17
min read

Transform Your Shop With Auto Repair Shop Invoice Software

You can get back to doing what you love best faster with time saving auto repair shop invoice software integrated with a centralized shop management system like Tekmetric.

Your shop’s ability to grow, make a profit, and succeed hinges on clear and accurate invoicing.

If you’re still using pen and paper for your invoice system, you probably spend a lot of time reconciling records at the end of the day and may even have to stay late to put your books in order. Paper means lots of copies, transposition of information, and a high probability of making mistakes. The same holds true if you’re using multiple software programs to juggle records at your shop to put together information for invoices. If you aren’t using a single, comprehensive system, there’s a good chance details will be incorrectly copied or left out.

Signs that your team is struggling to keep up with invoices:

  • Customer setup misses crucial contact info or gets duplicated. Whether you’re working with a new customer or one of your regulars, taking down information by hand and then typing it into a spreadsheet introduces the risk of misspelling names and emails or writing down the wrong information. If your contact list isn’t in order, sending out invoices or sending invoices to collections can become a mess.
  • Forgetting to add a line item. If you leave an item off an invoice and you try to collect it later, most customers will balk and may refuse to pay. And rightly so. It’s your responsibility as a service advisor or shop owner to collect the exact amount due at the point of sale. Incomplete invoices mean money lost. Every time a line item is left off an invoice, it’s money left on the table.
  • Not getting clear approval from customers for each job on the invoice. If you don’t consult with your customer before adding work to the invoice, you’ll not only have an angry customer but also an inaccurate invoice that you have to go back and revise.
  • Writing estimates and invoices is time consuming. When your approach to shop management isn’t centralized in one management system, it can mean bouncing back and forth between documents or softwares for hours.
  • Inventory tracking is disconnected from invoicing. Do you know what you have in stock right now? Will the parts be the same price if you have to order them? Do you need to go to the warehouse to check to see if it's in stock? Will you need to then go through extra steps to find the part and order it?  If your invoice system is disconnected from your inventory tracking, it can be difficult to quickly answer any of these questions.
  • Data is inaccurate and needs to be audited and cleaned up. If your data entry isn’t standardized, reports will be incomplete or erroneous, which can impact your finances from inventory to taxes. No shop owner wants to be slapped with fines because of a typo.
  • Your cash flow is negative or stagnant. If you’re trying to chase customers down for payment and can’t collect your money in a timely fashion, you’ll eventually run into a situation where you have negative or stagnant cash flow. Incorrect entries on invoices can be a major root cause of this problem. Incorrect invoices slow down the sales process and prevent you from collecting your money. Streamlined invoicing reduces errors and cuts down on time from job completion to collecting payment.
  • Your profit margins are thin. Your shop might be making a profit, but it’s either inconsistent or low when compared to your profit goals. If you do not have a standard method for adding parts and labor markups to estimates and invoices, then your shop will have a difficult time locking in a healthy profit margin. Conversely, if you use a shop management system that makes it easy for services advisors to auto-apply markups as well as track the results, you can grow your profit margins with clarity and ease.
  • Your invoice software isn’t specific to your field. Even if you have an existing business management software, you still have to set it up to suit your specific needs as an automotive repair shop. If you’re working with generic software, you probably have to make due with an assortment of spreadsheets and written notes to fill in the gaps.

Accurate invoices = better customer service and fewer financial frustrations

If your invoicing process isn’t accurate, you run the risk of either charging customers too much or too little, which can have a ripple effect on your business. Let’s say the technicians just wrapped up some work on an SUV belonging to one of your regulars, and now they’ve arrived to pick up their car. It’s time to hand over an invoice so you can then collect payment. Your customer is happy that their car is fixed and ready to go, but then they take a look at the invoice and turn red. You instantly recognize that something’s wrong: the itemized repairs on the invoice don’t match up with the work that was authorized or completed, and the charges are several hundred dollars in excess of what the customer actually owes. Now you have to apologize and make the customer and everyone else waiting to pick up their car wait while you rush to draw up a new invoice and hope you don’t introduce new errors in your hurry.

