Quantcast
Jump to content


RO's and Invoices - The paper monster


UsedTireShop

Recommended Posts

I was performing the fun filled task of filing last months invoices. What my shop does is print an additional copy of the paid invoice and staple it to the repair order along with the vehicle check list. I was thinking of how much work it was to keep all of these papers. I thought of how many times I actually had to go to this file cabinet and look for an old invoice. Why the hell am I going through all this work? Why do I need all these drawers of signed invoices?

 

What is your shops procedure? How long do you keep invoices?

 

I did some math and on average each car uses at least 6 pieces of paper. (RO, checklist, 3 invoices, Marketing letter, occasional reprint of RO)

 

We blow through over 1,000 pieces of paper a week. An astounding 10 cases a year.

 

What ever happened to "Get a computer, it will make your life easier?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last year we had a state sales tax audit and had to produce invoices for the previous 7 years. That took us three months to pull it all together and organize it. I save everything for at least 7 years before discard.

 

What prompted this audit? Sounds terrifying, and I'd like to avoid it at all costs.

 

In regards to paper, our POS system and CC system is linked together. So, in theory, we could go completely paperless with the exception of the customer receipt. However, we print a copy for ourselves, which they sign and we file away.

 

I just chuck all the signed receipts into a manilla envelope every month, and stick it in a cabinet. Same with delivery and parts paperwork.

 

...hope we never need to take them back out of the cabinet like XRAC...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UsedTireShop,

 

Our customers dramatically reduce paper use with our mobile technology, which allows shops to text/email invoices to customers and carry out multi-point inspections on a tablet. All of the information collected automatically transmits into your shop management system, eliminating the need to write it down on an RO. Let me know if you have any questions or would like more information.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MITCHELL 1 backs up all invoices remotely. I play it safe and back up to 2 different USB drives, kept in separate locations. I keep absolutely no copies of invoices, ROs, or Estimates. I use Mike's Bolt On software, so unless the customer wants a printed invoice, we email it to them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are asking me, then the answer is no. Having them sign an invoice kinda seems pointless to me actually. Now an estimate or RO would make more sense, but even then, nothing gets added to a ticket unless it is authorized by the customer, so it's still a mute point. We run credit cards over the phone all the time with no signature.

 

Worst case scenario I can think of would be a customer saying they didn't authorize some work you performed. If that's true, then it is your fault, regardless of signatures. If it is not your fault and the customer DID in fact approve the work, then you should have it documented when and how they approved the work and you should be fine. Has worked for me so far

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We also do not worry too much about customers signatures. I can count on one hand, in ten years, how many times there has been an issue to where I wish I had a signed work order. Having a signed work order is good, except if they have an issue after they already okay'd work over the phone. The up-sold work doesn't have a signature. I guess it has its ups and downs. I do like the idea of having an outside hard drive or server to back up my accounting!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I save a hard copy of the printed invoice with the credit card slip stapled to it. The customer gets one, I get one. Habit i guess. I have filing cabinets full in chronological order. Computer saves it plus I save it, there's maybe 20 signatures total on 5000+ invoices.

 

I went to small claims once, I lost because the customer didn't sign the repair order and I couldn't produce it. City guy thought $200 was too much to pay for me to put a power steering pump on his plow truck. Court said no signature = no obligation to pay. I lost $250. $200 plus his $50 court fee. Oh well I got over it.

 

The correct way to conduct business is have the customer sign when they bring in the car, document the phone conversation for the approval, sign when they pick up the car. I don't do any of that, I'm in a small town. I trust my customers, they trust me, no problems 99.99% of the time. They all sign the credit card slip, seems unnatural not to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now that I think back, I started having my customers sign the invoice because of a very dishonest SA. She would print a copy of the RO as a receipt and hand it to the customer. As soon as the customer left she would lower the price and then invoice it. She would pocket the difference.

 

I always thought she was accurate because she was counting the drawer several times a day.

 

LESSON FOR ALL TO LEARN: When someone is counting the drawer during the day they are not counting your money. They are count their money.

