Top view of a table with two office workers discussing marketing reports. With laptop, tablet, clipboard, papers reports, and pens on a black table. With Shop Marketing Pros logo on the right upper side and the title “Top Marketing Mistakes Auto Repair Shops Make” at the lower right side.

The Biggest Mistakes Being Made in Your Auto Repair Shop Marketing


We’re coming up on June, and I was tasked with writing this article. I had a plan for what it was going to look like, but that went completely out the window. Usually, I write these things in an educational format, but this time I will mix a little storytelling with some education. So this one will read a bit differently than my other material. I’m going to toss the English Dictionary and the AP style of writing in favor of being me.

Let me also say ahead of time that this article, along with anything else you read on, was written without the use of AI (artificial intelligence).

Let’s get started.

This article was originally supposed to be about the 5 Biggest Mistakes Being Made in Your Auto Repair Shop Marketing. When I was getting started, I began with a simple set of bullet points about what I thought these 5 biggest mistakes were. Then I started second-guessing myself because I knew as soon as I published this thing, I was going to think of other, bigger mistakes that were being made.


We’re coming up on June, and I was tasked with writing this article. I had a plan for what it was going to look like, but that went completely out the window. Usually, I write these things in an educational format, but this time I will mix a little storytelling with some education. So this one will read a bit differently than my other material. I’m going to toss the English Dictionary and the AP style of writing in favor of being me.

Let me also say ahead of time that this article, along with anything else you read on, was written without the use of AI (artificial intelligence).

Let’s get started.

This article was originally supposed to be about the 5 Biggest Mistakes Being Made in Your Auto Repair Shop Marketing. When I was getting started, I began with a simple set of bullet points about what I thought these 5 biggest mistakes were. Then I started second-guessing myself because I knew as soon as I published this thing, I was going to think of other, bigger mistakes that were being made.

I went into our Slack channel and asked the team to give me what they see as the top 2-3 mistakes being made in auto repair marketing. I expected to see the same things listed repeatedly, but I didn’t. Each of those who chimed in had different opinions about the top mistakes. I figured I could narrow these down to some things that were clearly the biggest mistakes, but I quickly found that it’s just not that easy.

In the end, this has turned into a monster. We have 13 mistakes listed here, and each is as important as the others to make sure you are NOT doing these things.

Brian’s Original List

I (Brian) am the founder and CEO here at Shop Marketing Pros. I get a good overview of what most shops are doing in their marketing because I talk to many shop owners, and I get to hear from my team what they see when new and prospective clients first come to us.

I participate in a lot of Facebook groups, and I teach at a lot of industry events. I get the opportunity to answer many questions from shop owners and managers working hard to fill their bays. My perspective from this role led to the following list of 5 mistakes I most often see in auto repair shop marketing.

1. You Treat Every Marketing Medium As Its Own Thing - Nothing is Cohesive

It’s pretty common for a shop to be marketed on Facebook, Google, direct mail, billboards, radio, and many other places. You SHOULD be doing this. The problem comes when these are treated independently from your other marketing efforts. On Facebook, you’re promoting tires and alignments. In direct mail, you’re promoting an oil change special. Your emails have Grandma’s pecan pie recipe. On the radio, you have a cute jingle that talks about the speed of your repairs. Your billboards talk about your 30 years of service and ASE certifications. 

It gets even worse when you have different designers making the graphics for these various marketing mediums, and this is almost always the case because the billboard company and the direct mail company have their own designers, and you’ve been killing it with Canva lately. But every designer chooses their own fonts and colors, and the direct mail company still uses the logo you gave them 4 years ago even though you’ve rebranded since then.

Your marketing is a hot freaking mess when this is happening, and you have to take control of it.

There has to be one person who oversees all of the shop’s marketing. This person knows what is happening across all marketing channels, and they keep everything consistent by thinking in terms of campaigns instead of mediums. The message or promotion should be cohesive across all marketing mediums.

