The recession continues to squeeze small business operatives in a number of ways, forcing entrepreneurs to be smarter about the way they work. With rising fuel costs added to the mix, this is especially the case for those who operate transport companies or vehicle fleets.
Of course, one of the most obvious things you can do is compare van insurance quotes on a site like MoneySupermarket or streamline your administration costs at an office level, but one group believes some of the most successful firms out there are the ones who are maximising their profits on aftersales products and customer retention.
According to The Warranty Group, a company that specialises in marketing, administrative, underwriting and compliance solutions for a range of international clients, dealerships of all kinds that have the most impressive 2012 profitability are investing as much time as they can in selling warranties, service plans and other added value products wherever possible.
Sales and marketing director Ian Simpson said it was clear that maximising aftersales revenues was becoming increasingly important to those looking to ride out the worst of the global economic crisis as this was a great way to create a crucial source of income at a time when margins continue to remain low.
“Importantly, products such as these create an on-going aftersales link between dealer and customer. A customer who has bought a service plan is one who is going to come back to you time and again, and the same is true of warranties if you move to capture warranty claims,” Mr Simpson explained.
Of course, these kinds of options are not always possible for fleet managers, transport operatives or even smaller one man band businesses offering courier solutions. One option might be to use your vehicle or vehicles to sell advertising space. There are many different advertising companies who will take you up on this and the monthly income this provides could provide a very steady extra slice of profit for your books.
Another option is to increase awareness of your services in the cheapest way possible. Nowadays it’s incredible easy to set up a simple website yourself that has all the necessary details on there for people to get in touch. Free options like Weebly are used by many businesses – big and small – so if you aren’t online, perhaps it’s time to increase your exposure.
If you already have a site, think about using the power of social media to promote your offering. For example, most people have a Facebook page that is linked to all their friends and family – but do all the people they are linked to know that you have a business that may come in handy some time?
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