 

Years later we were moving the service counter and found money in all different denominations inside the counter. These bills missed her purse which she use to place in a little slot near the pc and fell into the counter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I rarely have a customer sign an invoice. We print a finished invoice on paper with color for customer and one on blank paper for us. After "end of day summary" is completed with shop management program we staple all of our copies for that day with the end of day summary. We do not file them but we do retain them in orderly fashion in a legal size archive box with dates - From 6/1/14 to 12/31/14. Each day is also backed up on a thumb drive. We file all receipts for purchases from suppliers in a A to Z file folder and use a new one every month. This system has served us well with no problems to date. As far as I am concerned the time and effort put into customer signatures outways the potential loss if one occurs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For as little issues we have with customers signatures, we don't worry about to much. Now, the only time I ever ask for a signature is when the customer has an extended warranty. A long time ago I was at another repair shop where we got custom to getting signatures on everything, but this was only because of the shadiness of the customers that walked through the door. Some customers, unfortunately, will try to scam you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

I'm a little late to this party but I figured I would throw my .02 in. We have our customers sign an invoice. We scan it and file it electronically in the management system. We then take the hard copy and put it in a "numbered accordion" style folder and use that for telephone follow up three days after delivery. It's actually easier and faster than using the computer for followup calls. Once the call is made we shred it. All parts invoices associated with a repair order is scanned and filed with the electronic repair order. The only "paper' we have currently are our EOM vendor parts statements which we file and keep. Looking at several systems to eliminate that paper also. Our server has hot swap-able drives with a "mirrored" drive which we "try" and keep one off site at all times. We also use nightly scheduled online backups with Rackspace. I am currently using RO Writer as our management system but I am not convinced that it is the platform for the feature as I feel it is a little behind in features. I have been using it for about 10yrs. I think they should be integrating the use of i-pads for authorization signatures and invoice signatures. They have some new i-pad features but it is pretty limited. I am not sure why it's so difficult being that the backend database is really pretty simple and straight forward. I guess there is not enough people screaming for it yet. I'm pretty adamant about signatures because they become very important for bad check collection although we might get 2 a year. I've had only one instance regarding a credit card signature. So yes the signature is "because that's they way we've always done it" mentality. I would much rather they sign an i-pad and email it to them.

 

We do have video cameras 16 to be exact. We use them for several things and one of them being training and reviewing how many wasted steps or conversations happen in a routine day. Autovitals has helped reduce that. Parts trucks backing into vehicles. Retracing steps. It's just a watchdog and the employees know we have them and are totally fine with them.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't see where you were going to have a booth at the automechanika show. If you are going to have a booth and I just missed it let me know as I will stop by. I will have to schedule a time to review the product/s. I did visit your website and get a brief overview of the products. I did like the kisok product although I would not have my customers perform that function at this time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Marksas,

 

We are not exhibiting at the automechanika show. However, our team could do a live demo of our products on a date and time that works for you. That would give you a good overview of the software's features and capabilities. Plus, our products fully integrate with RO Writer. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like to set up a demo. Thanks!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Available Subscriptions

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
  • Similar Topics

    • By Changing The Industry
      Reacting To A Viral TikTok On The Cost of Auto Repair
    • By DUFRESNES

      Premium Member Content 

      This content is hidden to guests, one of the benefits of a paid membership. Please login or register to view this content.

