Running an Auto Repair Shop is Like Winning at Football: A Playbook for Success!

Drafting a Marketing Plan from AutoFix Auto Repair Shop Coaching. Image of side view of businessman in rugby helmet playing american football in office, sourced from AutoFix Auto Repair Shop Coaching.

Running a business, especially one in the aftermarket auto repair industry, can feel a lot like a high-stakes football game. You’ve got strategies to consider, team members to manage, and goals to score. But if we dig a little deeper into the analogy, we’ll find that the similarities don’t just end at generalities.

Let’s break it down by looking at the four core elements of a football game—Offense, Defense, Penalties, and Special Teams—and how they relate to running a successful auto repair shop.

Offense: Your Marketing Strategy

In football, the offense is what drives the game forward. Without a good offensive strategy, you’re not putting points on the board. Similarly, in business, your marketing strategy is your offensive line. You can’t expect customers to just walk into your shop without hearing about you first. In today’s digital age, this means having an online presence, engaging with customers on social media, offering promotions, and even using good ol’ word-of-mouth to spread the word about your quality services.

But offense is not just about making the initial play; it’s about follow-through and making sure you get into the endzone. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) comes in. Follow-up emails, thank-you notes, and customer loyalty programs keep your customers coming back. In football terms, this is your running game making sure you hold onto the ball and keep moving it down the field.

Defense: Managing Margins and Operational Efficiency

In any football game, a solid defense can be a game-changer. It’s what keeps the other team from scoring and taking the lead. In an auto repair shop, managing your margins and operational efficiency is akin to having a strong defensive line.

Setting the right pricing for your services, managing your costs, and ensuring you have an efficient operational workflow in place are essential aspects of your business’s defense. It’s not just about preventing losses; it’s about enabling wins by freeing up resources for growth and innovation. A good defense ensures that the business remains sustainable in the long term.

Penalties: Comebacks and Warranty Work

Just like in football, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you get hit with penalties. In the world of auto repair, these are the jobs that come back for a redo or the parts that are under warranty and need replacement. These setbacks can be disheartening and costly, both in terms of finances and reputation.

How you manage these “penalties” says a lot about your shop. Just as a good football team has contingency plans for when things go south, your shop should have protocols for dealing with comebacks and warranty work in a way that is fair and minimizes hassle for the customer. This is where your integrity as a business owner comes into play.

Special Teams: Your Employees

Special teams in football handle kickoffs, punts, and field goals—plays that can be just as crucial as any offensive or defensive strategy. Similarly, your employees are your special teams. Technicians, service advisors, lot porters, etc., each have their own specialized role that contributes to the overall success of your shop. They are the ones who execute your strategies on the ground and interact with your customers, so their performance can make or break your business.

Your role as a coach is to ensure that each member is well-trained, motivated, and aligned with your shop’s values and goals. Regular team meetings, training programs, and performance incentives can go a long way in maintaining a high-performing special team.

The Spectators: Support Staff and Stakeholders

Let’s not forget about the spectators—your support staff like the owner, managers as well as stakeholders like suppliers and investors. These are the people who make the game enjoyable and contribute to the atmosphere and success of the team. They may not be on the field, but their support is invaluable. For a business, these are the people who keep the wheels turning in the background. They ensure that processes run smoothly, that customers are satisfied, and that your shop continues to grow.

Final Thoughts

Running an auto repair shop is not for the faint of heart, just like football. Both require strategy, dedication, and teamwork. But if you think like a coach, align your offense and defense, manage your penalties, and maintain a strong special team, you’re well on your way to winning your own championship.

So, whether you’re drafting a marketing plan or setting your operational margins, remember: in business, as in football, the playbook you choose makes all the difference.

Feel free to huddle up and discuss this playbook. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.

Until next time, keep those engines—and football dreams—running!




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