Running an auto repair shop can be extremely lucrative and rewarding. It can also be tremendously stressful and disorganized if you don’t have the right equipment for the job. Auto shop software is one of the most important tools in your toolbox. If you are relying on an outdated suite of tools (desktop dos based systems) or are still handwriting your RO’s, you likely aren’t best serving your customers. You could also be losing a considerable amount of revenue every day. Here are six signs it’s time to get new auto shop management software.
1. Your Shop Wastes Time
Does it seem like you can’t get as much done as you thought? Your shop isn’t as profitable as you expect it to be and there is not enough money left over for you at the end of each month.
If so, your old ro writing software may be to blame. With good software, your service writers can communicate with your shop’s mechanics in ways other than yelling to the back of the shop. how much time is wasted with techs walking back and forth to the front desk to ask about parts, or to get the job card that is on the board in reception. Being able to communicate with all your team members right in the software saves everyone time.
Meanwhile, ordering parts online, connecting with customers via text messaging, accepting payments through a integrated payment module, scheduling appointments, and other regular garage tasks occur much more quickly when you let modern auto shop software do the work.
2. Your Shop Doesn’t Have Much Space
Whether tax records, customer information, a printed copy of every single estimate and Repair Order or purchase orders for parts, every business has paperwork it must retain. Storing essential information in large, outdated file cabinets can quickly eat up floor space in a small shop. Even worse, these old-school storage solutions can be impossible to organize. Instead of forking over more cash to rent additional space and hiring an organizational expert, investing in auto shop software is usually an effective strategy for saving money.
Your customer signs the estimate or RO on the ipad and it is stored digitally in the system for future access, you can email it to them if they want a copy, it is available forever and you do not have to print anything out. It saves you on storage space, it saves you on ink and paper costs, and the customer doesn’t have a piece of paper that they shove into the glove box or throw away as soon as they get home.
3. Customers Fall Through the Cracks
To make money in the auto repair business, you need to find new customers but you must keep customers coming back. It is harder and more expensive to find a new customer than it is to get a past customer to come back into your repair shop.
As your customers navigate their busy lives, they may forget about routine vehicle maintenance. They ignore the annual Transmission check up that is needed to maintain the warranty. They wait till the last moment to get their brake pads changed and no one ever seems to remember preventative maintenance which would help their car last longer.
You can do reminder emails, cards and text messages yourself if you have the time but If you don’t have a system to remind customers when they need to service their vehicles, your shop is losing out on a great deal of business. With modern auto shop management software, you can typically use a marketing integration designed for auto repair shops to notify existing customers of service deadlines and reminders of their FTA jobs. The same system will manage your adwords expenditure and help with Google Reviews and social posts as well.
4. You Don’t Know How Your Shop Is Really Doing
As a serious shop owner you are busy, you are the first one into the shop and the last one to leave. You work at least 5 days a week and quite often you work some nights and part time on the weekends. You know you are getting busier, your car count is going up and if you sit down for a few hours with Quickbooks you can work out what your Average $ per RO is. You know their is money in the bank and you are earning enough money to keep your head above water. You do not truly know how your business is doing.
By using the right software package, you get to run the sort of reports that help you be a better business owner. Immediately track service times, inventory and technician efficiency amongst other things. Know your shops Profit Per Hour and other essential financial information instead of relying on anecdotal evidence to contemplate improvements. The better information will help you control costs and increase your shops profitability.
5. Estimates Seem Chaotic
The best auto repair shops have technicians to quickly inspect broken down vehicles and provide accurate estimates. Unfortunately, without software, this can be incredibly challenging. You are either hoping the techs have enough knowledge and experience to estimate accurately, which is almost never the case as mechanics ego always makes them think they are better and faster than they actually are. The other option is the shelf of books that you buy from Alldata or Chilton and keep on the shelf for estimating. What a space waste and time suck that option is.
When you use auto repair shop software your technician can complete a digital check in, diagnose the issue and make notes right in the estimate. Your service writer sees that the check in and diagnoses are complete, he can look at parts availability and text the quote to the customer. If the car owner prefers to receive a estimate via email your service writer can do that as well.
Estimates will be nice and clean and professional looking, this helps sell the job and present your shop in the best light. Professional and accurate estimates help build trust in your company.
If estimates at your shop seem too chaotic, your customers probably aren’t happy. Upgrade to modern auto shop software and give your shop an improved public face.
6. You Need Help
Maybe you don’t really understand the program you are currently using, it kind of does what you want and that is good enough. Software packages routinely come with training options to help you get the most out of your software. Remember, your software suite is only good if everyone knows how to use it. With the right software partner, you can likely boost productivity, save money and improve the customer experience.
Relying on old, ineffective or nonexistent auto shop software is a bad idea. To remain competitive in the modern marketplace, your shop likely needs the best software suite possible. By watching for these five signs, you can know when it is time to order new auto repair software.