The risk of overpromising

In the world of custom builds and services, we’ve all been there. A car stuck on the lift, halfway taken apart, with a fierce problem that we cannot find the solution to. You can’t get the module to respond, no manifold will fit, or you can’t get the tune quite right. You stubbornly believe you can make it work, and it’s true – eventually you probably will figure out the solution to that car.

By that time, I’m guessing the car is covered in dust and fingerprints, you have to buy some new hardware to replace stuff you lost, and the customer is happier just to get their car back than they are satisfied with the work you’ve done.

Not an ideal situation. Does it sound familiar?

Projects like these ruin the profitability and efficiency of your shop. If you tell a customer you’ll “give it a try” or force yourself to believe you can solve a problem with no proven track record, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Overpromising comes naturally to shop owners. You want to believe your team can do it. You think it’ll be just like that other job you just finished. You want to keep your customers happy.

Sometimes, the best way to keep your customers happy is to tell them you can’t do it. Honestly and frankly, you can tell the customer than your shop is not equipped to handle their requested job. In doing this, you’re building trust, solidifying your reputation, as well as protecting the efficiency and profitability of your shop and the morale of your team.

Stick to jobs you know you can do to 100%. Your best work is the work that will sell, create referral business, and build your reputation. Your best work attracts quality technicians, makes you more money, and mints more happy customers.

Now, you’re probably resisting what I’m saying – sticking to jobs you know sounds boring, conservative, and depressing, when compared to trying new things, solving difficult problems, and being the hero to your customer. Hear me out.

You can still expand your skillset and experiment with new things.

How? Shop cars.

Your shop cars are a laboratory. Treat them as such. Use them for all your new development and testing. Use them to practice your skills or teach your team. If you see primarily a certain kind of car coming through your shop, buy three of those cars. I don’t care if they’re Lamborghinis or VWs – your pricing should give you the budget to buy shop cars and pay your technicians to train on them.

Overpromise to yourself that when you have downtime, you will accomplish some of the most crazy and complicated jobs you can imagine. Get it right in a replicable and economical manner? Start promoting it!

This is how you set yourself apart from your competition. Stop trying to superhero your way through impossible customer jobs – deliver customer satisfaction, and use the resources that generates you experiment and grow.

In conclusion

Overpromising is easy to do. Break yourself out of the habit by promising yourself and your customers better results and higher standards, then set out to expand your capabilities. What used to be overpromising will soon become standard.

Driven Performance Advisors

Driven Performance Advisors helps shop owners and specialty parts companies increase efficiency and improve profitability to grow to $5M in sales. Schedule a consultation at Subscribe to DPA Weekly at


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