1.) Keep track of your inventory.
Automotive shop software can keep track of all your inventory, you are able to print out an inventory report and really see what you have in your shops inventory. You wont have to go though the guess work of what is in inventory and what is not. We have heard so many stories of shops accidently selling parts to customers that they dont actually have in their shop. That takes them more time to go out and make a parts run and get the parts they sold. When you can keep track of your parts, it saves you time, in turn saving you money.
2.) Write Work Orders
Most auto shop softwares out there will give you the ability to write work orders and estimates, but all are diffrent. When looking at auto shop softwares, you need to look at both function and ease of use. You can have just function, but if you are spending 10 minutes looking for the print button, its not the software for you. As well as if you dont have the nessessary ways to add parts and tasks onto the work order, its equally useless. When you find a good balance of function and ease of use, you found a good shop software for you and your business.
3.) Nessessary Interfaces
No shop software is going to have all the utilites you need for your shop. The key is to find one that makes a seamless interface with the applications you need. If you use Quickbooks, then you should start looking for a software that intefaces with Quickbooks. When it comes to parts ordering, if you find your self ording parts from a lot of suppliers online, you sould be looking for a autshop program that gives you the ability to order parts though IAP, NAPA, and so on. Parts and Labor estimators are important to, be sure to have a shop program that can seamlessly interfacve with a parts and labor estimator.
4.) Built-in Time Clock
A built in Time Clock is another importatn factor when choosing a shop management program. A place where you techs and clock in and out of jobs and tasks. This will save many hours of manually adding up timesheets. This also helps with your labor rate that when a tech clocks into a job, it starts it and you can find out how much money you are making in real time for the task the tech is clocked into.
5.) Service Tracking
In reguards to service tracking, it is best to have a system that can keep track of both customers and vehicles seperatly and together. Information is power when it comes to running a shop. The more you know, about your customers and vehicles, the better business decsions you can make. When you can make informed decisions, your will see your business grow.
6.) Built in Marketing
Having some marketing tools built into your program are a huge bonus, for bring customers back into your shop. There are full blown email marketing programs out there like MailChimp and Constant Contact, they are great tools to build a great looking email. but in order to get the emails to send, you need a shop program that and extrct email with ease. If you find a shop program that has the ability to send post cards and text messages that is even better. Find out what works best for your shop, and go with the best ROI (Return on investment).