Imagine if you were assigned to do a complete engine overhaul with a basic socket and wrench set. No power tools, no air compressor, no car hoist. If it were me, I’d be shaking my head, wishing I had a better toolset. But today, so many shops are doing a version of this: trying to grow and run their businesses with basic tools, even though there are much more sophisticated options available.
One tool shops aren’t taking advantage of? Automation.
I spent the first 15 years of my career working as a technician and service manager in independent auto repair shops. One of my least favorite tasks was appointment reminders. At one shop I worked at, we’d instituted a policy of calling or texting customers the evening before they were supposed to drop off their vehicle for service. Every day at 4 p.m., I’d spend 15 minutes or more reaching out to some 8-12 appointments scheduled for the following day with a quick reminder. That time adds up fast: an hour and 15 minutes every week, and a whopping 65 hours over the course of the year.
At the time, appointment reminders were definitely worth my 65 hours: reminding customers of appointments brought in more revenue than it cost me to make the reminder calls. But with the automation available today, that time can be used to drive even more revenue by focusing on strategic efforts for the business.
Streamline Basic Processes in Your Auto Shop with the Right Automations
At shops today, there are dozens of tasks that eat up time for employees. By taking advantage of automations found in shop management software, you can make better use of your team’s time and talent to grow the business. Here are a few examples—and some estimates of just how much time it could save you and your team:
Many shops use QuickBooks to handle their bookkeeping and accounting but are manually entering every invoice, every purchase, etc. At some shops, this is almost a full-time job for a bookkeeper.
- Shop management solution alternative: Sync your shop management software to your QuickBooks account and automatically track invoices, POS, and more.
- Estimated time saved: 10 hours per week.
Find yourself writing the same or similar estimates over and over again? You’re not alone. Repetitive estimate creation is a huge time suck.
- Shop management solution alternative: Canned services for your most common jobs will save your team a ton of time. Instead of taking say, 10 minutes to craft an estimate, these responses can be developed and delivered in two.
- Estimated time saved: 3.5 hours per week
Depending on your shop’s capacity, time needed to sit down on the phone to do appointment reminders each day can take anywhere from 15 min to a couple of hours!
- Shop management solution alternative: Text and email-based appointment reminders are sent automatically without you ever having to pick up the phone.
- Estimated time saved: 1.25 hours per week
Parts and Labor Markups
Markup tables help ensure that your parts and labor remain profitable but require manual calculations.
- Shop management solution alternative: Imagine not having to pull out a calculator to do this, and instead, it’s calculated automatically every single time.
- Estimated time saved: 2 hours per week.
Compiling reports from invoices and spreadsheets is intensive and time-consuming.
- Shop management solution alternative: With just a couple of clicks, you can pull reports on sales, tech efficiency, inventory, and more to quickly and easily understand the health of your business…without touching a calculator. That drops a process that might take several hours down to minutes.
- Estimated Time Saved: 1.75 hours per week
Taken together, all of this time saved can give you back over 18 hours* per week. That’s over two full workdays that can be spent generating revenue for your shop and growing your business.
*Note: This is an estimated average of hours. Actual hours saved vary by shop.
Use Saved Time to Drive Revenue For Your Shop
If you’re spending most or all of your time on keeping the business afloat, you never have time to step back and look at the bigger picture. You could be working on marketing (driving new revenue), training technicians (reducing warranties, improving quality of workmanship, and overall technician efficiency), or spending more time engaging with the customers in the shop (improving customer retention).
In addition, you’ll likely see revenue in the form of employee retention. Let’s face it: if your employees know when they’re doing things that could be done by a robot or a computer, and they aren’t thrilled about it. Employee retention has been a hot topic in the industry for the last several years, with no sign that the struggle to find quality employees is going away. A great way to make sure you retain top talent is to treat them as such: Give them the tools to do the parts of the job they love: connecting with customers, solving problems, and growing the business while taking away menial work like appointment reminders.
Ready to Automate and Streamline Your Shop? Try Shopmonkey.
Automations are just one small component of our end-to-end solution. Shopmonkey shop management software helps you to run your auto shop business simply and efficiently.