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The 7 Basic Steps Of The Auto Repair Process

The 7 Basic Steps Of The Auto Repair Process
Without them, your employees don’t know what comes next and how to effectively perform their jobs.
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Take a Quick TourThe process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.

Whether or not we realize it, each shop has a similar workflow process. Like many areas of life, we think that we are all unique in our business strategy. However, reality is we are all very similar, our differences lie in management styles. Our attitude and approach, from employees and customers, defines how we achieve success. The process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.Your employees are your team, and that’s exactly the best way to approach your business. When you look at employees as team members and not as just “the new guy/girl” or “Jack the mechanic who never combs his hair”… everyone’s attitude begins to change.

The process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.

Whether or not we realize it, each shop has a similar workflow process. Like many areas of life, we think that we are all unique in our business strategy. However, reality is we are all very similar, our differences lie in management styles. Our attitude and approach, from employees and customers, defines how we achieve success. 
 
The process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.
Your employees are your team, and that’s exactly the best way to approach your business. When you look at employees as team members and not as just “the new guy/girl” or “Jack the mechanic who never combs his hair”… everyone’s attitude begins to change.
The 7 Basic Steps Through The Process Are:
Check In
When receiving a vehicle from a customer, it usually arrives one of three ways. The customer stops in unannounced, the vehicle has broken down and is towed in, or the customer has made an appointment. Once the vehicle has been checked in, regardless of the circumstance, it is then assigned to a technician.
When receiving a vehicle from a customer, it usually arrives one of three ways. The customer stops in unannounced, the vehicle has broken down and is towed in, or the customer has made an appointment. Once the vehicle has been checked in, regardless of the circumstance, it is then assigned to a technician.
Inspection
The most underrated and overlooked element of taking possession of a vehicle is the failure to properly inspect it. We detested the idea of “selling” customers and performing vehicle inspections without verifiable data. It made us feel like salesman instead of service advisers. At the Founder’s facility we weren’t too keen on wasting paper through inspection sheets, so we verbally communicated and/or emailed a lot of our findings to customers prior to building CAR.
The most underrated and overlooked element of taking possession of a vehicle is the failure to properly inspect it. We detested the idea of “selling” customers and performing vehicle inspections without verifiable data. It made us feel like salesman instead of service advisers. At the Founder’s facility we weren’t too keen on wasting paper through inspection sheets, so we verbally communicated and/or emailed a lot of our findings to customers prior to building CAR.
Estimate Building
The most crucial element in the entire process. An accurate estimate will save everyone time and prepare the customer for what they may come to expect. As a rule of thumb, we recommend being as thorough as possible in your notes while building estimates. This allows some room for unforeseen problems that may arise.
The most crucial element in the entire process. An accurate estimate will save everyone time and prepare the customer for what they may come to expect. As a rule of thumb, we recommend being as thorough as possible in your notes while building estimates. This allows some room for unforeseen problems that may arise.
Customer Authorization
Without verbal or written authorization (each state varies, check your local laws), you can not and should not ever perform work on a customer’s vehicle. It is unethical to skip this step.
Without verbal or written authorization (each state varies, check your local laws), you can not and should not ever perform work on a customer’s vehicle. It is unethical to skip this step.
Work In Progress
Once authorized, the technician can now start the job as the estimate has been written. Under most circumstances, there are not many changes made to an estimate. Most changes usually revolve around unforeseen circumstances and/or hardships encountered. However, anything over 5% of the original estimate should be clearly communicated to limit misunderstandings.
Once authorized, the technician can now start the job as the estimate has been written. Under most circumstances, there are not many changes made to an estimate. Most changes usually revolve around unforeseen circumstances and/or hardships encountered. However, anything over 5% of the original estimate should be clearly communicated to limit misunderstandings.
Completion
Once a service is completed, the service adviser should review with the technician that nothing was forgotten. In this instance they should also check that there are no grease marks left on any body panels, no debris from the repair and/or dirty and messy interiors from work done on/in the vehicle. Vehicles should always be returned in the cleanest manner feasible.
Once a service is completed, the service adviser should review with the technician that nothing was forgotten. In this instance they should also check that there are no grease marks left on any body panels, no debris from the repair and/or dirty and messy interiors from work done on/in the vehicle. Vehicles should always be returned in the cleanest manner feasible.
Follow Up
After major repairs, it is always good to personally follow up with customers. This shows that you care. In general, it’s good practice to follow up with every customer and try to get feedback about their experience.
After major repairs, it is always good to personally follow up with customers. This shows that you care. In general, it’s good practice to follow up with every customer and try to get feedback about their experience.Looking To Open Up An Auto Repair Facility?
We’ve all been there, tired and frustrated with our boss.  You get the feeling that you can absolutely do this better than they can… and you want to do this better than they do it.  So you start to dream about what it would be like if you ran your own auto facility. Funny thing about our dreams, they don’t account for the brick walls you’ll run into.  Lucky for you and your dreams, we account for quite a few of them in this article. 
We are going to lay out the challenges, that we are aware of, that ‘soon to be shop owners’ may face and need to consider.  Please note that our experience, is from a densely populated area, local laws might make it harder or easier to accomplish some or all of these tasks.  This is meant to be used as a guide on what to expect and the type of research to do when trying to open a shop in your local area.
Where It All Starts

