Everything is Internet these days. Want to research your next vehicle purchase? Use the Internet. Need directions to your hotel on vacation? Use the Internet. Want to buy car insurance? Use the Internet. Need a recipe for dinner tonight? Use the Internet. Need to pay your monthly bills? Yep, the Internet can do that, too. Need to find a body shop to fix your car? Whoa, hold on there.
According to a brand new report from our research department here at BodyShop Business, only 35 percent of shops have their own Web site. Of the 65 percent of you who don’t have one, only 10 percent would like to. What? That means that 55 percent of you don’t have a Web site today and don’t care to have one at any point in the future! That’s a shocking revelation that may speak more to attitudes about the future of your businesses rather than a lack of interest in or knowledge of how the Internet can help you succeed.
In today’s society, you can argue that not having a Web site is akin to not having a Yellow Pages listing back in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Certainly, your Web site doesn’t have to be fancy, filled with bells and whistles and amazing functionality. Just like a line in the Yellow Pages reveals your address and phone number, a Web site, in order to exist and be found on the Internet, need only consist of some basic contact information, hours of operation and any other general information. And it’s basically free, except for the cost of securing your URL (Web address) and whatever it costs you to have it designed. (Do you have a son, daughter, niece or nephew aged eight years or older? If so, he or she can design and build a Web site for you for the price of a trip to Dairy Queen, I’m sure).
For independent businesses that serve the general public (i.e., consumers), having a Web site is now a basic, fundamental business practice. Not having one doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to fail, but it can be construed as a sign that you don’t desire to succeed long term.
I’m sure there are many reasons to justify not having a Web site for your business, just as there are excuses for the constant fluctuation of gas prices. We’re often told why gas prices have spiked, but do we really believe the “excuse of the week,” or have we just resigned ourselves to accepting the
fact that they’ll never fall below $2 a gallon again?
Independent business owners who don’t have a Web site may be lulled into thinking that they’ve survived this long without one, why change now? Just as Ford, GM and Chrysler were lulled into believing that the popularity of highly profitable, gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups would never wane, shops assuming that they can sustain successful and profitable businesses for years to come without a Web site may be in for a rude awakening.
At BodyShop Business, we want all shops to succeed. Is having a Web site for your shop your number-one priority given the ultra difficult business conditions you’re faced with today? No, of course not. But it is a basic business fundamental that you must have as part of the overall arsenal of tools you’ll need for long-term success.
Now, take a few minutes to spend with your son, daughter, niece, nephew or kid down the block. Before you know it, your Web site will be up and running, and you’ll be standing at Dairy Queen debating the merits of a Peanut Buster Parfait versus an Oreo Blizzard!