Hi, Natalie here. You have a great selection of tools on hand that will cover every job a customer will bring into your shop. Whether it’s Mac Tools, Snap-on, OTC, or Wright, the right tool for the job is priceless.
The tools we’re talking about in this post are for finances, but the same strategy holds true. If you’re planning to do your own bookkeeping, the right tool for your financial job is also priceless. They can take what may appear to be a daunting challenge and save you a ton of time. You’ll be back to running your shop before you know it.
Stick around until the end and I’ll outline what’s in my bookkeeping toolbox. Here is an overview with some suggestions on how to choose great financial tools
Here are the top 10 categories:
1. Accounting Software
QuickBooks has been the go-to software for accounting for decades. There are online tools that may be a better option for you. The most popular choice is Xero and the numbers of small business owners that are using Xero is increasing. Compare several and pick the one that is both robust and flexible.
According to the 2015 edition of the Business News Daily’s Buyer’s Guide here are the features you should look for:
Client/Vendor Contact Management
Billing and Recurring Payments Automation
Quote and Estimate Creation
Integration with Programs Such as Point-Of-Sale Software, Credit Card
Processing, and Google Apps
2. Budgeting Tools
Creating a budget is the cornerstone of your shop’s financial success. Staying on task within your budget is equally as important. If your accounting software has this feature, you may already have the proper tool to create that budget. If your preference is a tool dedicated to this task, a recommendation is PlanGuru.
3. Payroll Management System
Payroll management can occupy so much of your time and mistakes are easy to make. Look for tools that streamline the payroll process and cut costly errors. A tool that integrates with your other tools is another feature to look for. Some tools like SurePayroll can calculate and pay payroll taxes. Simple. A couple of other tool suggestions are ZenPayroll and ADP. These combine payroll and HR functions in one.
4. Agile Billing
Speed and flexibility in your billing process means quicker cash flow back to you. With a tools like FreshBooks or Bill.com the billing process will be quicker and give your customers an easy experience. Improving the billing process will serve you and your customers better and shorten delays in receiving payments.
5. Financial Dashboard
The dashboard gives you a quick look at your shop’s financial health. See at a glance if your shop is thriving or surviving. Tools such as LivePlan or InDinero give you clear visuals and show you if you’re starting to go off course. Then you can take the actions to keep moving towards your financial destination.
6. Cash Flow Analysis
Your accounting software should have cash flow statement capability. As with the budgeting tools there are specialty tools for cash flow tracking. A couple of suggestions are Float or a simple spreadsheet. These give you patterns from the past to offer a forecast of your shop’s financial future.
7. Inventory Management
This is all about efficiency and tracking. From the purchase of parts and consumables to generating sales reports and low inventory alerts, this is a very valuable tool. A couple of cloud-based options are SOS Inventory and Scout’s top Shelf.
8. Expense Tracking
Those tiny expenses can quickly add up and may be hard to track. Using an expense report tool such as Expensify or Xpenditure makes this much easier. Track those meals, gas, and incidental expenses by scanning receipts and typing in cash expenses. Some tools have the capability to link to mobile devices helping to track these instantly..
9. Business Credit Card
A business credit card, when used properly has several benefits
Improve your shop’s credit history
Earn higher credit limits
Receive rewards and discounts
Manage employee cards (ease of tracking expenses)
Boosts employee morale due to convenience and trust
10. E-commerce Solutions
Imagine your customer paying for their oil change before the service is completed. They need a couple of quarts of oil to tie them over. It’s easy to buy them online from their trusted repair shop.
Many businesses have seen an increases in cash flow since the beginning of the pandemic by using E-commerce solutions. These are powerful and create revenue streams that you may not have thought of.
11. Three Rivers Bookkeeping
With my 5-years of experience, these are the tools I use:
Accounting software – QuickBooks
Payroll Management System – ADP
Agile Billing – bill.com
Financial Dashboard – LivePlan
I’m passionate about books and service to my clients. If you’d like to have a conversation about tools and why I selected the one’s above, contact me. I can also outline the services I provide and why adding me to your team may make perfect sense to you.
Saving you time and headaches is the value I bring to you, the Auto Repair Shop Owner.
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Hey guys looking for a little advise for people that have been in my situation. We are a smaller shop but really starting to transition to doing more volume in the past 2 years. Been in business for 10 years now and currently have 2 full time tech's and myself. I manage most of the office and service writing stuff and even occasionally help wrench in the back when required. Looking to hire a service advisor soon to help with the work load on the counter.
Currently we just use a a mix of excel spreadsheets for invoicing and customer history, as well as Google calendar. My questions is will I see a big benefit from moving to a all in one management program? Is it worth the monthly fee's for a smaller outfit like mine?
Should mention we are in the powersports arena (mostly boat repair with some other rec equipment) so some of the platforms out there are not 100% tailored to our industry with the ones that are not offering up everything you would get out of a automotive program. Thanks in advance for the help!
By Joe Marconi
What Your Customers Want to Tell You…But Don’t
Auto shop owners and managers:
Join us for a free webinar series and learn firsthand what actual customers think about the auto repair experience.
To learn more about the online event and to register, click the link below:
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Keep Your Shop's Summer Momentum Going!
Elite's Supercharge Your Shop, a series of 4 live online courses for shop owners, starts Sept 14th!
Learn to master your shop's numbers, recruit the top techs & advisors, maximize employee productivity, fill up your bays with your ideal customers and more!
These live online courses will be taught by industry superstars Joe Marconi and Kevin Vaught, who have both experienced extraordinary success as shop owners, so everything you'll learn has been proven to generate extraordinary real world results!