Budget:  All of this costs money to start.  The less you plan for, the more expensive things get. You can save significant time and money finding an existing facility that is abandoned or is for sale already and has the equipment you need to get you started.
Patience:  Nothing happens at the speed of light these days, unless you’re using CAR on your mobile device.  A lot of time is spent waiting on the input or response of others. Pick a method to manage all of the tasks.  We outline how to build a team with your gmail account. You can also organize everything in your plan to open a business with Gmail using the same logic to track tasks, save documents and have mobile access to everything.
Research: You want to survive the first 5 years?  Get used to asking a ton of questions, to anyone who will help you or hear you out.  Ask questions about everything, and most importantly… ask yourself and do your own homework.

 
Questions to consider asking yourself, others, and/or Google:

How many shops are in a 4 mile radius?
What’s the population in the 3 surrounding towns, plus the one I’m in?
How many households?
How much money do I have for this investment into my future? The sub questions here are insane.  What’s my projected monthly expenses? How long can I survive after having setup the business?
Are there other people I can partner with in this endeavor?
Does this location have parking?
What’s the crime like in this area?
What’s the traffic like? Go there, morning, noon and night… get to know your potential new neighborhood before you sign on the dotted line.

Now that the easy stuff is out of the way.  Let’s dig in.
Your Team

Let me start by saying, they are not your employees. Treat them as such and they will treat it as a job not a career. I can’t stress how important this aspect it.  The world is changing at an alarming rate and this industry is no exception right now.  If you want to ensure longevity you need to prepare to share the burden and some of the benefits, in order to attract employees that build a team.
A lot of people let their ego drive their initiative to do more.  Sometimes it can work out but more often than not, it burns people out and you’re left alone wondering why you can’t “find good help”.  As a business owner, I made the choice to involve our team members in all company decisions. This doesn’t mean they have the final say, this means they have a say.  When your team members have a say, they are more vested in everyone’s success.
In addition, we are going to make an assumption here.  We need to in order to provide a good example. We are going to assume that you, the person reading this article, have technician experience and you want to open a shop because you can and will do things better.  First, congrats. That feeling is amazing. Second, research till you question everything…. THEN, execute.
If you are the good technician, you are going to need at least ONE more team member to start.  That team member will inevitably become the shop manager if you can do this correctly. Here are the responsibilities that you are NOT aware of as a technician.

Who’s going to answer phones?
Who’s going to monitor your social media?
Who’s going to deal with happy and/or irate customers?
Who’s going to follow through on parts orders?
Who’s going to make estimates and get customer authorizations?
Who’s going to keep your paperwork in order so you can review it on weekends?

