Optimize Your Invoice Process
What’s in your wallet? We know, we know, we sound like a certain credit card company by asking that, but it’s an important question. Chances are, there’s a credit or debit card that is connected to your bank account. What’s less likely is that you carry around a checkbook, and chances are, you probably don’t carry much loose change, either. If you do carry a checkbook, more power to you; you’re one of the few people who can reconcile your digital bank account statements.
As time has gone by, applications on our phones have largely replaced checkbooks. So when a customer steps foot in your shop, they probably only have their phone and maybe a few credit cards. More and more customers expect to just pay from their phones. And when your customers get to the front desk and your service advisors ask the age old question, “Would you like a receipt?” it’s likely that quite a few of your shop’s customers say, “No” or “Email it to me,” and they let their banking app keep track of the rest.
Many repair shops can stand to cut a lot of time out of their check out process while improving the customer experience. Because let’s face it, neither you nor your customers really want to spend that much time handing over and collecting money.
Rather than handing your customer a paper invoice, your team of service advisors can use mechanic shop invoice software to swifty—and digitally—send over information needed.
The Different Types of Mechanic Shop Invoice Software
The types of automotive invoice software on the market are typically hosted either on the cloud or on-premise. A cloud-based (also referred to as web-based or cloud-hosted) automotive invoice software is hosted on the cloud and can be accessed from a browser. An automotive invoice software that is on-premise is installed on and operated from an in-house server and can only be accessed from whatever device you have it installed on, unless you set up an extensive remote workaround.
Innovation is Inevitable
If your shop still uses traditional methods for invoicing and record keeping, then chances are you’ve asked your team or yourself, “Where on earth did I set that file down?” Rather than having to sift through mounds of paperwork or interrupt your techs while they have a wrench-in-hand, you could opt for a more unified, cohesive digital location.
It isn’t shocking to hear that people prefer to get things done faster in a consistent manner. According to Green America, a majority of Americans want to see digital receipt options at stores. And as for paper receipts? More than 37% of customers throw away or lose nearly all of the paper receipts they receive.
When it comes to keeping track of personal finances, people lean more towards the easy and convenient option, especially when they can feel more at ease with your shop’s trusty invoicing system. Your customers probably don’t want to think twice about their payments, but if they did, they’d be able to easily pull up your shop’s well-detailed invoices from their phones or emails. Give your customers the option to pay and go quickly. Better yet, give your customers the option to pay on-the-go quickly.
Modernize Your Shop's Invoicing Process
On invoices, it’s important to include the right information in the right way on each invoice sent out to your customers. If your customer communication systems and your repair order processes are streamlined, then you’ll want to make sure the invoicing process is just as solid by tying them into those systems and processes.
When it comes to finding the right automotive invoice software for your shop, you’ll have to do some research. Investing in an invoicing system is important, so you’ll want to make sure it’s the best fit. The best way you can get to know a software is to set up a demo.
To modernize your shop’s invoicing process, there are four criteria you’ll want to consider when narrowing down your mechanic shop invoice software options:
- How it will improve workflow and efficiency
- How it will save your team time
- The convenience for your customers
- The security of the solution
1. Build a Steadfast Invoicing Process with Mechanic Shop Invoice Software
A steadfast workflow should carry through from the moment your customer’s walk in to the moment they drive away. And if your shop is using an on-premise mechanic shop invoice software, then you’re stuck at the main computer unable to leverage tablets or phones for greater flexibility. Having the ability to move around the shop—whether to talk with a customer or to check in on a repair that a technician is working on in the garage—is a huge advantage in the auto repair world.
And when it comes to invoicing, having the ability to step away from the service desk and still process payments or look over an invoice with a customer will create more workflow opportunities for your team.
Keep Jobs Moving With a Streamlined Workflow
Streamlining your shop’s processes will simplify your team’s workload and will in turn provide your shop with the capacity to take on more jobs. By investing in one cloud-hosted shop management system, every one of your shop’s processes can be synchronized so that you don’t have to rely on several different programs or a seperate digital mechanic shop invoice software. Help your team reach their full potential while making it easy for you to monitor each work day.
Click Into A Repair Order and Send an Invoice
When your shop’s technicians have finished all approved repair work, your service advisor should be able to see the work on a digital system. And with the right shop management system with a built-in invoice feature, your service advisors should have the ability to go into the complete RO and send the invoice directly to your customer from that same interface.
2. Eliminate Tedious Tasks with Mechanic Shop Invoice Software
By simplifying the movement of information from the estimate to the invoice, you can set your team up for success. With traditional methods, a lot of your team’s time is spent doing repetitive tasks, moving information over from one form to another. When that information is first put into a digital system, it can be auto-populated for you and save your technicians, service advisors, and customers time.