You have the option to either enroll in the whole Supercharge Your Shop course series, or pick and choose the individual courses that will help your shop the most. Here's the course schedule:
Sept 14-15 - Mastering Your Shop's Numbers and Cost Control
Sept 16-17 - Hiring America's Top Techs & Advisors
Sept 21-22 - Maximizing Employee Morale, Productivity and Profits
Sept 23-24 - Filling Up Your Service Bays with the Ideal Customers
To enroll in the complete series of these 4 live online courses, just visit our Supercharge Your Shop Page to reserve one of our last openings!
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Free webinar for all members hosted by @Ron Ipach from Captain Car Count!
As you already know, finding good, qualified technicians isn’t as easy as it was in years past. Gone are the days of simply placing a few ads online or in the newspaper help-wanted section.
When you combine the fact that more shops than ever are in the hunt for qualified applicants, with the ever-shrinking pool of technicians to draw from, it’s no wonder so many shop owners are frustrated with their search.
Attracting good technicians today requires a radically different approach, and on this highly informative online training event, Ron Ipach, president of Repair Shop Coach, will walk you through the same strategies that his clients are using to attract lots of highly qualified to their shops on a consistent basis.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Time slots vary and are held weekly:
Please reach out to @Ron Ipach for additional information.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
The top shops in America realize that in order to build a successful business they will need to have team players that are self-starters, who can produce, and who will never compromise their ethics. Over the years I’ve not only been fortunate enough to hire many of our industry superstars, but I have seen hiring mistakes made every day by shop owners all across America. In order to help you with your business, I’d like to share what I believe to be the 5 most common hiring mistakes that shop owners make.
1. They are afraid to pay top buck. In business there are a number of rules that are timeless, and one is that you get what you pay for. The reason the superstars can command top buck is pretty simple; it’s because they can produce. The techs and advisors that earn average incomes all have one thing in common; they produce average results, and average employees will never take you to the top. Every top shop owner that I have consulted with will agree that once you hire a superstar, you will quickly see that they are one of the best investments you will ever make.
2. They are afraid to provide a respectable guarantee. Most shop owners are reluctant to give a respectable guarantee because they are afraid the new hire may not produce, and they will be stuck paying a big guarantee. Now here are two important points that they don’t understand. First of all, if they believe they are providing the potential employee with a great opportunity, then providing a respectable guarantee shows the candidate that they have confidence in their business, and in the position they are looking to fill. Secondly, most shop owners are so concerned about how much the guarantee could cost them, they completely forget that if the employee doesn’t produce, there’s a simple solution: You let them go.
3. They use the wrong criteria when making their employment selections. Most shop owners hire techs and advisors based on their level of knowledge and industry experience. Although those are both important considerations, what’s more important is the attitude of the applicant, their aptitude and their ethics. A wise man once told me we hire people for what they know, and we fire them for who they are.
4. They don’t look beyond the candidate. The shop owners who employ the superstars all realize that when they hire Larry they get Mary. What this means is that if the candidate has a significant other in their life, you can rest assured that they will play a role in the candidate’s decision. This is why at Elite we encourage all of our clients to ensure their compensation and incentive package has what we refer to as “go-home” benefits. Examples would be retirement programs, paid holidays and vacations, well-days, etc.
5. They forget that the superstars will be interviewing them. The top shop owners all realize that the superstars they are interviewing will have no trouble at all finding a shop that will hire them. Accordingly, throughout the interview process the superstar will be interviewing the shop owner, and they’ll be asking themselves whether or not they would like to work at the shop. They will be evaluating you by the type of questions you ask, and the interviewing-qualification process you take them through. If at any time they feel you are hiring out of desperation, rather than ensuring it’s a great fit for everyone, one thing is for certain: They’ll walk, because what they are looking for is the opportunity to work at an ethical shop that enjoys a good reputation in the community, has team spirit, and has leadership that allows them to clearly see their future with the company.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite, a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers one-on-one coaching from the industry’s top shop owners, service advisor training, peer groups, along with sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can learn more about Elite by visiting www.EliteWorldwide.com
By Elon Block
Alex suggested I post in this forum.
For those of you that may new to the forum, I have created a blog here with
helpful articles and videos:
We also have a large archive of free training materials on our website:
Let me know if we can be of help to you and your business.
By Joe Marconi
Perhaps the worst time to look to hire a technician, is when we lose one. At that point we go into “Crisis Hire” mode. We most often settle for anyone, rather than taking our time to find the right person.
We need to take a lesson from large organizations and sports teams. Their strategy? They continually recruit. I did not say continually hire, I said continually recruit.
You need to be on the look out for the talent in your community. Find where the best of the best are working now. Reach out to these people, get to know them.
Make is part of your overall business plan to stay in touch with trade schools, the military for returning vets, and any other employee agencies. Identify key people in your local auto community and ask questions; where are the best technicians? How can I contact this person? Who knows this superstar tech?
In other words, allocate a significant portion of your time in the area of recruiting. Your goal is to have people in the pipe line. So when you lose an employee you have a list of contacts to reach out to.
In the book “Work Rules”, a book about Google and its employee strategies, the author states that Google follows this rule: “Hiring is the single most important activity in any organization"
By Joe Marconi
Its no surprise to anyone in the business that it is getting increasingly harder to find qualified entry level techs. Trade schools are producing graduates, but where are they? And, how qualified are they?
We need to address this industry problem. Timing is right; more and more people are realizing that the trades are great alternatives to professional markets that are saturated with lawyers, accountants and financial positions.
Where do you go to find techs? How many are home-grown anymore?