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Reccomendations for SMS with accounting functions?

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So, I started my automotive repair business about 6 years ago and have just been using quickbooks but it is not really setup for what I do here and I would like to get a dedicated SMS program and I have noticed that one like Maxtraxx has full accounting built in so that it doesnt need quickbooks anymore which could potentially eliminate a $300 per year QB subscription.


I have spent hours upon hours watching youtube vids and demo software for different management systems and am at the point of frustration. I do not want Alldata manage because it feels like I have to do too much clicking to navigate around. I have used Mitchell manager in the past but really never set it up to make it efficient and now after reading reviews of tech support not being able to help out with certain functions, I am begining to get turned off of them.


HERE IS WHAT I HAVE ALREADY: one bay, but in the near future going to open a second bay next to me with finding a great technician to fill it. This will allow me to focus on office management and service advising. QB pro to create invoices and accounting. I currently subscribe to Motologic for my repair info and labor guide and also Real Time Labor Guide as a backup.


HERE IS WHAT I WOULD LIKE: an SMS program that allows me to see my daily, weekly, monthly, annual reports and possibly even a profit monitor button for each ticket to make sure I don't go below my margins. Something to streamline the shop functions. Inventory is a plus. I DON'T MIND DOING AN OUTRIGHT PURCHASE OF A PROGRAM BUT NOT MORE THAN $3K +/- because I plan to grow into it and it grow with my shop. I also don't mind a monthly service. One of the issues is many programs require you to have subscriptions to Mitchell or Alldata so you can integrate labor times into your software. Something that is cost effective


Please give me guidance and direction in this area and what you have experienced. Thank you so much.

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Since you're actively investigating a new management system, here are a couple resource lists with different software vendors to look into.


List of CARFAX-integrated partners:



List of Auto Repair Software programs with user reviews:



You might also consider whether or not you plan to take advantage of other third party integrations, such as fellow ASO site sponsor Bolt On Technology's inspection solution, or your preferred labor rate provider like you mentioned.


If you call any of our partners for a demo, please tell them I say hello!


Good luck on the hunt.




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I use Mitchell with QB integrattor. In the 9 or 10 years I have used it I have never had a problem with tech support. They recently announced that they are going to release a new interface called back office I believe. Watched a video and it looks like a winner. Just my 2 cents.


Where did you find the video?? I want to watch it!!!!

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I've been happy with Mitchell manager, no real problems in seven years. They do come out with updates which require a frustrating relearning curve and price hikes but it works. I export Mitchell data to an excel spreadsheet, my homemade version of quick books and it's good enough.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
      Typically, when productivity suffers, the shop owner or manager directs their attention to the technicians. Are they doing all they can do to maintain high billable hours? Are they as efficient as they can be?  Is there time being wasted throughout the technician’s day? 
      All these reasons factor into production problems, but before we point fingers at the technicians, let’s consider a few other factors.
      Are estimates being written properly? Are labor testing and inspections being billed out correctly? Are you charging enough for testing and inspecting, especially for highly specialized electrical, on-board computer issues, and other complex drivability work?  Is there a clear workflow process everyone follows that details every step from the write-up to vehicle delivery? Do you track comebacks, and is that affecting production?  Is the shop layout not conducive to high production? For example, is it unorganized, where shop tools, technical information, and equipment are not easily accessible to every technician?  Are you charging the correct labor rate and allowing for variables such as rust, vehicle age, and the fact that most labor guides are wrong? Also, is there effective communication between the tech and the service advisor to ensure that extra labor time is accounted for and billed to the customer? These are a few of the top reasons for low productivity problems. There are others, but the main point is to look at the entire operation. Productivity is a team effort.  Blaming the techs or other staff members does not get to the root cause in most cases.
      Maintaining adequate production levels is the responsibility of management to create the processes that will lead to high production while holding everyone accountable. 
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