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Strategically Grow Your Business With Real-Time Reports in Repair Orders Software

Running a shop is an art and science. With real-time reports in repair orders software, you can strike the right balance, test business hypotheses, and make the best business decisions possible.

auto repair shop owner looking at computer

Running any business is an art and a science. There are tons of daily and long-term decisions you have to make to continue growing your business.  

As a shop owner, you have to make sure your employees and customers are happy, that repairs are efficiently getting through the door, and that your shop is profitable.

The Art of Running Your Business

Intuition and emotional intelligence are what make up the art of running your shop.

Your intuition will steer the split-second decisions you make when it comes to things like helping technicians work through a challenge, answering customer questions, exploring business opportunities, and networking with partners. Intuition can be a good thing—after all, it’s the culmination of the experiences you’ve had before. For example, the bad gut feeling you get about a potential business partner can save you from a world of frustration.

Your emotional intelligence is also a crucial part of running your business. As a leader, you have to be there for your team, which means knowing when someone is having an emotionally off day so you can help them work through the situation. Your emotional intelligence is a guiding compass for your team's emotional responses to each other and to customers.

Some days, you or your service advisors will run into customer challenges. Your service advisors will follow your lead, so if you use your emotional intelligence and show empathy and understanding when a customer is having a bad day, that positive example will rub off on your entire team. Your service advisors will show patience and grace in similar situations.

However, while intuition and emotional intelligence are valuable, you can’t rely on them alone. You also need to test your business decisions—your business “hypotheses,” if you will—with data so you can know whether or not you’re on the right path.

The Science of Running Your Business

Running a business is like using the scientific method. You observe something related to a problem, brainstorm a hypothesis, test that hypothesis, and then come up with a conclusion that helps you tweak that hypothesis as needed.

By gathering data, you can test your various hypotheses and see if your decisions are paying off. For example, you might start running a particular deal to get more customers in the door, but when you analyze the data, you see that the deal is actually cutting into your profit margins, and with that knowledge, you can stop running that promotion.

Data might prove your intuition right. For example, your gut feeling (and observations) might tell you that your shop isn’t getting repairs finished fast enough. You look at your technicians’ time logs and see that repairs are taking longer than usual. From there, you might conclude that you need to hire an additional technician to better distribute repair work.

Or, data might prove your intuition wrong. Sometimes, what we think is our intuition is really a fear of change or a fear of trying something new. Perhaps you keep pushing back the timeframe to move your shop to a bigger, better location. However, once you examine your finances, you see that you do have enough money to successfully make the move.

Data can also help you lead with enhanced emotional intelligence. Consider this: some people are hard to read, or have valid reasons for putting up a wall. You might ask one of your technicians if they’re doing well, and they say they’re “all good.” But once you look at their technician efficiency data, you see that their productivity has been steadily declining. From there, you can sit down with them and address it. Maybe they’re burned out, need a break, or are dealing with something in their personal lives. Once you find out what’s going on, you can see what you can do to help them.

The Downsides of Manually Crunching Numbers

As a shop owner, how many times have you found yourself crunching numbers after hours at your shop, missing out on that family dinner, football game, or just good old rest and relaxation?

Data is useful, but manually getting the numbers you need can be a time-consuming, headache-inducing, error-prone process. Without real-time reporting tools, you may have to manually calculate your gross profit for a given month by sifting through every repair order for that month, adding up the total payments, and then subtracting your total parts and labor costs from that total! This likely takes hours and hours of extra time at your shop.

Not to mention, when you’re adding and subtracting by hand, it can be easy to accidentally leave out a number—and end up with an inaccurate total! And arguably, the only thing worse than making business decisions based on zero data is making business decisions based on the wrong data.

But luckily, there’s an easier way for you to get crucial data on your business: with reporting tools inside of your repair orders software.

How Repair Orders Software Simplifies Data Collection and Analysis

At a basic level, repair orders software with real-time reporting tools will store information every time a service advisor writes a repair order and automatically crunches the numbers behind the scenes, generating easy-to-use reports you can access by logging into the system. As a side note, repair orders software is commonly referred to as a shop management system or shop management software, especially the aspects of those tools that assist the repair orders process.

When you look at most of the details your service advisors put into the shop management system when writing repair orders, they connect to your two main drivers of income: parts and labor. When your service advisors use repair orders software to write and close out repair orders, they’ll naturally be adding details like the parts ordered, the labor rate, and the final repair cost.

Meanwhile, in the background, the software is humming along, automatically synthesizing that data, crunching the numbers for you to generate different reports. You can then analyze those reports to gain key insights into the health of your business.  