    • By carmcapriotto
      Welcome to another episode of the Auto Repair Marketing Podcast, hosted by Brian and Kim Walker! 
      Today, we have a very special guest, Michael Doherty, who was our exceptional service advisor at Peak Automotive in Apex, North Carolina. 
      Michael has been a pivotal figure in our journey, and we are thrilled to share his insights on customer loyalty and retention. He’ll discuss his unique approach to building lasting client relationships and the importance of genuine care and transparency.
      Thank you to RepairPal for sponsoring The Auto Repair Marketing Podcast. Learn more about RepairPal at https://repairpal.com/shops
      Lagniappe (Books, Links, Other Podcasts, etc)
      WorldPac - https://www.wtitraining.com/
      Worldpac STX - https://automotivetrainingevents.com/event/stx/
      Traver Technologies: https://traverconnect.com/
      ShopWare - https://shop-ware.com/
      How To Get In Touch
      Group - Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind
      Website - shopmarketingpros.com 
      Facebook - facebook.com/shopmarketingpros 
      Get the Book - shopmarketingpros.com/book
      Instagram - @shopmarketingpros 
      Questions/Ideas - [email protected] 
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Changing The Industry
      Episode 172 - AI Integration & Social Media Impact In Auto Repair With Andrew Fischer
    • By carmcapriotto
      Thank you to our friends at RepairPal for providing you this episode. As shop owners we were part of RepairPal’s Certified network and you can learn more at RepairPal.com/shops.
      Customer loyalty programs are crucial for retaining clients in the auto repair industry. On the Auto Repair Marketing Podcast, hosts Brian and Kim Walker explore this topic with Joe Schindler and Jeff Rudnick. 
      Joe, a shop owner, shares his experiences with loyalty programs, while Jeff from Pit Crew Marketing offers insights on how these programs can significantly benefit automotive shops. 
      This discussion is part of their ongoing series on customer retention. They highlight how personalized rewards, first impressions, and community involvement can build stronger customer relationships, encouraging repeat business and long-term loyalty. These strategies significantly enhance customer satisfaction and drive business growth.
      Show Notes with Timestamps
      The introduction (00:00:03) Introduction of the podcast episode and the topic of customer loyalty programs. Jeff's background in Hawaii (00:01:03) Jeff's background in Hawaii and the discussion about his current location. Defining customer loyalty (00:04:19) Discussion on the definition of customer loyalty and how it is measured. Earning trust and loyalty (00:06:01) The importance of trust in earning customer loyalty and the significance of knowing the customer's intent. First impressions (00:12:00) The impact of the first impression on building customer loyalty and the significance of creating a welcoming environment. Last interaction and lagniappe (00:18:05) The importance of the last interaction with the customer and the concept of providing a little extra (lagniappe) to enhance the customer experience. Community involvement and charity events (00:20:34) The role of community involvement and charity events in creating customer loyalty and building relationships. These are the main topics covered in the podcast episode transcription segment, organized in chronological order with their respective timestamps. Community Involvement Charity (00:22:26) Shop owner's initiative to involve customers in community charity, raising funds and providing incentives for customers. Supporting Little League Teams (00:23:20) Discussion on sponsoring little league teams, the impact on the community, and the importance of community involvement. Seizing Opportunities (00:24:29) Encouragement to shop owners to seize opportunities, think creatively, and take advantage of moments for business growth. Solving Real Problems (00:25:44) Emphasizing the role of marketing in solving real challenges for small businesses and making their lives better. Involvement in the Community (00:27:31) Discussion on the importance of being involved in the community and creating a sense of belonging, impacting marketing positively. Connecting with Customers (00:28:36) Emphasizing the need to connect with customers in a meaningful way, beyond traditional loyalty programs, and the impact on advertising effectiveness. Fundraising Logistics (00:29:46) Exploring the logistics of fundraising, including tools, graphics, and collaboration with marketing companies for seamless integration. Using Rewards for Community Programs (00:36:29) Discussion on customers choosing to use rewards for community programs, the intrinsic value, and setting up guardrails for giving. Launching Shop Programs (00:41:39) The process of launching shop programs, integration with shop management systems, and activating accounts based on customer history. Service Advisor's Role (00:45:37) Reference to a previous episode discussing the service advisor's role in customer retention and the impact of the 1-to-1 service advisor-technician ratio. Joe's thoughtful gifting (00:46:31) Joe explains his thoughtful and considerate gifting strategies to connect with clients and nurture relationships. Partners with systems and processes (00:47:22) Joe emphasizes the importance of having partners with efficient systems and processes to ease the burden on business owners. Inexpensive customer gifts (00:48:37) Joe shares his inexpensive yet impactful gift ideas for customers, including hot chocolate mixers, cookies, and personalized items. Quality over quantity (00:51:20) Joe discusses the significance of giving high-quality, thoughtful gifts over cheap trinkets and the impact it has on customers. Building customer loyalty (00:53:17) Joe emphasizes the importance of little gestures and thoughtful gifts in building customer loyalty and creating a positive impact. Conclusion and contact information (00:54:02) The hosts express gratitude to the guests and provide their contact information for listeners to get in touch.  
      How To Get In Touch
       
      Group - Auto Repair Marketing Mastermind
      Website - shopmarketingpros.com 
      Facebook - facebook.com/shopmarketingpros 
      Get the Book - shopmarketingpros.com/book
      Instagram - @shopmarketingpros 
      Questions/Ideas - [email protected]
      Lagniappe (Books, Links, Other Podcasts, etc)
      Pit Crew Marketing
      Schindler's Garage
      Schindler's Garage - see loyalty program posts
      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio


  • Our Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...