Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Secret to Charging More for Your Service

“When your values are clear, decisions are easy.”Roy Disney

Mickey Mouse threw me a curveball! It happened last week while visiting Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” theme park. On a normal day, the park closes at 10pm. However, on this fateful day, they closed at 6pm.

When I asked the Disney “cast member” why they closed so early, she responded with both good and bad news.

The good news was that after 6pm the park would re-open at 7pm and would remain open until midnight in celebration of their “Halloween in August” promotion.

There would be special parades and shows, where everyone could dress up in costumes and collect candy!

The bad news was that in order to stay, you had to pay an additional $80.00 per person! I watched in amazement as thousands of people happily paid the extra fee and purchased the additional merchandise that was designed for this promotion!

Here was my initial thought: “I could get this much cheaper down the road at Six Flags!” 

Think about it. There would be rioting in the streets if you went to your local theme park and the agent told you they closed at 6pm and an additional fee was required to stay!

Why was the  Disney customer excited about paying more? (Does your customer get excited about pay more?)

I received the answer after taking a photo with my family and posting it on social media. This was when I realized the secret to charging more for your service.

My Current Situation

In the backdrop of the picture I posted on social media was “The Cinderella Castle.”

The only message that I included with the post was, “My current situation.”

As I read through the comments on my page, here’s what I noticed:

Everyone instantly knew where I was without me having to tell them. Why? Because the photo reminded them of their memorable experience at Disney.

And then it hit me.

The secret to charging more for your service is to consistently create memorable moments.

A recent study of 3,300 consumers found that 81% of the respondents would be willing to increase their spending with a company in return for a better experience. 

If you took a picture in front of your shop and posted it on social media, what memories would pop into your customers mind? Keep reading to learn what you can do create positive memorable moments at your shop!

Ideas to grow your businessAre your customers leaving with a memorable experience? Discover tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events that will help you charge more and grow your business! Register today at

Send the Right Message

Is “The broken window theory” impacting your shop? In 1982, two social scientists, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, concluded that a neighborhood or building with ignored broken windows will experience larger and more serious crimes.

The unrepaired windows send the message that no one cares, and that bad behavior is acceptable.

It’s like the environment is literally saying, “Nobody’s watching, so it’s ok to break windows and do other bad things around here!”

This is what former Disney Executive Dennis Snow meant when he made the following statement while speaking at a previous ATI SuperConference: “Everything speaks!”

If everything speaks, what messages are your shop standards sending?

For Disney employees, ignoring trash on the pavement is grounds for termination. Why? Because a spotless facility says, “We’re on top of every detail that impacts your experience.”

Disney can increase their ticket counter, parking, and restaurant prices, every year because their environment sends the right message.

Sadly, the following are messages I’ve heard while visiting shops: (Not your shop of course! I’m talking about that shop down the street!)

  • “We don’t believe in doing Courtesy Checks around here!”
  • “It’s OK to drop your cigarette butts in front of our shop!”
  • “We don’t care about fixing broken equipment!”
  • “We’re too shorthanded to answer the phones within three rings, so how will we answer your call?”
  • “We only hire technicians who bathe in grease and smell like an ashtray!”

Based on these standards, how happy would customers be if that “shop down the street” raised their prices?

They would feel like breaking windows after seeing the labor rate! Having standards in place that send the right message, is critical to your ability to charge more for your service.

Sweat the Small Stuff

I know what you’re thinking: “Ok Twiggs, Disney creates memorable moments. Understood! They believe that everything speaks.

I get it! But how can Disney have 56,000 people per day in their parks and still manage to keep their facilities clean?”

They sweat the small stuff. This habit began with Disney’s founder.

Walt Disney was obsessed with the details of the customer experience. For example, he wanted to know how long a visitor would walk with trash in her hands before dropping it on the ground.

He sat on a bench and counted the number of steps his customers took while searching for a place to throw out their garbage.

He counted 30 steps on average, and to this day every trash can is exactly 30 feet away from the next one!

What can you do to focus on the details of your customer experience?

Here are some examples of “small Stuff” you can focus on at your shop:

  • Vacuum your customer’s vehicle.
  • Leave a parting gift in the vehicle.
  • Offer a Concierge Service to drop off and pick up your customers.
  • Pull the vehicle to the front door and turn on the AC while the customer is in the waiting room.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the windshield.

Since sweating the small stuff is all about eating the elephant one bite at a time, I challenge you to have your “Eating The Elephant” meetings to get ideas from your team on what can be done to sweat the small stuff with your customers.

For more information on how to conduct the elephant meetings read my previous post on the topic.


So, there you have it. The secret to charging more for your service is to consistently create memorable moments.

To create those memorable moments, you must send the right message and sweat the small stuff. 

Doing this will make running “a Micky Mouse operation” a good thing!

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.