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6 Tips on How to Manage an Auto Repair Shop

Managing a business of any kind is a complex process, and an auto repair shop is no exception. There are so many different aspects of management that you need to monitor and implement to keep your team and your customers satisfied. This leads to less turnover and better revenue for the business, increasing your longevity and reputation. 

If you want to know how to manage an auto repair shop, these six tips will get you thinking about how you can streamline your operations and boost profitability. 

1. Invest in Your Team

The fastest way to improve how your auto repair shop runs is by cultivating a team you can trust. After all, skilled employees work faster and make fewer mistakes. Investing time and training into your team is an essential item that many auto repair shop owners overlook. 

To help with this, invest in training and development for the staff that you have. Many individuals value opportunities to learn and grow in their role, since it opens up new opportunities for them. Not to mention, it also allows them to see a forward path within the structure of the existing business. 

If you take the time to treat your team well, you are more likely to retain existing employees. This is good news, as staff turnover can be expensive in both time and resources. Plus, turnover makes it hard to form a consistent workflow as someone is always coming or going.

The best thing you can do when it comes to managing an auto repair shop is to learn how to be a good manager. To this end, you should take industry-specific leadership courses and have set shop meetings for you and your employees to get on the same page. 

2. Create Standards

In addition to investing in your team, it’s crucial to set standards for how you want your business to operate. Establish clear rules and guidelines for consistency, including a safety checklist. Employees will also be easier to manage with clear expectations for behavior, a dress code, and expectations. 

For shop operations, create a DVI checklist and standard workflows. These processes can help boost ROI, plus implementation allows all customers to feel peace of mind that they are receiving a thorough inspection. 

AutoVitals can help with this important tip for how to manage an auto repair shop. Our paperless digital vehicle inspections are easily accessible for your customers and provide value with a photo editor to demonstrate what areas need attention. It can even boost your average repair order by 30 percent. 

Standards can also include customer-facing policies, such as returns and cancellations. To some degree, even having a consistent shop schedule can add consistency and reliability to your operations.

3. Streamline Efficiency

After standards are implemented, you can start to focus your attention on shop efficiency. All of your workers will be on the same page and understand the drill. This allows you to move things along and focus more attention on automating the services that you offer. 

For example, you can incorporate more software features like automation, online booking, canned jobs, and automatic service reminders.

Another aspect of efficiency is facilitating communication between service advisors, technicians, and the customer. Incorporating technology like tablets that empower messaging between staff and customers is a smart way to start to streamline your operations. 

With an emphasis on efficiency, you can increase shop revenue by as much as 80 percent. What auto repair shop owner couldn’t use this massive increase in revenue and saved time? 

Don’t forget that even simple changes to the structure of your business like the shop floor plan can make a major difference in your overall efficiency. Optimizing your layout can lead to a higher car count and more profit.

4. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to making the most of your working hours, and it starts with bookkeeping and finances. Keep all of your records up to date, including your parts inventory. This helps you to improve backlogs and simplifies the management process. You also need to track all customer records and their repair history. 

Software like AutoVitals can help with all of this. Rather than maintaining cabinets full of papers or chaotic spreadsheets, you’ll have everything all in one digital location. It’s easier for you to search for the information you need, see real-time data, and track crucial information at a glance. 

5. Lean on Experts

It’s common for auto repair shop employees – especially the owners – to wear a lot of hats. While you can learn new skills and save some money by taking on additional tasks outside your comfort zone, there’s also a time and a place to delegate certain duties to outside experts when it makes sense.

For example, you can outsource accounting, marketing, and even janitorial services instead of asking your team to multitask or hiring a full-time team member. 

Outsourcing allows you and your team to focus on where you work best. After all, time is perhaps your most valuable resource. You can reinvest the time you would have spent on these tasks into things that directly grow your business or increase your return on investment. 

Plus, your employees will thank you because they will be able to dedicate more of their time to the jobs that are in their wheelhouse. 

6. Keep Improving

Remember that there is always room for improvement, no matter how many of these tips for managing an auto repair shop you implement. Continued improvement and adaptation allows your business to continue to grow and keeps your employees satisfied. Monitor industry trends, be open to change, and implement new strategies as you see fit.

The best way to do this is to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) to help make decisions on where you can improve. Some of the KPIs you might want to monitor include average repair order, billable hours, and even your effective labor rate, among others. These numbers will help you keep your finger on the pulse of a thriving auto repair shop. 

Make Shop Management Easier with AutoVitals

There are so many parts to successfully managing an auto repair shop – don’t try to do it all by yourself! Instead, leverage software like AutoVitals to work smarter instead of harder. We can help you improve shop efficiency, increase your ARO, and help you grow your team. Request a demo of our software today!

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