Knowledge is power—when you analyze the data, you’ll uncover insights that will help you make more strategic daily and long-term business decisions, like whether or not it’s time to:

  • Adjust your parts matrix and/or labor matrix
  • Run deals (or stop running certain deals)
  • Hire more technicians and service advisors
  • Install additional bays
  • Expand your shop or open a new location

Some of the Most Crucial Reports From Repair Orders Software

The type of reports you’ll get will depend on which repair orders software you use. But generally, the reports will fall under four categories:

  • Finances: such as the End of Day, Sales Details, and Sales Tax reports in Tekmetric
  • Employee Activity: such as technician efficiency and service writer sales
  • Customer Activity: such as job history, declined jobs, and lead sources
  • Parts Activity: parts ordered and parts usage (for parts reconciliation purposes)

Let’s dive into some of the real-time reports that Tekmetric generates and explore the business insights you can gain from them.

  1. End of Day Report

Think of the End of Day Report as a holistic overview of how effectively your shop has been selling repair work during a given time range (you’re not limited to just viewing your shop’s stats on a day-to-day basis!). In other words, the End of Day Report breaks down your shop’s overall shop metrics for the time range of your choosing.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s End of Day Reports

The data you’ll find in the End of Day Report ties back to your shop’s sales and profits during a time range of your choosing:

  • Total ROs: the number of repair orders posted at your shop
  • Hours Presented: the total number of hours your shop showed customers
  • Hours Sold: the total number of hours your shop sold to customers
  • Close Ratio: the ratio of the total dollars your shop sold compared to the total dollars your shop presented to customers
  • Effective Labor Rate: the ratio of the labor dollars your shop sold compared to the labor hours your shop sold
  • Average RO (Sales): the total dollars sold on all posted ROs divided by the total posted ROs
  • Average RO (Profit): total profit dollars on all posted repair orders divided by the total posted ROs
  • Average RO (Profit Margin): RO profit divided by RO sales
  • Gross Sales: total sales dollars on all posted ROs divided by total hours sold on all posted ROs
  • Gross Profit: total profit dollars on all posted ROs divided by total hours sold on all posted ROs

How Real-Time Data Powers Business Decisions

The data found in your End of Day report can power various short-term and long-term business decisions that help you maintain a profitable shop over time.

For example, if you see that your gross profit dipped over the previous month, you can check a few other data sources to find the root of the problem, like how many new customers your marketing efforts have yielded and your current parts and labor rates. From there, you can determine how to get your shop back on track, such as by refining your marketing efforts to bring in more new customers or adjusting your shop’s parts and labor matrices. The scientific method in action!

Or, if you notice that your close ratio is hovering around 80%, you can sit down with your service advisors and brainstorm strategies to get it closer to 100%.

Tek-Tip: You can access the End of Day Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Financial Reports” in the top column, then clicking on  “End of Day.”

Tekmetric’s End of Day Report breaks down your shop’s metrics by all sales—as well as your shop’s sales without tires and batteries. Additionally, the End of Day Report breaks down:

  • RO Summaries
  • Sales after Discounts
  • Gross Profit by Labor, Parts, Sublets, and Fees
  • Payment Details (Methods and Advance Pay)
  1. Profit Details Report

The Profit Details Report gets into the nitty-gritty of the profits you’ve made across all repair orders during a given time period, as well as within individual repair orders.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Profit Details Report

In Tekmetric’s Profit Details Report, you’ll be able to see the total profits you made on repair orders over a time range of your choosing. You’ll also be able to see the profits you made across the board on labor, parts, sublets, and fees. If you want to see how your total profits, as well as your profits on labor, parts, sublets, and fees, played out within individual repair orders, you can do so as well. And that’s not all! If you want, you can view your shop’s average profits and profit margins as well.

You can even filter the report by specific service advisors, so that you can see their individual performance.

How Profit Detail Data Powers Business Decisions

Understanding where your profits are coming from, and the ratio of your profits, over time, enables you to adjust your pricing for parts, labor, sublets, and fees so you can strike better profit margins and investigate anything that looks off.

For example, you might see that your total parts profit was only a couple hundred dollars during a particular month. If this number is lower than what you’re used to seeing, you can start reviewing individual repair order details to try pinpointing the reason behind the lower number. You may discover that coincidentally, the repairs your shop had that month were more minor than usual, and didn’t require expensive parts. Of course, you don’t want to sell customers expensive parts that they don’t need, but you could ever-so-slightly adjust your parts matrix to make several cents more on less expensive parts.

Tek-Tip: You can access the Profit Details Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Financial Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on “Profit Details.”