Now imagine a different scenario: you undercharge by $40 at the point of sale. By the time you figure out the problem, you’re already at the end of the quarter and are in the middle of tax reports. If this happens just once, it might be a wakeup call to pay more attention to your records. But imagine the money lost if it happens a dozen times. Now you may find yourself out hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the amount you or your service advisor undercharged.

Fortunately, automotive shop invoice software helps avoid some of those headaches by centralizing information about your sales. In turn, you can ensure that each and every invoice accurately reflects the amount that was agreed upon during the estimate stage.

Simplifying everyday invoicing tasks

Auto repair shop invoice software is a serious time saver. Imagine one place for all your invoice records. No more searching around the office or asking yourself, “Where did I leave that file?” Automotive shop invoice software makes it easy to keep your records straight. When it comes time to work on quarterly or annual reporting, you can save hours or even days with cohesive, standardized invoices all available in one digital location.

Many shop management systems come packaged with auto repair shop invoice software or built-in invoicing features. When invoicing is included as part of a larger shop management system, it can track all of the sales, expenses, and inventory at your shop. And if your shop management integrates with your accounting software, it makes it extraordinarily easy to reconcile invoices, accounts payable, and receivables.

Bookkeeping is hard enough already, but invoice software can track all the numbers so you don’t have to. Most auto repair shop invoice software can also be integrated with a larger shop management system to populate information in the invoice from digital estimates or saved client histories. Many shop management systems even come with their own invoicing systems to make the workflow at your shop that much more seamless.

Additionally, auto repair shop invoice software may be the perfect fit you’ve been looking for to up your efficiency and even grow your auto repair shop business.

When your invoices are used to quickly generate accurate reports, you can dedicate more time to your role as a shop owner, making decisions to grow your business without simply guessing. Whether that means forecasting funds to open a new location, investing in new team members, saying yes to more jobs, or launching new marketing initiatives, an auto repair shop invoice software will strengthen your decisions with hard data.

So let’s pop the hood on auto repair shop invoice software and see why it may be time for your shop to upgrade.

Create Better Invoices With Auto Repair Shop Invoice Software

We tend to think of customer relations as dependent on our in-person interactions with customers and the quality of our work, but invoices can very much be part of what shapes your reputation in the minds of your customers. A well-written invoice ends customer interactions on a high note and ensures there is no confusion during the payment collection process.

But without the right tools, it can be difficult to create consistent, accurate invoices. Fortunately, automotive shop invoice software can help you get it right every time.

In addition to invoicing features, robust shop management systems also come equipped with inventory, digital vehicle inspection, and estimate features. Each item or service will have a specific name or SKU with attached labor estimates, taxes, purchase order number, inventory status, and cost.

Disparate data joined together in one system makes for a quick and easy estimate: your service advisor or parts manager can quickly order the parts needed for upcoming jobs; your customer can see clear, detailed information on what the service entails and what they are paying for; and your accounting and payroll departments will have accurate information for taxes and hourly reporting.

Once you copy findings from a DVI to an estimate, receive customer authorization, and complete the repair work, you can use a comprehensive shop management system to create an invoice with the click of a button. This efficient flow of information from inspections to estimates to repair work to the completion of work to invoices is a time saver, and it gives you accurate records that you and your customers can rely on.

Because each invoice is linked to a specific customer profile, you don’t have to manually transpose details from one repair to a different invoice. You can also track what services have been previously completed and store warranty information within the system.

To better understand how information moves within an automotive shop management system to create an invoice, let’s look at a hypothetical example.

A customer comes in complaining about brake troubles. The technicians on your team perform a digital vehicle inspection and determine the car is in need of a brake fluid exchange. The service advisor puts together an estimate in the shop management system, using labor guides and customized markup matrices to calculate parts and labor costs. They may be able to search for parts or fluids depending on how advanced the shop management system is. Because auto repair shop invoice software is already a part of your shop management system, the calculations performed during the estimate process, including itemized parts, labor, fees, and taxes, can be turned into an invoice at the click of a button. You can then print or send this invoice so that your customers have a description of each line item and its associated cost.

