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.
· When? December 3-5, 2020
· What? Online 3-Day Event + 6 Months of Coaching
· How? Call (800) 204-3548 to enroll
· Enrollment Deadline: November 20, 2020
The Elite Masters Program offers 3 days of intensive sales training, followed by 6 months of sales coaching to ensure that your shop sees permanent results.
All training and coaching is delivered by Ratchet & Wrench All-Star Award winner Jen Monclus, and has been proven to increase sales by an AVERAGE of $10,750 per month after the training!
Better yet, this is a rare opportunity for your advisors to receive the initial 3 days of training online, so you can save on travel and hotel expenses.
This is your last chance to enroll in the course beginning Dec 3-5, so to reserve your advisor's spot, just give us a call at 800-204-3548 or click below to learn more.
About our Masters Program
Massachusetts voters are deciding in this year’s election on whether they---and not the vehicle manufacturers---have control over the repair data generated by the vehicle they purchased.
The Auto Care Association and the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE) have supported efforts by the Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee to obtain public support for ballot Question 1, which would give the consumer choice in vehicle repair.
“While the battle has been hard fought and expensive, the Auto Care Association is pleased that the most influential publications in the state have seen through the negative advertising campaign being funded by the vehicle manufacturers and have unanimously urged their readers to vote ‘yes’ on Question 1,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “We trust that voters in the state will agree with these publication that the right to repair is important and that advances in vehicle technology should not be used to limit the ability for owners to have their vehicle repaired by the shop of their choice."
These “‘Yes’ on Question 1” endorsements include:
The Boston Globe on Oct. 13 declared, “The reason the new Right to Repair measure should pass is simple: It is inherently unfair for car manufacturers to have sole access to a vehicle’s mechanical data, because it gives their dealerships an advantage over independent auto-repair shops. That ultimately hurts consumers, because with limited options come higher prices.”
The Boston Business Journal on Oct. 15 maintained, “Without the ability to repair cars equipped with wireless electronics, repair shops will see declines in business in coming years as car owners are forced to get repairs done at more expensive dealerships. In the end, more of the millions of dollars that Bay State residents spend every year to fix their cars would go to out-of-state manufacturers. More neighborhood car-repair shops will go out of business."
The Sun Chronicle on Oct. 21 stated, “…we think the opponents of the law have done themselves no favors by overhyping the risks it poses. For example, the ‘No’ campaigners lean heavily on a statement from ‘Jane Doe Inc.,’ a Massachusetts advocacy group against domestic violence and abuse. But, on its website, that group now says its position on the referendum has ‘evolved’ and, while saying it’s staying neutral, complains that it’s wrong to use the fears of abuse survivors to promote a political position. For that alone, we think the opponents of Question 1 deserve to get their comeuppance at the ballot box.”
The Berkshire Eagle on Oct. 21 stated, “Question 1’s opponents had ample opportunity to explain why this lobby should keep a monopolistic grip on your car’s telematics. They instead spent their campaign dishonestly fear-mongering in an attempt to distract consumers from asking why carmakers should be able to flout the spirit of the extant Right to Repair law to drive more repair jobs to their dealership garages. Hopefully voters will see through this charade.”
For more information about the Right to Repair ballot initiative in Massachusetts, visit massrighttorepair.org.
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
This is your last chance to enroll your service advisors in Elite's Masters Service Advisor Training Program starting September 10-12!
To ensure that we're able to comply with social distancing and keep your advisors safe, this is a rare opportunity for your advisors to receive this industry leading sales training entirely online!
Your advisors will not only receive 100% of the training that we offer at the live 3-day course, but you'll be able to save on travel and hotel expenses, and your advisors won't have to spend any extra time out of the shop due to travel. Most importantly, after the initial 3 days of online training, your service advisors will still get the identical 6 months of sales coaching from Ratchet & Wrench All-Star Award winner Jen Monclus, which has been proven to increase sales by an AVERAGE of $10,750 per month after the training!
This is your last chance to enroll, so give us a call at 800-204-3548 to take advantage of this rare opportunity. For more info, feel free to visit our Masters Program web page.
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By Joe Marconi
Roughly a month ago, two events happened on the same day that reminded me that there are things that are so precious, you cannot put a price on them. Those events also reminded me that some of the things we stress over, really aren’t as important as we think. And in the end, it all comes down to the importance of life itself.
I got a call that day from Paul, the person who picks up our scrap metal. He asked if he could speak to me in private. Now, being a seasoned business owner, that’s usually not a good sign. But, this had nothing to do with business. I met Paul in my office a few hours later. He appeared very uncomfortable and upset. After exchanging a few words about business and the weather, he told me that his brother died last year. He was one of three other brothers that died within the past five years. He went on to tell me that none of his brothers had any savings or insurance, so it was up to him to take care of all the burial expenses for all the brothers. As Paul spoke, I could see that he was emotionally drained. Then he said to me, “Joe, I really hate to ask you this. I am tapped out. I cannot support all my financial obligations at this time. Would it be possible to lend me the money to purchase the gravestone for my brother? You can make the check out directly to the gravestone company, not to me.”
I have known Paul a long time. He’s one of those hard-working, tough-talking guys that you would never imagine asking for a handout. I didn’t hesitate and wrote out the check and handed it to him. He held back the tears as he shook my hand and told me, “Joe, I will never forget this, and I will pay you back.”