In order to get to the point where tedious tasks are easily taken care of, or at least made easier for your team, you’ll need to invest in the right digital system. Digital automotive invoice software that is part of a shop management system is often your best bet.
Pull Information From The Repair Order
Think of how long it takes you to seek out information if you’re still relying on traditional methods. You have to ask someone where that receipt from last week went, or you spend unnecessary time digging through a file cabinet only to find that the receipt from earlier is still sitting on your desk (it happens to the best of us). A central cloud-based system will keep all the data stored for you. And finding the information you need, when you need it, is as simple as using a search bar.
When shopping around, you’ll want to look for a cloud-hosted shop management system that has a built-in invoicing feature. So when your service advisors put together an RO for your technicians to get started on, your shop management system can store it, record it, and move information over as needed. More specifically, it should automatically keep track of all approved work from the estimate, and add it onto the final invoice as a line item once the work is completed.
Changes to the Estimate Are Automatically Reflected on the Invoice
Whenever you’re updating information in your current invoicing system, like adding a discount or a second job that wasn’t on the initial estimate, how long does it take you? By choosing to invest in a shop management system with a built-in mechanic shop invoice software feature, any updates in terms of new jobs, increased labor time, parts profit, etc. should automatically be updated on the final invoice.
Auto populating information from the estimate and follow-up stages is incredibly beneficial to both shop owners and your team members. Once a change has been entered into the system, any invoices created from there should automatically reflect said changes. For example, if your team got approval on a second estimate for a rotor replacement during what was initially just a brake pad replacement, the final invoice should automatically reflect the parts and labor required for both jobs.
Send And Receive Payment In A Flash
With the right mechanic shop invoice software, your entire payment process should be easy—from calculating the balance due, sending it off to your customer, and collecting the payment. When you’re looking for the right mechanic shop invoice software, you can ask yourself these questions to help you narrow down your options:
- Can we accept and receive payments in fewer clicks than our current system?
- Is there an option to text or email a copy of the receipt?
- Will it provide customers with multiple options to pay?
3.Find a Mechanic Shop Invoice Software That Customers Trust
According to Forbes, 71% of customers have said that they genuinely want a consistent experience with a business, but only 29% say they get it. To build trust with your customers, each aspect of their appointment should be consistent and dependable, down to how their invoice is presented.
Although chatting in-person with your customers is always a great way to build rapport, your invoicing process also shapes your shop’s reputation. A concise, legible, and well thought out invoice looks more professional and is easier to replicate than a quickly typed up invoice scrambled together while they’re patiently waiting to hear about the services provided and their overall costs.
Ask yourself how your shop’s customers see your current invoices. If they’re asking a lot of questions about what jobs were completed, if they have to clarify the costs for specific line items, or if they leave feeling perplexed, then it might be time to consider investing in an invoice system that produces cleaner invoices.
Provide Your Customers With More Options
Part of providing a noteworthy customer experience is giving them options. Traditional auto repair invoicing methods only provide your customers with the option of receiving the invoice and having to make the payment based on whatever you wrote down or included on the template. And once your customers receive the physical invoice, they run into the potential of losing it in their car on the way home, or accidentally dropping it in the parking lot.
You’ll want to look for a shop management system that lets you see if customers are in the shop or have stepped away so that you can see if it’s better to send them the invoice or talk to them in the lobby. Provide your customers with options so you can meet them wherever they’re at.
You should be able to send the invoice over text or through email. And if they want a paper copy, you should be able to print it straight from the software. If you only provide your customers with one option, you run into the risk of them not returning due to the lack of convenience. Empower your team to digitally meet your customers wherever they are at.
Show Future Service Recommendations
Another part of building trust with your customers is helping them remember when it may be time for maintenance work or an upcoming repair. During the inspection process, a technician may find a budding issue like a belt or brake pads that are starting to wear thin. It may not require immediate attention, but it’s still worth presenting on the estimate because as the saying goes, “You miss all the shots you don’t take.” The customer may decide, “Heck, I’ll just replace that belt and my brake pads while I’m here,” or they’ll decline the job.
Service advisors should be able to track all declined jobs in whichever shop management and invoice system you decide to purchase. By tracking declined jobs like those pads and belts, service advisors can follow up to check in and remind customers to get it taken care of before it leads to any major inconveniences.
Each job created—whether approved or declined—counts towards your shop’s Average Written Repair Order (AWRO). However, not all mechanic shop invoice software will track AWRO for your shop, so you’ll want to look for a system that keeps track of AWRO for you in addition to declined jobs.