It is also important to have a brand style guide that is given to the designer of every marketing piece made for your auto repair shop. The brand style guide tells the designer the colors, fonts, design elements, and logos to use – and in which situations to use each. When a brand style guide is properly used by different designers, the look and feel of the designs will remain cohesive.

2. You Always Go Straight For The Sale

It’s funny how people are not usually so direct, but when they market their business, they go right in for the close. That’s not how life works. Imagine if, the first time you met your wife, you walked straight up to her and asked her to marry you. How do you think that would have worked out?

Instead, you did things to get to know each other first. Then you went on some dates. Probably a lot of them. Then, once you knew her and she knew you, that’s when you popped the question.

Obviously, getting a car repaired isn’t quite the commitment that marriage is, but the principle is still the same. You need to help your prospect get to know you. You do this by crafting campaigns that drip the information you need them to know about you over many different “touches.”

Over the life of a campaign, you’ll probably tell your prospect:

  • Who you are and what you do
  • About your awards, certifications, and accolades
  • How you’re different than your competition
  • About the cars you’ve fixed that left others stumped
  • How you make it right when things go wrong

THEN you ask them for the sale.

Don’t get me wrong; you’ll get that client in need just by telling them who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you. But most of the shops I know want customers for life. That takes building a relationship.

3. You Don’t Take The Time To Learn About Marketing

One thing I know about shop owners is they’re not lazy. However, the problem that does exist is that shop owners think they’re going to live a life doing the thing they love most when they open their shop, fixing cars. But give it a few years of struggling, and we all eventually realize we can’t continue turning wrenches if we want to have a successful business.

Like most, I was a tech before becoming a shop owner. I was and still am at home under the hood of a car. Put a stack of R.O.s on my toolbox and tell me “GO,” and I knew exactly what needed to be done. Soon later, I find myself as a shop owner, and my DVOM is replaced with a P&L. My air ratchet is replaced with a spreadsheet. WIS and TIS get replaced with Quickbooks and a shop management system.

I went from being a pillar of confidence to paralysis by analysis.

The only way I found to get past that was to educate myself and do the hard things I didn’t want to do. It took me way too many years to learn this, but I now own a marketing agency, and I’m pretty darn confident as a business owner.

You have to do the same.

Now, in addition to asking you to become a wizard at KPIs, managing employees, and managing customers, I want you to become an ace at marketing?!

No – I want you to know enough about marketing to determine if it’s working or not. I want you to be a leader who sees opportunities and immediately knows to share things with your marketing team that they can’t know because they’re not in your business’s day-to-day.

You know how people don’t trust mechanics? They all have their story about getting screwed at the repair shop, or they at least know someone who has been. They watch Dateline NBC, or they grew up with their father telling them they can’t trust mechanics.

Guess what… It’s the same with marketing. We sit somewhere between lawyers and car salesmen when it comes to people trusting us. That’s because anyone with a laptop, an internet connection, and no job is suddenly a marketer. It’s a rare day that we talk to a shop owner about working with them, and they don’t tell us about all of the marketing dollars they’ve spent with no return.

As a shop owner, you are responsible for spending your money wisely. You owe it to your family, employees, and clients to make every dollar you spend to provide a return on investment. You owe it to those same people to make a good profit. Think about it. If you do a repair on a client’s car, and the repair fails, you need to be able to afford to do whatever it takes to make your client whole – and you can’t do that if you’re broke.

Your marketing dollars MUST work for you, meaning you need to have intelligent conversations with the people doing your marketing. You need to have a “marketing mind” to know when something marketable is happening in your business – so you can share it with your marketing team. You need to know when something doesn’t seem right. Discernment is a powerful thing, but it reaches new levels when it’s combined with knowledge.

The knowledge is available, and it’s often free or inexpensive. We (Shop Marketing Pros) will attend 11 industry events this year. They have technical classes, management classes, and marketing classes. I see shop owners who no longer turn wrenches taking technical classes and bypassing marketing classes. The marketing classes are the most ill-attended classes that will make you more money than any other class at the show. 