About an hour later, the owner of a local tow company walked into my office manager’s office to pick up a check we owed him for last month’s tows. I wasn’t paying much attention until I overheard my office manager say, “Oh, my God, I am sorry, Dave. I didn’t even know you were sick.” Dave is 42 years old, married with kids, and has brain cancer that is not responding to treatment.
Dave has a great attitude, but understands the reality of his illness. He’s doing his best while on the treatment, but admitted that, some days, he finds it hard to function. He told us how he started his tow company right out of high school and has worked hard his entire life. As he was leaving, I told him to reach out to us if he needs anything. He told me prayer might help. I told him I would do that.
Before the two events that day, I was dealing with a few business problems. And I need to be honest: I was not in the best of moods. After speaking to Paul and Dave, those issues that seemed so daunting before, didn’t seem all that important anymore. I sat back in my chair, looked over at a photo of my grandkids on my desk, and told myself that I need to do a better job at arranging life’s priorities.
As shop owners, we get caught up in the day-to-day struggles of running a business—sometimes at a cost to our families, friends and ourselves. We anguish over bad online reviews, disgruntled employees, slow days and declining car counts. We sometimes find it hard to sleep at night, reflecting over and over again in our minds, the problems of the day. And we repeat this cycle over and over, year after year. Let me tell you, no business issue is ever all that serious that it cannot be overcome. But, when life throws you a curveball, as in the case with Paul and Dave, those problems are not so easily overcome.
There are many reasons why each of us go into business. For many of us, it’s the passion for the work we do. For others, it’s the burning desire to improve the automotive industry. While I cannot say that we are in perfect alignment in every area of business, I do know one thing with certainty: We all need to stop and reflect from time to time on all the things that have nothing to do with business, but everything to do with life itself. Those are the things that no amount of money can ever buy. Those are the things that are priceless.
This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on June 1st, 2019
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DISCOVERY CHANNEL WANTS TO HELP YOUR
TROUBLED AUTO OR MOTORCYCLE BUSINESS
Do you have a commercial auto or motorcycle garage or repair shop that is troubled or failing?
This is your chance to have Richard Rawlings of Discovery's hit series "Fast N Loud" and his expert team come to your garage, solve your problems and upgrade your space on Discovery's brand new TV show, GARAGE REHAB!
Maybe your tools, lifts and fans are old and broken or your space is falling apart. Maybe you have no idea how to successfully market your business. Maybe your management is bad or your staff doesn't get along. Whatever the case, Richard's team could invest their time and money to help make it a success!
Email your Name, Phone Number, a Recent Photo of You and Your Garage
and tell us briefly why your shop needs this show.
By Ron Ipach
What's New In Automotive Marketing? A lot.
I'm addressing a question from a shop owner named Dave who's been in business for 28 years. He asked, "Is there anything new in the automotive repair industry?" In a word, yeah. A lot has changed in these 28 years. If we look at the car itself, obviously, you know the cars are made a whole lot better than they used to be. You're more in a maintenance business than you were in a repair business. That has changed drastically over these 28 years. Also, what's changed is the consumer, the consumer habits. The way of contacting them has changed enormously. The buying habits of the consumer have changed drastically. Your share of their attention, trying to grab their attention when they're being bombarded by all the advertising that's out there has changed drastically.
When we think about it, millennials, which is now the largest group of people that are out there, they grew up with cell phones in their hands. Everything is online. They're doing mobile searches instead of looking through the yellow pages. They buy things differently and at different times. You and I have changed a lot as well with that. When was the last time that you did some online shopping? I know I did a lot of my Christmas shopping last year online. I didn't even have to leave the house to whittle down that Christmas list. A lot of people are driving less because they can simply go on Amazon and have it delivered in a couple hours. That's changed drastically, the amount of miles that people are driving as well as people are using services like Uber and Lyft for other people to drive them. It's very inexpensive for people to get driven around. Their driving habits are changing a lot.
The one thing I can tell you is the marketing principles have not changed. The way we contact people have changed. The messages we give them have changed. The people we're marketing to have changed. All of those have changed drastically over the past 28 years, but the main principles, the core competencies of marketing really haven't changed much at all. What am I talking about? First off, we got to find the right person to market to, the person we want to attract to our shop. Second, we have to give them a very compelling message. We got to grab their attenton. As I said before, there's a lot more competition for those eyeballs. People are looking at email, they're online. They're seeing advertisements bombarding from all these different areas. We have to be a lot more savvy in how we try to attract their attention. That hasn't changed.
Then we need to give them a very compelling offer. That's a good core competency and make sure that you have that in all of your marketing as well as you got to give them a sense of urgency. We got to have the right target. We have to have the right message. We have to have the right offer, and we have to give them that sense of urgency, so that they come in right now. That all has been the same. Everything else about running the business has totally changed. If you're not keeping up with that, you're going to be left behind. Again, the marketing, the core competencies haven't changed, but everything that layers on top of that, how we deliver that message, that's changed drastically. Who we're delivering it to has changed drastically.
-- Ron Ipach (a.k.a Captain Car Count)
President/Founder of Repair Shop Coach More articles and content like this and originated through Ron Ipach's Car Count Daily campaign Auto Repair Shop Owners, Managers, and Automotive Industry Professionals are invited to join 'Car Count Daily Boosters' LinkedIn group to provide resources and gain insight on boosting car count DAILY and filling up the bays in their shops.
So I am moving away from the automotive industry and will be staring a mobile heavy diesel repair and service business.
Does anyone have any good contacts or know of any forums that would be of benefit to me to get some mentoring and some advice from the pros?
Thanks in advance!