We all do our best to keep our decisions on the right side of the ledger, but how often are those decisions based on a best guess? Sometimes, you just have to take a punt, right? You have to spend a dollar to make a dollar.
When you make any decision — from taking on a new technician, to increasing your labour rate, to sending the team for extra training, to buying a new hoist — you want to be as sure as possible it’s the right one; that it will contribute to the success and profitability of your business.
The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association’s Car Parc is a tool that can provide that reassurance. At the click of a button, it can give you a whole raft of real-world data, specific to your local area, that you can use to inform every decision you make.
Here are 10 ways Car Parc can help you make business decisions.
The data specific to your local government area
Car Parc generates a customised report, specific to your locality, using actual statewide and national demographic data. It’s as simple as entering your postcode. Car Parc then generates a series of easy-to-read and interpret graphical reports with detailed and useful data.
Let’s look at an example of the data available, using the postcode for Bayswater in Western Australia — 6053.
The first screen tells us how many vehicles there are in the local government area. It provides two snapshots — one from 2015 and one from 2020.
It also tells us how old the vehicles are, which gives us a very clear picture of how many vehicles on local roads are likely to be out of the manufacturer’s service warranty and, therefore, are more likely to visit an independent workshop for service. In Bayswater, that’s a very healthy 67,875 vehicles.
It gives you a clear picture of your pipeline of vehicles
The data also shows you how many vehicles are less than five years old. That’s your long-term trend — and the pipeline of vehicles that could be visiting you in the future. In the case of 6053, it’s a not insignificant 17,061 cars.
But the information available doesn’t stop with age. Car Parc also gives you a breakdown of makes, so you can see exactly what’s out there.
Bayswater, as you can see, is chock-a-block full with Toyotas – especially older models.
And the next slide tells you those Toyotas are mostly Corollas. Here’s the mix of top models for 6053, according to Car Parc’s data.
It tells you today if your market is changing tomorrow
The data allows you to work out the long-term trend in your area. By looking at the number of vehicles less than five years old, you can get a good idea of the mix of vehicles you’ll be seeing in five years’ time.
If you look at the data for Bayswater, you’ll see there are still plenty of Toyotas, but Hyundais have dropped out of the top 10 completely.
You can also see the top models for all the top makes in your area.
That’s all incredibly useful information that can affect the investment decisions you make in your business.
It gives you time to onboard the right skills and training
Being able to see the five-year pipeline of vehicles in your area gives you time to get your team appropriately trained, so you’re never turning away a vehicle or sending it to a dealership because you don’t have the expertise in-house.
On the flip side, it could also stop you investing in training you’re unlikely to need, or that presents a less worthwhile investment. A workshop in Bayswater, for example, might not bother keeping up their Hyundai skill set, but might want to make sure the team knows their way around a Mitsubishi ASX.
Capricorn Member Ricky Monserrat, from Blackwood Dyno Tune & Service in South Australia, said he uses Car Parc to decide which training his team needs.
“Toyota is the biggest make here… Any training that comes up with those cars, especially the hybrid Camry and Prius, we’ve sent the boys out to do,” he said.
“It means we can make sure we’re up to scratch and not have to second-guess or say ‘no we haven’t been trained, so we don’t want to take that job on’. We’re ready to go.”
It ensures you invest in the right tools and equipment
Similarly, the five-year picture gives you a clear idea of the scan and diagnostic tools and other equipment you’re most likely to need and which might represent the best possible investment.
“It has saved me money,” Ricky said. “After referring to Car Parc I’ve hesitated on buying a scan tool that I would otherwise have bought, and everything has been absolutely fine. We didn’t need it.”
It helps you get the right spare parts in stock
Do you know what spare parts you need to keep in stock to serve your customers as efficiently as possible? Capricorn Member Daryn Brims does. Daryn owns six automotive businesses between Brisbane and Bundaberg in Queensland, including a Pedders outlet and the Repco-authorised Maryborough Service Centre.
“I use (Car Parc) to know what vehicles are in the area, what kilometres they’re at, and what is likely to fail in particular,” Daryn said.
“Then I can make sure our businesses have got all the stock needed to support those vehicles and, even more so, make sure we’ve got all the go-to scan tools.
“I don’t want a customer to turn up and have to say ‘sorry, sir, I can’t help you’.
“I also use it to analyse what’s coming and try to stock our warehouses and our stores with the right parts, in the right spot.”
It’s an essential tool for long-term business planning
Director of Government Relations & Advocacy, Lesley Yates says Car Parc data is a valuable tool for medium- and long-term business planning.
“It’s one thing to have the data, to look at the data and to be challenged; the next step is to use the data as an asset,” she said. “Workshop owners should be leveraging the data for profit.”
She encourages Members to use the data during their usual business planning sessions, to both supercharge the efficiency of their businesses and to futureproof them.
It allows you to better target your advertising and marketing
Car Parc doesn’t just tell you what cars are in your area, it tells you who is driving them, too.
That information is invaluable when it comes to targeting your advertising and to getting your marketing messaging right.
Capricorn Members Darren and Cathy Shaw, from Bentleigh Automotive Services in Bentleigh East in Victoria, use Car Parc to do just that.
“I go into it when I review our marketing, quarterly, with our website people,” Cathy said. “We use it to decide our SEO keywords and we use it for the demographics for our Facebook marketing.”
That’s not only boosted business, it has also helped Darren and Cathy successfully expand into the auto-electrical market.
It provides valuable intelligence for tweaking your sales strategy
Capricorn National Key Accounts Manager for Membership, Matt Gledhill said Car Parc’s data could be leveraged effectively by Members who are also Preferred Suppliers, to everyone’s benefit.
“It’s especially useful for those smaller businesses that maybe they don’t have an entire team of people looking out for what procurement they need to do and what’s happening,” he said. “They need to know what the workshops are going to be ordering, so it can be really handy.
“It also gives the suppliers the advantage of knowing the customer’s business, which then makes the customer feel the suppliers have actually done a bit of research on the area. So, it improves that relationship.”
It can save you money
As Ricky said above, Car Parc has saved him money. He’s made better and more efficient decisions about what his business needs.
Leveraging Car Parc’s data can also help you make money. As Cathy said above, it’s helped her and Darren better target their advertising and expand into an entirely new area of business.
A last word on advertising and the Car Parc tool
Car Parc’s data is an invaluable tool for understanding your local market, growing your business and planning for the future. But, as Matt said, it only works if you actually use it.
“It’s an important tool that is probably under-utilised in the industry,” he said.
“My big recommendation would be to just have a look at it. You might be surprised at what you learn. In fact, I almost guarantee it.
“But overall, it’s a tool to help run your business — and you wouldn’t try and run your business without a hoist or without diagnostic tools or without qualified mechanics. So why would you try and run it without the correct data?”
Want to try AAAA’s Car Parc tool? AAAA members can click here.
This article was published 22/09/21 and the content was current as at the date of publication.