Stop treating marketing like a red-headed stepchild and give it the respect it deserves. If you want to own a top-tier shop, learn to be a marketer.

4. You Hire The Local or Cheapest Option

Before becoming Shop Marketing Pros, my agency was a generalist agency, 5 Stones Media. We worked with local businesses of all types. Every time we brought on a new client, we had to figure out what would work for them.

One minute we were marketing a local coffee shop; the next, we were marketing local government. We were switching hats all day, every day. Every once in a while, we would lose a client to an agency that specialized. I lost a gift shop to an ecommerce specialist. I lost a roofer to a roofing marketing specialist. The final straw was when I lost my very first client, who was with me for over 10 years, to an HVAC marketing specialist.

I hated it, but I knew those clients were in better hands with the specialists.

But even all specialists aren’t created equally. Some opportunistic “marketing” companies provide worthless marketing and wash, rinse, and repeat it among their entire customer base. They prey on uneducated shop owners who think they are doing the right thing because “hey… at least they’re doing something”.

This whole section feels icky to me because I have so much to gain by saying this. I can’t deny that. But I also can’t deny that this is 100% true.

If marketing is cheap, it’s worth exactly what you’re paying for it.

Great marketing should get people to know, like, and trust you. Generalist marketers don’t know enough about your business to gain the trust of your audience. Spray and pray “specialists” build content and messaging that’s so generic they can use it for all of their clients, and they do. They do nothing to differentiate your shop from your competitor down the street. In many cases, they’re working for them, too.

Find an agency that specializes in auto repair marketing. Make sure they are doing bespoke marketing (custom, just for your shop). If they don’t take the time to truly get to know you, they can’t possibly market your shop competently. And don’t look for the cheapest marketers. Doing that makes you exactly like the car owner looking for the cheapest shop. The quality of repair from the cheapest shop is akin to the quality of marketing from the cheapest marketers.

5. You Market Without a Plan

You’ve heard the old saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail.” That’s as true in marketing as it is in anything else. It seems like many shop owners’ marketing plan is to buy marketing from whoever walks in the door to sell it to them.

  • ✔ tube mailer
  • ✔ yellow pages
  • ✔ restaurant tabletop ads
  • ✔ bus stop ads
  • ✔ grocery store receipts

This tactic is nothing but a wallet flush for the business owner.

You should know months ahead of time where you are marketing, to whom you are marketing, the message, and how much your budget is.

Your marketing plan should be based on the performance of prior years. It should be designed for overall growth while also filling in historically slow times.

Creating a marketing plan can be a daunting task if you like to overcomplicate things. I could go deep on this one, but I wrote an entire article about creating a real world marketing plan for an auto repair shop. Kim and I also recorded a podcast about this topic.

Those comprised my list of the top 5 mistakes being made in your auto repair shop’s marketing. But I would be failing you if I didn’t share my team’s thoughts.

Caroline’s List

Caroline Legrand is our Senior Messaging Strategist. She oversees our social and email teams and gets involved with our own messaging and our client’s messaging on just about every level.

Caroline is a marketer at heart. She “gets it,” and she sees the big picture. When you see her list, you’ll notice both things she mentions are at the core of crafting a message your clients will cling to.

6. You’re Not Sharing Who You Are (Literally and Figuratively)

Caroline said: “Not including anything about their services offered, shop info, or generic info in their content or CTAs but also not including culture and information to help know, like, and trust.”

You assume that people know everything they need to know about you. You fix cars, and you’re around the corner from their house. What else is there to know? Hint: LOTS

So you fix cars, but can you fix their BMW’s check engine light? Do you do state inspections? Does your work come with a warranty? Are you certified? Are you involved in the community? Can I trust you enough to send my daughter to you?

Your customers want to know who you are. Not just who you are, but WHO you are. What are your values? What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies? Do you have kids?

Sharing these things can be the difference between a person traveling 10 miles to get to your shop or going to the shop two blocks from their house.

