Two Tools to Improve your S.M.A.R.T. Repair Business in the USA

The term “SMART Repair” has become a popular way of representing the mobile repair industry in the UK and is slowly catching on here in the United States. SMART repair, Small to Medium Area Repair Technique, offers services like wheel repair, bumper repair, paint correction, and glass repair in addition to the numerous PDR companies we see popping up everywhere in America. An assortment of cosmetic, cost-effective and quick repair techniques, SMART repair offers U.S. mobile repair companies and fixed operations a way of offering more services for more revenue.

Starting out in the SMART repair business can be tough. There are many obstacles to cross in building your independent mobile repair company. SMART repair professionals often face common issues such as:

  • Managing Finances
  • Creating Estimates
  • Monitoring/Managing Employees
  • Invoice Accuracy
  • Finding Equipment
  • Training
  • Matching Paint Codes
  • Outfitting Company Vehicles

AMT is here to provide help. Repair360 and ReconPro help the mobile repair professional get organized and get busy. Repair360 is perfect for the newcomer – the rogue technician with nothing but his tools and his truck. It’s a software ideal for managing client paperwork, billing, estimates, and tasks. Perform inspections tied to VIN or Stock Number, and add notes and photographs to create a complete estimate to submit to the customer via email or printed form. You can receive work approvals electronically through email, quick-link, or direct signature right on your device. Approved estimates become work orders, and the app creates and sends your invoice when work is completed. The best part? It’s totally free for a single user!  And, as you grow your business, the low-cost full version of Repair360 will even help you manage multiple technicians.

ReconPro is a mobile estimate and invoicing software developed for the established SMART repair business or franchise looking for some extra help. It takes over in the management of damage documentation paperwork, helps easily create AR invoices, and streamlines office administrative duties like managing schedules, customer pricing, and accounting. Like Repair360, ReconPro helps manage workflows to make the most of your time and efforts spent with clients repairing their vehicles, but also offers a full suite of productivity features, including commission calculations, service requests and dispatch, time and attendance management, role-based access, customer-specific pricing and much, much more.

Both software applications are available for iOS or Android devices, and completely self-contained, meaning you can take them anywhere and complete your work without needing to connect to Wi-Fi. When you do connect, all your work is stored in your back office for complete record-keeping and secure access from any computer. Are you an auto industry professional looking to break or expand into the SMART repair scene? Does your current SMART repair business need the extra assistance? AMT has the solutions and we’d love to help you. Reach out to us today!

Used Vehicles Bring Penske Record Earnings

“…consolidated reconditioning locations and double discounting played a role in the company’s record earnings.”

When companies get their reconditioning working well, good things happen.

Read the full story in Auto Remarketing here.

Press Release: EchoPark Automotive

EchoPark Automotive Selects AutoMobile Technologies Software to Manage Its Massive Reconditioning Operations

ReconMonitor’s workflow and process management helps maintain efficiencies for high-volume reconditioning

AMT-EchoPark Logo

AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in auto reconditioning software, has been engaged to provide workflow automation software to EchoPark Automotive, pioneers in the evolution of used car buying. AMT’s ReconPro and ReconMonitor software has been implemented in EchoPark’s reconditioning facilities including Dallas, Denver, and Charlotte, to improve visibility and efficiency in bringing cars through their extensive and meticulous process.

“AMT software provides EchoPark Automotive a scalable tool with a common language platform,” said Tim Keen, Executive Vice President of Operations. “It increases our efficiency, saves costs and cycle times so we can deliver consistent high-quality vehicles to our customers.”

AMT’s ReconMonitor provides end-to-end visibility of the vehicle reconditioning process from acquisition through all steps of the recon process, and helps identify process or vendor inefficiencies that increase cycle time. The software includes both mobile and back-office modules to ensure everyone in the reconditioning cycle is informed about where and when work is required. This keeps cars moving at optimal speed and results in fewer days to frontline status.

The adoption of ReconMonitor will allow EchoPark better command and control of the recon process with full visibility as each vehicle progresses toward frontline readiness, enabling them to measure and reduce cycle time for optimal results.

Other notable dealer benefits of ReconMonitor include:

  • Mechanical and Cosmetic Inspections – Multiple inspections per vehicle, including EchoPark’s signature 190-point Inspection and Vehicle Condition Reports.
  • Parts and Labor Hours Management – The system provides access to OEM part numbers, mechanical labor hours, and a parts ordering feature will soon be added.
  • Vendor Management and Payment – The system manages all employee and vendor workloads, and administers hours and pay for each repair.
  • Real-time Reporting – EchoPark knows the status and stage of every vehicle in process, and can quickly identify bottlenecks.

“EchoPark has one of the most robust reconditioning operations we’ve ever seen, providing great value to customers across their inventory of nearly-new vehicles. We are proud to enhance that value with ReconMonitor’s efficient workflow management capabilities in vehicle recon,” said Eric Meahan, EVP of Operations for AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. He added, “Dealers lose an average of $35-50 per day that cars spend undergoing reconditioning. Our partnership will allow EchoPark to reduce costly delays and make better vehicle recon decisions early in the cycle. That results in better inventory availability for their customers and ultimately, increased margins on vehicles sold.”

