, you are probably used to fending off competition from the newcomer who is looking to steal away some of your accounts. In fact, at one point you might have been that guy who took business from another PDR company that was offering an inferior service. You know not to worry about the “Johnny come lately” who comes in and undercuts your pricing to get some business. Sure you may lose a job or two, you say to yourself, but those low-price guys never stay in business long enough. You won all your business the hard way, you did great work, you use quality PDR software to manage your business, you offer exceptional customer service, and you charge a fair rate. From there, word of mouth has helped you earn all your other customers.
In order to grow a business year over year, you need to be able to count on a certain volume of repeat business, and then everything else that you sell is additive. In any type of business, there is always a lifecycle to customers. You may keep them for years, even decades, but at some point, that customer may move on for a specific reason. Perhaps you are factoring on a percentage lost to attrition every year when you set your sales goals. When your business is young and growing, losing just one customer could put the whole operation in jeopardy.
The takeaway here is the importance of considering all risks to your business and keeping your eyes and ears out on the lookout for them. As is the case with this body shop, if you are on site frequently, it helps to keep in touch with the business owner to get a sense of where you stand.
Any good business owner is watching every cost carefully, and the idea of training an existing staff member to take over PDR duties eliminates a cost for that shop owner. As a vendor who relies on your wholesale accounts, it is your job to keep your customers so happy and profitable, that they would never consider such options.
Next week we will discuss the Shop owner’s perspective, the implementation challenges they would face if they brought PDR in-house, and how you can use those weaknesses to your advantage in retaining the business.