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How to Be More Strategic as a Shop Owner

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Strategic Forecasting

Do you ever wish you could see into the future? As a shop owner, being able to predict how much business you will get during a week, a month, or a year can help you make important decisions regarding marketing your services, taking on more work, hiring more employees, or even knowing when to expand your business.

Of course, there are always going to be unforeseen situations. No matter how much technology you have, there’s no surefire way to predict accidents, natural disasters, or other changes in life circumstances. Fortune telling aside, shop owners can use real time reports to forecast the health of their business and get a sense of how much money their garage is expected to make. 

Here’s how you can use a shop management system with real time reports to forecast your shop’s performance and test the decisions you make as a shop owner.


The Power of a Real Time Shop Dashboard

Just as a dashboard in a car allows drivers to see what’s going on with their vehicle, dashboards for auto repair shops allow service writers, technicians, and shop owners to see what’s coming in, what vehicles are in the garage, and what’s ready for pick up. If you’ve been working in a garage for a while, you may remember a time when shop employees would jot down information with paper, pen, and clipboards. Now, the dashboard in your shop has gone digital to make it easier to see what’s going on at a glance.

Today’s most comprehensive shop management softwares typically come equipped with a shop dashboard that tracks and displays specific steps of the auto repair process so you know exactly what the status is: 

  • Estimate Not started
  • Invoice Requires authorization
  • Invoice Pending authorization 
  • Declined all
  • In-progress
  • Need to order parts
  • Waiting on parts
  • Waiting on customer 
  • Waiting on sublet 
  • Balance due
  • Ready to post 
  • Work not started 
  • Credit due
  • On hold
  • Posted
  • In A/R

Because shop owners have a granular look at the status of each job at any given moment, they have a more accurate idea of which tickets are going to yield payments and when the customer is going to pay. Service writers can also use the shop dashboard to quickly prioritize jobs in accordance with the needs of the shop and communicate those needs to mechanics or otherwise plan what’s next, whether that means getting approval for work, handing a car off to a technician, ordering parts, or collecting payment.

Annual Forecasting:

During the year, you can go to your shop dashboard and get a sense of where you're at and how the rest of the year is likely to play out. If you notice that business has been slowing down month-to-month, maybe it’s time to adjust your marketing. Or maybe you notice that this year has been busier than ever, in which case you might consider bringing on more talent or even opening a new location. 

Weekly Forecasting:

With real time shop dashboards that show sales in progress, shop owners can combine that data with their closed sales data to get a good idea of how much profit their shop is lined up to make by the end of the week. 

Let’s say you have another 20 cars that are on your job board with approved work on them, and you know that you’re going to get that work completed by Friday. You now have a good idea of how much money you’ll have at the end of the week because that report is going to combine the job invoices that have already been paid for with repair orders that are still pending payment.


Use Forecasting to Incentivize Your Team

Since forecasting can predict performance, it presents shop owners with the opportunity to plan ahead for bonuses for team members for a job well done. If your week is forecasted to bring in extra profit, incentivize your team to cross the finish line and reward them with a celebration.

Fajitas anyone? 


Real Time Service Writer Sales Report

Want to drill down even further with your forecasting? A shop management system with a real time service writer sales report can show you what step each service writer is on in the auto repair process: 

  • Unchecked 
  • Pending 
  • Declined
  • In-progress 
  • Completed 
  • Posted work 

Now, you can forecast the amount of business each service writer will close by the end of the week, and look back at how each service writer has performed.


Leverage Trends to Lead Your Team 

When using real time service writer reports, you might notice trends: some service writers may be better at closing repair work than others, or maybe you notice that a few service writers slow down by the end of the day or the week. Use these trends to lead your team. Everyone has room for improvement. Let high performing service writers mentor those that could use some guidance so that you can boost sales across the board. Find ways to boost morale mid-week to keep up the pace from week to week.


Auto Repair Software that Keeps You Ahead

Tekmetric is always looking for ways to give mechanic shops an edge and keep them ahead of the curve. Real time data not only keeps shop owners in tune with what’s going on in their shop from moment to moment, but also gives them the foresight to know how things will pan out. 

Ready to forecast, test, and get ahead of the curve? Schedule a free demo of Tekmetric today.


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