In most cases, however, the calculations performed by your shop management system’s estimate tools will talk directly to the system’s auto repair shop invoice software to populate itemized parts, labor, and taxes with a description of each line item and its associated cost when it comes time to print or send the invoice.

In some cases, of course, invoices will need to be updated as repairs continue if underlying issues are found, such as if an issue with the rotors is discovered during the brake pad replacement. Most automotive shop invoice software will allow for updates along the way up to the conclusion of repairs and the point of sale.

Automotive Shop Invoice Software Makes Reporting and Business Growth Easy

Settling your taxes

If you’re a shop owner, you know that invoices are important long after you’ve collected payment from a customer.

A good auto repair shop invoice software will save invoices along with other records once payment has been collected so that they can be accessed whenever it is time to pay taxes, plan the next steps for your business, or conduct reporting and audits.

We’ve all been there: it’s tax time and you’re already stressed thinking about what you owe the IRS for the year, not to mention sales taxes, tire taxes, and state taxes. No one likes paying taxes, but it’s a necessary part of owning and running an auto repair business. If you’ve ever had to pull invoices, payments, and business expenditures, you know how nerve-wracking and frustrating tax season can be.

Any mistakes during tax season have an even greater impact than a mistake at the point of sale. No one wants to tangle with an audit, after all. Fines can be hefty for failure to accurately report earnings, and there can also be consequences for missing filing deadlines if you can’t get all of your paperwork together on time.

Fortunately, auto repair shop invoice software can help you quickly pull up a history of all the records you need to calculate your taxes. And if you do face an audit, you will have one central location from which to share all of your records and easily prove that you did your due diligence when reporting your taxes.

Growing your business with reports

Even minor changes to the way you do business can have a huge impact. Tracking and monitoring profitability, trends, and business cycles enables you and your team to not only stay on top of any problems as they arise but also level up and work toward growing the business.

Diligent record-keeping is essential to an informed business plan. Without well-organized records, it is impossible to create a sound plan and stick to it. This is where auto repair shop invoice software comes in. Some of the best shop management systems come with features that allow you to break down daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly profits to see where your business is making the most headway and where adjustments can be made.

Let’s say you are headed into summer and know that last year the shop made upwards of $200,000 on A/C repairs alone. This summer, your goal is to triple that. You start by taking a look at last year’s invoices by pulling up a report on your automotive shop invoice software. You see that an A/C marketing campaign you put together last year correlated with a boost in sales.  With this information in mind, you decide to run another campaign, this time expanding its reach and again using your invoice reports to track sales.

You simply cannot conduct this level of deep analysis with pen and paper or even programs that do not speak to a larger shop management system without spending more time than is probably worth it. And if you try to go fast and do not double check your writing or data input , mistakes and inaccuracy can prevent you from determining whether or not the marketing campaign was successful.

Taming Invoices with Tekmetric

With Tekmetric, the invoicing process can go from half-an-hour to just a few clicks and the invoice is sent in seconds.

Customers may not like getting a bill, but when you make the conversation easy with Tekmetric’s auto repair shop invoice software, it can bring a lot of peace of mind and certainty back into the picture.

Our repair order screen integrates with and speaks to the rest of our shop management system to make sure your records are always accurate, organized, and up-to-date. Our estimate tools  and markup matrices feed directly into our invoicing system.

As soon as you have built an invoice and work has been completed for a job, the PAYMENT board populates with an overview of costs and lets you choose a form of payment.

And if your shop is running a special deal. Tekmetric’s handy dandy APPLY DISCOUNT button lets you easily add any applicable discounts. Sometimes those discounts can make all the difference, too, especially if it’s an expensive repair and your customer and their family need a little help affording the work.

