You finally got the garage set up for your side hustle, you convinced the wife, took care of some tools and equipment, and maybe even bought a lift. In this article, I’ll show you how to get customers for your business so you can build this side hustle as big as you want.
Just Imagine having the perfect amount of repeat customers… The kind that keeps coming back and spending money, customers that stick with and trust you.
Picture your business and bank account growing as word spreads about your skills and service…
OK enough of the daydream BS…
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This dream can become a reality though, and it may just turn into more than just a side hustle.
Ready to take your side work to the next level?
Let’s get started…
Knowing How to Get Customers For Your Business, Why is it So Important?
Some common sense here. If you have no customers you are going to be the next guy on Craigslist selling your tools for next to nothing.
The problem many mechanics face when starting on the side work path is they rely only on family and friends for customers.
This is all good, but without knowing how to bring in new customers, outside of your immediate circle, there is a cap on what you can make.
Reasons You Need to Know How to Get Customers For Your Business
You need to take this seriously if you want to make real supplemental income or grow to the next level eventually.
Doing brake jobs on 2 or 3 people’s cars every once in a while isn’t going to get you there.
Knowing how to get customers for your business will, and I’m going to show you how.
- You can mold your customer base
- Anytime you need extra cash you can get it
- You build your name and reputation
- You can regulate your time (work when you want)
The truth is, getting new customers for your business isn’t that hard. If you know what you are doing and can back it up, people will be calling you, trust me.
Let’s jump in…
How To Get Customers to Your Business
The process starts with the few customers you have now. The way you treat them will dictate how this whole thing goes.
Then we will move along this list and start getting busy.
- Word of mouth
- Parts stores
- Online presence
- Business cards
Word of Mouth
You can’t write an article on how to get customers for your business without talking about word of mouth.
The problem is if you don’t have enough customers to fill a Chevy Chevette there isn’t enough going around yet.
Word of mouth starts with customer service period, as a new business you need to be the guy that people trust, and like.
Going the extra mile is what gets the ball rolling here, make sure the customers you do have are treated better than they would be anywhere else.
This is your foundation, ask them to put your name out there and offer them an incentive for doing so.
When starting this was one of the first things I did and it got the ball moving.
Look at it like this, you should have at least one or two people who ask you about their cars and trust your opinion right? Offer them some money off of their next job if they refer a friend or family member to you.
This is such an easy way to get another 2-3-6 + customers, many people just don’t do it and it’s leaving money on the table.
Shit, I’ve even lowered my labor rate for certain people that have sent many people to me for work, work that has been worth thousands, what’s 10 bucks off labor at that point?
Do great work and take care of people, offer an incentive to bring the same value to their friends and family. If you do this right you will not need to convince them.
The Parts Store (Goldmine)
We all know the parts store, and by now probably a few guys behind the counter.
It’s time to build a relationship with these people to start getting more customers through a simple referral program.
Get business cards and give a stack to people you chat up in the store. Tell them every person they send to you is worth 10 bucks.
Have them write their name on the back of each card they hand out and be sure they tell the customer to give it to you.
Now when your NEW CUSTOMER shows up with the card you owe good ole’ Hank a 10 spot.
Simple as that, and believe me, this can work surprisingly well if you do it right and build up a good relationship with a few parts counters.
Reputation: The Lifeblood of Your Business
Side hustle or not you need to have a good reputation. Many times getting new customers comes simply from having a great reputation and living up to it.
I have had many customers who have been to other places and shops that couldn’t find or fix their problems. Having a good reputation in this or any business for that matter has a way of floating around.
There’s no better way to raise brand awareness than meeting new people, and telling them who you are and what you do.
Once you build up the right reputation, people will seek you out. Potential customers will call you because someone told them to, and many people will call you because you are the go-to guy for what they need.
The best way to build up your reputation and generate buzz around your business is by motivating current customers to advocate on behalf of your business. While many customers will do this organically, asking never hurts.
Build a website
If you want to know how to get customers for your business you need to get out there, past just word of mouth, you need a website.
Here is an example: Have you ever been asked by someone about an issue with their car? Pretty much every mechanic has right?
That sometimes awkward conversation that happens in a line or somewhere else where time is scarce and you can’t tell them that you can work on their cars.
This is where a website will boost the hell out of your customer base.
Create a simple website that showcases your side hustle and explains who you are and what you do. Then when you have your business cards made, link to your new website with a QR code.
Now instead of awkwardly trying to explain yourself and what you do in that situation simply hand over a card and tell them to scan the QR!
This kills two birds with one stone, having a website shows that you are serious about what you are doing and it makes you look professional.
Also, you can showcase what you do, and don’t do, this allows you to hone in on your target market… For example, on my website, I specifically explain that I have limited space and don’t work on anything over a certain size.
This eliminates the call from Fred and his RAM 3500 that “has a noise.” By implementing effective marketing strategies, you can attract the right customers to your garage side hustle and maximize your business potential.
Another way to make your business more accessible is to provide multiple ways for customers to contact you, such as adding a phone number.
Websites are easy to build these days, trust me, you need one.
How important is having a strong online presence when it comes to attracting customers?
A website is what separates many small side hustles from the guy bursting out of his garage with work. If you ever want to take things to the next level you need to have a strong web presence. You can showcase your skills and yourself like nowhere else on a website.
You can also showcase your expertise by writing blog posts explaining different aspects of what you specialize in. This allows potential clients to see what you are all about and what you know about fixing cars.
Better yet if you specialize in a particular niche market a website can bring in work like no other channel.
If you want to know how to get customers for your business look no further than a good business card.
These scream professional and are the link between you and new potential clients.
Get a bunch of cards and make sure you have a QR code to your website, you can leave these anywhere and with anyone you want.
I also attach a card to all of my invoices and encourage customers to hand them out if they are happy with their experience, this works great and shows you who your best customers are.
Key Considerations For Successfully Getting More Customers For Your Side Hustle
Staying busy is really about being honest, personable, and well-established in the trade. Without these three components, none of this list will help you get the work you need to build up.
You will need to get a little uncomfortable and understand that you are gonna have to put yourself out there a little bit but the effort is worth it.
Some things to remember…
- Make sure you can do what you say you can do
- Keep in mind this is work at your house, at night, and on weekends, avoid burnout
- You are responsible for everything
- The customer must come first
- Don’t over-extend yourself
- You don’t need to take in every single job
Taking it to the Next Level: How to Go Beyond a Side Hustle
Getting customers is one thing, after a while you may outgrow your current situation and the decision to go full-time may come up. When you hit this point these tactics to get new customers will still hold true, you will just need to scale things up.
At the end of the day, people who know their business and have real respect for the customer will always succeed, keep this in mind.
At the point of expansion into a full-time business, you should start running ads on Google and focus on your website.
This is why I always harp on treating your side hustle like a legit full-time shop from the start, this allows you to make the transition much easier because you will already have a “feel” for marketing and everything else that comes with it.
Wrapping Up and My Experience With Gaining Customers For My Side Hustle
I have been in the business of fixing cars for a long time and I’ve made great money with a side hustle.
Using the strategies outlined here I have built a strong list of clients that trust me and keep coming back.
If you are looking for more work try these obvious but sometimes overlooked options, you may be surprised.
Walk into that parts store and sell yourself, try a small used car dealer and ask them who does their work.
This is how I gained one of my biggest accounts and along with it a good friend. If you know the business get your confidence up and just do it.
I hope this article gave you a few ideas to get and retain some new customers for your side hustle.
In reality, you never know how far a side hustle can take you, start getting customers and make that money!