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New Bay Area (CA) Shop


meowpox

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Hello!

 

I am so sad I didnt see this forum earlier.

 

Our shop, Trackspec Autosports, is 1 year old. I was a lawyer, then left to do non-law tech (SF startup) and loved it until we got acquired by a big company...then a couple months ago, quit to help my significant other run his business. We have 3 techs, 2 owners (1 is my significant other, the other is a financial backer), and myself, who runs everything besides working on a car.

 

I am here because I am always looking on ways to improve, even if we are doing okay. Coming from law and tech, I dont know many people that run an auto shop biz, which is unique in several ways...including taxes & workflow management. My big thing is efficiency, and even though I've made many improvements, I feel like it can always be better. I need it to be more paperless overall and also need it to be more efficient with accounting. Seems hard when the entire industry doesnt seem up to date. Looking for suggestions so I found this forum which is awesome!

 

Thanks for reading :)

 

 

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Regarding paperless depending on what shop management software you use there are options for tablet based add on software that can take the paper work orders out of the equation. You can also capture signatures and such with those programs. Look in to Auto Vitals or Bolt On. They integrate with many leading shop management software.

 

Depending on how savvy you are with accounting and financials maybe it would be best to have a CPA come in and set up a system where you can follow and be you own book keeper. If you are referring to accounting in regards to what Key Performance Indicators you need to keep track of, there is a lot of info on this forum as well as trade magazines etc. It will take you some time to compile all that info so if you wanted to accelerate that process I would suggest taking a few classes or a course at the very least. Elite an RLO Training are some of the companies I have worked with and that I would recommend.

 

Your shop looks really nice and your team looks like a collection of bright young individuals. You guys are going to do great!

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Regarding paperless depending on what shop management software you use there are options for tablet based add on software that can take the paper work orders out of the equation. You can also capture signatures and such with those programs. Look in to Auto Vitals or Bolt On. They integrate with many leading shop management software.

 

Depending on how savvy you are with accounting and financials maybe it would be best to have a CPA come in and set up a system where you can follow and be you own book keeper. If you are referring to accounting in regards to what Key Performance Indicators you need to keep track of, there is a lot of info on this forum as well as trade magazines etc. It will take you some time to compile all that info so if you wanted to accelerate that process I would suggest taking a few classes or a course at the very least. Elite an RLO Training are some of the companies I have worked with and that I would recommend.

 

Your shop looks really nice and your team looks like a collection of bright young individuals. You guys are going to do great!

 

Thanks everyone for such a warm welcome! Seems like such an active forum, very excited to read everything and finally not feel alone in all of these situations!

 

I did here about AutoVitals and was interested, unfortunately missed their free class/demo at SEMA. I will look into Bolt On as well. Thanks for this! One thing that I wish existed (and if you know of anything, let me know)...is a program that's more of an all-in-one. For instance, the company Wave. You can send invoices, collect payment, no paper needed unless you want print outs, all the data and reports are there, payroll...and one thing I love is that you can connect your business credit card and bank account so that every time you pay for something for the business (let's say for office supplies), it is automatically shown there and you can categorize it. The only thing is, its not geared towards automotive so really cant use it.

 

Right now how we do it is: Jon (owner) inputs work orders on Winworks. Collects payments via CC thermal printing machine from FirstData, prints 2 copies of the receipt from machine and 2 copies of the invoice from Winworks. Gives one set to customer, gives one to me and writes down on the paper which mechanic did which and for how many hours. Then I input that invoice into Quickbooks, plus all the parts purchased from vendors. Seems like a lot of unnecessary inputting and double inputting. I know Winworks does have QB integration capabilities, but I'm not sure if its seamless so Im still a little afraid to try it.

 

As for financial side, we do have a CPA that comes at the end of the year, but she is not involved throughout the year (is this normal?). I do all the bookkeeping, file the quarterly taxes (which I've already caught costly mistakes done by the previous person that worked here), try to analyze the financial reports with our biz partner....but now that I'm learning there are classes specified for this, I will definitely look into Elite and read more on this forum. Can you link me to the Elite site?

 

Truly truly appreciate this help

Edited by Victoria Capinpin
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Thanks everyone for such a warm welcome! Seems like such an active forum, very excited to read everything and finally not feel alone in all of these situations!

