Software is a tool, using the wrong one,
costs more time and money!
It’s funny, that the article we thought would be the easiest to write, has been the one that is proving to be the hardest. I mean, we make some pretty awesome auto repair software… so, what else do you need? Well, after some serious thought, we all use A LOT of software at our auto repair facilities each day. So we are going to touch on some of the most important aspects that each software should have and how to make the best decision for you, your business, the team at your service facility, and your customers.
So to start, let us think about all the software that you use right now and how much it might be costing you.
Desktop Operating Software:
Sadly most outdated vehicle repair software requires Windows in order to work. While there are strides being made in advancing access from Windows programs to Web applications, many repair facilities NEED Windows because of the vehicle repair software they are accustomed to. So, the majority of shops relying on that outdated infrastructure are running Windows PC’s. We’ve seen some shops still running unsupported versions of Windows, like Windows XP, but we’ll touch up on that in a later article.
Within each desktop, regardless of their actual setup, each shop needs the following to function at minimum: web browser (Firefox & Chrome - free), calculator (included), basic word processing (Microsoft Office - not free for anyone or Google Docs - not free for business, but there are free options available).
- Basic Windows PC’s - $400 gets the job done, albeit slowly with outdated hardware and likely a refurbished machine. But, a savvy shopper can get something decent for that price point with an updated version of Windows.
- Chromebooks - $300++ Not a bad option, but it means you must not rely on any Windows software to run your shop.
- Mac - Starts @ $800 and if you want to run Windows software, it’s going to get more expensive… fast.
Now that you have the basics, let’s discuss what you need to operate effectively and what you can expect to pay.
Vehicle Repair Software:
- All Data - Minimum of $160 per month for Repair Information
- Mitchell - Minimum of $160 per month for Repair Information
- Identifix - Minimum of $160 per month for Repair Information
- Motor - Minimum of $100 per month for Repair Information
So all of the above items are the largest players in the field of repair information, without them you can’t get a broad swath of repair information to be prepared for anything that comes into your shop.
You can however, prepare differently if your shop has a narrow focus. For instance, if you only work on General Motors vehicle, you can buy their Service information separately. Direct from General Motors that subscription can cost you $150 per month or $1200 for the year. You can read more about manufacturers and their independent subscriptions here.
Auto Repair Software:
So after learning how to fix each vehicle, you still have to invoice your customer for the work you’re doing. If you’re anything like our founder, you want accurate records to avoid potential liability nightmares in the future. Accurate records means that the very least you have to be able to take pictures of problems areas and perform a digital vehicle inspection. We are setting the bar pretty low here, but we want you to see what this does financially.
For nearly all non cloud based auto repair software, and even some cloud based systems, you MUST have an additional component like Bolt On or AutoVitals added to the already existing subscription to get pictures and digital vehicle inspections. Both Bolt On & Auto Vitals are Shop Management Enhancement Suites, neither of them are invoicing platforms and each of them requires a separate invoicing platform, you can not bill a customer with either of those platforms. You can only use them as an “add on” components to existing shop processes with already bloated software options, in our opinion. Neither All Data Manage or Mitchell Manager are mobile and utilizing one system is difficult enough sometimes, let alone using one system to invoice and another to add bells and whistles.
- All Data Repair & All Data Manage with Bolt On OR AutoVitals - Starting @ $700 per month.
- Mitchell On Demand & Mitchell Manager SE With Bolt on OR Auto Vitals - Starting @ $700 per month.
AutoVitals & Bolt On are amazing systems within their own right. Each tackles a specific shop and/or consumer aspect that All Data and Mitchell ultimately fail at. However… you’re paying more for ancillary parts of the business, than you’re paying for everything else. A pretty steep price if you ask us.
With CAR, you get a good mix of each system in a single platform. We are constantly working to advance our service suite but we feel we have a strong offering that is completely mobile.
Our auto repair software, CAR, tackles the following elements at a base price of $50 per month:
- Digital Vehicle Inspections
- Integrated Parts Ordering
- Vendor & Resource Management
- Overdue Reports & Payment Reminders
- Direct Email Marketing
- Built In Reviews
- Full Mobility From ANY Internet Enabled Device - That $200 Samsung Tablet? WORKS PERFECT. No special hardware requirements other than updated software suites.
- Appointment Bookings
- Customer Authorization
For $100 a month you can add:
- Employee Management - Complete with time tracking abilities for each and every job
- Individual Logins
- Complete Employee Control Over System Access
As you can see, we feel that we offer a strong and competitive product that enables you to grow your business and can grow with your business. Everyone reading this presently pays more for their cell phone bill than you can pay for software that runs your business and communicates with your customer.
What are you waiting for to adapt at your shop? The future is now and failing to adapt only seals your fate as a business owner.
In case you missed how we started this 4 part series, we wanted to open your mind to what it’s like to run a business in 2018. This is focused on the auto repair industry, but there is plenty here that can be applied forward to help other businesses get off the ground and noticed locally. Even though the businesses may differ significantly, the challenges of getting noticed and operating efficiently are similar.