Preparing for the 'WoF trough'
In about six weeks, workshops around the country are going to start seeing a sharp drop-off in business as the ‘WoF trough’ takes hold.
Last year, most of the half million warrant of fitness inspections due in April and early May were delayed thanks to the Covid-19 national lockdown.
For Auckland, it was déjà vu in August. This means there will be a similar, sudden drop-off in trade for these months, this year.
Workshops should be planning right now for ways to make up the coming shortfall.
Here’s a few ideas for anyone who hasn’t yet made plans.
- Contact all your customers offering a special deal of some sort for April – perhaps introduce a set-fee safety check for vehicles that are in between warrant inspections with a special deal on any new tyres that are needed.
- Send out reminders early for vehicles that have their service or WoF due in May or June. Remember June 2020 was a bumper month as we came out of lockdown. Try to bring some of this work forward to cover the lull in April.
- Boost your marketing so more people are aware of any specials you have on offer. For example, post your special offers on Facebook and encourage people to share it by running a competition to win the offer.
- Look for ways to add value to every customer you already have coming through the doors. If they need a warrant, do they also need a full service?
- If they have come for a specific repair, offer a safety check for a set price.
- Keeping the cash flowing is vital. If you have not already introduced systems that ensure all customers pay in full upon completion for all work, now is the time to introduce them.
- Reset your EFTPOS machine so it charges the customer a surcharge if they use a credit card for their payment. (Make sure you tell the customer this is what is happening). Businesses are quite entitled to pass on the credit charge made on each transaction). This move can save you thousands of dollars a year.
- Review your charge-out rate. Are you making enough to meet all your operating costs, plus a profit margin? The rule of thumb is your charge-out rate should be three times the pay rate of your top technician.
- Some MTA members offer Genoa Pay, Laybuy, or other financing options to their customers to take the risk out of defaulting payment. However, since these companies take between 4 and 10 percent of the sale, you would need to carefully consider how this loss of income would impact on your operating costs.