August '19

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74 THE SHOP AUGUST 2019 On the front end, we made another flyer for the used car manager's desk, just like the service department. This also encouraged a relationship with our reps and the used car managers. Many vehicles arriving at dealership lots post-auction have issues with the interior. Customer trade-ins have been very popular for our leather department, especially the vehicles in mint condition with low miles. My rep and I were at one of our VW dealerships last month and the used car manager said he had a project vehicle for us. They had bought an out-of-state vehicle at a discounted price, but when the vehicle arrived, they opened the door and their jaws dropped. The front two seats of the vehicle had black factory leather that looked melted, as though someone poured a bucket of acid through the windshield. Since there wasn't a leather kit available for this vehicle, we had to custom-cut and sew new leather for the front seats. MORE TO EXPLORE When it came to leather projects, what started as normal factory seat repairs through our service and used car depart- ments quickly progressed into other regions inside the car dealership. For instance, many of the service depart- ment customer waiting areas have leather couches and individual chairs that are worn, with punctures, tears or stains. We can send a driver with a truck to pick up the chairs or have the dealership drop off several at a time, allowing our leather department to reupholster the seating at a lower price for the dealership than buying all-new replace- ments. Recent projects have varied from 20 to 40 leather waiting room chairs. Our custom leather offerings can now also branch out into boats, limos and res- taurant seating, to name just a few. What's been helpful with these newer leather projects is that we haven't been facing the dealership time crunch and can adjust our leather installation staff according to the work week. Seat repair services are attractive to luxury car dealerships looking to keep customers happy, as well as for used car upgrades. If your traditional vehicle leather projects take a dip, it pays to think outside the box. You can seek out work offering repairs and upgrades for limos, buses, airplanes, boats—even restau- rants and bars.

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