You can get a visual of your labor profit, parts profit, sublet profit, fees profit, and total profit over a certain time range in either line graph form or bar graph form.

You can even click into individual service advisors using the dropdown menu at the top of the page and see the profit details associated with their repair orders on your graph type of choice.

Viewing this data in a line graph or bar graph gives you a clearer overview. You can visualize exactly when your total profit dipped and on when it started to climb back up, and pinpoint the reasons why.  

  1. Sales Details Report

How much have you sold in parts and labor over a given time range? How much money have you collected from sublets, fees, and taxes? What’s the dollar amount of the discounts you’ve given customers? These are the questions that Tekmetric’s Sales Details Report can answer for you.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Sales Details Report

Tekmetric’s Sales Details Report gives you the rundown of the total sales you’ve made in a specified time range, breaking down the dollar sales amount of your shop’s labor, parts, sublets, fees, and taxes. You can see how many dollars of discounts you’ve given, too.

How Sales Details Data Powers Business Decisions

Of course, profit will always give you a more accurate understanding of how your business is doing financially since it reflects your business’s bottom line. But your sales (revenue) numbers will give you a picture of your top line: exactly how much money is coming in.

You might see, for example, that you have high revenue, but in comparison, your profits are low. That gives you a clue that your business expenses might be too high. From there, you can start looking into ways to get higher profits, such as by adjusting your parts markups and labor rates.

Tek-Tip: You can access the Sales Details Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, and going to the “Financial Reports” column, and selecting “Sales Details.”

If you don’t want to toggle between the Profit Details Report and the Sales Details Report to compare your total sales and gross profits, you can view both types of data in the End of Day Report.

If you want to work with the Sales Details Report, you can also view your data in terms of averages, rather than totals. Just go to the gray bar titled “Sales Details Report,” select the second dropdown menu, and click “Average Sales.”

  1. Realtime Service Writer Report

As a business owner, it’s good practice to have a solid understanding of each of your service advisors’ productivity and skills, so you can do things like provide them with additional training, know which new hires to pair up with them for training, and help them connect better with technicians (such as by using their emotional intelligence to help a typically productive technician whose productivity has dipped).

Tekmetric’s Realtime Service Writer Report gives you a window into how your service advisors are performing.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Realtime Service Writer Report

With the Realtime Service Writer Report, you can set a customized time range and view information such as:

  • The monetary value of all the repair orders each service advisor has written
  • The dollar amount each service advisor has sold
  • Each service advisor’s close ratio
  • The total number of hours each service advisor has written, including unsold hours
  • The repair order hours sold by each service advisor

How Service Writer Data Powers Business Decisions

Knowing how your team is performing is crucial to maintaining a smooth-running business where employees can thrive.

By keeping an eye on your service advisors’ productivity, you can better invest in them. For example, maybe you notice that one of your service advisors who historically had the best close ratio at your shop has been falling behind. Their unusual drop in productivity could indicate that something is going on in that service advisor’s personal life, and you might decide to have a heart-to-heart with them to see what’s going on and if there’s any way you can help.

Service advisor data is also great for training purposes. By knowing how well each service advisor is performing, you can identify who needs more training. You could, for example, have your most successful service advisor work with your newest service advisor so the new hire can learn all the tips and tricks of the trade.

Tek-Tip: You can access the Realtime Service Writer Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Employee Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on “Realtime Service Writer Report.”

Once you access the Realtime Service Writer Report, you can view the data in terms of hours or in terms of sales. Simply navigate to the dropdown menu at the top left of your screen and select one of the two options.

Within the Realtime Service Writer Report, you can view data sources by:

  • Active repair orders and posted repair orders
  • Active repair orders
  • Posted repair orders
  • Created repair orders

To select your data source, navigate to the dropdown menu on the top right of the screen. And of course, you can choose the time range by using the dropdown menu on the furthest right of the screen.

Additionally, based on the filters you choose in the Shop Dashboard, you can view this data there, too.

  1. Realtime Technician Report

Knowing how your team members who turn the wrenches are doing is important, too! After all, they’re the ones who, during the inspection process, uncover repairs that customers might not have even been aware of when they walked in.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Realtime Technician Report

Tekmetric’s Realtime Technician Report will show you the sales and hours associated with each technician in a given time frame. You can learn details like if there’s a particular technician who has more sold dollars than the others, if one is more productive than the others, and more.

How Technician Data Powers Business Decisions

Just like with the Realtime Service Writer Report, the data in the Realtime Technician Report helps you enhance your employee management and training.

For example, let’s say that a technician has been assigned 40 hours of billed time for the week, but it’s the middle of the week, and you or a service advisor notice that the technician hasn’t reached the halfway point for their hours. That’s when you or the service advisor can either redistribute the work to make sure it gets done on time, or check in with that technician to see if they need help with a particular job.