Our invoice software is extremely customer friendly, too! While we still give you the option to print out a copy for customers who love keeping paper records on their car, think about how often you’ve gone to a store lately and asked for an email or text receipt instead. Paper is so easy to lose, a problem we cover in detail in our recent work order blog. Everyone hates losing a paper copy of their records, and now they don’t have to ever again.

With features like digital authorization for each job on an estimate, your customers can get back to you faster so you can proceed with work without collecting a physical signature that requires them to come back into the shop. Tekmessage lets you communicate with customers along the way to quickly provide answers if they have questions about something on their invoice or about the work being done. Additionally, with our integrated payment processor, Tekmerchant, you can collect payment by text after the invoice is sent. Each of these features means more flexibility for customers and service advisors alike.

After a job is completed and you return the car to your thankful customer, all the details from the invoice and repair order become part of your reports and customer history in Tekmetric.

The customer’s repair history with your shop is automatically populated with all the relevant invoice information you’ll need in the future. Having a digital history of repair work and paid invoices can be especially helpful when you’re trying to remember what repairs your team worked on previously for a car and customer you haven’t seen in a while.

If you go back to the repair order you just worked on and navigate to the SUMMARY tab, you’ll see the repair the customer accepted and the techs completed in the Activity Feed. Now, whether you’re a service advisor or mechanic, you’ll never have to go rummaging through paper files or three, four, or five different software histories to find what you need to know about a customer and their car to complete the next order. Trying to decide what maintenance to suggest next? This history feature can be especially useful. And to think, it all started with that simple invoice process.

Best of all? No more staying after close to crunch numbers. You may have noticed while we were going through our run down of Tekmetric’s invoice features that the software does all the work for you, right down to calculating pesky taxes, generating real-time performance and financial reports, and assisting you as you grow and transform your business.

Blaze New Trails for Your Shop

The auto repair industry is always changing, and that’s a great thing! Innovation makes your life easier, and it means better repairs and better experiences for your customers. But if we don’t take advantage of these changes and embrace new technology, keeping up can be a bit of a rat race.

Staying on the cutting edge with Tekmetric lets you time decisions for your shop with precision, motivate your team, and elevate and emphasize your shop’s customer experiences. With Tekmetric, you can blaze new trails for your business’s future, all while we continuously improve our system to bring you new, intuitive tools.

You can search the world over and never find another industry with the comradery and kindness you’ll find in the world of auto repair. That said, we know it’s important not to be left behind. And it’s important to remember that all the great repair technology out there won’t help a shop if you’re constantly struggling with things like invoices, task assignment, parts shopping, and calculating profitability and growth.

That’s why we built a shop management system that works just as hard as you do to keep up with the times.

Tekmetric is all about convenience, customer service, and putting your shop on the right path to success. Whether you’re creating auto repair invoices or leveling up to expand and take on more jobs, you can use Tekmetric to take the chaos and frustration out of managing a shop and growing a business. Better yet, it’s a great platform for teamwork. With Tekmetric, everyone from the shop owner, the service advisor, shop foreman, mechanic, and your customers are on the same page. View quick summaries at a glance or get down to the nitty, gritty details of pricing, efficiency, and parts selection all from one platform.

Tekmetric started with a vision to revolutionize the way shops do business. After years working in the repair industry themselves, our leadership teamed up with some of the best engineers in the industry to create software with you in mind. Our customer service team is here for you, too, available any time you need them to answer questions, work out problems, and show you the ropes.

Best of all, you can access Tekmetric from any phone, tablet, computer, or other internet connected device to work from anywhere. This means even when you’re away from the shop, you can always check in to see how work is going and scan through the latest invoices.

If you’re ready to see how Tekmetric can take your shop management to a whole new level of awesome, we’re here and ready to roll with a shop demo for you and your team.

Rip up those old invoice forms and cancel all those subscriptions to half a dozen softwares that can’t talk to each other just to do one job. Reimagine the way you do business, transform your customer service, and revitalize your workflow. Take Tekmetric for a drive and see why our customers think it’s such a sweet ride.

Transform Your Invoices