60 years ago, a mechanic’s shop would have done everything from changing headlights to engine and transmission rebuilds. But it wasn’t all that long before we started to see specialists pop up. First, we saw body shops followed closely by engine and transmission re-builders. As time went on, we started to see carburetor shops, exhausts and auto electrical specialists. This was simply due to there being so many different makes and models that the general workshop could not keep up with all the different developments, not to mention the demand on stocked parts and workshop manuals. At that time, the performance industry was a mere fledgling that quickly became the strongest and healthiest within the automotive sector, driven by pure passion. Now 40 plus years on, almost every major component found on a car has its own specialist.
In the automatic transmission industry, we have found that we have had to diversify and specialize in our own fields over the past 20 years. Many transmission only shops have added general repair services. Others are specializing in European vehicles, and performance cars. And we have 4-wheel drive specialists, CVT and DSG specialists. Heavy-duty vehicles like trucks and buses have their own shops as well.
But what about the rest? Surely the rest can’t all be in competition with each other? Otherwise it is going to be a long and drawn out race to the bottom of our professional field, in which we only ever become an expert in discounting, budget cuts and staff turnover. I don’t wish this on anyone so I highly recommend each of you to create your own niche within the marketplace.
Now, I’m not an expert in your shop. But I do know that at a bare minimum, creating a niche of your very own goes a long way towards complimenting your existing work load. This alone puts you in a far stronger position without having to discount or budget. The question is then, “How do I build this niche market?” I have personally seen several companies build themselves up to be very successful niche specialists, simply by creating new product lines using standalone transmission controllers.
I know of several distinct ways of doing this. The first is to simply buy and sell transmission controllers both online and over the counter. Although it can be very successful on its own, this is normally done as a side line Often you are better off to resell a complete transmission, controller and accessories. This allows you to create your own packages from an ever increasing range of transmissions, thereby creating your own product niche.
The days of hydraulic 3 speed transmissions are gone, having been taken over by overdrive transmissions whether they be 4, 5 or 6 speed. This change helps you, as it sells your own transmissions and boosts company sales greatly as you get to profit from each of the items in the kit.
Finally, and most notably, your shop can profit by doing the “grand-daddy of them all”: automatic transmission conversions. This could be a manual to 4, 5 or 6 speed auto conversion. Or it could an engine conversions that also requires a trans-mission controllers and/or complete transmission. Often this will be a updating a hot rod/street machine or doing custom government/military builds. You profit from both product sales and service business, all while carving out a specialty niche.
At Wholesale Automatics, we do all of these lines of business, and this now represents more than half of our annual income. We sell packages (niche kits) to every state and even export throughout the world. The best thing about this kind of business is that when one area is a little quiet, you always have the other to hold steady sales!
There’s one other advantage to this approach: it allows you to focus your advertising in a niche market rather than a broad market. You can control and market yourself to a captive audience who is interested, rather than blindly marketing to the general public who may or may not even have a transmission problem, hoping they remember you and your shop when they do have a problem.
With a niche market, you can concentrate your marketing for much longer, normally all year round, and for less money, all while making yourself into a household name simply because you decided to do something different.
I kid you not: the success that I have personally seen from companies, including my own, that use standalone controllers to create their own markets, simply and effectively, has left me staggered!
For any information or questions regarding this topic please feel free to contact me directly. firstname.lastname@example.org and remember dream big and you will succeed.