Tapping Into YouTube To Promote Your Auto Repair Shop

It’s been 15 years since I owned an auto repair shop. That was in 2008. At the time, my phone was a Casio G’zOne flip phone. I had a video camera that used those little “tapes” to record. YouTube was a thing, but the process of getting video from the camera to the computer was a pain. Then uploading a couple of minutes of video could take hours. There was a 10-minute time limit on videos then, but I couldn’t imagine how long that would have taken to upload, even with our fancy T1 connection.

Today, as I work with shop owners to help them get their marketing dialed in, I often wish I owned a shop in this day and age where we walk around with a television studio in our pockets. At Shop Marketing Pros, we make a lot of videos. We video our podcast, we do live videos in our Facebook group, we send video messages directly to our customers via Loom, and the list goes on. But the fact is, the videos are almost always limited to talking head videos or screenshares. It gets boring after a while.

But YOU! You shop owners have something that not all businesses have. You have a content machine. Every day you have cars coming in that have a story to tell. Yet when I tell you that you need to be making videos regularly, it falls on deaf ears.

I’m a broken record. I’m beating a dead horse. I’m talking to a brick wall. It’s hopeless. Why? You have a goldmine at your fingertips and refuse to tap into it!

You say it’s unfair because the dealerships can afford radio and television commercials, and you can’t. You don’t realize that YouTube is the new television, and it costs you NOTHING to have your own show.

In fact, YouTube has been more popular than television for quite some time… since 2014, according to this article by Social Media Today. People are spending more time watching YouTube than they do watching television. I know this is certainly true for me, and it is for my best friends as well. My favorite channel to watch right now is Trail Mater. This YouTube channel follows Rory Irish, an auto repair shop owner in Moab, Utah, who uses his off-road wrecker to retrieve broken and stuck vehicles from the trails in and around Moab.

In the article I cited, they say, “59% of all respondents believe their TV set is transforming into an overgrown monitor for their self-selected content viewing.”

This is exactly what many people do. They watch YouTube on their large television with a Roku, Apple TV, or Firestick. That said, about 70% of YouTube content is still watched on mobile devices.

I know what you’re thinking. “That’s all good, Brian, but how does this affect me in my auto repair shop?”

Why You Should Have A YouTube Channel For Your Shop And Create Content Regularly

An auto repair shop can use YouTube in a couple of different ways. One way is to use it to show off your expertise, shop culture, and personality – with the idea that this will make people want to become clients of your shop. The other would be to monetize YouTube and allow your shop to support your YouTube channel instead of the other way around.

Only some of you will choose the latter, so in this article, I will focus on having YouTube support the shop and your marketing efforts.

Google owns YouTube. I think everyone already knows this, but I’m throwing it out there anyway. Google is pretty important to an auto repair shop. Unfortunately, many people have had bad experiences at an auto repair shop or have at least heard nightmares from people they know. This study by AAA concluded that 63% of consumers do not trust their auto repair shop. That means they will likely be looking for a new shop to work with the next time they need service or repair.

Before I continue, I want you to stop and think about something. When you search Google for answers, how often is a video served as the answer to your question? That’s right. It happens all the time. 

Google is in the business of selling advertisements. They love keeping people on their properties because they can sell more advertisements. But their ads are sold on the back of the content you and others create. Combine this with the fact that video is the preferred way humans like to consume content from brands, along with the ability to win people’s trust through video, and you have one powerful tool to gain the consumer’s trust.

I mentioned winning people’s trust through video. Statistically, you, the reader, watch a lot of YouTube yourself. When you watch videos, you tend to trust the content creator. They have placed themselves in the position of the expert authority, and by watching them, you have placed yourself in the position of student. It’s something innate within us that, unless the content creator does something to lose our trust (like appear to have a lack of confidence or saying something that you know is wrong), we just trust them.

When you build up a bank of content, especially video content, you become an expert authority. Russell Brunson refers to this as the “attractive character.” The attractive character is intelligent, charismatic, and people want to be like them. And trust me, they aren’t always attractive in the initial sense that we think of the word. So if you’re ugly like me, you can still be an attractive character!

If you’ve spent any time listening to me talk about marketing, you’re probably tired of hearing the saying, “People do business with people they know, like, and trust” – but I’ll never stop saying it because this is a truth that will never change. Video allows people to hear your words and your voice, see your facial expressions, and decide whether they like you or not. Video is the most effective medium for getting people to know, like, and trust you.