You’ll notice Caroline mentioned, “know, like, and trust.” Those three words are a major tenant here at SMP. We know these three words are the difference maker. You can choose to be that shop that struggles to find new clients, living transaction to transaction – or the shop that never seems to have a shortage of work because they build relationships all throughout the client journey.

7. You Don’t Know Who You’re Speaking To

Caroline said: “Content creation is seldom separated by acquisition and retention. There’s a difference in how we communicate with current customers and those who are not yet customers. EX: ads copy vs. social copy.”

Your message is the most important thing in your marketing, but you can’t craft a message without knowing who you’re talking to.

Caroline mentioned the difference between talking to someone who is already a client vs. someone who is not a client yet. There are so many facets to this, but to give you an example, a current client already knows where you are and what you do. They have already agreed to marry you if I stick with that theme. You need to convince them to stay with you now. You need to educate them on taking care of their car. Educating them means more money in your pocket and a longer-lasting, more dependable car. It’s a win/win (which it should always be). You also need to remind them that they actually like you and your team. You do this by sharing your life with them, in and out of the shop. Birthdays, anniversaries, and significant life events like having babies and buying houses. You think no one cares – and on the surface, maybe they don’t – but subliminally, they absolutely do care.

The person who isn’t a client yet needs to know those basics. What do you do? Where are you located? Can I trust you?

You need to get them on the first date. Some people refer to that as the “foot in the door.”

But messaging goes far beyond client vs. not a client yet. Different people have different needs. The young professional has very different needs than the retiree. The mom of 3 has very different needs than the college student. The hot-shot driver has very different needs than the doctor. You need to know who your clients are and what’s most important to them.

We call this “defining a customer avatar,” and I’ve written a complete guide to defining customer avatars for your auto repair shop.

If you’re like most shops, you’ll have multiple avatars. Becoming a master at crafting your message and speaking directly to your avatars will take you to a completely different level.

Loretta’s List

Loretta is our Senior Graphic Designer. She has a very diverse marketing background and has worked for multiple agencies in various industries.

Loretta said: 

  • Under utilizing their social media and taking advantage of organic marketing.
  • Overspending with no direction – know your audience, do the research, + track results.

Not being consistent, from branding to voice and everything in between. – I know it says 2 but #3 is something I strongly believe in as a designer for almost everyone, lol.

8. Not Taking Advantage Of Organic Marketing

Good marketing is expensive. Most of the more effective types of marketing cost you for every single touch point with the client. Google ads and direct mail are the best examples of this. Both of these will consistently bring you new clients, when done right, but as soon as you stop paying, they stop working.

When we talk about “organic marketing,” we’re mostly talking about marketing where you’re not paying for every individual touch.

Examples of this would be social media marketing, community involvement, chambers of commerce, BNI, content production, etc.

This type of marketing won’t cost as much money, but what they don’t cost you in dollars will cost you in time. That’s why most shop owners don’t do these things. But they are missing out on so many opportunities.

New shops or shops with smaller marketing budgets benefit significantly from organic marketing. They are essentially building “sweat equity” by putting in the time in lieu of dollars that they may not have. That being said, this does NOT mean that more established shops with larger budgets shouldn’t be marketing this way.

I always tell people that if I owned a shop today, I would have a full-time staff member responsible for doing this kind of marketing. Now I’m talking about adding a lot of cost to what started out as a discussion about marketing that costs less because it’s “organic,” but don’t miss the point. I would add the cost because it’s worth it!

I wrote a more in-depth article that’s all about this type of marketing, Does Your Community REALLY Know You?

We’ve already covered Loretta’s second and third points in numbers 1, 5, and 7, so we’ll move on to Michelle.

Michelle’s List

Michelle is our Director of Website & SEO Operations. She is as in the trenches as it gets. Websites and SEO are a place where TONS of mistakes are being made regularly. It surprised me when I saw her top two because neither were directly related to websites or SEO, though they are indirectly related.

Michelle said: 

  • Stopping marketing when the shop is busy
  • Not being present in their marketing, which can cause lack of personalization, consistency with branding like Lo stated, and leaves their employees unprepared – if there are specials, offers, etc.

