If your auto shop has ever experienced wasted time—and who hasn’t? —it’s an indicator that your business could improve its efficiency. Time is money, and the more efficient you can be with your time, the better your output. Straightforward fixes like upgrading your equipment, digitizing your processes, and clarifying your customer communication can improve your business by leaps and bounds. If the solutions listed below sound too simple to really make a difference, try implementing them! We think you’ll be surprised by just what a difference a few small changes can make.
More and more auto repair tools have become portable. When you’re used to the equipment you have, it can be hard to imagine changing it. Fortunately, that change can actually simplify and speed up your work! When you can easily move your equipment to where it needs to be, you can save quite a bit of time and effort that would otherwise be spent moving cars or shifting heavy equipment that doesn’t want to be moved.
If you don’t currently have a portable gas caddy, for example, siphoning and dispensing gas would be worth looking into. Similarly, a portable sandblaster will help cut your prep time. Don’t forget about vehicle dollies, either! Not only can they hold huge amounts of weight, but they can qlwo be used to clear up space in your shop as well as making your work that much easier to access. Look into more portable versions of your current tools—even if that just means investing in a few more heavy-duty extension cords—and you’ll find that you can streamline your work process. When you can shift portable, lightweight machinery rather than cars that weigh thousands of pounds, it only makes sense that you’ll move faster.
2. Clean a little cleaner
It’s a simple fact that cleaning will always be an inevitable part of auto mechanic work. If you’re currently cleaning all parts of a car without specialized tools, you aren’t working at full efficiency. Paint gun washers, for example, are specifically designed to keep your paint guns clean and ready for the next paint job. Pressure washers will make it much simpler to clean stubborn grease and grime, and a curing lamp can make your drying times that much shorter while still offering a professional finish.
With the help of specialized equipment, you can achieve the standard of cleanliness that your customers expect while also freeing up more time for you and your employees to focus on what you’re passionate about and most skilled it. It doesn’t make sense to spend a disproportionate amount of time cleaning when your time and training are best used doing something else!
3. Go digital
It might seem like a small thing, but illegible orders can slow down your work process. Handwriting is so often smudged or hard to read that it can cause unnecessary complications when processing simple transactions. More specifically, it can result in delays at best, and missing or misleading information at worst. Consider implementing a digital system that will allow VIN scanning and typed, rather than handwritten, information. Not only does digitizing allow for information that’s much harder to misinterpret, but that same information can be transferred between people and stations much faster and more efficiently. What’s more, it can give you the option to view pending service recommendations at any point in the process.
When you’ve gone digital, you can share clear information among staff members and clients in a simpler way. Programs that can digitize your work are easier to access and implement than ever before, and might only mean downloading an application on your tablet or smartphone.
4. Take pictures
There’s an old stereotype that mechanics will exaggerate or invent problems in a client’s car in order to make more money. It’s this persistent negative perception that leads so many clients to refuse extra services, or to be skeptical when you or one of your employees discovers an additional problem while working on a car. If you’re able to take pictures, or even videos, of a problem, it’s much more convincing for your client. Providing these pictures is an extra step towards convincing your clients to address car problems now, rather than when they flare up that much worse in the future.
When you can take care of all current problems at once, it means less repeat work in the future and thus generally happier clients. Even if providing pictures doesn’t convince them to take action, they’ll at least appreciate the extra effort your team has put in to giving them as much information as possible in a clear way.
Change is not always easy to cope with; however, once you see how these changes reshape your shop for the better, you will likely wish that you had adopted them sooner.
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO: EFFICIENCY VS INEFFICIENCY IN AUTO REPAIR SHOPS
And for you, what are the best strategies to keep the efficiency in your auto repair shop?