Or you might notice that one of your technicians has a high number of hours, but a relatively low car count. To help that technician get up to speed and improve their efficiency, you can pair them up with a senior-level technician.

Tek-Tip: You can access the Realtime Technician Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Employee Reports” in the top column, then clicking on “Realtime Technician Report.”

Like with the Realtime Service Writer Report, you can view the data in the Realtime Technician Report in terms of hours or in terms of sales. Just navigate to the dropdown menu at the top left of your screen and select one of the two options.

Within the Realtime Technician Report, you can view data sources by:

  • Active repair orders and posted repair orders
  • Active repair orders
  • Posted repair orders
  • Created repair orders

To pick your data source, navigate to the dropdown menu on the top right of the screen. And of course, you can choose the time range by using the dropdown menu on the furthest right of the screen.

Additionally, based on the filters you choose in the Shop Dashboard, you can view this data there, too.

  1. Technician Hours

If you want a quick snapshot of how your technicians are doing, you can look at your Technician Hours Report.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Technician Hours Report  

Tekmetric’s Technician Hours Report will crunch the numbers associated with technician efficiency and calculate your technicians’ total efficiency for you. In Tekmetric, technician efficiency is calculated by sold hours divided by hours clocked. So, that means you get a snapshot of each technician’s total billed time, total actual time, and car count during a given time range.

How Technician Hours Data Powers Business Decisions

Technician efficiency, when viewed in comparison to your shop’s car count, is a crucial metric for determining whether or not it’s time for you to hire additional technicians.

For example, if your shop’s car count doubled in the past year and technician efficiency across your entire tech team was cut in half, that’s a sign that your technicians are overworked and you need more hands on deck. Or, if you notice that one technician has consistently had lower total efficiency than the rest of the team, you can have that technician shadow the team member with the best total efficiency, so they can become faster on the job.

Tek-Tip: You can access the Technician Hours Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Employee Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on “Technician Hours.”

Once you access the report, in addition to filtering the data by individual technicians, you can filter the data by job category. You can see how your tech team as a whole—or even individual technicians—are faring on alignments, standard oil changes, tire rotations, transmission flushes, and other jobs. Sifting through this data can help you better optimize repair work. You might notice that some technicians are more efficient than others at alignments, and instruct service advisors to prioritize giving incoming alignment work to those technicians.

Additionally, if you pay your technicians a flat rate, you can easily export your technician’s billable hours (from the Technician Hours Report) to your payroll software.

And if you pay your technicians hourly and incentivize them on their completed billable hours and efficiency, the Technician Hours Report can play a major role in that process.

  1. RO Marketing Source

What’s working for your shop, marketing-wise? An RO Marketing Source Report will answer that question for you.

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s RO Marketing Source Report

When your service advisors write repair orders in Tekmetric, they can ask customers how they heard about your shop and add that information to the repair order.

An RO Marketing Source Report sums up this data for you, breaking down which sources have led to the most sales at your shop in a specified time range.

How Marketing Source Data Powers Business Decisions

When you know which marketing methods are the most effective, you can direct your resources to those efforts instead of spending time and money on marketing initiatives that aren’t sticking.

When analyzing the RO Marketing Source data, perhaps you realize that those Facebook ads you’ve been putting out have only generated $1,000 in new sales the past month. But, Google Ads have been more effective, generating $3,000 in new sales over the past month. With that knowledge, you might decide to prioritize the Google Ads.

Tek-Tip: You can access the RO Marketing Source Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Employee Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on “RO Marketing Source.”

Once you access the report, you can go to the dropdown menu on the top left of the screen and choose which data you want visualized on the line or bar graph:

  • Total RO Sales by Source
  • New Sales by Source
  • Repeat Sales by Source
  • Avg. RO by Source
  • GP$ by Source
  • GP% by Source
  • Close Ratio by Source

To make your data analysis easier, you can also use the search bar underneath the graph to look up a particular lead source.

  1. Declined Jobs Report

It’s an understatement to say that customers don’t always approve every line item on their estimates. There are some repairs that they want to save for later. The Declined Jobs Report helps service advisors keep track of each “no” so they can reach out to that customer later and get a “yes.”

Data Provided on Tekmetric’s Declined Jobs Report  

When technicians put together digital vehicle inspections in Tekmetric, they use a color-coded system to indicate the severity of each repair. Once customers get their DVIs, they can approve or decline individual line items. If they see that a repair is marked “yellow” (meaning, it can wait for the next visit), they might decline it.