9. Stopping Marketing When The Shop Is Busy

I was a little mad when I saw this one. I was mad because I wasn’t the one to bring it up. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves, I talk about it all the time, and I totally forgot about it when I was making my list. This, in my opinion, is the biggest mistake shops make.

This is one of those things that goes so far beyond marketing. Years ago, I attended this boot camp Setema Gali and Nate Bailey put on. For four days, they beat us down to lift us up. It was January, and they had us running in and out of the Pacific Ocean, making sugar cookies out of ourselves on the beach. I did a lifetime’s worth of planks, and then we ended with this crucible of carrying sandbags up and down a huge, steep hill for hours.

Everyone had an epiphany by that last day. My epiphany was to “stop stopping.”

In my life, the most significant place where I would always stop was my diet and strength training. When I’m on, I’m on. When I’m off, I’m off. I’ve been as heavy as 360lbs and as light as 229 as an adult. I know 229 isn’t light, but it’s light for me.

My problem is that when I get to around 240 lbs, I feel good. I still have a major dad bod at 240, but I feel good enough to relax, and then I usually get back up to 280 or so, feel like crap, and start my fitness journey again. I can’t tell you how many times I have done this now.

It’s not much different with your marketing. You need more cars, and you start marketing. You get busy, and you stop. It puts you on this never-ending roller coaster, and it’s terrible for your cash flow.

The problem is you get really busy because your marketing is working, you start scheduling further and further out, and you feel like you’ll start losing clients if you can’t get to them faster. So you shut off the marketing.

In addition, because you’re busy and your processes suck, you actually become less profitable during this time, and you have to look for ways to cut spending. So cutting off or cutting back on your marketing is the logical decision, right? Wrong!

There are a few things you need to do.

  1. You need to become operationally efficient. Your processes and procedures need to be rock solid. Yeah, I know it’s hard running a business. It sucks going from under the hood to behind a desk. Do you know what else is hard? Do you know what else sucks? Losing your business and going bankrupt. Ask me how I know. That’s what’s in your future if you don’t get this right.
  2. It’s time to grow. Expand your shop. Expand your team. Buy another shop (only if you are a damn good businessperson). Too much work is not actually too much work. It’s too little capacity. You’ve been given a gift. Use it wisely and build the capacity to do the increased level of work at the highest quality and level of customer service.
  3. Increase your prices. Don’t worry; it’s ok to make a profit. I know when most of us opened our shop; we did it because we knew we could do a better job of fixing the cars and we could do it cheaper. I’ve heard that story many times. It was my story too. Then we learn the actual cost of operating a business, and suddenly, doing it cheaper is no longer a goal. When you have too much work, increasing your prices will eliminate the clients who cause you the most headaches and increase your quality of clients overall.
  4. Shift your marketing to marketing actions that garner a different type of result. Maybe you just don’t want to grow. Maybe you’ve maxed out your pricing (you haven’t). There is the option of pivoting your marketing to brand awareness or slower moving options that have long-lasting effects. For instance, instead of doing Google Ads that drive business today, shift to more SEO to drive business months from now.

I’ve written a couple of articles about this particular topic. Again, I’m passionate about this. I’ve experienced firsthand what happens when you start and stop marketing. I’ve even been guilty of this in my own marketing agency. But I’ve learned that lesson. Here are the links to those two articles.

I already covered Michelle’s second point about not being present in your marketing in my number 3, so let’s move on to Wendy.

Wendy’s List

Wendy is one of our Messaging Strategists. She’s pretty quiet, so you may not have heard much from her unless you’re one of our clients and she does your social media. Wendy was a business owner herself. She owned a specialty cake shoppe, and she made cakes that were over the top, insanely beautiful, and creative. She has competed in cake-offs on television. Yeah, she’s that good!

Wendy learned the value of marketing in her business, especially social media marketing. Pictures of her cakes were shared many thousands of times, leading to her making cakes for famous sports players and celebrities.

