Marketing 101

Our goal as Auto Recyclers, obviously, is to sell as many parts as possible. To do this and to increase our opportunity for a larger piece of the pie, we have barriers to overcome. Some barriers, like the OEM repair procedures, are imposed by others, but at the same time, I feel in a lot of ways that we can be our own worst enemies. We all need to look in the mirror and take a look at our facilities, and what we can do to improve our processes to consistently deliver a quality product on time and as described. Customer service and building customer confidence should be our number one priority. If we want more business and more opportunity, we all need to do a better job.

Principles to Live By:

  1. If we want more opportunity and wish to eliminate the junkyard stigma, we all need to do a better job. For all of us, no matter how good of a job you may be doing, there is always room for improvement.
  2. If you want to secure your future in the industry as well as your community, take pride in what you do and how you do it.
  3. When making decisions for yourself and training your employees, the best approach is to always follow the Golden Rule. Put yourself on the other side of that transaction or decision, and if you are not going to be happy with the result, then you probably shouldn’t do it.
  4. If you want to attract and keep good employees, pay what the job is worth. Give them the training, the resources, and the tools that they will need to be successful. Also remember, your employees are your biggest asset and they need to feel appreciated and relevant.
  5. For your customers, be fair and honest. Set realistic expectations, and properly describe the part condition. For the body shops, price your part and clean and undamaged. The shop makes a higher markup and remember that they make more on labor than on part markup.
  6. You can’t overprice your parts. If you do, you probably won’t get the order. Put your stuff on the money, give a fair price.
  7. Provide a consistent, quality product on time and as described.
  8. Work with the shop on any damage issues.
  9. There is no such thing as a perfect part, but there is such a thing as a perfectly described part.

Recently, I was asked some questions about what we do to market our company. In my opinion, the best marketing has and will always be, word of mouth. Reviews and feedback are a huge part of this. Keep asking your customers, “How are we doing?” Promote your brand. Ask for any suggestions on how you can do a better job. Remember, a satisfied customer is a steady customer.

Challenges with the Insurance Companies: A big source of frustration for all of us comes from getting product at the Auctions, as well as selling crash parts, which make up about 40 percent of a Salvage Recycler’s revenue on a vehicle, to the body shops. Unfortunately, the real issue here is the Insurance Company. They micromanage the auctions, as well as the shops. We sell parts, the shops fix cars, and the auctions sell salvage vehicles. The insurance Company predicts and assigns risk, and charges their customers a premium for this. We would all be better off if they would let the three of us do our jobs and stay out of the way. These issues would all self-correct. I wonder if the Insurance Companies realize what the true costs of repairs are to them with all of the bad will they have created?

One last thing, remember, you get what you pay for. Cheap ain’t good, and good ain’t cheap.

Support your State and Local Associations! Support ARA!

Marty Hollingshead

ARA Secretary · Northlake Auto Recyclers — Hammond, IN

Hollingshead has been in the professional automotive recycling industry for 45 years, including 34 years as President/Owner of Northlake Auto Recyclers, one of the industry’s leading facilities. Hollingshead prides himself on taking a hands-on approach in the business, employing the use of checks and balances for quality control to ensure customers only receive the highest quality parts. Northlake was one of the first automotive recycling facilities in the state of Indiana to receive from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management the Indiana Clean Yard – Gold Level Certification in 2009. Northlake was certified as one of the Indiana Certified Automotive Recycler Exemplary Standards (INCARES) program’s inaugural medalists and was the highest scoring facility in Indiana in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and tied for first place in 2018. Northlake was also the recipient of the 2016 ARA Certified Automotive Recycler of the Year award, having been nominated by his peers in the industry.