RD Automotive – The one-man shop booked out 3 months


Ryan Day’s shop Instagram feed is at least 80% E92 M3s. He has just over 3,000 followers, and averages roughly 200 likes per post. As of this writing in late November 2020, he is booking profitable work for late February 2021. His customers happily wait.


He has no marketing team and no admin team. He started his shop full time in May 2019 after working out of his 2-car shed on nights and weekends for the prior 2 years. The operation is a lean, mean, E92 M3 track car producing machine. This week’s DPA Weekly explains how he did it.


Ryan works hard but enjoys massive demand for his work and the freedom to take regular trips to the Nurburgring with his own E92 M3 track car. RD Automotive does three things really well that established this fast rise to success for the shop:


· Define and live a clear shop strategy

· Structured and simple Instagram marketing

· No people pleasing attitude


Define and live a clear shop strategy

As I mentioned above, RD Automotive’s Instagram feed and customer base is 80% E92 M3s and 100% street-/track-prepped performance cars, including M2s and E46 M3s. What does this demonstrate? A clear, differentiated strategy that runs through every activity Ryan undertakes for his shop.

Branding

He owns an F31 330D and an E92 M3, both of which have lapped the Nurburgring. He has custom branded license plates, a rear window banner on his wagon, a sunshade banner on his M3, and a logo watermark on his Instagram photos.


Products

Ryan specializes in pre- and post-track inspections, track alignments, corner balancing, track wheel and tire packages, performance suspension, and preventative maintenance for performance BMWs. He stocks common wear items for the E92 M3 for easy upsell opportunities. He runs a special package for the S65 rod bearing job.


Growth

Ryan has worked with a handful of apprentices, but does not intend to grow his shop quickly despite demand. There are a finite number of E92 M3s in the world, and focusing on growing the shop into a large location with a large team would detract from his focus on innovating his offerings for the next generation of popular track BMWs.


Structured and simple Instagram marketing

“Try to post daily, and just keep up today with what I’m doing. The customers love having their cars shared. Most of them ask if their car will be posted. Some even come for an alignment just for the gram.”

Daily posts and frequent stories covering the day’s jobs. Tag your customers. Have a standard style. Make your customers feel special. Generate leads via your Instagram page.


We work with and modify cool cars. Instagram loves cool cars. Not many industries can share their day job with Instagram and gain lots of interest, so take advantage.


Every post on RD Automotive includes his Instagram, phone number, email address, and website. He uses popular hashtags. He promotes his page via competitions to encourage his followers to share his profile with their friends.


No people pleasing attitude

RD Automotive wasn’t always booked out 3 months with performance BMWs. Early in a new performance shop’s life, you may find that you need to take on jobs that don’t fall into your ideal strategy in order to pay the bills for the month.


This does not mean you should take on anything and everything that comes your way. Diagnostics, rare, foreign, and older car services, and inspections with upsell opportunities are a minefield of distractions from your clear strategy and could prevent you from helping the right customer when they come along.


The below photo represents a perfect job that gets you paid to help you meet your goals. Common car, predictable job, and a customer who values efficiency. Note the watermark and consistent description from back in early 2019.


It’s easy to slip into a “people pleasing attitude” and believe that it’s in your best interest to say yes to every potential paying customer. If the job isn’t predictable and reliably short, don’t do it.


In Conclusion

A clear strategy is easy to execute well. Ryan’s customer, car, tooling, stocking, and Instagram marketing are all aligned. Even when his ideal customer didn’t come around, he found jobs that didn’t distract from his focus or goals.


There is a lot to learn from RD Automotive for shops of all sizes. Take note.


DPA

Driven Performance Advisors helps shop owners in the UK and USA increase efficiency and improve cash flow through our ShOptimizer services. A strategy review and recommendations are included in every ShOptimizer 12-Point Inspection to help you clarify your own strategy. Schedule a consultation at drivenperformanceadvisors.com.

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