Big rewards from small investment reaps dividends for Yorkshire garage

Published:  03 May, 2022

An independent VW, Audi, SEAT and Skoda specialist has revealed how it maintains its position as one of the busiest independent garages in Yorkshire.

IVC in Leeds has an enviable forward order book and its seven ramps work at capacity five days a week, all year round.

Owner Graham Alderson took over the garage 22 years ago with business partner Mark Elsom and the pair embarked on implementing a strategy that would elevate its reputation and secure its financial future.

While they invested heavily in equipment and training, Graham realised that despite being busy with repeat customers and word of mouth recommendations, the business wouldn’t realise its full potential and profitability if it ignored how customers’ online usage and habits were changing. The business did have a website but Graham was savvy enough to foresee that, like garages, some websites were better than others: “Our old one was okay,” he said, “but all it really did was give us a presence, like an online brochure. It was fairly useless because customers couldn’t find it and it contributed nothing to the business. I knew we were missing a trick.”

IVC called in website specialist Garage Services Online, which works exclusively with the independent garage sector. Graham continued: “I’ll be the first to admit I thought it was going to be costly and time-consuming, but in fact it was the opposite. What essentially took no more than two hours of my time overall, now pays for itself multiple times over every month.

“We get at least 12 enquiries a week directly through the website contact form and more over the phone. Because the website has already answered most of the customer’s questions, we convert virtually every enquiry into a job which then becomes another returning customer.”

He added: “The website brings in over £5k worth of business every month. It actually costs us a tiny fraction of that so the return on investment is consistently huge on a monthly basis. We pride ourselves on being one of the best at what we do, so without the website we’d still be busy. But I absolutely wouldn’t be without it. It’s integral to the business, a bit like an insurance policy that we stay busy rather than just taking it for granted the work will come in on its own. Given the last couple of years, that’s something no business should ever do.”

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