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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HYANNIS – Proponents of Question 1 on the November 3 ballot say that independent auto repair businesses need access to data collected by cars in order to fix vehicles, while opponents say that Question 1 could risk owner’s personal data as well as safety.
If Question 1 is approved, cars 2022 model or newer must be equipped by manufacturers with a standardized, open access platform that would allow auto repair shops to wirelessly access mechanical data using a smartphone-based app with owner’s permission.
Currently, telematics data generated by sensors in the cars is transmitted to servers only the automakers can access.
Supporters of Question 1 say that the telematics data only being available to the manufacturer means car owners must take the car to its original automaker to receive service and make repairs, diminishing consumer choice in where they can take their cars.
“If a person goes out and buys a car, they should own the data that enables that car to be fixed, and they should be able to choose where they want the car fixed. If shops like mine don’t have that information, then we can’t fix the car, which kind of forces someone to go to a place where they don’t want to go,” said Robert Wallace, President and Treasurer of Cape Tire and supporter of Question 1.
Wallace said that the limits on customer choice on where they can receive service for their car will lead to a monopolization of the industry by car manufacturers, with a rise in prices and a drop in quality service.
Wallace said that he and other supporters would be willing to purchase the data, similar to how the auto repair shops already purchase parts, and that they are not requesting that the data be made available for free.
“We’re willing to pay for it, we just want the information to keep our customers rolling.”
Conor Yunits, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data which opposes Question 1, said that the issue of telematics is already covered under the right-to-repair-law that was introduced in 2013.
“It specifically says that any information necessary to diagnose and repair a vehicle that is provided to dealer repair shops and only available through telematics must be made available to local repair shops. This is already covered,” said Yunits.
Yunits said that currently data is only sent to secure servers owned by manufacturers, then to repair shops or customers through secure systems developed with the automaker.
According to Yunits, Question 1 would prevent manufacturers from being a part of the development process of security systems and apps that share the information in the future, sacrificing a layer of security for consumers.
Yunits also said that Question 1 unnecessarily risks owners’ personal data by creating opportunities for bad actors outside as well as inside repair shops to access personal data wirelessly.
While mechanics or others may be able to intercept and use the data for malicious purposes, Wallace said that is a risk that comes with a lot of modern technology, such as cellphones and other smart devices that collect data on their users, and that it is up to the customer to decide whether they want to take that risk.
Yunits also said that Question 1 would also force car manufacturers to comply with an unrealistic timetable which would be impossible to do in a safe and effective manner, with new requirements that would be enforced as early as January 2021.
By Joe Marconi
Due to COVID-19, many repair shops experienced a severe economic downturn, some with a drop in sales over 50%. Without a strong cash reserve and/or SBA funding help, many shops would have gone under.
My 40 years as a shop owner has taught me to always have a cash reserve. However, never would I have ever imagined a downturn like the one with COVID-19.
So, how do we plan for the next financial crisis. And, it will happen. Perhaps not as bad as the the virus crisis, but it will happen.
Here are a few things to consider: Have a separate, and hard to access, cash reserve bank account that has least two months of expenses. Also, secure a line of credit for at least one to two months of expenses. Also, know your numbers, keep payroll in line, and make sure your prices are fair to you too, not just your customers. Keep in good standing with all your vendors and keep your credit score high!
The bottom line here, is truly the bottom line. To weather the next financial downturn, you need a strong balance sheet and net profit to the bottom line.
What other strategies are you considering or implementing?
By Joe Marconi
As a result of COVID-19, we are seeing more and more businesses install plastic shields at their service and receptionist counters and desks. What are your thoughts. Will you install the shield, have done it or is it a no?
By Joe Marconi
As part of our debt reduction, I revamped all of our usual marketing and advertising and put those dollars into customer service and social media. For example, we ramped up our shuttle pickup and delivery service, extended our hours of service, made sure we spend a lot of time with each customer and made sure we called as many customers as possible. We also stepped up our meet and greet process and made sure will followed up with customer after the repair. Lastly, we increased our social media posts and increases ads and boosting. This has made a huge impact on our customer and already starting to pay dividends.
What changes have you made to your marketing strategy since the Virus Crisis hit?
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Advance Auto Parts Announces Purchase of the DieHard Brand from Transformco
RALEIGH, N.C. & HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) has acquired the DieHard brand from Transform Holdco LLC (“Transformco”), for $200 million utilizing cash on hand.
This asset acquisition will give Advance the right to sell DieHard batteries, the most trusted brand in the automotive battery category, and enables Advance to extend the DieHard brand into other automotive and vehicular categories. In addition, the deal allows Transformco to sell DieHard brand batteries through its existing channels pursuant to a supply agreement with Advance. Advance is also granting Transformco an exclusive royalty-free, perpetual license to develop, market, and sell DieHard branded products in non-automotive categories.
“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand. DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY customer traffic and build a unique value proposition for our Professional customers and Independent Carquest partners. DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America and will enable Advance to build a leadership position within the critical battery category,” said Tom Greco, president and CEO, Advance Auto Parts. “DieHard stands for durability and reliability and we will strengthen and leverage the brand in other battery categories, such as marine and recreational vehicles. We also see opportunities to extend DieHard in other automotive categories. We remain committed to providing our customers with high-quality products and excellent service. The addition of DieHard to our industry leading assortment of national brands, OE parts and owned brands will enable us to differentiate Advance and drive significant long-term shareholder value.”