Protect Your Business with Mechanic Shop Invoice Software
Running your business can come with many risks. You may run into situations that you haven’t dealt with before, like unintentionally miscalculating an invoice. Maybe your current shop’s system isn’t secure or on the cloud, so you run the risk of fraud or confidentiality breaches.
Yes, all of that sounds scary. But the best thing you can do as a business owner is prepare your shop to avoid and eliminate those risks. With the right shop management system with a built-in invoicing system, you can:
- Protect your bottom line
- Protect your margins
- Protect yourself from chargebacks
- Protect you and your customers’ data
Find A Secure Solution
The right mechanic shop invoice software will take your shop’s data privacy and security seriously. Your job can be busy enough, so finding a secure solution to your invoicing system—better yet, your entire shop management system—will allow you to have peace of mind that your transactions are secure. Additionally, secure technology will protect all of your customer’s data and protect your shop from chargebacks.
Don’t Get Locked Into A Contract
There are a lot of invoice systems and shop management systems that lock shop owners into a contract. A good automotive invoice software will earn your business without making you promise to stick around for a certain amount of time. If you want to ensure that your invoice system is invested in your shop’s success, look for a solution that doesn’t lock you into a contract.
Feel More At Ease With Technical Support Being A Phone Call Away
When so much of you and your team’s work is reliant on a system, you’ll want to look for one that has a solid support team that you can get a hold of in a moment’s notice. If your shop uses a legacy, on-premise mechanic shop invoice software, you run the risk of that system crashing, and it being difficult to bring back online.
A mechanic shop invoice software that is cloud-hosted is less likely to crash since it is managed by some of the most secure tech companies in the world. And if the software has a great support team, they can help you get back up and running in the slim chance that something does happen.
Find a System That Gives You The Metrics Your Shop Needs
With a shop management system that has a built-in invoicing and reporting feature, your shop will have the ability to protect your margins, your bottom line, and even to identify anomalies that could be signs of theft, miscalculations, or mis-billings. Ensure each transaction done at your shop is tracked and protected so you can have peace of mind. And when you can rest easy, your team and your customers will feel more calm and assured about your shop’s processes.
Tekmetric: Where Seamless Shop Management Meets Frictionless Payment Processing
Although we just covered several factors to look for in your search to find the right mechanic shop invoice software, and we still think you should weigh your options, we’re going to give you our pitch now.
Here’s how Tekmetric’s Cloud-Based Shop Management System provides seamless shop management that leads to frictionless payment processing:
- A service advisor can create a repair order and dispatch it to a technician to run a digital vehicles inspection (DVI).
- The technician conducts the inspection.
- The service advisor can send the customer a DVI report, which will outline all the findings.
- From there, the customer can approve or decline individual line items on the repair order directly from their smartphone.
- Once the customer finishes scrolling through the estimate, designating the jobs they approve and decline, your shop has the go-ahead to begin the repair(s).
- Once repairs are complete, there’s a digital record of exactly what the customer approved. That way, when it’s time to pay, there are no surprises.
- Once the customer pays with their preferred method, they can look back over the receipt—from their computer or smartphone—and feel confident that your shop did exactly what you said you’d do.
- After a job is completed and payment is received, all the details from the invoice and repair order become part of your reports and customer history in Tekmetric.
Tekmetric has designed the entire process to reduce bottlenecks, build trust, and ensure that customers know exactly what to expect. By moving smoothly from one step to the next, your team will be able to boost their efficiency, manage workflow, and spend the extra time building rapport with customers and getting their cars back to good working order.
How Tekmetric’s Built-In Mechanic Shop Invoice Software Saves Your Team Time
With Tekmetric, your team can easily pull up an invoice straight from the repair order. To take convenience a step further, we wanted to ensure our RO screen—known as the Job Board in Tekmetric—integrates with and speaks to the rest of our shop management system. When a job is approved, it moves from estimate to work-in-progress. When a payment is collected, all the information is stored into the appropriate reports. So as soon as a customer pays, it’s added to Tekmetric’s End-Of-Day Report, and is reflected on your final Car Count and ARO.
Tekmetric’s ability to automatically track payments and repair activity will ensure that your records are always accurate, organized, and up-to-date. And the estimate tools and markup matrices will feed directly into your shop’s invoices.
You can adjust parts and labor markups in your shop settings and create multiple parts markups. If you check “auto-apply,” any markup adjustments created in your shop settings will automatically be applied to your shop’s estimates and invoices, which will save your service advisors time. And if a service advisor needs to make any adjustments for specific customers or situations, they can always toggle the auto applied markups “off” for individual line items.
Another perk to Tekmetric’s built-in invoicing feature is that you don’t have to punch a bunch of buttons to implement discounts. If your shop wants to apply a discount to a customer’s invoice, all your service advisor will need to do is select “Apply Discount.” If the discount was already created in the system, they just have to select it from the list. If not, they can create a discount directly from the pop up window, and the changes will automatically reflect in the invoice.