If you’re a technician and you’re serious about opening up a business in this industry in today’s world… the very first hire needs to be someone who is going to keep the business moving, according to your vision.  You can not focus on being great at repair and running a front office. You can try to do both for a while, but you will eventually burn yourself out. The amount of mental energy it takes for you to switch from one role to the next, is exhausting beyond measure.
Your team and your vision to build this team… is your greatest long term asset. Please note, this is not the definitive guide on how to open an auto repair business. This is merely a guide to get you to start thinking about the things you will need to worry about to run a successful business in nearly every industry… but especially the auto repair industry.The process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.
Your employees are your team, and that’s exactly the best way to approach your business. When you look at employees as team members and not as just “the new guy/girl” or “Jack the mechanic who never combs his hair”… everyone’s attitude begins to change.
Being a part of a team is a mindset that everyone ‘shares in the responsibility’, everyone is accountable for their role and if one person fails… everyone has failed. This mindset is used to build all types of companies, some of which end up being valued into the billions of dollars. Teams help each other pick up the slack and work with one another to get through personal and professional barriers.  
The most important thing to remember about the team, is that everyone can have a bad day, week, month or even months. We are all human and too often we forget everyone is going through something. The team element opens the door to communication among the facility and if people are comfortable enough to communicate, they are open to moving past whatever ails them. We are all too quick to give up on someone we have invested an immense amount of time and energy training to our standards.  With the right team, dedication is matched on all ends, resulting in happy customers that not only return… they refer.  Which lowers acquisition costs and keeps business growth healthy.
You can read more about team building here and we also encourage you to search for ideas on team building and how to achieve the optimal team at your auto repair facility. 
Being a part of a team is a mindset that everyone ‘shares in the responsibility’, everyone is accountable for their role and if one person fails… everyone has failed. This mindset is used to build all types of companies, some of which end up being valued into the billions of dollars. Teams help each other pick up the slack and work with one another to get through personal and professional barriers.  
The most important thing to remember about the team, is that everyone can have a bad day, week, month or even months. We are all human and too often we forget everyone is going through something. The team element opens the door to communication among the facility and if people are comfortable enough to communicate, they are open to moving past whatever ails them. We are all too quick to give up on someone we have invested an immense amount of time and energy training to our standards.  With the right team, dedication is matched on all ends, resulting in happy customers that not only return… they refer.  Which lowers acquisition costs and keeps business growth healthy.
You can read more about team building here and we also encourage you to search for ideas on team building and how to achieve the optimal team at your auto repair facility. As for the second element… it’s no secret that we’re trying to encourage you to open your mind to more capable systems presently available, including our own auto repair software, CAR. You shouldn’t let our bias towards CAR, the most awesome auto repair software 😉 , deter you from seeking a better option for your service facility. There are many services available that can help you achieve a stable and lucrative auto repair business, each of them with their own process that may or may not help you.  Ultimately, you need to evaluate your process and see where your bottlenecks are and if there is software that helps you ease through them.  The process of the auto repair software you ultimately choose, is what makes the process between owner, employees, and customers completely seamless. CAR was founded with a flow that replicates the 7 steps of the repair process outlined above. Learn the difference about what it’s like to have auto repair software that works for you and not against you. 

As for the second element… it’s no secret that we’re trying to encourage you to open your mind to more capable systems presently available, including our own auto repair software, CAR. You shouldn’t let our bias towards CAR, the most awesome auto repair software 😉 , deter you from seeking a better option for your service facility.
There are many services available that can help you achieve a stable and lucrative auto repair business, each of them with their own process that may or may not help you.  Ultimately, you need to evaluate your process and see where your bottlenecks are and if there is software that helps you ease through them.  The process of the auto repair software you ultimately choose, is what makes the process between owner, employees, and customers completely seamless. 
CAR was founded with a flow that replicates the 7 steps of the repair process outlined above. Learn the difference about what it’s like to have auto repair software that works for you and not against you.