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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By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Superstar shop owner and Elite Business Development Coach Ed Cushman shares an excerpt from a book that will change the way you view leadership.
For additional help building a more successful auto repair business, learn how you can team up with a superstar shop owner like Ed through Elite Top Shop 360: One on One Coaching
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By Joe Marconi
NEWS BREAK: Workers at a Mavis Discount Tire shop falsified records to make it look as if they completed brake work on a limousine before it crashed and killed 20 in Schoharie, New York, last year, when in actuality the work was never performed, according to the shop's former manager.
Below is a link to the article:
By Joe Marconi
Technicians have been working very hard during tough times the past few months. And I am not just referring to maintaining production levels. The emotional strain is also a factor. They have been true heroes and have not let up with their commitment to their jobs, the companies they work for and the people they help each day.
We need to recognize what they do and say thank you to our techs and let them know how much we appreciate what they do each and every day.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
Although COVID-19 has brought our industry plenty of challenges, it has also taught us a valuable lesson. Many of us have seen a drop in our car counts, but have simultaneously witnessed an increase in our AROs and happier customers. These slower days give us the opportunity to spend more time with each and every individual and vehicle that enters our shop, yielding positive results for both our business and our customers.
From this point forward, in order to maximize every single opportunity at your shop, I recommend you implement the following three items.
First, I recommend you hold a meeting with your employees as soon as possible and make sure they know that each vehicle that comes in should be properly, professionally and ethically inspected. Make sure they also know that everything should be documented.
Next, it’s important that every single customer that enters your facility gets full disclosure on what is going on with their vehicle. This includes what needs to be done now, what should be done in the near future, and what may need to happen in the long run.
Lastly, make sure that everyone in your company believes in all of your products and services. When a tech or advisor is on the phone with a customer, they must truly believe in their recommendations in order to really get through to that customer. The customer will be far more likely to listen if they know the recommendations are coming from a place of honesty and care.
If you can implement the three items above, not only will you see sales go up, but you will have happier customers as well. I can assure you that the more time you spend on each vehicle and with each customer, the more successful you will be.
For additional help making the most of your shop’s opportunities, visit the Elite website or call 800-204-3548.
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By Joe Marconi
You spend a lot of time and money finding an hiring an employee. Whether it be a technician, service advisor or office worker. However, the real work to ensure that the new employee is up and running begins when you hire that person. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a new-hire can be put to work without an orientation period. No matter how experienced someone may be, take the time to slowly acclimate that person to your shop, your other employees and your systems and procedures. The time you take in the beginning will help to create a long-lasting employee relationship.
By Ron Ipach
Do you want the The HARDCORE TRUTH to Finding, Attracting, Hiring, And Keeping Top Techs?
Sign up (for free) here for access to my brand new mini series: http://bit.ly/find-techs.
Video One Coming Monday, 11/5...
MORE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION: http://bit.ly/find-techs
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 Elite Worldwide Inc.
By Bob Cooper
One of the challenges that shop owners have faced for years is finding and hiring qualified technicians. Here are 5 of the most successful techniques that I used to find the superstars when I was still operating shops.
1. Make an offer that is hard to refuse. Go to your local dealerships, introduce yourself to the service manager, and say something like this: “Larry, the reason I wanted to speak with you is I am looking for a superstar technician with ___ experience. Now for the purpose of clarity, I’m not looking to recruit any of your employees; that’s not my interest. What I’d like to do is speak with any of the superstars who have worked with you in the past, and for whatever reason, are no longer working with you here at your dealership. They may have gone on to another shop or dealership, and who knows, at this very moment they may not be very pleased with the company they’re currently working for. Now if you’re able to provide me with their names and contact info, or if you just reach out to them and have them contact me, this is what I’ll do for you… If I hire them, I’ll give you $2,000 on the first day they show up for work, and if they’re still with us after their 90-day probation, I’ll give you another $2,000. In essence, Larry, you can earn up to $4,000 for doing nothing more than putting me in touch with one of the superstar techs who has worked with you in the past, or that you may know of in our community.”
