How Switching from an Auto Repair Invoice Template to a Shop Management System Can Drastically Increase Profits

While estimate templates have been an industry standard for years, shop management systems are making great shops even better.

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There are two main types of auto repair invoice templates—paper and digital.

Auto repair shops might bulk order carbon copies, or you might find a template online and print as many copies as your shop needs. Or, if your shop uses digital templates, you might have to deal with time-consuming digital file management.

Filling out the forms over and over, be it by handwriting or typing, can become tedious. And both options are less than ideal for record-keeping.

Paper can get lost, and digital files can become overwritten or corrupted. Both approaches are inconvenient and ultimately slow things down at your shop. And the impression you give during the payment process can determine whether those customers return or not.

Here are four reasons why a shop management system is better than an auto repair invoice template approach for your business.

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Reason 1: The Invoicing Process Will Become Faster

Think about how much time the auto repair invoice template approach requires. From filling out forms by hand to only being able to collect payment in person, using paper or digital invoice templates usually means a backlog of customers waiting on service advisors.

With a shop management system, your service advisors will be able to quickly email or text customers a link to the invoice that they can sign right from their phones.

And if you use integrated payment options like Text-to-Pay, customers will be able to pay directly from their smartphones. Service advisors will spend less time processing customers who are checking out, and customers can pay quickly instead of having to stand in line at your shop.

But, best of all, you'll give your customers an opportunity to budget large expenses they may not have otherwise expected.

We've seen shops help customers cover the cost of a $2000 or more repair they might have otherwise pushed off.

With the flexibility of buy now, pay later options, they can take care of those repairs before they get even worse, and potentially lead to even more expensive damage.

Reason 2: More Convenient for Everyone Involved

Another benefit of a shop management system over an auto repair invoice template approach is that it offers greater convenience for everyone involved.

Your service advisors can continue providing excellent service to incoming guests with minimal disruptions. They can quickly generate and send invoices, which takes significantly less time and effort than filling out estimates and always needing to hand them off in person.

Your service advisors can keep flowing through the process of checking in customers, building estimates, and selling repair work.

Reason 3: Better Tracking and Record-Keeping for Your Shop

Sometimes your team will need to pull up a prior invoice. Maybe a customer calls your shop wanting to remember what they paid for and when, or maybe someone is disputing a charge that they forgot about.

Using a paper or digital auto repair invoice template approach makes it tough to keep track of invoice histories at your shop.

With a shop management system, record-keeping becomes a simple, stress-free endeavor so you can better safeguard your shop. If a service advisor wants to find a particular invoice, they can quickly search inside of the shop management system and pull it up within seconds. No more spending extra time digging through files, physical or virtual.

With a good shop management system, you should be able to search for documents, too. And for multi-shop organizations, you should be able to link customer history across all your locations.

If a service advisor sends part of a payment to your accounts receivable department, they should be able to later search and see how much a customer owes on their balances.

If down the line, a service advisor wants to sell work that a customer previously declined, the service advisor can access that customer’s profile, see what they declined and when, and call up that customer to remind them that it’s time for another visit.

Reason 4: Generate More Business and More Profits

Consider which customer is more likely to be super impressed and return to your shop?

  • Charlie, who had to rush back to your shop before closing to wait in line to pay
  • Janet, who paid from their smartphone at their own convenience

Customer B likely drove away from the shop impressed that the check-out process was so simple.

So much of the modern customer experience revolves around the speed and convenience of digital options. The customer who has an easier time paying for their repair will be more likely to sing praises about your shop to their friends and family, getting new customers through your doors.

To make the best impression possible on your customers, and make life as easy as possible for your team members, you should look for a shop management system that covers you throughout different stages of the repair process, including inspections and estimates, inventory management, and reporting on metrics so you can see how well your shop is performing.

As you research different options on the market, be sure to ask the right questions, demo each system, and get your team’s input. Additionally, be sure to get a good sense of the team behind every solution you’re considering.

A solid onboarding and customer success team can guide you through the switch, answer your questions, and teach you all the tips and tricks you need to get your new estimate and invoice process rolling.

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