Taking Advantage of Peak Days
According to a data analysis report from the software company Womply, the following dates were the top five most profitable days of the year in 2018: May 25, June 29, July 27, August 31, and July 13—all Fridays.
“The common theme that we see in those days, are that they are during the summer,” explains Brad Plothow, vice president of Brand and Communications at Womply.
Per Womply’s data, the No. 1 day of repair sales happens to be the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, with shops seeing an average of $1,840 in revenue, a 41 percent increase over a typical day.
Within all localized auto service service businesses (tire, auto repair, gas stations, and car washes) across the country, Americans spend 73 percent more money on their vehicles on the No. 1 day of the year, than on a typical day.
In order to obtain the above numbers, Womply analyzed transaction data every day of 2018 at 26,000 auto service businesses nationwide. They then compared the transactions of each day of the year, and looked for the sales spikes and valleys.
“We use transaction data to power the software; and one of the really interesting things and applications of that data is that we can understand the interactions between consumers and those businesses,” says Plothow.
Understanding the seasonality and specific peaks of sales can help determine ways to take advantage of the busy and profitable days, and ultimately grow overall revenue.
Understand the Seasonality.
According to Plothow, May, June, July, and August, all had large spikes as the top days of the year.
“It is more likely that people are putting more miles on their car during the summer. They are travelling, they’re getting out more, and maybe it’s just a little bit easier to venture out,” says Plothow.
Although, according to Womply’s data, oil and lube stations sit as a bit of an anomaly, with its top five sales days being: June 1, November 21, June 16, October 19, and November 16. With dates skewing more into the fall, Plothlow suggests that individuals are a bit more judicious about getting their oil changed during autumn.
Being aware of the peak trends can help shop owners learn when and how to best take advantage of the increased profitability opportunities.
For Dave Andrzejewski, owner of Dave’s Auto and Truck Services in Philadelphia, his shop goes from a typical Monday–Friday 8–5 , to a unique schedule of extended and altered hours on Wednesday (8–7) and Friday (7–4) starting after Memorial Day.
Andrzejewski says the extended hours are a way he can try and make repairs a little more convenient for his customers who may be coming home later and want to get their service done.
“People have a little more free time [in the summer]. Maybe their kids are off of school, and, for whatever reason, people seem like they will spend more in the summertime, (possibly) for road tripping to take care of their car,” he explains.
Andrzejewski started his extended summer hours last year, and, toward the end of the season started to see an influx of customers. He says that his hours are pretty unique to his community, and allow for customers to be able to get work down before work on Fridays.
The extended hours have been popular within his customer base, before this year’s summer hours shift, customers were asking if they were planning on doing them again.
Communicate the Change.
Andrzejewski explains that, before he changed around his summer hours to take advantage of the sales peaks, he first asked his customers if they would have any interest in extension. He then asked his technicians if they would be willing to work the extra hours.
“With the tech shortage we are in, we don't want to make anybody mad for some silly reason by making them work two extra hours on a Wednesday,” he says.
He suggests pulling the shop’s staff aside and having a meeting in order to pick up on the general consensus of the team about the possible new hours.
Once Andrzejewski made the decision to take advantage of the summer, he then communicated with his customers about the shift. He changed the hours on his door to draw people's attention, and switched the operating hours on Google and Facebook. This type of customer communication is key, says Plothow.
“The thing that we always advise [repair shops] to do is to not get too carried away,” he explains. “Revenue tends to be fairly consistent for these businesses across all these different days of the year. However, if you know that you have a day coming up that is a big day for you, it’s really important to be connected to your customers.”
Plothow suggests emailing the shop’s list of customers and letting them know of the new hours. He also gives the idea of offering some kind of special on the specific peak days.
“You may end up pulling in business that could have gone to Jiffy Lube or the Walmart Auto Center for example,” he says.