Valuable Resources for Running a Smooth and Profitable Shop
You know how to fix cars but tinkering with your business model requires a whole new level of expertise. What is the right way to calculate gross profit? Who offers the best real-time labor guide for your staff? How much should you ring up in payroll costs?
Thankfully, there is one place to go and find those answers without investing hours surfing the internet. Tom Ham, President of Automotive Management Network, outlined the services his organization offers on auto repair shop management via a recent webinar.
The site started as a forum 18 years ago and grew into a comprehensive resource for more than 15,200 members. Since then, it has become a hub for everything from business metrics to the proper procedure for putting on a lug nut.
“I love efficiency, simplicity and taking the difficulties out of running a repair shop to just make it easier for everybody,” Tom says.
What You’ll Find on the Automotive Management Network
The content is highly searchable and includes:
- Policies that you can download and customize
- Procedures to make each technician more efficient and profitable
- Tips on how to find the right location for your next shop
- Original articles based on tried-and-true shop experiences
- Shop management tips, including suggested labor rates
- Key metrics to share to motivate your staff
- Resource directories for finance, insurance, equipment, website design, 20 Groups of automobile dealers with similar business models, etc.
- An events calendar – for in-house training and more
- A seven-page summary of how to make your shop look more welcoming to customers
- A photo gallery of what other shops design for their waiting areas, signs, etc.
The photo gallery includes this image of a billboard pointing to a shop so customers can find it more easily.
Tom adds it helps independent shop owners who don’t belong to a larger group they can consult with. For new shop owners, the Network has calculators and key business numbers with explanations of what each one means for your bottom line. It also provides materials to train new employees.
Most content is free but you pay for what Tom calls “some of the coolest features.” He says a monthly premium membership costs less than the cost of an oil change on a car. The site also translates into more than 20 languages via a bottom at the bottom of the screen.
The Network also posts regular survey results to offer an overview of industry standards. For example, Tom asked if shops charge for a brake inspection and discovered four out of 10 do not.
“The results often surprise me,” he says. “These are the questions that go through my mind in the middle of night so I turn them into a survey the next day.”
So far, he has published 113 surveys and welcomes questions for the next ones.
“I believe you feel more comfortable making your decision after you’ve got some input like that,” Tom adds.
With 160 to 170 articles on a range of topics from tools to scheduling solutions, The Network aims to remain unbiased because it is not selling, training or coaching anyone.
“We’re not trying to shift you in a certain direction,” Tom says. “We just give you information so you can shift yourself in the direction that you need to go…We put it all in one place to save you some time.”
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