Now that you have gotten a glimpse of what automotive shop management software is capable of offering, perhaps you have now decided to buy a system for your shop. This is one of the best decisions you can ever make as a shop owner. Nevertheless, with all the software options that you have, it can be difficult to select a good one. Here are some questions that you can ask the provider before you buy the automotive shop management software that they are offering to you.
Is it easy to use?
You do not want to spend a lot of time mastering the use of the software, right? That is why it is best to choose a system that you are comfortable with. That way you and your employees can enjoy the full potential of the program with a minimum of hassle. Keep in mind that automotive shop management software should make things easier and not harder for you.
What features does it have?
Asking this question is very important – it allows you to determine whether the software is capable of performing the tasks that are important to you. After all, there is no use in purchasing software that has a lot of features they are of no use for your business. Ask the provider about special features and what specific jobs it is capable of doing. After listing the features, determine whether they fit your unique needs or not.
How good is the customer support?
You can’t expect any software to always be trouble-free. There will be times when you experience problems while using it. So, you need to know whether the customer support will meet your needs when trouble occurs. You will have greater confidence in the software if you know that there is someone to call when problems arise, who will give you competent, timely assistance. Support is particularly important when you are just starting to use the software.
Is there a contract?
Typically, buying automotive shop management software involves signing a contract that lasts for a few months to a year but there are also some shop management systems that do not require a contract commitment. Read the contents of the contract. If a sales person tells you something that does not agree with the contract, have them give it to you in writing. If you are still unfamiliar with the software but you just want to know if it fits your business or not, it would be best to go with the shortest contract term, or no contract commitment at all.
How much does it cost?
Of course, we should never leave this question out. As a business owner, you want to get a fair price. It is best to set a realistic budget and only consider software that fits your budget. A reasonable minimum is one that will get the features that you require, and ensure that the quality of the software and support will not be compromised. On the other hand, you don’t need to opt for the most expensive software either. Apart from the cost, you should also consider whether it can grow with your business.
As always, see you next week.
Running your auto repair shop is getting tougher by the day, simply because there are lots of areas you need to handle such as marketing, sales, inventory and customer service. With the intense competition in the automotive repair industry, it is essential to make your shop innovative and adaptable so it will stand out among the rest. Fortunately, because of advances in software technology, automotive software solutions are available to help you handle every detail of managing your shop.
Automotive shop management software will allow you to reduce the burden of shop management and increase your shop efficiency. Every auto repair shop manager already knows the advantages of the automotive shop management software. It is also critical to select the appropriate automotive shop management software to meet all your dealership’s needs. So, it is important for you to consider the following buying steps before deciding to commit:
Step 1: Conduct Analysis
Planning an automotive software procurement project is essential to precisely determine the scope, objectives, timelines, deliverables and platform in selecting the software. A little planning will make it easier for you to choose the best software solutions.
Step 2: Define the Requirement
Write down precise answers to questions like:
- What goals will be achieved in using the automotive shop management software?
- Who will be using the automotive software?
- What functions or features you are looking for?
- Do you need this kind of software for remote teams, locally or on-site?
- How technology savvy is your team?
Step 3: List the Required Features
List all the essential features for your software solution like: Whether it is cloud/web based or local install, whether you require mobile support, software security, cost, scalability, flexibility or personalization. Other required features may include time tracking, task management, risk analysis, email integration, file sharing, resource planning and more.
Step 4: Reliability and Security
Most everyone’s top priority is data reliability and security, so it is important for you to ask your vendor how the software application maintains data integrity and backs up data. Also, ask them what security features will help protect your internal data.
Step 5: Determine your budget and your timeframe
Take a close look at the price of the entire automotive shop management software package as well as the services offered by the vendor. Also, let your vendor know the timeframe you require to implement the software solution for your automotive shop.
Step 6: Evaluate the software Vendor
Next, perform a high-level evaluation of the software. Create a short list and send a request for proposal to each of your chosen vendors.
Step 7: Request a Software Demo
Ask the vendor to conduct a live software demo to confirm that their system can meet your expectations.
Step 8: Ask for References
Ask the software vendor to provide you with at least three references. Cross-check the references to see how their software solution performs. Ask whether they required customizations or features similar to yours, and learn their experiences with the vendor’s support.
So, now you have been provided with a list of questions to ask your provider, the features to look for in automotive shop management software, how to find a reliable provider, some tips in buying one and the step-by-step buying process. You are now prepared to evaluate and buy your own software. So, start your search today and never miss out on the chance to take advantage of your software. Enjoy watching your business grow and become a leader in the industry!
As always, see you next week.
Most auto shops today are using automotive management software because it offers great benefits for the owner. In the automotive industry, software can be designed to allow quick estimates and smooth flow of transactions from appointment setting to invoicing. Automotive software can consolidate essential information about customers, vehicles, transactions and service requirements in a single convenient and secure location. This allows the automotive dealer to maintain a relationship with the customer for better profits and customer retention.
For your automotive shop, choose the most efficient software to help you make the most of your business every day. The practical tips below will help you select the best software.