What Types Of Videos Should An Auto Repair Shop Put On YouTube?

There are really only two types of videos on YouTube. Those are “YouTube Shorts” and then any other type of video that is not a short. But the content within those videos can be of many types and have a lot of different purposes.

All channels should have a mix of shorts and regular videos. The shorts drive people to your other content.

As far as the content types, I break them down into educational, promotional, and entertainment. Many YouTube creators are making long-form videos. There used to be this idea that videos need to be one minute or less in length, but that’s out the window now and has been for years. I still hear people say that videos need to be less than a minute, or two, or three… and I just give them a big internal eye roll. I don’t waste my time with short videos anymore. They don’t give me the information I need. The typical video I watch now is 20 minutes. I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Some Examples Of Auto Repair Shop YouTube Channels

I could try to describe how you could use YouTube for your shop, but it’s easier to show you some already successful channels and let you see them for yourself.

South Main Auto, LLC

One of the most impressive YouTube channels I’ve seen for an auto repair shop is South Main Auto Repair LLC. Eric has built a following of nearly 800k subscribers who watch his 1300 videos. I found his Facebook page before I found his YouTube channel. The thing that caught my eye was the engagement on his page. It’s still like nothing I’ve ever seen. He recently posted a picture of a can of WD40 and got over 300 comments. That doesn’t happen. But when you’ve built an empire on YouTube, those raving fans follow you to your other channels.

This channel posts videos that are done in the form of episodes. The videos take you along and tell the complete story of what happens from beginning to end. Doing this video style could be time-consuming as you are constantly “setting the scene” and moving the camera around. I love these videos because you feel like you are in the shop with Eric while he’s working on the cars.

Now I suspect South Main Auto is one of those where the shop supports the YouTube channel, and the real money comes from YouTube’s payouts, but I don’t know Eric personally. If any of you reading this know him and can make a connection, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Enright Auto

Another excellent example of a YouTube channel for a shop is Enright Auto. Chris Enright owns this one-man shop and has fully embraced short-form video. Chris has historically done many more entertaining TikTok-style videos, but he is starting to do many more regular videos in the educational style.

Chris has almost 50k subscribers and 400 videos as of this writing. Some tool companies have sponsored him for his videos. It’s pretty impressive what he has done since being convinced by his wife to do that first video.

Charlie’s Foreign Car

The last YouTube channel I will share here is Charlie’s Foreign Car. This is an excellent example of what most shops should do. Niko Sougias does a lot of educational videos that build trust through seeing his expertise. Niko has been building his channel for 11 years, with over 3k subscribers and 163 videos as I write this.

Niko has a friendly persona; his knowledge and confidence shine through in his videos. He has averaged a little over one video per month over those 11 years, which is totally manageable, though I would push you to shoot for about one per week.

In Conclusion

YouTube is owned by Google and is the second-largest search engine in the world, as well as the second-most visited website in the world. People are watching YouTube more than they watch TV. It is FREE to put your videos there. You have a television studio in your pocket. You can shoot the videos, edit the videos, and upload the videos all from your phone. Your only excuse not to do this is a poor, pitiful, weak EXCUSE! (sorry, I get a little carried away sometimes).

Having an active YouTube channel is a great way to show off your team’s knowledge and expertise, your shop’s culture, the tools you have, and every other reason a client has to choose your shop over the competition.

Video helps the consumer to get to know, like, and trust you and your team. It helps them to make informed buying decisions. It can also increase your average repair order because clients watching your videos are more likely to approve significant estimates.

If you are unsure where to start, we’ve made a free video series hosted on YouTube (imagine that). You don’t need to give us an email address or anything. There are eight videos. Focus on videos 5, 6, and 7. Don’t worry about the others. Then get out in your shop and shoot some videos. I’d love to see what you make, so share it in the comments of our videos!

About The Author

Brian Walker

Brian Walker is the Owner and CEO of Shop Marketing Pros, a marketing agency specializing in marketing independently owned auto repair shops. Brian is a Mercedes Benz Master Technician and has owned multiple shops and served as the Mechanical Division Director for ASA-NC.

He's a mechanic at heart who loves fixing things that are broken, which is why he loves marketing so much.

"Digging in and figuring out why a business' marketing isn't working is a lot like it was when he was elbows deep into a car that no one else could fix. When you figure it out, there's nothing else like it."

To get to do this for auto repair shop owners combines his passions, and he couldn't be more excited about helping shop owners.
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