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SSIA Articles

How Successful is Your Business?

by Dana Huval, Huval's Boot and Shoe Repair,

Crowley, LA

Is your business as successful as you would like it to be? If not, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my work finished on time?

  • Do I have a nice assortment of retail items?

  • Are the retailed items displayed in an organized way and clearly labeled with prices?

  • Do I greet my customers before they reach my counter with a, “Hello, how are you today?”

  • Do I clearly explain how their shoes, boots, purses or belts will be repaired, if they want to know?

  • Is my shop in a good location, easy-to-find, good parking and in a safe location?

  • Do I have a sign that plainly states what I do?

  • Have the sidewalks been swept and dusted in front of my shop?

  • Have you swept, vacuumed and cleaned your floors?

  • Look at what the customer sees. Would you feel comfortable leaving your items there?

  • Above all else – do I offer good quality repairs for my customers?

If you answered NO to any of these, you have some work to do. Start with the front of your shop and work toward the back. If you have old merchandise, put it on a clearance table and mark everything $1. You have already paid for it and it is dead merchandise. You customer will think they have a bargain, and in reality they have just done you a favor.

Increase your retail inventory. If you add only $25 worth with each order, it will add up. Sell products you use in the back room. That way you are very comfortable in explaining to your customers how to use them.

Shoe laces are a must-have item. How is the display for them? That could be your first product to work on. You can either price everything individually or make a tag with the price on it. If you have a point of sale system, pricing the shelf works; but if you key every thing into the register, I would price all the items individually so you will not undercharge.

When customer walks into your shop, treat them like you want to be treated. Just start with a conversation. “Can I help you seems like the smart question”, but you have opened yourself up to them simply saying NO! If you need to, pretend they are one of your favorite friends, and ask them, “How they are you?”

For repairs, my shop is pre-pay and I would not have it another way. This means our customers fully understand what we will do to their favorite items in order to charge the price we need for the job. It’s amazing how much they agree to this and to that before you ring it up, and then they sometimes will say; “Oh, you need me to pay for that today?”

If they change their mind I know I will never be stuck with, unpaid repair work. I do the work I said I would do and it is ready when I told them it will be (if we do run late, we will call and let the customer know we need more time). We also call our customers when the ready-work gets placed on the shelf for pick up.

Location, location, location! How easy is it to get to your shop? If customers have a hard time, they might find a new shop to go to. Call a real estate customer and ask them for suggestion? If you are in a nicer area, you can raise your prices because of it.

What does you store front look like on the outside? Would this summer be a good time to hire some painters? Why not change the color and make it obvious that you have given your shop a face lift?

Do you have a neon OPEN sign? You can purchase one for around $100. It is worth every penny. Clearly showing that you are open is one of the best things you can do.

Are you hours clearly posted in your window? If not, they need to be.
If you are planning a vacation this summer (hopefully, in mid July to attend our SSIA convention if Baltimore), post that sign a month in advance so your customers can prepare for it.

What about having some posters made advertising the products and services you offer? This is advertising without even opening your mouth?

Now that you have enticed people to enter your shop, what does it look like? Are you proud to have them enter your place of business? Think about it, the first impression your new customer gets can never be changed.

If the shoe fits, repair it.

  © 2005 Shoe Service Institute of

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