Wendy said:

  • Not representing the actual shop and team: acknowledge, celebrated, gotten to know.
  • Stopping marketing when they are too busy or too slow
  • Waiting till they are too slow and panic to fill the bays. Prepare for the slow times ahead of time.

10. Not Representing The Actual Shop And Team

As a person who is managing social media channels for many auto repair shops, Wendy knows how important it is to be authentic. She knows it takes actual content from the shops to get people to know, like, and trust you. Some of her clients often share what’s happening in the shop. They give us pictures, videos, and tidbits of information that let us into their day-to-day so we can better market their shops. Others don’t give us much to work with. Each proves that real, authentic content works much better than generic content.

What this means is you shouldn’t be sharing the stock image of some model wearing bib overalls and holding a couple of giant wrenches. If you have that anywhere in your marketing – website, social media, direct mail, billboards, or anything else – get rid of that crap.

You ask clients to spend thousands of dollars with you every day. You should be willing to spend a couple of thousand dollars investing in your marketing by hiring a professional photographer, videographer, and/or writer to produce visuals and written word that properly represent YOUR shop and team.

We covered Wendy’s second and third points in numbers 9 and 5, so let’s move on to Hallie’s list.

Hallie’s List

Hallie (pronounced Hailey) is our Digital Advertising Director. She works with nearly all of our clients because digital ads (Google Ads and Facebook Ads) are major drivers of new business for our clients. She sees the mistakes made on websites, landing pages, and even when answering the phone (yes, that’s marketing). Her list doesn’t surprise me at all, and it’s right on all points.

Hallie said: 

  • Underestimating how much a good website/landing page matters. It’s literally your shop but online and a lot of times, someone’s first impression.
  • Not being consistent – whether it’s consistent branding and messaging across multiple platforms or consistent posting. Lack of consistency is just a waste of money and frankly looks unprofessional.
  • ^^ yes – I was trying to find a good way of saying “wasting their money on calls/clicks by having terrible phone skills.” Lol

11. Underestimating The Value Of A Great Website or Landing Page

Your website is the hub of your marketing. Every marketing action you take usually points back to your website. Yet, many shop owners allow their website to be filled with stock photos and stock content, and they allow it to be built on outdated or poor technology that doesn’t perform well for search engines.

Wendy already talked about not representing your actual shop and team. I’m not going to beat that horse to death. Well, maybe a little. Hire a photographer and writer to create great content for your website.

But so much goes into building a great website. Things like:

  • What is the primary message of the website?
  • What pages should be on the website?
  • Where should we place the phone number, address, and hours?
  • How do we lay out the content for a multi-location shop?
  • And SO much more.

Just yesterday, I was looking at a website that one of our competitors built, and the owner came to us because they weren’t happy with the results they were getting. The hero image and text made it look like this shop only works on European cars, EVs, and hybrids. But the shop actually works on all makes and models.

The website was alienating over 90% of the cars on the road, yet the owner wants more car count of all types! He simply wanted people to know that they ALSO work on European cars, EVs, and hybrids. Words matter. Images matter. Color theory matters.

The same goes for landing pages. We are sometimes asked to do Google Ads for shops with no website, a bad website, or a website by a company that won’t work with us. In those cases, we have to build a landing page. A landing page is a single-page website that is directly related to the ads that are running. It has one purpose: to convert the viewer into a customer. The landing page may have much less information, but it still needs to have great images, content, layout, and color theory.

A great website or landing page will convert viewers much faster than a poor website or landing page. What makes a great auto repair shop website? Here is a deep dive into the subject.

I covered Hallie’s second point in number 1. Now onto her third point

12. Having Terrible Phone Skills

I always tell people to make sure their team’s phone skills are dialed in before spending a penny on marketing.

Part of doing digital ads is recording phone calls so we can spot-check them to make sure we are driving quality calls. When listening to our client’s phone calls, we often uncover a lack of phone skills.

