Update Your Auto Repair Business | Step Five: Shop Hardware
There has been a rapid spike in the automotive industry in regards to its new focus in making their cars more and more hi-tech. While this is great for vehicle owners it is an added pressure on auto repair shop owners to make sure they are equipped with the right hardware to take on the unique jobs of these newer models. Not only that, there are a ton of tools you can be stocking your shop with, to improve efficiency and accuracy of jobs from beginning to end. In this fast paced society today it is important to be ready to step up to the plate with the right tools in hand.The first step to improve your shops efficiency is to purchase a code reader or a scanner. Though there are some similarities, a code reader is usually cheaper than a scanner but is limited to the ability to view what codes appear of a certain function in the vehicle and then being able to clear that code. On the other hand, you have a wide variety of functions with the scanner; whether you are testing, running diagnostics, or doing other tasks the scanner will have you covered. Not only this, scanners usually provide access codes and problems in the ABS system, traction control, and other systems in a customers vehicle. While you will be saving money purchasing a reader opposed to a scanner, you will be able to get through jobs much faster if you spend the extra money and buy a scanner.Another thing you will need for running diagnostics is a scope. Now, scopes come in a wide variety of capabilities and prices. On the lower end of the price/ability spectrum you could get a car stethoscope which allows you to listen in on different parts of the vehicle to be able to diagnose where the problems lie, these can run anywhere from $10-$60 but, don’t allow you to actually view what is going on inside the vehicle. On the other side of things, if you want to reduce the amount of guesswork, parts you’re replacing, and overall time on a job you can invest in a PicoScope. While the upfront cost is astronomically more expensive than the stethoscope (a PicoScope can run you well over $1,000) you have to consider how much money you will be saving from not having to unnecessarily use parts on guesswork. Also factor in the increased revenue your business will be able to bring in by quickly and accurately identify problems in a vehicle, finish the job, and get another vehicle in the shop. If you are a new shop and are trying to really pinch pennies initially, a vehicle stethoscope is definitely a smart start as you build your business. However, as you grow and bring in more revenue it is definitely wise to purchase a more advanced scope as you will have the ability to bring on more jobs and launch your shop into a whole other gear. Lastly, an important thing you are going to need to boost your shops efficiency is having a diagnostic cart. The first and most obvious thing you need in a diagnostic CART is the cart itself. We got our cart for our shop from Harbor Freight and only ran us about $200, after this you need to get a laptop dock (which is roughly $60) and laptop that you can set up as the brain of your cart. Once again, as I mentioned in Part 4 you do not necessarily need to by a state of the art high end laptop, all you need is something that can allow you to get through your jobs without any snags in the process. The last thing you will want is plenty of space, or at least 16 GB of storage which will cost roughly $100. From here the rest is your call on things you feel you may need and when you will need them, we suggest that you upgrade your memory to an SSD drive which all and all will cost between $150 and $300. Here are a few more things you may want to invest in.Industrial Strength CAT 6 Cable- $40 50 Foot Ethernet Cable-$26 USB Repeater (49 Feet)- $24 USB Female Extension Power Inlet Port Chord- $20 Monitor Desk Mount- $40 Monitor (MUST HAVE VESA MOUNT)- $150 Wifi Extender- $21 USB Extensions (Should get 2)- $6 EachEffective shop hardware for these new hi-tech cars is an important thing to have in your business as we are in the midst of a shake up in the automotive industry. Jobs are becoming more complex and, in turn, is forcing shops to upgrade their equipment to keep pace with what is being demanded of them. As you grow your business it is also important to build onto what you have in your shop. Better tools, while more money, also means more opportunities to take on more jobs and make your shop the standout auto repair business in your area.