A Quick Switch to a New Auto Shop Software Boosts ARO 23%
In many ways, Precision Imports broke all the rules when its owners set up their shop in rural Minnesota. For example, their customers drive 45 minutes from the closest cities for service in a shop that is lined with pine. And the service advisor setting up accounts in auto shop software didn’t know how to quote a brake job.
However, these choices all paid off as they run a successful business with loyal customers and high rates of referrals.
In the beginning
Tony Ringham graduated at the top of his class at Universal Technical Institute in Chicago and at the Mercedes-Benz Star certification graduate program. He worked as a tech at a dealership then started wrenching for family and friends closer to home. Next, he opened Precision Imports with three bays in 2006.
Today, the shop has:
- 2 techs (plus Tony and wishing for one more)
- 5 bays
- 4 lifts
The shop specializes in Sprinter vans and European and Asian imports. When it expanded, Tony built the interior with silver steel and pine to make it bright and deaden noise.
Meanwhile, his wife Jennifer worked in operations in the manufacturing sector, handling inventory planning and management. When she joined the shop in 2018, she quickly learned the jobs of service writer, parts manager, workflow specialist, car porter, marketing director, and more.
However, the shop has just reached the point where they hired a new service writer, freeing up her time to focus on the overall business.
They credit their steady and rapid growth since 2018 to:
- Offering mechanical expertise
- Expanding training
- Creating better organization and processes
- Using the most up-to-date automotive maintenance and repair tools
Finding the best auto shop software
All along, Tony relied mostly on Bosch parts due to their quality. He also used an old software that he knew well but felt second nature to him. However, Jennifer found it ancient and clunky due to the new modules tacked onto it.
As she read an email from Bosch one day, she noticed a message about Shop-Ware in the signature. “It was just the right timing,” she says. “I clicked on it and started watching the videos. I was pretty much hooked from the beginning.”
As the new person in the shop, she was nervous to share it with the techs at first. However, they responded positively to the change.
Having worked with other software transitions in her past role, Jennifer braced for stressful days. Yet, with Shop-Ware the training materials made it easy to switch. The team invested the time to watch videos together and adopted the automotive shop software without any major hiccups.
“It’s the best onboarding process I’ve had with any software,” Jennifer says. “They knew I was a busy shop owner and they knew the steps we had to take. As a result, it didn’t tie up hours of my time.”
Before vs. After Shop-Ware’s auto repair software
Jennifer had already realized that she created a bottleneck by calling every person and walking them through ROs line by line. Now, she sends the information digitally to save clients time when they are also busy at work.
As a bonus, customers pay remotely more often so she doesn’t have to chase them for thousands of dollars.
“Showing customers WHY a repair cost $1,800 adds a level of comfort we didn’t have before,” she adds.
Since signing on with Shop-Ware in December 2020, Jennifer has seen these changes in year-to-date KPIs from 2021 and 2022:
- ARO rose 23% to $974
- Billed hours up 6% to 4,101
- Revenue up 13% to $1,105,693
- Gross Profit % rose 57.1% (5% higher)
- Parts Gross Profit up 10% to 49.2%
- Car count dropped by 9% to 1,135
A lower car count works for them since they tend to work on fewer cars with a median ARO of $3,000. Since their customers come from St. Cloud and the Twin Cities, the shop doesn’t do a lot of small services.
Now that Jennifer knows the industry better, she focuses more on improving the business through her fresh eyes. She spends time looking at the key metrics (listed above) recommended by her DRIVE coach.
She has set up her analytics to email the reports to her to stay on track. This step remains vital as she expects the economy to cool as people put off repairs due to higher inflation.
Blown away by the auto repair software support team
Jennifer calls herself “Shop-Ware’s biggest fan” due to her appreciation for the shop management software support team. She always hears back when she calls, often with screen captures to respond to her specific questions.
“I have never had such thorough and fast responses from any support team,” she says. “Just last week, I was totally satisfied with the response, but the support agent followed up with more information a few days later. When does that ever happen when you’re dealing with a company?”
She also pays it forward to offering tips to new Shop-Ware clients, based on what she has learned so far.
Get the latest in your inbox.
15 minutes will transform your shop.
Demo the industry’s leading shop management technology.