How to Diversify Your Services

Jan. 23, 2018

How the largest shop in a rural area offers a wide range of services to reach 18 communities.

There is very little we won’t tackle,” Kris Goodrich says about his shop, Goodrich Auto Works in Bath, N.Y.,  as it offers much more than just your typical collision repair services.

After opening his shop the day he graduated college in 1977, he’s fixed everything from cars to tractors in his small, rural town of roughly 15,000 people.

Over time, Goodrich had to learn to keep busy during the slow seasons of April and September. So, he did any work that came through his doors, which eventually resulted in an extended list of services that he offers today on a regular basis.

These services? Well, the 30,000-square-foot, 40-bay shop—the largest in its market—does spray-on bedliners, sandblasting, graphics in its full graphic shop—and much more.

The Services

With collision work being the biggest source of revenue, the extra convenience of having a mechanical shop in house that services everything from cars to campers is inviting to customers, along with the other menu of services.

Goodrich Auto Works offers indoor sandblasting, spray-on bedliners, a full detail shop, and a complete graphic shop (Goody’s Graphics & Signs), which offers vehicle wraps, signs, banners, decals, vinyl lettering and neon signage and repair.

Their top three non-collision services are mechanical work (with a monthly car count of anywhere from 300-400 cars), a minimum of five bedliner jobs per week, and sandblasting.

Goodrich says that his technicians can perform all mechanical jobs internally and he never has to sublet work. His shop has fixed boats, paint tractors, old-fashioned tractors, pedal cars and gets about three campers per week on which to work. In fact, Goodrich says that if someone brought in a fridge, his technicians could fix it. Basically, if it’s profitable, he’ll take the job.

“I’m not afraid to tackle anything,” he says. “If we don’t know about it, we learn about it.”

The Investment and Training

Goodrich has made quite the investment, totaling around $225,000 for three of his more popular upsells: spray-on bedliners, graphics and sandblasting.

The spray-on bedliner equipment, which cost him around $25,000, included 55-gallon drums with heaters around them. Goodrich says that training was fairly easy for him and his staff because the company that he purchased the equipment from did a one-day training session onsite.

Goodrich saw the fastest ROI with the bedliner work because of the 50 percent profit margin that comes with each job.

The graphics shop, which started in 1995 with just a plotter, required a $100,000 investment over time, with the addition of a brand new, 60-inch wide printer and laminator. Goodrich also has one employee dedicated to the graphic shop.  

Goodrich says he has been “sandblasting since the beginning of time,” so he felt it was a natural fit in his shop. The service also required a $100,000 investment, as Goodrich had to build a facility on his property in order to handle the service because of space requirements. In addition to the building, he purchased an air compressor, four sandblasters and a dust collector. Since had such extensive experience sandblasting, he was able to train his staff on equipment upkeep since sandblasting can be fairly hard on the equipment over time.

The Marketing

Goodrich has several tactics for marketing his additional services, such as sending direct mailers to businesses and companies to target them for possible work on vehicle graphics. He also prints flyers and takes them to places like trucking companies.     

And while he does utilize social media on occasion, his rural location means that word-of-mouth is still an effective tactic. With a customer retention rate of 90 percent, he says that pretty much everyone that comes in, comes back again at some point.

But that word-of-mouth didn’t come from just anywhere—Goodrich gets involved with his community to strengthen word-of-mouth and top-of-mind awareness. He works with Little League teams, puts on a yearly car show, and is known for flying the largest American flag in town.

Goodrich recently made two racing bathtubs with graphics all over them for the bathtub races that his small town puts on. He donated the tubs to the Central Steuben Chamber of Commerce.

“It helps out the community and we get a little PR out of it,” he says.

Recycled Rides is also another way that Goodrich gives back, donating two restored cars that Geico wrecked or salvaged to either a veteran or a family with a special needs child.

Radio ads done by a local radio station personality, billboards and even hot air balloon advertising are also done by Goodrich. And while he wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying a hot air balloon, incorporating fun and involving yourself amongst your community is a must.

The Upsell and Production

For Goodrich, upselling is very easy, considering his position in his market. One of the most popular upsells is the spray-on bedliners because trucks are so popular among local residents.

Thanks to the large volume of trucks and the heavy winters that create salt damage, if someone comes in with a lot of rust, instead of painting the whole truck, the shop will use a spray-on bedliner. It’s a very easy upsell, he says, because it’s more cost effective and a sturdier repair since it’s nearly impossible to get a stone chip after the procedure.

Beyond that, Goodrich also makes it a point to recommend these services to any customer when it makes sense. For example, Goodrich had a customer come in to have some decals made and was surprised that the shop did body and mechanical work.

“Fairly good chance they might start doing their other work (here) because they were here for one of the other services,” he says.

Because there are so many services, when it comes to production, Goodrich has a system down.

The first thing he does is try to prioritize the work. For example, the trailer or tractor being down means lost profits for the driver, so he splits up his staff to focus on just tractor and trailer work.

Everyone on staff is cross trained, but splitting them up in designated areas ensures higher efficiency and, if needed, they can help each other out if there is downtime.

The Competition

Goodrich Auto Works is by far the largest in its area, servicing people from 18 communities, including Bath.

The are lots of small shops in the area that either do body work or limited mechanical work and are pretty small, with roughly six or seven techs, according to Goodrich. In addition to space, he offers the most services and he doesn’t know of another body shop that does graphics.

Most of the dealerships in town don’t even have body shops, so Goodrich Auto Works does the majority of these dealerships’ body work, resulting in about 10 repairs per week for dealerships. And since he does bedliners, the dealerships will sublet bedliner work to him on brand-new cars.

Roughly 30 percent of Goodrich’s work is fleet and they receive a lot of work from the 15 DRPs in which they participate.

The average repair order on the collision side ranges from $2,500 to $2,800, whereas all other services are around the $400 mark.

In 2016 alone, the shop grew by 16 percent, exceeding their yearly minimum goal of 10 percent.  

SHOP STATS: GOODRICH AUTO WORKS  Location: Bath, N.Y.  Operator: Kris Goodrich  Average Monthly Car Count: 400-500  Staff Size: 27  Shop Size: 30,000 square feet Annual Revenue: $4 million  

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