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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors is entering its first year of operation. A strategic marketing plan will be necessary to stimulate sufficient growth to reach profitability. PMAI responds to market needs by providing a mobile used car inspection service.

Market Summary

Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors possess good information regarding the market and the ideal customer that will be served. PMAI will leverage this information to better understand the specific needs of its target market, and then design the services to best satisfy these needs.

Market Needs

Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors provides Portlanders with a mobile used car inspection service, replacing the need to bring the car to a garage during normal business hours. Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors seeks to satisfy the following market needs that are important to their customers.

  • Accessibility- PMAI will travel anywhere in Portland to inspect a vehicle.
  • Comprehensiveness- A comprehensive analysis will be made for every car.
  • Customer service- Excellent customer service is key, recognizing that most used car purchasers will buy more than one used car within a few years.
  • Competitive pricing- PMAI's prices are comparable with auto mechanic shop prices.

The market trend for automobiles is toward both leasing as well as used cars. These two trends are linked together. Over the last eight years, there has been an increasing number of leases issued to people who prefer to drive a new car every three or so years. At the same time, once the lease is up, the car is returned and thereby increases the number of used cars on the market.

This increase in supply is being met with an increase in demand for used cars by smart consumers that recognize the clear value in purchasing used car. The value is simply due to the fact that cars depreciate over time. The largest drop in value, between 20%-30%, occurs in the first year. Prudent fiscal decision makers leverage this economic reality by purchasing the car used and allowing the value to depreciate against the original owner. To be sure, the moment you drive a new car off the lot, the vehicle is used and has dropped in value, yet the vehicle is really no different then an hour before when it was brand new on the lot.

Market Growth

The market for auto inspections has grown by 11% within the last five years. This is evidenced by the fact that five to 10 years ago if you went to a mechanic to have a used car inspected, he could do it, but since he did not do very many inspections, the scheduling and comprehensiveness of the service was rather hit-and-miss. Nowadays, if you request an inspection, an appointment will be made and during the inspection a check list of all components that will be checked is gone through. Most garages do several inspections a week.

These new service offerings could grow even more if there was not an inherent conflict between when the garages are open to provide the services, when most people have to be at work, and when they are able to bring the car in for the inspection. With an increase of mobile car inspections within the last year, the market growth is expected hit 14%.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors.


  • Knowledgeable sole proprietor.
  • A car inspection process that has been established, routinized, and made efficient.
  • An innovative approach to solving the problem: that it is quite difficult for people to have their car inspected during the hours that the mechanics are typically open.


  • Currently with only one mobile inspection van, appointments are serviced one at a time.
  • A limited marketing budget to spread the word regarding Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors' service.
  • The difficulty of establishing brand equity as a start-up business.


  • A growing market need that is not currently being served by the existing providers.
  • The future possibility of operating more than one mobile inspection unit, thereby decreasing overhead costs on a per unit basis.
  • An increase in the supply of used vehicles as a result of the higher demand for, and subsequent return of leased new vehicles.


  • The entry of an established repair center into the mobile inspection market.
  • Significant increases in fuel and insurance, forcing PMAI to raise rates to cover higher costs.


The car inspection business is serviced by two types of companies. Mobile inspection companies such as Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors, and a variety of different mechanics/ garages. There currently is only one other mobile inspection service.

There are many different mechanics that offer inspection services. Some will advertise their service to the general public as well as to their current customers. These mechanics are marketing their inspection service and are trying to derive a decent amount of revenue from their service offering.

There are other mechanics that will perform an inspection service if it is requested, but it is not marketed as a normal service.

The disadvantage to the traditional mechanics is their hours of availability. Most mechanics only have business hours during the week. This is in conflict with the fact that most people who are looking for used cars have jobs during the day and therefore generally do not have the opportunity to use the mechanic based inspection service because they are typically looking for cars on the weekends or evenings.

Service Offering

Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors will offer the following tests for a used car inspection:

This is a test for the strength of the battery. A battery reading above 9.60 volts would indicate a good battery. Alternator amp readings show the alternator's ability or inability to keep the battery charged.

This test shows engine cylinder compression (power) uniformity. Good compression is shown by a high % number with all readings being within a 10% range.

This test looks for bad primary components such as the ignition coil.

This test looks for bad secondary components such as ignition wires and distributor caps. A burn time of 0.8 to 2.3 milliseconds is within the typical range limits. Short burn times could be caused by breaks in ignition wires, a worn rotor button, etc. Long burn times could be from fouled spark plugs, a rich fuel mixture, etc.

This test measures each cylinder's contribution relative to the others by turning off the spark plugs one at a time. All of the % drop numbers should be within 10% of one another. Out of range readings will be compared to other tests to confirm a problem.

In addition to these major tests, the following other information will be determined:

  • Life of brake pads and condition of the calipers and discs/ drums.
  • Usable life of the tires.
  • The temperature range of the engine coolant.
  • Condition of the exterior body.
  • Condition of instrument cluster and all working electric features within the interior of the vehicle.
  • Condition of the belts and hoses, CV joints and boots, exhaust, suspension components, emergency brake.

The results of the inspection are delivered on the spot in a 100 point inspection regime. From the information provided with the inspection, the client will know exactly what is wrong with the car. This is useful because depending on the condition of the car, it might dissuade the person from purchasing it, or will be used as leverage to reduce the price to account for the needed repairs.

Keys to Success

The keys to success are:

  • Professionalism.
  • Prompt service.
  • Convenience.
  • Expert analysis.

Critical Issues

Portland Mobile Auto Inspectors is still in the speculative stages as a start-up organization. It's critical that the business continue to take a modest fiscal approach, expanding at reasonable rate, not for the sake of expansion in and of itself, but because it makes prudent economic sense.

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