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Hi all, I have been a member for a while but not really involved. My business has been struggling for a while, I have recently taken a 2 day business success class which while it did give some direction it also left me with a whole lotta questions. I am ready for change and determined to get my numbers up, here's what I have so far

 

Let me start with a little background. I own a specialty shop that caters to the transportation industry (Limousines, bus's). We have a regular mechanical department that handles all of the standard day to day type repairs which I have a pretty good idea on how to manage. We have always done custom work such as interior fabrication and the like but on a very small scale. We hired a new tech to work in this area and want to grow it, here's where I get stuck

 

I have never tracked my numbers and after taking this class I have finally realized that this is a big mistake. I use a business program called Big Business which is really like a very powerful, customizable version of quick books. I use Identafix for mechanical estimates and shop information.

 

1. how are you tracking tech hours? I idea at this point is to create a labor line item for each tech so that I can do report and monitor productivity. This however does not track actual hours worked just what was billed.

 

2. how do you track hours worked for a service such as an oil change, I'm thinking that would pay about .3 hours but don't really want to show a labor charge on the invoice but if I don't then I don't see how I can track it, this goes for all services.

 

3. On the custom work side it only gets worse. Generally I hand calculate materials and labor the best I can but when invoiced it would be very general such as new seat covers installed and a $ amount, I find that the more information on the invoice, the more questions it raises. Having an agreed $ amount for the job seems pretty standard for this type of work but makes it completely untrackable so I have no numbers to run through reports.

 

4. How do you charge if more then one employee is working on a single task either to speed it a long or in our case often parts are very large and require more then 1 guy. Customers seem to get upset if I try to charge labor on each employee, the other aspect again is how to track and invoice this, would you show labor line items for each employee?

 

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Great Tire Deal

You can get lost on all the minutiae of record keeping and technical of the business.

 

I learned a while back that a dashboard with the necessary and relevant key performance indicators is all you need. An excel spreadsheet easily does the job.

 

Anyways, calculate your payroll for your staff at full time, then price out the target revenue you will need to cover all that labor, doing this will yield your pricing basis.

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There is shop management software that can do all of this for you. We use MyShopAssist, which is mostly directed at performance and custom work type shops, but there are many. Techs track all hours with a tablet, which is sectioned out as much as you want it to be. Helps to adjust your estimating as well as track efficiency.

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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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