 

I did here about AutoVitals and was interested, unfortunately missed their free class/demo at SEMA. I will look into Bolt On as well. Thanks for this! One thing that I wish existed (and if you know of anything, let me know)...is a program that's more of an all-in-one. For instance, the company Wave. You can send invoices, collect payment, no paper needed unless you want print outs, all the data and reports are there, payroll...and one thing I love is that you can connect your business credit card and bank account so that every time you pay for something for the business (let's say for office supplies), it is automatically shown there and you can categorize it. The only thing is, its not geared towards automotive so really cant use it.

 

Right now how we do it is: Jon (owner) inputs work orders on Winworks. Collects payments via CC thermal printing machine from FirstData, prints 2 copies of the receipt from machine and 2 copies of the invoice from Winworks. Gives one set to customer, gives one to me and writes down on the paper which mechanic did which and for how many hours. Then I input that invoice into Quickbooks, plus all the parts purchased from vendors. Seems like a lot of unnecessary inputting and double inputting. I know Winworks does have QB integration capabilities, but I'm not sure if its seamless so Im still a little afraid to try it.

 

As for financial side, we do have a CPA that comes at the end of the year, but she is not involved throughout the year (is this normal?). I do all the bookkeeping, file the quarterly taxes (which I've already caught costly mistakes done by the previous person that worked here), try to analyze the financial reports with our biz partner....but now that I'm learning there are classes specified for this, I will definitely look into Elite and read more on this forum. Can you link me to the Elite site?

 

Truly truly appreciate this help

 

 

www.eliteworldwidestore.com

 

I am a current client of theirs so I can answer any questions you may have. No shameless plug I get nothing from them just passing along my great experiences so far.

 

Does WinWorks have parts catalog integration? No one Shop Management Software (SMS) is going to be perfect. For instance I use Mitchell1 currently and my newest SA is always bitching about how inefficient some of the operations are to carry out vs RO Writer which was the software he was used to. Since you guys are relatively new and not set in any particular ways or habits I would run the gambit of different types of demos from different software companies. You should take as much times as you need to pick the right one for you. Most of the management systems have integration with a credit card processor and also QB integration. It is possible to set up a system to eliminate all the steps you are encountering. Thats as much advice I can give on that since by nature I am not the most organized person LOL. I do know it can be done though you just have to take time to get the right tools and build the right system.

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www.eliteworldwidestore.com

 

I am a current client of theirs so I can answer any questions you may have. No shameless plug I get nothing from them just passing along my great experiences so far.

 

Does WinWorks have parts catalog integration? No one Shop Management Software (SMS) is going to be perfect. For instance I use Mitchell1 currently and my newest SA is always bitching about how inefficient some of the operations are to carry out vs RO Writer which was the software he was used to. Since you guys are relatively new and not set in any particular ways or habits I would run the gambit of different types of demos from different software companies. You should take as much times as you need to pick the right one for you. Most of the management systems have integration with a credit card processor and also QB integration. It is possible to set up a system to eliminate all the steps you are encountering. Thats as much advice I can give on that since by nature I am not the most organized person LOL. I do know it can be done though you just have to take time to get the right tools and build the right system.

Thanks for the link! Ill definitely direct questions I have, thank you for offering.

 

Winworks does have parts catalog integration with the vendor we buy most of our parts from so thats good. It does have QB integration but I am looking to get rid of QB all together LOL. But yeah I figured I wont be able to find an all-in-one SMS without spending millions to build it myself lol (I think Post office did that!) I've heard of Mitchell, and also was thinking of getting demo from RO Writer. How do you like Mitchell? Btw, any advice Ill take, since I am new to the industry (but yeah, I am super organized which is why these softwares that dont have a lot of functionality bothers me so much lol)...but Im glad this forum will encourage me to keep finding ways to improve.

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Thanks for the link! Ill definitely direct questions I have, thank you for offering.

 

Winworks does have parts catalog integration with the vendor we buy most of our parts from so thats good. It does have QB integration but I am looking to get rid of QB all together LOL. But yeah I figured I wont be able to find an all-in-one SMS without spending millions to build it myself lol (I think Post office did that!) I've heard of Mitchell, and also was thinking of getting demo from RO Writer. How do you like Mitchell? Btw, any advice Ill take, since I am new to the industry (but yeah, I am super organized which is why these softwares that dont have a lot of functionality bothers me so much lol)...but Im glad this forum will encourage me to keep finding ways to improve.

 

 

Mitchell is OK. It does everything I need it to but you are right, a lot of these SMS are very archaic. Not a wide enough customer base for cutting edge software :( You will find some nice features with both RO Writer and Mitchell but nothing will ever be complete. I have heard some good reviews about some other programs out there (MaxxTraxx?) but I would suggest thoroughly demoing each.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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