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Organizing Estimates


Tess

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I am wondering if anyone has any tips for organizing estimates. We use Alldata Manage and I know how to do the estimates in there, but there are many times a day that people call for a quick estimate for something and it doesn't seem worth the time to enter all their info into the system and do an official estimate in the program. But I still like to keep the estimates for a while in case they call back a couple of weeks later and want the work done.

 

Right now I have a folder with handwritten estimates in it, but going through it is a pain. I am thinking I might get a binder and put the estimates in the binder in some type of order. Not sure if it would be better to organize by name so if they tell me their name I can easily find the estimate - or by date of estimate so its easier to go through it every once in a while to clear out old ones that are taking up space.

 

Thoughts or suggestions?

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I am wondering if anyone has any tips for organizing estimates. We use Alldata Manage and I know how to do the estimates in there, but there are many times a day that people call for a quick estimate for something and it doesn't seem worth the time to enter all their info into the system and do an official estimate in the program. But I still like to keep the estimates for a while in case they call back a couple of weeks later and want the work done.

 

Right now I have a folder with handwritten estimates in it, but going through it is a pain. I am thinking I might get a binder and put the estimates in the binder in some type of order. Not sure if it would be better to organize by name so if they tell me their name I can easily find the estimate - or by date of estimate so its easier to go through it every once in a while to clear out old ones that are taking up space.

 

Thoughts or suggestions?

I would use manage. The use of the matrix is well worth the extra work and results in higher profit. We don't estimate a job over the phone or walk in unless it's very common. We want to inspect the vehicle, provide prioritized estimates that show every single issue the vehicle has! This also allows you to keep up with deferred work. "Mr. Customer, we see last month we recommended *said service*, would you like us to include this work while the vehicle is in for service today?".

 

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Edited by ncautoshop
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I agree with ncautoshop to limit phone or walk in estimates except for common work. I use our shop management program for all estimates (except common work). The estimate is retained as a quote for that customer, for that car, until the job is completed or I manually clear it. I have the option of giving a customer a printed estimate, emailing the estimate or sending an estimate by text all within my shop management program (BayMaster). This works well, requires no hand written folder of papers and can be recalled in seconds at any time. Another advantage is that we have the occasional person who requests estimates but never has the work completed. Since all estimates remain available they start to accumulate indicating to us that this customer is a "tire kicker" and more than likely will not follow thru with the repairs. I sometimes have customers call and request an estimate and see that I had already completed a quote for the same work the month before. Big time saver at that time since the estimate is already completed, quick review and all done.

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When someone who is not a client calls us for an estimate (other than tires or alignment), we use that opportunity to set an appointment for them to come in. We do not give price estimates over the phone because we have not seen the vehicle, checked, diagnosed, or tested it. If they set an appointment and show up, fine. If they don't set an appointment, that's fine too.

 

If they are a client, the same thing applies with a few exceptions.

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I hand write out the estimate, complete with customer phone number, vin number and all with a date, I then take a picture of it and add it to the notes app on an iPad mini. Then if a customer calls months later it's a couple of key strokes in the search function.

 

 

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I use Alldata and I understand what you are saying, don't worry getting their adress or last name just get their first name and phone number. Don't worry about their tag number either just get the yeah make ,model and engine size. Work the estimate n save it, you can also ask them if you can call them back with the estimate and do it on your own time so you don't mess up the estimate or feel in a rush since you have the person on the phone.

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I use Alldata and I understand what you are saying, don't worry getting their adress or last name just get their first name and phone number. Don't worry about their tag number either just get the yeah make ,model and engine size. Work the estimate n save it, you can also ask them if you can call them back with the estimate and do it on your own time so you don't mess up the estimate or feel in a rush since you have the person on the phone.

Why not just get the tag number, phone and name? Then you don't need to spend as much time on data entry as it puts the car in by vin.

 

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For phone shoppers we get their first name and phone #. we use the date as a last name. the last name can always be change later. this way every so often i can delete names of costumes that never come in very easily. if it is a customer that doesn't state that they've been here before than when the come in for that service we just save the job as a shop job and than use that shop job on the existing car. I feel that this makes it easier to root out shopper from customer in our customer list. then just delete the unassigned cars and now we have an accurate list of what make, models we see here.

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What is the point in wasting your time with a phone estimate? Are they sure they need said repair? Who told them? Did they self diagnose? If they did why don't they fix it themselves? If someone else diag'd why didn't they do the repair with them? How can they trust their diag was correct if they cant trust that person to do the work? What is it they are looking for? Best price? Best quality? How are they determining whether to use your services? Is it based solely on price? Is that they type of customer you want?

 

I can keep going but there goes the reason why we don't give random estimates. It is a colossal waste of time and if you really get down to the soup and nuts most of the people you are giving estimates to you probably wont see and if you are seeing them you are probably charging too little.

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Estimates are good. Keep it quick, simple, and be sure to state its only an estimate. I'd get name, phone #, and car info. I wouldnt push for tag and vin. How many customers actually know this info upfront?? I don't want them to feel like they have to work just to get a quote... They're already frustrated by having to fix their car. The note pad method works if you don't get that many. Otherwise save it in your manage system as a quote as long as it's searchable by name later. Learning to give a QUICK estimate is the key. Definitely a good idea to try to get the diagnostic appointment to make sure the repair is needed. But nowadays with you tube, many folk try their own diagnostic. That's fine too. Give the estimate, do the work, when it doesn't solve issue, offer paid diagnostic for the 2nd time, and move forward. All in the presentation. Not all price shoppers are bottom feeders. Many have been to shops that have ripped them off so theyre apprehensible. Try for 60 seconds rough estimate and label it as such and keep it moving with a smile

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