Turn your staff into energy watchdogs

Beside yourself, does anyone in your store keep an eye on thermostats, light timer controls, and other potential energy wasters sucking dollars off of your bottom line? If your store is like most, you're probably on your own.

But last winter, one store created an incentive for department managers. The intent was to make them energy conservation watchdogs.

For the period of November through March, they compared last year's utility bills with this year's. If their utility bills came in lower than the previous winter, they would give half of the savings back to the managers in the store.

Results of the five months comparison:

Utility expense Nov. '99 - March '00 $15,292.00
Utility expense Nov. '00 - March '01 $13,116.00

This activity trained all of their managers to become energy watchdogs. They now have seven people who are in the habit of checking thermostats, turning off unnecessary lights and looking for other ways of saving energy dollars.

Easy way to get full rate on paid work

Are you actually getting the full labor rate on all customer paid work? Probably not.

There's an easy way to determine what you are getting from your customers. Try this:

Start with the total dollars received from customers labor sales. Divide your sales dollars by the number of hours flagged to produce those sales. The result is your customer effective labor rate.

Are you less than 90% of your post rate or maybe your warranty rate?

If so, why? Answer this question and you will increase your sales and gross dollars.

Say “thanks” with a carnival atmosphere

How often do you thank your previous customers and show appreciation? When was the last time you contacted each and every customer to thank them for their business?

Well, it might be time for a customer appreciation weekend.

The best source for new business is definitely previous customers. Many dealers have great success with a customer appreciation weekend. It creates a carnival atmosphere that can attract new business as well.

And it's simple. Some cokes and hot dogs, music, entertainment for the kids. Put all this together and you will have people stopping by to find out what is going on. And the answer is: “We're just showing our customers how much we appreciate them.”

Some companies specializing in this sort of thing can put the whole package together for you. You might consider this as an opportunity to build additional goodwill with those people that have already indicated they like the way you do business.

Money-making minutes is provided by NCM Associates in conjunction with the Automotive Satellite Television Network (ASTN).