Automotive

MARKETING CONCEPTS AUTOMOTIVE

Auto Repair Shops Rev

Up Business With Barter

As he opened his auto repair shop for business one morning, Bill Williams, owner of Bill’s Garage, was startled to discover that a rain-soaked ceiling panel had fallen on top of, and damaged, his copy machine. Scanning the room, Bill noticed that water also soaked a new box containing repair orders. To make matters worse, one of his workers pulled into the shop with a cracked windshield on the company pickup truck.

Despite having to face a morning of inconveniences, Bill didn’t even think about opening his check book to make these costly repairs. He had set his mind at ease 23 years earlier when he joined Tradesource, and knew that a simple telephone call to his trade broker would solve his problems.
“By early afternoon, I had one of the area’s best roofing companies on the scene assessing my needs, and a client specializing in business machines had a service technician in my office repairing the copy machine by midmorning,” Bill said. “My broker even found me a local printer to start work on a new box of repair orders, and lined up a mobile glass company to repair my truck’s windshield. I did all of this on trade through the new business I’ve generated as a long-standing Tradesource client. I never once considered paying cash for these items.”

Bartering is an idea as old as civilization itself. By strict definition, bartering is the cashless, item-for-item trading of goods and services. Where our ancestors might have been trading chickens for cows, today’s savvy business owners are bartering hotel rooms for printing, jewelry for computers, or like Bill,

Media companies understand the value of filling their publications with advertisers and realize that their barter network provides a new source of leads for them

“I was surprised by how much new cash business I generated simply by making a trade decision to have a Web site designed,” Fritz said. “I was able to list all of my products and services, and even had a system where customers could schedule their appointments with me by e-mail. My decision to use my trade dollars really paid off with this venture. I have new trade customers, not to mention new cash customers, and I didn’t pay cash for any of these services.”

“Let’s face it, even the busiest repair shops want new business,” said Phil Stone, who owns P.S. Auto Repair in Hartford, Conn. “I used to have some periods of time during the summer when I wasn’t as busy as I would have liked, so when I was approached to join a barter exchange, I saw real value in it and jumped at the opportunity. I guess you could say barter has really given my business a lift – I rarely have an empty lift in my garage.”

Car repair shop owners enjoy the additional work that barter clients provide.

auto repairs for just about anything – all this through the help of a professional barter exchange like Tradesource.

One-on-one bartering is common in the auto repair business, but joining a trade exchange or barter company (a group of businesses who barter among themselves) can give you more flexibility and opportunity. The barter company also provides a great record keeping system so you’ll always know where you stand with your barter account. There’s no additional bookkeeping on your part.

When you join a barter exchange, expect to invest between $300 and $600 in the membership. You’ll have about $20 in monthly promotional fees and pay 12 to 15 percent commission on your trades. In return, the exchange will provide you with constant promotion of your business, ongoing account maintenance, a monthly statement, membership directory, a personal trade broker to find what you’re looking for, and most importantly, lots of new customers.

Always keep in mind that barter is still a business deal. That means you should use the same good sense in making barter decisions as you would if you were paying cash. Check out the company: How long have they been in business? What do their clients say about them? Do they have a showroom and a directory? Are they members of the National Association of Trade Exchanges? These are all important things you need to know before joining a barter exchange.

Lastly, remember that both parties are customers in a transaction. You should expect and extend courtesy, high standards, and a commitment to providing a great product or service.

With these guidelines in mind, auto repair shop owners can take the ancient practice of barter and put it to work in the modern world.


Barter customers often have car fleets that need maintained all year round -not just during the busy seasons.

Satisfied barter customers are great for referrals, providing a source of cash leads for car repair shops.

“I had a real hard time with paying fees to barter when I had been doing it on my own for 20 years,” said Tony Morabito, owner of Morabito’s Tire and Wheel in Philadelphia. “But when I sat down and took a serious look at all the accounts I was running a tab on, and how many I never received anything from, I saved a lot of money by paying the barter company. We’ve even moved most of our direct trades into the barter exchange. It just makes sense.”

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