Setting up your new shop for success with ALLDATA Shop Manager
Starting a new shop from the ground up is no easy endeavor. Finding a location, purchasing equipment, and hiring the right people can be a long and tedious process. But before you open your doors for business, it’s important to have all your ducks in a row. You have to confirm you’re compliant to your local and state laws, and also make sure you have the right tools in place for your shop to succeed – especially financially. While ALLDATA Repair may be your go-to system for factory service information and labor times, you’ll also need something to keep track of your invoices and how much money your business is making. When first setting up your shop, you have a few options when it comes to invoicing.
Before starting with paper, consider all the requirements
The first option is paper invoices. This may seem like an easy way of getting up and running. Many shops go this route thinking that they’ll just use paper invoices temporarily, only to later end up using these paper tickets for years. By then, switching to a digital invoicing system may seem too difficult because of the vast amount of paper documents kept on file. So, before going this route, it’s important to weigh the options.
Newer systems like ALLDATA Shop Manager offer a simple layout and interface that makes it easy for anyone to create an estimate, repair order or invoice and, in the case of Shop Manager, allow you to start your estimate from the ALLDATA Repair ‘Parts and Labor’ screen that you’re already familiar using
This includes keeping to your local and state laws, as they can also be easier to follow when using a digital system. For example, in states like California, customers are entitled to a written estimate, and a signature is required to authorize the start of the work. This can make paper tickets inconvenient, not to mention expensive, depending on the size of your shop and number of invoices you have to write on a monthly basis. In addition to this, the IRS requires most types of businesses to retain financial documents for at least three years for tax purposes. These paper documents will then have to be filed and stored in an organized manner, which means you’ll have to keep plenty of room for filing cabinets in your shop.
Digital alternatives save time and space
Digital invoices, on the other hand, are the norm for most new shops. Newer systems like ALLDATA Shop Manager offer a simple layout and interface that makes it easy for anyone to create an estimate, repair order or invoice and, in the case of Shop Manager, allow you to start your estimate from the ALLDATA Repair ‘Parts and Labor’ screen that you’re already familiar using. By using a shop management system, you’ll be able to keep track of all of your revenue in real time as you close out invoices. This gives you better visibility on how well your shop is doing, without having to total-up paper invoices over the last week or month. In addition to being able to keep track of your financial info, you’re also able to provide a better service to your customers. First by keeping track of all of your customer’s information and invoice history, which is vital for warranty information as well as making sure you are offering the correct service and maintenance next time they visit your shop, but also by giving you the ability to send an estimate or invoice via email.
Setting up a shop management system may seem like a monumental undertaking, especially when compared to paper repair orders and invoices; however it’s important to keep in mind that what may be a convenient now will become an impediment in the future. By investing in the right tools today, you’ll be setting your business up for success in the future.