Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Top 5 Tips to Avoid the Holiday Car Count Blues

Are you going to be sobbing over your Thanksgiving turkey as you think about December? Many auto repair shop owners tell me that the holiday season, while busy for many retailers, is their slowest time of the year. They see the car count drop off each week so repair orders are at their lowest and they can’t keep their technicians busy and making money. What should be the most wonderful time of the year becomes the most stressful time.

Even with just a few weeks in front of you, you can put some things in place to keep car count steady and make this your best December ever. Here are my top 5 tips for shop owners to avoid those holiday car count blues.

Ideas to grow your businessNon-ATI members: Discover more valuable tips and strategies to build a steady car count, increase your bottom-line, and grow your business in ATI’s shop owner events. Register for a shop owner event at

1. Contact Your Customers

I cannot stress this enough; reach out to your current customers and start booking appointments for December services. Oil change? Road trip check? Tire swap for winter? Most automotive repair shop management software gives you the option of pulling a report of when customers’ last visit was. Contact every customer you haven’t seen in 5 months or more and entice them back in your doors. The best way is via text message (if you have permission, of course) and the second-best is by phone call.

2. Participate in a Community Fundraiser

Do you have the space to be a drop-off spot for Toys for Tots? Can you sponsor the local food bank or animal shelter? Can you do all 3? Non-profit organizations rely on this time of year to collect enough money and supplies to support them for the rest of the year. Your support as a drop-off will be listed on their social media and websites, giving you community exposure, boosting your shop’s presence on the internets. Do something your team will want to participate in. Take photos and share on social media what you are doing. It’s a win for everybody.

3. Social Media Drawing

Everybody loves the chance to win free stuff. Each entry can be tied to liking and sharing a post on social media. The prizes need to be nice enough that people will take action. This puts the name of your shop in front of people who wouldn’t necessarily know about you otherwise.

4. Email Blasts

This can be effective if done right. First, don’t send to all of your customers at once; this will get you flagged as spam by a lot of the larger email service providers. Second, make it compelling — the offer needs to be timely, something of value, and must require contacting you for an appointment. Third, it needs to have a deadline. An expiration date in big letters needs to be there to encourage action now.

5. Phone Skills

These activities will get your phone ringing so make sure whoever is answering knows how to make those calls feel great. They should smile, get the caller’s name, ask the caller lots of questions to show concern and interest, set appointments, and avoid giving quotes over the phone. A phone log of every call is also a must — you can follow up with anyone who doesn’t make an appointment.

Think these tips will make a difference? Imagine what being a member of ATI could do for your shop. Our members have received over $2 billion in return on their investment in ATI. Never cry over your Thanksgiving turkey again. Start by registering for a shop owner event at

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Charlene is an Executive Coach at ATI, a Certified Profit First Professional, a former shop owner, and has been coaching since 2014. Charlene helps clients find the right solutions to their challenges and encourages them to make the changes that result in having the life they dreamed about when they got into business ownership.