How Automotive Repair Business Software Freed This Shop Owner
Five years ago, whenever Patrick Horan took time off from his shop’s front counter, he lost money. That inspired him to invest in staff and automotive repair business software, boosting his sales by $50,000 per month.
Now, he plans to take a second shop to new heights, thanks to Shop-Ware’s shop management software.
Taking over from Dick
Patrick grew up in his father Dick’s shop, Precision Imports in Manchester, New Hampshire. Dick ran the shop from 1980 to 2015, then his son carried on his legacy. Patrick worked as the sole service writer, lining up $150,000 worth of sales per month for four techs.
Then his future wife Christina got breast cancer and he started taking her to chemotherapy treatments. “Every day I went, I lost money,” Patrick says. “I learned I had to restructure the business.”
Over the next year, he built a team that allowed him to step away for doctor visits and his honeymoon too. One of his techs moved to the front counter to work beside a friend who had worked at a BMW dealership advisor.
At this point, Patrick had more time to focus on running the overall business. At a Ratchet & Wrench training event, he learned the value of standard operating procedures (SOPs). Soon, he and his service advisors spend their nights together writing their own.
These SOPs rolled out to the techs, who added their input and soon the shop ran with solid consistency. At first, staff met weekly for customer service training however it has now scaled back to monthly sessions.
“Now, we all think alike,” Patrick says. “It’s easier for everyone to make decisions since they don’t have to ask me.”
The role of automotive repair business software
Next, Patrick decided to give up on the shop’s auto repair software that he had never liked. He looked around and shortlisted Shop-Ware and Tekmetic in 2019. Shop-Ware won out for these reasons and more:
- It offered plenty of training as part of the onboarding process.
- Service advisors could start an RO in seconds. That way, techs don’t have to wait to start the repairs.
- The auto repair software offered multiple ways to approach tasks.
- Techs type their notes so service advisors can easily read the messages.
- The digital inspection process delivers far more accurately.
- The shop uses one ream of paper a month instead of once a week.
He also wanted cloud-based car repair programs so he could work anywhere. “I had a newborn coming and I wanted to be home to help out when I could,” he says.
Likewise, customers can check the status of repairs by clicking on a url, even if they are seniors who are not tech savvy. That level of transparency allows them to double check what’s happening on the hoist or to ask for additional repairs.
A friend with multiple shops showed Patrick how to switch between tabs for each shop without logging in and out. “It’s super easy to toggle back and forth,” Patrick says.
By 2019, Precision hit record numbers of minimum $200,000 per month while using various features of auto shop software. With less to do at the shop, Patrick felt bored.
Buying a second shop
In January 2021, Autoworks Foreign and Domestic Service owner Stephen Kosacz called to wish Dick Horan a happy birthday. Instead, he ended on the phone with Patrick, talking about his exit strategy.
Now in his 70s, Stephen had started his shop in 1976. He wanted someone with a high degree of professionalism, integrity and positive energy to take over his 45-year legacy.
The next weekend, Patrick traveled 47 miles to Kittery, Maine and decided to buy the shop. The deal closed just as his wife finished her second round of chemotherapy treatments since her cancer had returned.
Immediately, he installed Shop-Ware’s automotive repair business software so both shops run on the same shop management system. Thanks to the robust training, his staff could use all the features of the auto shop software from Day One.
At this point, the shops have these monthly statistics in June:
AROs of $665
Car count of 346 at the original shop
$230,000 in sales at that location
173 cars per month at the Kittery shop due to shortage of two techs
$118,000 in sales at the second location Kittery in June
“If we had full staff, we’d be blowing by that number,” Patrick says. “We could do $200,000 per month.”
Soon, he expects his first shop to reach the target of $250,000 per month.
Always learning about auto repair software
These days, Patrick works three days in Kittery, one in Manchester and one at home.
He continues to learn via the Shop Fix Academy’s Pro Group and the Transformers Institute.
“You cannot do it by yourself,” he notes. “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
He also believes strongly in having a great work culture and team environment.
“You’d be nowhere without your employees,” Patrick says. “You need great staff. I certainly cannot do it without my key staff members. They make it all work. I’m just helping them along.”
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