Looking to scale your auto repair business but not sure where to start? Check out highlights from the piece our Co-Founder Prasanth Chilukuri wrote for Vehicle Service Pros.
Prasanth Chilukuri understands the challenges that shop owners face each day with gaps in their efficiency and margins, which is why he co-founded Tekmetric with Sunil Patel in 2016.
Vehicle Service Pros published some of Prasanth’s tips for strategically growing an auto repair business with a shop management system like Tekmetric.
You can access his full piece here, or check out some of the highlights below.
Shop owners make countless daily decisions that affect their customers, their team, and their business. Making good business decisions is essential to keeping everyone happy and keeping the lights on in the shop, but how do you know what the right decision is?
According to Prasanth, the key to any successful business is finding the right balance between soft skills like intuition or relationship-building and hard skills like data analysis. Both types of skills are important, but knowing when to employ each one is the trick to making better-informed decisions and growing your business.
Intuition is useful when shop owners have to make split-second decisions and often goes hand in hand with interpersonal skills. The auto repair industry isn’t just about cars, after all; it’s about people, too. By learning how to pick up on cues and anticipate the needs of customers, employees, and vendors, shop owners can foster long-lasting relationships that grow alongside their business.
Of course, there’s only one way to know whether your shop is truly turning a profit: look at the numbers and analyze the results. Data can support any hunches you have about the health of your business, for better or for worse, so you can plan accordingly. But if your shop is still tied to manual methods, gathering key information about parts usage and labor costs is probably not easy or convenient.
A shop management system might not be able to make business decisions for you, but it can help shop owners make sense of their key metrics and data. According to Prasanth, looking at the cold, hard facts is essential to boost the efficiency and profitability of the shop.
The science of data might seem contrary to the art of intuition at first, but they’re more related than you might think. As Prasanth describes, data can add support to a shop owner’s intuition or observations and reveal key information that can’t necessarily be gathered from conversations with customers and employees.
Unfortunately, trying to sort through the shop’s data by hand can be exhausting and often means missing family dinners to crunch the numbers after hours. And manually calculating daily, weekly, or monthly metrics can quickly become a headache with much larger room for human error. Without real-time reporting tools, inventory counts and gross profit can’t necessarily be trusted and will always provide an out-of-date view of your business at best.
Being tied to manual processes for data collection also means being tied to the shop and losing out on valuable face-to-face time with the customers supporting the business. As a result, shop owners are often left making the difficult decision between nurturing their intuition and building relationships, or focusing on the data and shop profitability when both are essential to the long-term success of the business. With Tekmetric, you can do both.
Tekmetric is a shop management system that comes fully equipped with business reporting tools within a repair orders software suite. Tekmetric tracks key performance indicators like employee efficiency, parts usage, and profitability ‘round the clock so shop owners can focus on the more high-level aspects of their business. Real-time reports are always available with numbers that are already calculated and organized. A bird’s eye view of the shop gives shop owners the power to tailor their business plan and strategy by:
Conference season is still a couple of months away, but part of growing a business is keeping up with industry trends and seeking out learning opportunities. Prasanth wants to make sure that shop owners are educated about the abundance of tools available to them year-round. And he also understands that getting acquainted with a new shop management system can be a bit of a learning curve, especially with so many different reports to sift through.
Prasanth and Sunil built Tekmetric with shop owners in mind, making sure data visuals are intuitive and easy to understand. At just a glance, shop owners can clearly spot data trends and adjust the shop’s operations as needed.
Real-time reports generally fall into one of these four categories:
These reports help shop owners assess the health of their business by tracking trends in the day-to-day operations and profitability of a shop within a specific time range. Knowledge is power, and having a clear view of your financial forecast is crucial to making financially responsible decisions.
Tracking employee-related metrics is essential to keeping track of shop morale. Staying clued in to what’s happening with productivity, Close Ratio, and Average Repair Order totals can help shop owners make informed decisions related to employee management and training.
Providing good customer service can be a differentiating factor for building customer loyalty. Customer activity reports help shop owners keep track of how each customer interacts with the shop and what keeps them coming back. The Declined Jobs report also makes it easier for service advisors to follow up with customers and help maintain their vehicles.
It can be frustrating when the numbers don’t add up. Tekmetric makes parts management and reconciliation a breeze so that shop owners can ensure they are buying the appropriate parts and pricing them accordingly.
If you ask Prasanth how to run a business, he’ll tell you it’s an art and a science. The key to making good business decisions is following your gut while also supporting your hunches with real-time data. Even if the numbers aren’t where you want them to be, Tekmetric’s real-time reports give you the data and insights you need to turn things around for your business and for your team.
The winning formula for shop success starts with you.
See how Tekmetric’s reports make it easy to test your hunches so that you can keep driving your business forward. Sign up for a demo today. We’d love to show you around.