“DieHard is among the most successful and one of the most widely trusted brands in the auto industry, and we have long believed that the brand has even more potential,” said Peter Boutros, President of Transformco’s Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard business unit. “DieHard revolutionized the automotive battery category when it launched in 1967, and has continued to be a leader in the category. Advance Auto Parts’ acquisition of this iconic American brand will complement our plans to introduce new DieHard products in non-automotive categories such as sporting goods, lawn and garden, authentic work wear and other exciting new categories.”
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of October 5, 2019, Advance operated 4,891 stores and 152 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,260 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
Transform Holdco LLC is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve its members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Transformco is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears, Kmart and other retail partners. Transformco operates through its subsidiaries with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States.
Certain statements in this report are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, may be forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements address future events or developments, and typically use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “forecast,” “guidance,” “outlook” or “estimate” or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements related to the benefits or other effects of the acquisition, statements regarding expected growth and future performance of the Company, and all other statements that are not statements of historical facts. These statements are based upon assessments and assumptions of management in light of historical results and trends, current conditions and potential future developments that often involve judgment, estimates, assumptions and projections. Forward-looking statements reflect current views about the Company's plans, strategies and prospects, which are based on information currently available as of the date of this release. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements. Please refer to the risk factors discussed in "Item 1a. Risk Factors" in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, for additional factors that could materially affect the Company’s actual results. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside its control, which could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on those statements.
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
Advance Auto Parts:
T: (984) 389-7207
E: [email protected]
T: (919) 227-5466
E: [email protected]
T: (847) 286-9036
E: [email protected]
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191223005397/en/
RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 22, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, today announced a supply partnership with the Midwest Auto Care Alliance (MWACA), https://www.mwaca.org, to provide automotive parts and training support to its member facilities.
The newly formed MWACA, formerly known as ASA Midwest, is a nonprofit association led by independent shop owners. MWACA focuses on offering its members programs and benefits designed to help them more effectively run their businesses such as online resources and training, a mentor program and an Advance Auto Parts rebate program.
“MWACA has been a strong supporter of Advance Professional for many years and is well known for its outstanding advocacy of independent automotive repair facilities,” said Todd Sanders, Sr. Vice President, Professional Sales at Advance. “We look forward to continuing to enhance our already strong and productive partnership with MWACA, its members and its leadership team. We are eager to help its members through excellent service and programs designed to improve shop performance and profitability.”
Advance, a Platinum partner of MWACA, also announced a new mentorship and apprenticeship initiative designed to attract and support new technicians in the automotive service industry. The initiative will identify internal shop trainers and provide a structured on-the-job curriculum to improve technician knowledge and focus on productivity enhancements.
Advance also is a top-level sponsor of the VISION Hi Tech Training Expo, one of MWACA’s annual events, this year being held in Overland Park, Kan. Feb. 28 – March 3.
“The support of Advance Professional and Carquest goes back more than a quarter of a century to the earliest days of the VISION event,” said Sheri Hamilton, Executive Director of MWACA. “They continue to support the association, its events and members as we work together to support shop owners in this ever-changing industry. We are proud and thankful to take our partnership to the next level.”
About Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of October 6, 2018, Advance operated 4,981 stores and 139 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,229 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands and Pacific Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
About Midwest Auto Care Alliance
MWACA is a 501(c)6 non-profit trade association led by independent automotive service professionals and serving the needs of service professionals throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Beginning as a seven-county Kansas City chapter in the late 1980’s, the progressive affiliate grew into ASA Missouri/Kansas, and continued to grow and expand into a six state affiliate known as ASA-Midwest. The affiliate separated from the national organization in September 2018 and became an independent regional association. As one of the premier and most active associations in the country, MWACA has chapters throughout their territory, as well as numerous Shop Owner Support (S.O.S.) Groups, a shop mentor program, and they are also the founder and host of the VISION HiTech Training & Expo event for 27 years. Information about MWACA and VISION can be found at www.mwaca.org and www.visionkc.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190122005571/en/
Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
ROANOKE, Va. & DALLAS, Tex.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 12, 2017-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP) and Interstate Batteries announce a strategic partnership to better serve the changing needs of the automotive aftermarket with premium quality products, expanded availability and enhanced customer service. Interstate Batteries, the leading replacement battery brand with the largest independent battery distribution system in North America, will become the exclusive automotive and specialty battery brand to Advance Auto Parts stores and customers in the spring of 2018.
ELIGIBILITY: The Advance Professional Availability Challenge (the “Promotion”) is open only to professional customers (not consumers) of Advance Auto Parts, who are legal residents of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older at time of participation (“Participant”). All other individuals residing outside of the eligible area are ineligible to participate and will be disqualified if attempting to participate. Void outside of Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and where prohibited or restricted. Employees of Advance Auto Parts (“Promoter”), Genesco Sports Enterprises ("Administrator"), Advantage Hole In One, and their respective advertising and promotion agencies, parent companies and the members of their immediate families (spouses and parents, siblings, children and their spouses and in-laws) and persons living in the same household with such individuals (whether related or not) are not eligible to participate or win.
Visit website for more details: http://advanceauto.us/vroom/challenge/
By Joe Marconi
Source: Advance Auto Parts Marketing Continues to Hurt Auto Repair Shops