Every line item that they decline, Tekmetric keeps track of and compiles into a Declined Jobs Report, where you can see which customer declined which job, and when. You can see other details, namely the RO number and subtotal of the declined work, as well.

How Declined Jobs Data Powers Business Decisions

It’s easier to sell work to existing customers than to sell work to new customers. It’s like that proverbial saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

When a customer declines a job that’s not pressing, service advisors gain a natural conversation opener. When the time for that repair rolls around, a service advisor can contact that customer, say the time has come around for that repair, and ask them if they’d like to come into the shop. Bam, that’s a sale!

Tek-Tip: You can access the Declined Jobs Report in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Customer Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on “Declined Jobs.”

Tekmetric users can categorize the data in the Declined Jobs Report by individual service advisors or technicians, and select a date range of their choice. That way, service advisors can easily follow up on the declined jobs in the repair orders they’ve written.

Additionally, you can quickly export the declined jobs report and add those customers to an email or physical mail list, then send marketing assets related to those declined jobs to existing customers. For example, if several customers decline tire rotations, and your shop is about to send out flyers for a tire rotation promotion, the data in the Declined Jobs Report is a great way to know who to send the flyers to.

  1. Parts Purchased and Parts Usage Reports

A lot can happen when you’re buying and selling parts. You might end up ordering more parts than you end up using, you might lose a part in a deep dark corner of your shop, a part might get stolen, or a part might just accidentally get left out of a repair estimate.

When used together, Tekmetric’s Parts Purchased Report and Parts Usage Report can help you and your team keep track of the parts in your shop. You can see if you’ve actually been using what you’ve been buying and make adjustments as needed.

Data Provided on Teketric’s Parts Purchased and Parts Usage Reports  

Tekmetric’s Parts Purchased Report will show you the following details:

  • Name of the part
  • Vendor
  • PO#
  • RO Source
  • Date Purchased
  • Quantity
  • Unit Cost
  • Total Cost
  • Ordering Employee

These are some of the details that Tekmetric’s Parts Usage Report will show you:

  • Job Title
  • Job Category
  • RO#
  • Customer/Vehicle
  • Technician

How Parts Purchased and Usage Data Power Business Decisions

Used together, the data in each parts report will help you identify any discrepancies with your parts that show up during the accounting and repair process.

For example, if the Parts Purchased Report indicates that your shop purchased 50 units of a particular part last quarter, but only five of those units were used, you have a starting point to figure out if your shop just didn’t happen to need those parts that quarter or if something else is going on, like a former employee ordering those parts on your shop’s charge accounts.

Tek-Tip: You can access both of these reports in Tekmetric by clicking on “Reports” in the sidebar, selecting “Parts Reports” in the top column, and then clicking on either “Parts Purchased” or “Parts Usage.”

If you use QuickBooks alongside Tekmetric’s reports, your accounting will be easier than ever. You can compare that data in QuickBooks and Tekmetric and see if it matches. Tekmetric also integrates with The Back Office. Thanks to a tool called Accounting Link, The Back Office sends the data on your shop’s sales, payments, and purchases from Tekmetric to QuickBooks. With the data in these two reports, you can easily reconcile vendor statements.

Make Decisions Backed by Data

When you make business decisions based on real-time data, you have peace of mind that the numbers are backing you up—that yes, it’s time to hire three new technicians or install another bay. Sometimes the data will show you things you don’t like seeing, but it’s important to be aware of the bad, too, so you can start turning things around. The faster you can identify a problem, the faster you can find a solution before the issue gets out of hand.

Support, validate, and challenge your intuition and emotional intelligence with data. While we all have experience we can lean on, everyone is prone to being wrong about a feeling, even the most successful business leaders. We all have times and days when we can be off. The data will show us for sure if we were right or wrong to feel or think something. After all, remember the saying that wise people “know they know nothing.”

When you use data, intuition, and emotional intelligence in harmony, you’ll have a winning formula for business success that lifts everyone—you, your team, and your customers—up to new heights.

Tekmetric: Realtime Business Reporting, Simplified

Access and analyze the crucial stats you need to push your shop forward. Tekmetric offers shops a wealth of real-time business reports, including End of Day Reports, Declined Jobs Reports, Technician Hours, and Parts Purchased Reports that help you make strategic, data-based decisions. No crunching numbers on your part required.

You’ll sleep better knowing your business decisions are backed by data, not just your intuition. And the enhanced results you’ll drive for your shop will lead to happier employees who love coming into work and customers who make your shop their go-to.

Ready to make data-based decisions without hassles? Collect some qualitative data of your own by seeing for yourself how Tekmetric works. Schedule a demo today!