Four Ways to Maximize Cash Flow in Your Shop: Deep Dive into the Numbers

Leveraging Your Shop's Cash Flow to Increase Profitability

Four Ways to Maximize Cash Flow in Your Shop: Deep Dive into the Numbers
Head of Business Development
Updated on:
Originally published on:
July 2, 2024

In auto repair, a smooth cash flow is the anchor of your business. When something is off within the shop, the first place that can give answers is the shop’s financial data. It’s not just a tool to diagnose problems or spit out a paycheck – it holds the key to unlocking greater efficiency. By taking control of your money flow, you can not only uncover bottlenecks, but also increase profitability and ultimately grow your business.

Understanding the numbers is the first step to maximizing earnings. Don’t limit your financial knowledge to just sending out paychecks and collecting payments. Instead, embrace the numbers, contextualize reports and leverage the information you gain to make strategic decisions that propel your shop’s success.

The road to profitability must include a strong understanding of your finances. Here are four ways to take control of your money flow and elevate your shop’s business:

1. Track your inward and outward flow through detailed reports

The best way you can get familiar with your money flow is by intentionally reviewing the numbers. Whether real-time or evergreen, you can use data and information in all forms to learn the direction of money flow within your shop and how to influence profitability. These numbers can provide clear insights into your shop’s performance and any adjustments you could make to grow your profit. Therefore, it’s important that you review key reports on a regular basis.

For example, when it comes to your inventory, you can review Tekmetric’s Parts Orders section for information on cores and returns. This knowledge is particularly useful for anticipatory orders and core returns that can easily be tracked and returned as needed. If you have anything eligible for return, you can review that information in real-time and make the return when your parts provider arrives to get that credit back on your statement. By strategically tracking the parts you need to keep and those you can return when unused, you can anticipate future needs and streamline cash flow into your shop.

2. Utilize real-time data to make strategic financial decisions throughout your day

Using real-time data of both posted and unposted data gives you a clearer picture of the shop’s finances in real-time, allowing you to make decisions more efficiently and generate more profit to meet your short- and long-term goals. Additionally, it enables you to adjust your operations as soon as a problem comes to light. Rather than waiting until the end of the day, week or month, you can monitor money flowing in and out of your shop in real time and make strategic decisions that directly impact your final profit.

This might include monitoring your end-of-day (EOD) report in Tekmetric and delegating tasks that can help bring in more business to meet your goals. For example, if you review your shop dashboard early in the week and see $17,000 in approved work that hasn't been finished, you can implement some strategies to close out that work by the end of the week, whether it’s calling customers to follow up on an approval or announcing a bonus for your technicians that incentivizes them to finish the work quicker.

3. Provide financing options for customers

In addition to reporting, another way to influence money flow into your shop is by providing financing options for your customers. After all, if you can make a customer’s payment process easier for them, you can create a better cash flow for your shop. Providing financing options allows the customer to get the needed repair done without compromising their personal budget.

Furthermore, when you provide alternative payment methods, you increase sales. For example, at Tekmetric, we have found that a “Buy Now, Pay Later” option can help increase your average RO amount. The national average RO amounts to approximately $260. By contrast, according to Affirm, the average purchase when using a feature like “Buy Now, Pay Later” is approximately $1,800. Customers are more likely to approve higher-ticket items when they have a financial option like “Buy Now, Pay Later,” which helps increase your ARO. It’s a win-win situation for you and your customers. Not only do you reduce friction with the customer through a convenient payment option, but you also increase your cash flow into the shop.

4. Leverage outside resources to monitor your cash flow

As important as money inflow is, you must also monitor your outflow. Without understanding how both elements work together, you cannot accurately measure – or grow – your profit. This may be daunting, but you can ask for help.

Don’t hesitate to leverage outside resources to gain a better understanding of how to interpret money flow and use that information to grow your shop’s bottom line. Whether through free webinars, basic accounting courses or coaching organizations like our partners at Transformers Institute, Shop Fix Academy, Automotive Training Institute, Autoshop Answers, Elite and more, you can utilize external tools to gain invaluable knowledge that helps you run your shop more efficiently.

Bonus tip: Ask plenty of questions

Knowledge is power – and knowledge of your shop’s finances can lead directly to profit growth. Therefore, make sure to question everything. Ask for documentation, whether it’s an explanation of why a part was ordered or a receipt for a new coffee machine in your lobby. Small purchases add up, and if you do not ask questions and track them, you could end up reducing your profitability without noticing.

Do not be afraid to question the validity of transactions or ask for help in understanding the big picture of why purchases were made. Learning to control the flow of money into your shop is crucial, but implementing strategic decisions regarding money outflow is how you make a profit. By asking for help and closely monitoring your data, you will have a better understanding of the money flow in and out of your shop, leading to more efficient processes, a better customer experience and ultimately, more business.

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