Five Ways to Improve Auto Shop Efficiency

There are only so many hours in a day, and no matter how hard you work you can’t get more of them. In business, every wasted minute translates into dollars lost. Fortunately, there are probably some areas around your shop where you could stand to increase efficiency a bit. This post will cover five common ways to improve auto shop efficiency that you can implement right now.

Find the Right Shop Management Software

First of all, if you’re not currently using a shop management software platform to manage your business, you’re almost certainly not being as efficient as you could be. Shop management software (we’re integrated with dozens of the industry’s leading options) can help you schedule jobs, manage invoices and bookkeeping, and keep track of deferred work and recalls. Your system will keep a record of the service history on every vehicle, so no more digging through stacks of paper to find out when a certain customer last performed a certain service. You’ll improve auto shop efficiency AND enhance your customer experience with this tip.

Consider a DVI Solution

Digital vehicle inspection (DVI) can take your auto shop software experience to the next level. With a DVI tool like Bolt On or, you can easily capture and store a full diagnostic workup of a vehicle and show it to your customer. A picture is worth a thousand words – especially when you’re working with a cost-conscious customer who wants to deny work that really should be done. Taking a picture of a fluid leak or showing them the true condition of their tires or brakes could make the difference for them. Plus, most DVI tools come with messaging capabilities that allow you to quickly and easily correspond with your customer. In many cases, you can use 360 Payments’ Text-to-Pay feature to send your customer their invoice when the RO is completed. Your customer can pay on their phone at their convenience and pick up their vehicle when they’re able. Your service advisors will be thrilled with all the time this saves – no more long checkout lines at closing time!

Where Can You Do More with Less?

If your staff is working as hard as they can and still falling short, look for ways that your systems and processes are failing them. Resist the urge to hire more personnel until you’ve identified the underlying issue that is causing them to not be successful. We’ve talked about ways to improve auto shop efficiency that involve technology, but consider other ways to help your employees work faster. Are your technicians presented with an organized and color-coded calendar every morning to help them plan their days? Do your service advisors communicate frequently with your technicians to adjust for midday changes to the plan? Are you setting expectations appropriately for walk-ins and leaving white space for them so they don’t sit in your waiting room for hours? We bet you have plenty of opportunities to improve auto shop efficiency at your business if you think creatively.

Accuracy is Key

How many times have your service advisors received greasy scribbled notes from the technicians that they have to decipher before they can call the customer? Half the time the service advisor is running out onto the shop floor, interrupting the technician and asking him or her to explain the notes. This can all be avoided with a digital system that allows techs to scan pertinent vehicle information and type in extra details. It may sound crazy to outfit your techs with tablets or smartphones, but imagine the time you’ll save when all information is entered correctly the first time. No more misread VINs!

Make Sure All Your Tools Work Together

We understand that you’re excited about the potential benefits of technology for your shop, but do your research before you rush off and buy a lot of software. The worst thing you can do is buy a whole bunch of systems just to find out they don’t communicate well – if at all. Any efficiency you might have gained will be lost as your service advisors transfer information between systems, retyping and recopying several times a day. This increases the potential for errors as well, which impacts your customer experience. Ask detailed questions about how the systems you’re looking at interact so you can make an informed decision.

Running Like a Well-Oiled Machine

The best way to improve auto shop efficiency is to just get started. It can seem overwhelming at first, especially if technology implementation isn’t something you’ve thought much about. We recommend starting by research shop management software solutions. Like we mentioned above, we’re integrated with dozens of the industry’s leading names and can recommend a few that would suit your needs. Give us a call at 1-855-360-0360 or drop us a line on our website. We’d love to help you become more efficient today.

PS – Improve these customer touchpoints today to increase your shop’s success.

PPS – Running an auto shop is hard! Here’s how to maintain a good work-life balance.

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