Are you as competitive online as you are in the workshop? No? You should be. Jim Lang explains why.

It’s estimated that thousands of independent garages are missing out on work because potential customers simply can’t find them.

And that’s because they don’t show up online. So, to a customer, they don’t exist. They’re not an option.

They either don’t have a website or in the mainstay, it just doesn’t do its job. The customer ends up going to whichever garage does show up. And on page one of a Google search it’s often a main dealer.

The busiest garages might not really care but this is as foolish as ignoring worn brake pads; just because everything seems ok today doesn’t mean it will be in six months’ time. By not making their online presence a priority, they’re limiting profit and growth potential and, as customers go where their screen search suggests, customer numbers will undoubtedly decline over time.

Garages really should carry out an online diagnostic test – on themselves – to determine if action is needed. The best advice I can give garages is to put themselves in their customer’s shoes.

For example; it’s Sunday morning and you remember the car is due its service. You’re busy tomorrow and want to sort it today while you have time.

You pick up your phone and Google ‘car servicing’ or ‘garages near me’. On the first page you click on something that looks relevant. The website is quick to load and easy to navigate so you get the information you need and fill in the enquiry form for a call back. Done and sorted in two minutes.

Which garage came up first? That’s who you’re competing against and who’s likely going to get the business.

If it suits them, even loyal customers will go for online convenience because it’s simply how we buy things now. We want instant answers, instant results and garage services are no exception.

Be as competitive online as you are in the workshop because no business can afford to be invisible.