Why Your Shop Needs to be Marketing - Even with a Backlog

Why Your Shop Needs to be Marketing - Even with a Backlog

Table of Contents



Does your collision repair shop have a marketing plan? Have you ignored it completely, or maybe you rely on direct repair programs (DRPs) to bring in business? As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Failure to plan

Marketing is critical to growing an auto body business, whether you want to increase your revenue, compete with a consolidator, or even if you intend to sell your business. And yes – even if you are already busy.

Many Body Shop Owners Are Too Busy to Worry About Their Marketing

As a shop owner or manager, you have a lot on your plate: customer service, payroll, HR, accounting, training, working with vendors and insurance companies, and much more.

So, when it comes to marketing your shop, where do you begin? 

How can you fit that into your day?

Are you going to create magazine ads, billboards, post updates on social media, manage your online listings, and update your website?

Whether you have the time to do all this or not, it needs to be done.

If you can’t fit it into your day, do you delegate this to your office manager? Do they have the time or the expertise to do it properly?

It’s incredibly frustrating to know that something needs to be done, but you keep putting it on the backburner and it never actually gets addressed with the attention it deserves.

Marketing is Expensive

Let’s get this out of the way - marketing is expensive! But it’s not simply an expense, it’s an investment into getting more customers into your shop. 

According to a 2021 Gartner survey, the average marketing budget across all industries is around 10-11%. How does that compare to what you spend?

Marketing Budget for $2 Million in Shop Revenue

As a general rule of thumb, body shops should budget at least 4-5% of revenue to marketing, and 8-10% or more if you can. 

For a shop doing 2 million in revenue, that amounts to $80,000 to $100,000 per year.

In a survey from aftermarketNews, more than half of the respondents reported they spent less than $5,000 a year on marketing. Does that sound like your shop?

Regardless of what budget you go with, you should spend as much as you can, and do it consistently.

Consolidators Use Marketing to Attract Your Customers

Large chains are usually great at marketing and branding. When one company buys another or opens a second location, consistent branding is crucial to build visibility and create a professional image.

Marketing plays an enormous role in a company’s growth. A chain or consolidator standardizes messaging so they aren’t recreating the wheel in each market, and they blast that message out strategically.

Locally owned independent shops may be the place people would prefer to support, but only if they can provide the same level of service, and more importantly, people can’t support a business that is invisible in the marketplace! 

If your shop does little to no marketing, then people don’t think about you after a collision. Instead, they think about the company whose ads they always see.

Consolidators are good at this - they advertise using multiple channels: Facebook Ads, Google Ads, YouTube and other social media posts, Magazine Ads, Sponsorships, and more.

Your potential customers notice this, and generally speaking, consumers tend to trust well established brands.

To compete with collision repair chains, you can do all of this too.

Our Shop Has a 6-Week Backlog, We Can’t Handle Any More Business

Maybe this is you. Shops are still dealing with post-pandemic parts shortages and supply chain issues, but collisions never stop happening.

So you do as much of a repair as you can, but sometimes you’re backed up waiting on parts and can’t finish a job 100%. 

If you have a backlog, why advertise? Your competitors are having the same parts issues that you are, so the game doesn’t stop. You should continue your marketing plans so that your shop stays top-of-mind.

You don’t want your potential customers to start paying more attention to a competitor who is investing in marketing and advertising.

When your shop is fully booked or backed up, your marketing helps with customer retention. 

Marketing is not just about getting new customers, it’s also about reminding your existing and past customers that they made the right choice.

You Can Hire a Marketing Team for a Fraction of the Price of an In-House Employee

Maybe a full-time in-house marketing person doesn't make sense for you. Between salary and benefits, employees are expensive! 

Marketing is more than memes

And asking your office staff to take on marketing tasks may do more harm than good. I’ve seen more than my fair share of people who think posting memes and generic updates on Facebook equals marketing.

Delegating your marketing as an afterthought to a staff member who hasn’t been trained in the various disciplines isn’t going to get you very far.

Instead, figure out your budget and consider outsourcing your shop’s marketing. With a marketing partner like Conspicuous Digital, you get a team of specialists that can help you with:

You don’t have to worry about salary, attendance, training, sick days, vacations, taxes, insurance, or any of the other expenses that come with hiring.

We agree on an action plan, and then we get to work on it. No management headaches – just turn us loose and watch the results.

Marketing Assistant Salary Example
Hiring is expensive!

This is a far better value than hiring an employee - the average annual salary of an entry level marketing assistant is $45,000, and that’s for someone who might have some basic training in one or two areas, like web design or paid advertising, but is not a specialist in all areas of marketing.

You can outsource this to a marketing partner for a fraction of that – and if you outgrow a marketing partner, you can still hire employees later. 

Final Thoughts

Having a full workload today doesn’t mean it will be that way tomorrow or next month. Marketing your shop helps to keep your business in public view, and keeps your pipeline full. 

If you haven’t made it a priority or thought you couldn't afford it, it won’t hurt to have a conversation with us - you may just find out it’s less of an investment than you thought.

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Why Your Shop Needs to be Marketing - Even with a Backlog
Jason Ferguson

About Jason Ferguson

Jason has been a graphic designer since 1994 and started building websites in 1997. Since then he's learned countless new marketing skills and loves helping companies get more customers using digital marketing techniques. Jason founded Conspicuous Digital in 2017 and focuses on helping collision repair shops with their marketing.

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