I hate to admit it, but I am becoming a cheapskate. Becoming? I’ve actually had the cheapskate gene for a long time, but now the current economy has triggered a chemical reaction in my DNA structure, causing me to look for lower prices everywhere I go. The problem is, I can’t afford to go anywhere.

I was watching a local television news reporter, standing outside of a gas station, suggesting that viewers “drive around” to find the lowest price for gas. Duh. By the time they find the lowest price they have burned more gas than they would have saved by NOT driving around. I don’t think that reporter gets an “A” for that suggestion.

Now picture your customer, or for this example, your prospective customer. You know how much it costs to get a new customer. Estimates are that it could be as high as $300-$400. That’s not too good if you do the math, especially if all they want is a $79 tune-up with no guarantee of future business. It would be nice to think that the $79 tune-up will lead to a $7,900 replacement. But in today’s economic climate that might be a stretch.

In my opinion, I think that the number of price shoppers will continue to rise as disposable income goes down. That also means the number of garage mechanics and lowballers will begin to rise too. These people have no idea what a profit is but as long as they are busy doing $19.95 clean-and-inspects, they are “doin’ themselves proud.”

The chances are better that your current customers will stick with you because they know and trust you. If anything, you should invest your money in keeping their loyalty and let the price shoppers take their chances with the “Butt Crack Bubbas” out there.

Now tuck in your shirt, wash your truck, and go visit a few good customers. Just try not to burn up any of that $4-a-gallon gas.