Now before you jump to the conclusion that you’d never pay $4,000 as a referral fee, consider that not only is it an insignificant amount when you consider how much you’ll be paying a top tech, but just think of how much it will cost you if you hire the wrong tech. I have always been intrigued how so many people will not lay down a single dollar for a lottery ticket where they could win ten million dollars, but as soon as that jackpot gets to 100 million, you guessed it: People line up to buy the tickets. Interesting, isn’t it? It’s as though they’re saying “I’m not interested in ten million dollars, but when you offer 100 million, now you are talking real money, so you have my attention!” I have learned over the years that it’s the same with referral fees. The reward you offer has to be large enough to not only capture their attention, but it has to have that wow factor that brings results.
2. Ask every applicant for leads. When you have a tech or advisor filling out an employment application, always ask that they list two great techs they’ve worked with, or presently work with, as references. Not only can those references serve as a good source of info when you are performing your reference checks, but if you build relationships with the references during your calls, they may very well become employment candidates as well.
3. Sponsor a tool raffle. Tell your local tool truck driver that you will sponsor a raffle for a specific tool set, test equipment, etc. that has a value of $500. Now here’s how it works: You pay for the tools, the driver is able to sell raffle tickets at $5 each, and gets to keep all the ticket sales as well. The techs fill out each raffle entry with their contact info, and you get their names, phone numbers and email addresses.
4. Go to where the techs in your community go. Since techs are likely to have a quick lunch somewhere near their shop, consider grabbing a bite to eat at the fast food restaurants that are close to the shops and dealerships in your community. When the techs walk in at lunch time, all that you will need to do is introduce yourself to them, and strike up a casual conversation. Then you’ll just need to tell them you are looking for a superstar tech, hand them a business card, and the process has started.
5. Turn your employees into recruiters. Just like the offer you made to the dealership service managers, make an attractive offer to your employees as well. “Guys, you all know we need another technician, and I’d love to find someone that can not only produce, but someone that all of you enjoy working with. Now as you can imagine, I can invest a good amount of money in a recruiting campaign, but I’d rather see the money go into your pocket than into recruiting campaigns. So here’s what I’ll do: I’m sure you guys know other techs in the community, and I know that you meet them at training courses as well, so if you refer a really great tech to me, and if I hire them, then I’ll give you $2,000 on the first day they show up for work, and if they’re still with us after their 90 day probation, I’ll give you another $2,000. In essence, you can earn up to $4,000 for doing nothing more than helping me find another superstar just like you guys.”
In closing, the superstars are out there. All that you need to do is connect with them, then share your goals, your Mission Statement, the culture of your company, and how you can provide them with what every superstar is looking for: An opportunity to grow with an amazing shop, and help a lot of people along the way.
For additional help finding and recruiting qualified techs, learn how you can team up with one of the top shop owners in the country through the Elite Coaching Program.
By Joe Marconi
There’s no denying it, we have technician shortage problem. In fact, we have a shortage in the country in all the skilled trades. And unless we solve this issue, we will find it very difficult to conduct business.
We can blame this problem on many things, but the time to assign blame is long gone and serves no useful purpose. The only issue remaining is what to do about it.
Here are few thoughts. Please read them and please think about your own shop and your own personal obligation to the industry. And of course, let us engage in an open discussion on this issue.
1. Do all you can to become profitable. Yes, profit, that’s one of your responsibilities as a business owner. The other reasons for profit: to be able to pay yourself and your employees the income you and your employees deserve. Also, the more profitable you become, the more you can offer benefits. Let’s limit the discounting and charge accordingly. Also, we need to attract qualified people to our industry. That means, we need to offer a competitive wage with the opportunity to advance.
2. Shop owners, think of yourselves as professionals and conduct yourself in that manner.
3. Create a work environment where people enjoy their work and help to attract quality young people
4. Reach out to your local high schools and give career presentations
5. Reach out to all the trade schools and community colleges that offer automotive programs. Let them know that the independent shops need their graduates. Also, check into returning military veterans and retiring veterans.
6. Create an internship program that allows young people in your community to shadow your seasoned technicians. Mentor these young people
7. Create an apprentice program for entry level techs. Many shops are already doing this. An apprentice spends time in shop for a pre-determined length of time. He or she is then offered a position in your shop or is helped to find employment elsewhere
8. Become active in your community career fairs and career days at high schools
9. Lastly – Please reread bullet point number 1
There’s my list, please let me know your thoughts and what would you add to this list.
Let’s act today, so we can secure our future!