Commercial repair shops are rarely at a loss for work, but there are still a zillion ways for them to lose money. Some fees here, some lost parts there—it adds up, particularly in a world rife with inflation and parts shortages.
Today, we’re taking a look at where your shop might be losing money in 2022. We cornered Fullbay Product Marketing Manager Louis Barrales and got his take on some of the problems shops are facing and how they can get that revenue back (and, y’know, earn even more!). Naturally, there are a lot of areas where Fullbay can help out, and we’ll show you exactly how!
Louis describes most shops as dealing with problems that fall into two buckets: money and time. Ready to claw back some of each? Let’s go!
THE MONEY BUCKET
Your money bucket contains your revenue. Unbeknownst to many small business owners but knownst to us, almost every money bucket has some leaks in it. Some of them are small; some are…not small. Often owners just aren’t aware that they’re losing money on this or that.
Some of the ways you’re losing money include:
You’re losing money when you don’t pass on fees to your customers. Here’s an example everyone will recognize: pretty much every credit card processor charges you a fee for the privilege of using their service. That fee is probably small (between 2-3%), but tack it on to every payment you process and…well, it does add up to a chunk of change.
Solution: Pass those fees on to customers.
Let your customers help you. To continue with the credit card charges, you multiply the fee times your transaction and add it to every invoice. Boom, fee covered. You can also pass on fees for shop supplies. By the way, Fullbay will soon be able to pass on fees for you—stand by for more information about that!
Are you eyeballing your parts situation and just guessing at how you should mark them up? That’s probably money walking out the door. Are you tracking parts at all? You may also be missing inventory that sneaks away on a truck or is just sitting in a bin—out of sight, out of mind.
Solution: Make sure your shop is configured correctly!
Manage those parts, friends! Set your minimums and maximums on your inventory—especially setting any blanket margins or markups that you want for types of parts or parts that fall within a certain price scale. (Yes, Fullbay lets you do this!) In addition, performing cycle counts can help you make sure everything in your parts room is actually accounted for.
When you purchase a part, or collect an old one (say, replacing a battery), you can get a rebate on that part. Basically, when you buy a new core, the supplier will offer you a credit—but that credit is only good when you return the dirty part. Some shops just don’t bother. You probably have a lot of cores coming through your shop. Like the credit card processing fees, that ultimately adds up to a lot of money.
Solution: Manage your cores!
Managing your cores means turning over old cores or parts for recycling. You want to make sure you’re getting all those rebates.
Ignoring your sales engine
Are you just waiting for work to arrive instead of proactively arranging it? Sacré bleu! You might as well prop open your wallet and say, TAKE ALL MY MONEY.
Solution: Get PM work!
If you’re not picking up PM work yet, now is the best time to start! An easy place to begin is by looking at DOT and oil change schedules for specific units and get those things scheduled out. Fullbay makes it easy to schedule PMs (we even have a series dedicated to helping you secure that kind of work!).
Psst…if you have Fullbay, you have a secret weapon in all this: the pending repair. If a driver finds an issue during their DVIR, they send that information to their fleet manager, and that manager will add it to Fullbay as a pending repair. You or your service manager take a look at Fullbay, see the request, and get it scheduled.
Your secret weapons: Third-party integrations
We wouldn’t conclude this section without giving a shout-out to FleetNet America and Interstate Billing Service. They won’t plug a leaky bucket; instead, they’re a good way to grow revenue on your own.
Well, the number one way to boost your shop is…wait for it…cashflow. You need money to hire techs, expand your number of bays, and open new locations. IBS pays out your invoices and handles the associated accounts receivable right through Fullbay. And FleetNet, well, they need no introduction—just know that emergency service lets you help a driver out and provides a new revenue stream.
THE TIME BUCKET
OK—now you have some great ideas around how to boost your shop’s revenue.
But the extra money is only half the equation. Louis also had some thoughts to share around time. No, we can’t give you more than 24 hours a day, but we can show you how to maximize those 24 hours.
Configure global services.
You can program global services and parts kits into Fullbay—basically laying out everything that needs to be done for that job. An oil change, for example, could include five different subtasks. So as you’re putting together your service order, you tag the “oil change” and save yourself the time you’d otherwise spend entering all those steps.
It’s the same story with parts kits. If you know you’ll be needing certain parts with a certain kind of job, you plug those in once and BAM! Every time you do that particular job on that type of vehicle, you can add the parts kit ahead of time.
Turn on GPS locations.
Even if you generally know where a vehicle is, finding its exact location will always save you time. Imagine your service tech arriving at a giant fleet yard and spending minutes or hours looking for one truck among many. Now extrapolate that by however many yards the tech needs to visit in a day.
Time is money. Why not make your mobile techs’ lives easier and let them be even more efficient? Fullbay’s Samsara integration (among a few other GPS partners) will help your techs get to their intended jobs much faster and knock out more jobs in a day.
Get the right tools.
A lot of shops lean on their veteran techs to help them train newcomers…except those veterans are going to retire one day. And they still have to work, too—you can’t just put them in charge of bringing up apprentices.
Enter tools like the MOTOR integration. Troubleshooting guides, wiring diagrams, and more are a huge help in teaching new techs how to diagnose and repair a vehicle with a problem. They’re helpful to established techs, too, and things like labor guides can help you establish or update your rates.
We sing this song a lot at Fullbay, so we won’t go too far down the rabbit hole today. But getting invoices out quickly remains a challenging task for a lot of shops. The faster you invoice, the faster you get paid. If you fall weeks behind…then you’re weeks behind on getting paid.
Fullbay makes invoicing a snap. ’Nuff said.
Accept service requests online.
Imagine it. A customer lands on your website. Actually, because you or Dieselmatic did a bang-up job with your website, you’ve got lots of customers landing on it. Those customers are so impressed by your layout, services, and good reviews that they want to book service immediately.
So they flood your phone lines.
(This is not good.)
Make sure your website allows customers to schedule a service request. It spares your phone lines and whoever you would press into answering them.
THIS GOT SHAMELESS REAL QUICK, DIDN’T IT?
Whew! That’s a lot of information. If you’re a Fullbay user, you might have already been nodding along with these buckets and suggestions. If you’re not, and you’re now frantically wondering how much revenue is spilling out of your buckets every day…well, why not get in touch? We push a lot of information out there in our ongoing quest to make life better for those in the commercial diesel industry, but you can claw back a lot of time and revenue when you let our app do some of the work for you.
Head over to our demo page and schedule a guided tour, and get those buckets refilled!