DRP (Direct Repair Program) is a choice that collision repair shops make after weighing the pros and cons of being in a relationship with insurance companies to get referral benefits from them.
A lot of small and medium-sized shops believe that a DRP is a strategical alliance that is guaranteed to bring a steady stream of local customers to their door. So once they succeed in landing a DRP contract with an insurance company, they sit back and relax, fully confident that their DRP status will take care of all their marketing needs.
Experience and history have both proved that gaining high volumes of business via DRP is not that simple. Unless you treat DRP as one aspect of your marketing strategy and not the only one, your overdependence on the program will soon affect your bottom line, while competitors race ahead of you because they weren’t blinded into inaction by the glamour of their “preferred list” status.
To stay viable in the deeply competitive body repair industry, it is imperative that you formulate a parallel marketing strategy that works alongside DRP to grow your business to its maximum potential.
Here are 5 reasons that should convince you to diversify your marketing channels and take action NOW!
# 1: You’re Not The Only DRP Shop On The Block
Other auto body shops in your geo target area have DRP status too, which means you’re one of several eggs in the insurance company’s basket.
Unless you’re stepping up your marketing game instead of depending solely on DRP to bring you customers, your share of referrals will be low and your business won’t grow.
# 2: You’re Losing Out On Higher Labor Wages
In order to be DRP-compliant, a shop-owner has to agree to the low labor cost mandated by insurance companies. By not marketing directly to customers, therefore, you’re losing out on gaining outside business that fully covers your labor expenses and increases your profit margin.
# 3: You’re Being Forced To Work With Inferior Crash Parts
All aftermarket and salvaged repair parts are not necessarily bad, but it also true that as a DRP partner you are obligated to use crash parts that may not be in the best interest of your customers.
It is difficult to maintain integrity and keep your quality assurance promise to customers if you’re a DRP participant, and one way to salvage your business reputation is to work with clients who come to you via diverse marketing channels, and give them the best service possible.
# 4: You’re Losing Out On Business From People Who Are Anti-DRP
Though DRP has been around since the 1970s, the partnership has come under a lot of scrutiny because of allegations of bad business practices.
Auto body shops constantly get flak from the media for fixing cars with inferior labor and junkyard parts, and one way to salvage your reputation and protect your brand image in the community is by marketing directly to people who have to trust you’re not just a DRP lackey before they bring their cars to you.
# 5: You May Be Left In The Lurch If DRP Is Banned
It is a distinct possibility that DRP will be declared illegal in the near future, and that is an eventuality you have to prepare for before the axe falls on your business.
There is a strong anti-DRP lobby that is calling for a legal ban, and if you diversify your marketing efforts right now, you don’t have to go down with the sinking ship.
There’s a whole lot more to collision repair marketing than insurance companies want you to believe. It is in their best interest to sell the idea of DRP as a magic bullet that guarantees high volume business, but if you’re going to survive and thrive in your local community for the long term, you have to relax your grip on the insurance company’s coattails and engage directly with customers as a standalone brand.
Even the smallest collision repair shop should have a marketing plan to develop repeat and referral business through zip code marketing, digital marketing, social media engagement, in-shop marketing etc. to develop brand awareness.
Check out our E-book: COLLISION COURSE: 42 PROVEN MARKETING STRATEGIES THAT ACTUALLY WORK FOR THE COLLISION REPAIR INDUSTRY
If you’re not doing that already, it is time to do so now. Don’t wait until the DRP security rug is pulled from under your feet, and it is too late to save your shop because you didn’t build parallel streams of revenue while you still had the chance…
Alicia is the Chief Chaos Coordinator at Mastodon Media. She is loud, in your face, and has a DEEP passion for making your business hum. Chances are she has an idea for your business already. She is an artist when it comes to seeing what you need, and getting the rest of us to make it happen.