How Tekmetric’s Built-In Mechanic Shop Invoice Software Saves You Time
If you’re not careful, bouncing back and forth between different systems, softwares, and documents can add additional hours to your workday. Without a centralized system, you might spend an entire evening trying to figure out your shop’s numbers. But if your shop had one centralized management system, you can gain your free time back.
Remember how we said that all transactions are collected and calculated in Tekmetric’s End-of-Day report? That report alone can save you hours upon hours every time you want to measure shop performance. No more calling the family saying you’re going to be home late. If you want, you could check your numbers from your phone while you’re getting ready to relax at home! And that’s just one report. The Tekmetric Shop Management System provides a wealth of real-time reports that you can use to grow all aspects of your business.
With Tekmetric’s real-time reports, you don’t have to worry about those tedious repetitive tasks and can instead focus on running your shop and all the other things that matter to you.
Another benefit to Tekmetric’s built-in mechanic shop invoice software is that you can go to the “Estimates/Invoices” tab under your shop settings and control how much information your customers can see on your shop’s estimate and invoices.
Create a Smooth Invoice Process with Tekmetric
Tekmetric’s built-in mechanic shop invoice software makes life easier for customers, too. Your customers will have the ability to:
- View estimates on their phone, tablet, or computer to see all the work that your shop completed.
- See exactly what they’ve been charged for, any applicable fees, and the total balance due.
- Ask questions through text when they’re on the go if your shop integrates with True Two-Way Texting.
- Make payments straight from their smartphone if your shop integrates with Text-to-Pay.
- Skip the line and pick up their vehicles when it’s convenient for them if your shop integrates with Text-to-Pay and you set a curbside pick up area at your shop.
By investing in Tekmetric, you’re investing in yourself, your technicians, your service advisors, and your customers so that you can all be on the same page.
Provide Transparency on Each and Every Invoice
We made sure that the invoices created in our shop management system are thorough. However, we also realize that not all shops or customers are the same. What makes sense for one shop to include on their invoice may not make sense for another shop or customer. We wanted to ensure each shop owner can customize what’s included on your shop’s invoices.
Simplify Your Shop’s Invoice Process
Another benefit to Tekmetric’s built-in mechanic shop invoice software is that your inspection and estimate processes can be separated. And because we want shop owners to have control over how things are run at your shop, we let you decide how this looks. Some shops choose to send the DVI, go through it with the customer, and then build the estimate. Or you can opt for sending both the estimate and DVI links at once.
When your customers receive a copy of the DVI report, it will show them the findings with photos, videos, and any other repair details, helping your service advisors build trust. And then when that customer receives the estimate, they’ll feel more at ease and be more likely to accept necessary repair work.
“A huge benefit to the customer is to be able to go through the inspection and then the estimate. When you provide pictures and the estimation and dollar amount, the only thing a customer sees are the dollar amounts.
If you're focused on helping the customer, you need to put an emphasis on, ‘Here are the conditions of the repair. Here are the conditions of maintenance.’ And providing that in a separate function—the courtesy inspection—allows them to digest that. Then you can go over what things cost, what is important, what they can hold off on, and what they need to do now.
The fact that Tekmetric has the courtesy inspection and the estimate as two separate functions is a game-changer.”
- Bryan Jewett, Owner of Casey’s Automotive
Access Your Shop’s Invoices Anytime, Anywhere
It’s important to remind yourself that you have a life outside of work. And you deserve to visit your kid in college in another state, or go on a roadtrip to visit your friends you haven’t seen in years. Because Tekmetric is cloud-hosted, you have the ability to access your invoices from anywhere at any time, as long as you have a WiFi connection. With paper invoices or on-premise mechanic shop invoice software, you would have to wait until the next business day, go into the office, and then search for the information needed. With Tekmetric, you don’t have to worry about that.
Use Reports Track and Reach Your Shop’s Goals
Tekmetric’s Accounts Receivable Report will provide you with visibility on any outstanding invoices, help you manage fleet accounts, and make it easier to track partial payments. With Tekmetric’s Accounts Receivable Report, you can search by customer, or sort by Date Posted or RO Number to print statements and collect payment.
Go Beyond For Your Team and Your Customers
Investing in a cloud-based shop management system with built-in invoicing features will help you reach your shop’s goals. When your team can efficiently build reliable invoices, everyone benefits from the timesaving advantages.
If you want to provide your customers a consistently smooth invoice process—better yet, a smooth RO process from start to finish—now’s your time to switch out traditional methods for modern day solutions.