Shop branding and marketing have been key to Otto Service’s spike in car count and full bays
Kansas City, Mo.—Andrew and Terri Otto have a successful niche in servicing and repairing Honda, Acura, Toyota and Lexus vehicles at their shop, Otto Service, in Kansas City, Mo. And despite the pandemic, they have recently hired two new techs, including an additional head tech who is versed in Hondas, which couldn’t have come sooner.
“It was a big deal for us,” Terri Otto told Aftermarket Matters Weekly. “We have a very solid team now and we’ve been extremely busy in the face of the coronavirus, aside from the first two weeks — we’ve been swamped. And we were fortunate in that they came to us to be hired because of our reputation.”
The husband-and-wife team made sure that customers were aware their shop was open and could come in for service while maintaining their safety. Andrew Otto has also been turning wrenches up to 14 hours a day to keep up with demand and techs have been coming in on weekends.
“We’ve been booking out up to a week and a half, lately,” Terri Otto said.
She added that not only do they take care of people’s cars, but also the customer. “We’ve really tried to convey that throughout our community and that we’re here for them, especially now with the coronavirus. When the outbreak occurred, I placed rolls of toilet paper in each customer’s car — it was a big hit. We branded it ‘Service is How We Roll.’ We also handed out cookies that we prepackage to show the community that we cared.
“We try to market as much as we can. And we’re very active on Facebook and in Facebook groups.”
Otto says that the shop has always had a strong network of customers who are like family. “We also have a new financial assistance program — Car Care One Financing — for people with lower incomes so they can be approved for service. We added that right around the time the coronavirus began when we noticed a few customers beginning to walk away. We have a wide demographic customer base, from well-known public figures in the Kansas City area to servicing a number of different companies’ vehicles.”
The shop, which has been family-owned for more than 40 years, enjoys a 4.7 Google rating among 100 reviews and maintains six loaner vehicles, all of which are wrapped with shop branding for marketing.
“Our biggest competitor right now is a dealership,” she said, “and I think we’re theirs, too.”
Much of the work of late has been deferred recommendations that customers are using their time now to get performed. Government stimulus checks have helped, too. “That’s played a big part of it,” Otto added.
Its six employees and five bays have a $520 ARO in the shop’s 4,400-square-foot facility. “The guys are hard workers — we couldn’t have asked for a better team. They put everything they have into what they do.
“The way things are going, we’re on track to having our best year ever.”