This is the beginning of a series of articles that will walk you through the automotive shop software buying process and give you the correct tools so you feel confident when making your choice. Let’s start with security, which is always a hot topic.
1- Is your Data Secure?
Are cloud or on-site server options available? You should be able to choose between a fully hosted cloud solution or an on-site server. Most customers choose based on internet speed and reliability, but others just like the convenience and security of a hosted solution.
Backups are critical to your business – look for a company that you can trust, particularly for automated backups . A small mistake can cause chaos to the entire business if your provider does not back up your data properly. A 3-way mirrored backup protects all your data and provides enhanced security. Are backups in separate locations? Real-time replicated database at separate locations is the ideal.
Here is what ShopController offers: 62 copies of your database at 2 separate physical locations. 2 are mirrored live databases. 30 are consecutive daily backups which are then mirrored to another hard drive which gives us an additional 30 copies. These full backups are configured so that no external network connections are allowed. Disallowing network access to the backup server may seem extreme but we prioritize your data security. Want to maintain your own backups? For your peace of mind we can even set up regular backups to a location you have access to. We never hold your data hostage. Don’t settle for less!
3-Uptime? Data Center? Bandwidth Providers?
Here is what to look for:
- Fully Redundant Network with NO Single Point of Failure and Multiple Layers of Network Security
- Multiple Bandwidth Providers (AboveNet, ATT, Comcast, Global Crossing, Level (3), NTT
- State of the Art Data Center with Backup Power Generators and HVAC Units
4-Bonus Tip: Premium Support
When buying an automotive management software, you need to see clearly which one can withstood the test of time. The value of your management program directly corresponds to the level of support and training your team receives. Your people must know how to run it and to take maximum advantage of its features! A management system becomes a huge headache when it takes way too much time and frustration to get answers to simple questions.
Well, that’s it for now. See you next week.
1 in 4 Vehicles Americans Drive Has Open Recalls; Gulf Coast Residents Most At-Risk
(February, 2017) – This year, millions more lives may be at risk from people driving and buying vehicles with unfixed safety recalls. According to Carfax, more than 63 million recalled vehicles now are in use across the country, an alarming 34 percent increase from 2016.
The annual research also suggests this issue affects nearly one in three vehicles in Texas, the highest rate in the nation. Behind Hawaii, the other Gulf Coast states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama round out the top five. In addition, people in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York have the most vehicles with open recalls.
The new data also suggests that family life may be a factor for some vehicle owners not knowing about a recall or getting it fixed. Minivans and SUVs – family-oriented vehicles – are the ones most likely to have unfixed recalls.
This is just one more big reason why ShopController includes Carfax service with our management program. Every license plate you pull up will show every recall for that vehicle. You owe it to every customer to insure their car is safe.
This is another major reason our ShopController program includes CARFAX. To learn more call us @ 480-898-0100 or email [email protected].
“RAISING THE BAR”
When it comes to setting your goals make sure they are challenging enough to inspire you. As the leader of your business, it’s your job to inspire your entire team. Raise the BAR!!!
Break out your goals from annual to monthly, to weekly, to daily. Make these goals and daily measurement highly visible.
When setting your goals be realistic. Goals must bring out the best in people and motivate them to think differently. Accordingly, they should be just out of reach but not out of sight. Harvard University research indicated that goals need to be reached 50 percent of the time for them to effectively change the way we think. If they are reached more frequently than 80 percent of the time, they are not challenging enough.
Now this is really key. You must get your team to buy in to these goals. You must break these numbers down and clearly show how hitting these realistic goals really benefits them personally!
TOP 5 GOALS
- Productivity for your technicians
- 5 STAR REVIEWS
- Car count
- Operating expenses
We all know “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you want big time improvement. You have to consider making major changes. Contact ShopController today. See how our updated state of the art repair management program can deliver the huge boost you’re looking for in 2017.
1) Have Written Shop Goals and Personal Goals in Place … With Deadlines!
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”
2) Track the Important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the Business
Keeping accurate numbers and tracking the important KPIs will help you make informed decisions as a shop owner, which rarely leads to bad decisions. Some of the KPIs you target should be industry specific, and some should be business specific. Not all business models are alike, and even though most auto repair facilities perform many of the same repairs (brakes, timing belts, etc.), the way they operate, and how they deliver services will widely vary. All shop owners need to know how their numbers compare to “like” business models. This will help you determine what adjustments are necessary for you to reach your goals. Consistently tracking specific KPIs will tell you where you are, and what you need to work on.
3) Ensure You’re Being Held Accountable
As small business owners, we rarely have anyone who works with us who is capable of holding us accountable for our words, our actions or our promises. I’d highly recommend finding a coach, or at least someone who can hold you accountable and who you can bounce ideas off of, so that you’re not all alone at the top of your company.
The best way to identify and track KPIs is with the outstanding data you gain from our ShopController repair management program. Our SC 10 software can provide your critical KPIs in real time measurement. Our new “Analysis” tools goes way beyond standard reporting. Enables you to drag and drop from over 100 fields of your data. Empowers you to generate full accountability and big time dynamic management leadership for 2017.