For the most part, Google Ads work across the board. It’s VERY rare that we run Google Ads for a shop, and they don’t pay for themselves many times over. In almost every case, when a client says their ads aren’t working, we find that the ads are actually performing well, but the people answering the phone aren’t converting the calls into clients.

The most common phone skills issues we hear when listening to calls include:

  • The service advisor sounds grumpy or hurried when answering the phone. When the owners answer the phone, it’s usually even worse. The person answering the phone should have only one care in the world when they answer, and that’s providing the highest level of customer service to the person on the other end of that call!
  • The service advisor doesn’t ask for the appointment. Auto repair is an intimidating topic for many people. The caller rarely knows what to ask when they are on a call with an auto repair shop. The service advisor’s job is to lead the caller through the discussion and make an appointment. They should always ask for the appointment – every time.
  • The service advisor thinks someone wants a price when they call and ask for a price, but they are usually asking for a price because they don’t know what to ask. See the bullet point above.

We recently recorded a podcast with Cecil Bullard of The Institute for Automotive Business Excellence about phone skills. It’s one of the most valuable podcasts we’ve ever recorded. Unless you’re 100% sure your team’s phone skills are on-point, go give it a listen.

Danni’s List

Danni is our lead Customer Success Manager. If you’re one of her clients, you know how amazing Danni is. She speaks to many of our clients monthly to review their reports and find out what is happening in their businesses. She works with them to constantly improve their marketing.

Danni said:

  • Believing a Google Ad will save their business. A few clients have come to us this way, and there are many more pieces to the puzzle. Also, I am sure there’s a better way to write this so it doesn’t sound so harsh. Marketing materials should be ‘in support of’, not ‘the savior of’
  • Not communicating with their marketing teams. When the partnership is there, it makes their marketing better. A good marketing team will take the strategy as far as it can go, and when they need supporting materials, and they ask for it, doing their best to at least communicate or give them some of what they need is paramount.
  • Not answering the phone or not keeping in tune to their team’s handling of phone calls / web form fills. Many marketing phone calls will happen from either SEO or digital ads, so every phone call counts. How a customer is treated over the phone will gauge their impression of your shop. Also, timely responses to web form fills is also important.

13. Believing A Google Ad Will Save Your Business

Wow… this is a good one. I hate it when this happens, but there are times when a shop owner waits too long and calls us in a last-ditch effort to save their business. We NEVER take those people on as clients.

Marketing isn’t the equivalent of an emergency room. It should be looked at like eating healthy and working out. You do it to keep from having an emergency. You do it to grow. You do it so your shop can become better consistently over time.

People hear me talk about how we can make your phone start ringing within days by running Google Ads. But the shop that has let it go that far is usually on a downward spiral, and there are deeper problems at play in situations like this. Just the fact that the shop owner let it go this far is enough to tell me that marketing isn’t going to fix their problem. I’d rather see them give their money to a coach who can treat the problem holistically rather than me take their last dollars to make them go out of business with a few more cars in their bays.

Besides, that shop owner isn’t our sweet-spot client. We do top-tier marketing for top-tier shops. Working with our perfect clients was a lesson worth learning. I should add that to this list, but I’ll let this paragraph say my peace about that.

I covered Danni’s second point in numbers 3, 6, and 10 – and her 3rd point in number 12.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it; 13 mistakes that we see most in auto repair shop marketing. These are certainly not the only mistakes we see, but they are the ones that were top of mind for us when writing this article.

This was a long read, and I’m glad you made it this far. It shows your commitment to getting it right in your shop.

To learn more about auto repair shop marketing, we have a wealth of information in our blog, on our “Free Stuff” page, and we cover a variety of auto repair-related topics in our podcast, The Auto Repair Marketing Podcast.

Also, join our Facebook Group, The Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind. We’d love to see you there.

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.

Don’t you deserve to have a thriving business?

Are you tired of trying to attract new clients by offering cheap oil changes only to never see them again? Are marginal profits causing you stress and anxiety? Is shop morale not the highest because your technicians aren’t turning enough hours to feed their families?

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