If you’ve got a shop, you need a sign.
We don’t mean an astrological sign, either, which is still the first thing some shop owners offer up when we ask them, “Where’s your sign?”
Whether you’re a Leo, a Taurus, or a Gemini, your repair shop needs a sign.
We were able to corner Fullbay CEO Jacob Findlay for a few minutes to get his perspective on signs and why they’re so important to a shop’s marketing plan and overall existence. To kick things off, he told us a scary story…about a store without a sign.
The Store Without a Sign
“I was driving cross-country with my family,” Jacob recalls, “and I knew we were about to pass the shop of a customer.”
He remained on the lookout for that shop, eager to see it after corresponding with the owner. He knew he was in the right neighborhood, and on the right street, but there was no sign of the shop. He ended up passing the establishment several times before realizing the shop was there — it just didn’t have any sort of signage. There was no way for potential customers to see it from the street, nothing telling them they were in the right place.
The shop was chasing customers away without even realizing it: a recent FedEx survey found that 60% of potential clients won’t go into a shop or store if it doesn’t have a sign. Think about it — would you wander into a random building that had no identifying marks? Probably not.
An Industry-Wide Problem
Unfortunately, the signless store was not a one-off. Poor signage has become a calling card of the heavy-duty repair industry, and it’s a calling card Jacob dearly wants to swap out.
He understands why it happens. “The people running the shops are usually former techs,” he says, who are probably thinking more about getting the job done than advertising. They focus on the quality of their work and building relationships with their existing customers, who then hopefully spread the word about them when they hit the road.
Techs-turned-owners may also be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that it takes to maintain a business — work besides the actual work being done on the trucks. Think invoicing, ordering parts, making appointments, handling payroll. By the time a shop owner has time to breathe, he’s going to pour himself a cup of coffee, not worry about whether he has enough walk-in business.
But a sign doesn’t just affect your walk-in business. Shop owners may also put a lot of trust into Google Maps, figuring that once a customer inputs the shop address, their phones will guide them the rest of the way.
Jacob points out that Google Maps can only get you so far. If someone knows your shop is there — just like Jacob knew the shop in our opening scary story was there — but they can’t find you, they aren’t going to spend a lot of time hunting down your entrance. They’ll check it out, figure Google Maps was wrong, and leave. Bam, one paying customer lost.
Take it from Jacob: signage is important, so invest in a good one! After all, “You’re not making more money by not having signs.”