A garage in Sleaford has revealed how thinking twice about the jobs it takes on has set it on course to ensure it is around for another 50 years.
Billingborough Car and Commercials, which was established over 54 years ago, has seen its profitability and expansion plans improve thanks to a change in the profile of work it takes on. Russ Houlden, managing director of multi award-winning garage, took over the family-run business three years ago, and has set it on track by being choosey in the work it accepts.
“My original plan was to grow by literally taking every job on,” stated Houlden. “We offer a broad range of services from cars and vans to heavy commercial and agricultural machinery, so this was an easy mindset to fall in to.
“But I soon realised the way forward was to concentrate on being more efficient with our time. Some jobs, like specialist American car work, were taking the same amount of time it takes to do five car services. We just could not justify the ramps being used for low profit jobs over ‘clean’ work that’s more profitable with a faster turnaround.”
Website boost for Billingborough Car and Commercials
Fortunately, Houlden had appointed Garage Services Online to create a website for Billingborough Car and Commercials 12 months earlier. It gave him the option to put a plan into action.
“We were always busy, the website was there to ensure we stayed busy and make life easier for our customers – a lot of who don’t even pick up the phone these days,” added Houlden. “But the website really came into its own once I made the decision to be choosy about what work we were going to target.
“We asked Garage Services Online to adjust the behind-the-scenes workings of our website. They turned off the work we did not want to attract and the calls for those services literally stopped coming through.
“Now, the same six ramps and bays are working to their full potential. With the enquiries the website brings in, I am choosing what goes on them and can look further ahead in terms of where the business is going.”
Houlden has ambitious plans for Billingborough Car and Commercials. Being profitable means more training for his technicians, better customer service by providing vehicle videos and reports, an expansion of HGV services, and plans to acquire a third garage site in South Lincolnshire.
Jim Lang, managing director at Garage Services Online added: “We love working with Russ. He really uses his website to its full potential and it is great to see it assisting him with a strategy to run the business in a way that’s best for him, his staff and his customers.”
Houlden concluded: “Our website is an essential cog in the business. It runs effortlessly in the background, doing all the heavy lifting and making things simple for us and our customers.
“All customers are online; you absolutely have to be there. And the ones who are 36 and under do not even speak on the phone! Everything is via message and email, so why wouldn’t you give every customer the option to contact you in a way that suits them?”