AutoMobile Technologies provides software applications to solve workflow and back-office problems for dealers and reconditioning operations across North America.

For more information, please visit: https://amt.company/dealership-software-and-operations.

About AutoMobile Technologies

Since 2006, AMT has been building software applications to help companies in the automotive industry replace paperwork, enforce processes, and gain instant visibility to business operations, regardless of team size and geographic distribution. Our mission is to distribute easy to use, affordable solutions to help dealerships, PDR and SMART Repair technicians, detailers, and reconditioning companies improve customer service, make more money, and eliminate back-office inefficiencies.

About EchoPark Automotive

Launched in the fall of 2014, EchoPark Automotive has been well-received for a revolutionary used car customer experience in Denver, Colorado, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas and Charlotte, North Carolina. Each retail space mirrors a welcoming, enjoyable atmosphere with an open concept space and functional zones tailored to specific activities. Interactive research areas, comfortable lounge spaces and personalized vehicle delivery empower guests of EchoPark to shop the way they want and at their desired pace. The full sensory environment ties the brand’s digital and physical assets into a seamless, flexible and compelling shopping experience. Even the internal mechanic shop is fully visible to guests showcasing the care that is taken to recondition vehicles. In short, EchoPark Automotive is about building long-term relationships with our guests and the community.

Please visit EchoPark.com to learn more.

Media Contacts:

Marti Eulberg
EchoPark Automotive
980-875-0964
marti.eulberg@sonicautomotive.com

Ted Gaines
AutoMobile Technologies, Inc.
949-614-0799 x708
gaines@automobiletechnologies.com

Print From Anywhere with Your Apple or Android Mobile Device

  • Wireless printing is widely available
  • Print directly from a mobile device even without an internet connection
  • Works on most wi-fi enabled printers

Back in 2012, Apple added a software update known as AirPrint for their MacOS and iOS devices. The update made it so Apple products could print wirelessly through Wi-Fi with compatible printers. However, when it was first released, the number of printers were few and far between.

In the six years since its release, AirPrint has come a long way through quality-of-life updates and the addition of compatible printers. While it was originally only capable of working with a few specific HPs, it now operates within a large library of printers from brands such as HP, Canon, Brother, Dell, Samsung and more– resulting in over 1,100 compatible printers as of 2014.

It’s safe to say a great deal has changed in that time. For Apple users, AirPrint has become a staple for everyday life. With AirPrint, you can use your iPhone, iPad, and Macbook to easily print any documents you may need on the fly.

The technology behind AirPrint is reliant on Apple Bonjour. According to Tech Target’s, Margaret Rouse, Apple Bonjour is a group of networking technologies designed to help devices and applications discover each other on the same network. Bonjour is typically found on MacOS and iOS devices such as iPhone and Macbook; however, if a user downloads Apple software, like Safari or iTunes, they can have it on their Windows machines.

Android device users shouldn’t feel left out. Wireless mobile printing apps offered by many printer and mobile device manufacturers will allow most phones and tablets to print via wi-fi. HP’s multifunction printers can even allow documents to be emailed directly to the printer. Google and Samsung both have wireless print solutions for Android phones, so there’s no need to use the Apple solution if you don’t wish to.

Since the introduction of AirPrint, many third-party applications have begun to take advantage of the feature and technology as well. While companies such as HP, have created applications that let users print from their mobile devices, there are also companies in the reconditioning business that let you print wirelessly.

With companies like AMT taking advantage of the technology behind wireless printing, reconditioning businesses’ lives have gotten a lot easier. While AirPrint became the benchmark for wireless printing, AMT’s native applications like ReconPro and Repair360 provide a way for you to print anything from orders to estimates, invoices, and more– in-app, and at the click of a button.

Management software that lets you print wirelessly from your computer or mobile device minimizes the amount of time you spend on the little stuff when running your business. It’s excellent for printing invoices and receipts, managing technicians and vendors, tracking vehicle processes, and alerting you to bottlenecks and problem areas on both your desktop and mobile devices– all while being able to print and manage information in-app, even without an internet connection. That’s right, no need to rely on Internet or mobile data connections. As long as the printer is wi-fi enabled, your device can connect and print whatever you need,

Press Release: Elite Rim Repair

Elite Rim Repair Deploys AMT’s ReconPro Software to Manage Its Massive Wheel Repair and Reman Operations

ReconPro’s workflow and process management helps maintain efficiencies for high-volume wheel repair operations

AMT-Elite Logo_lock

AutoMobile Technologies, Inc., the industry leader in auto reconditioning software, has been engaged to provide workflow automation software to Elite Rim Repair, the largest volume wheel repair and remanufacturing facility in the world. AMT’s ReconPro software has been implemented in Elite’s Plainview, NY, facility to improve mobile and back-office billing, inventory control, scheduling, and efficiency in bringing wheels through their extensive and meticulous processes.

“With the volume of wheels we process, we knew we wanted a system that could track all the moving parts of the operation,” said Herman Mansbart, VP Northeast Operations at Elite Rim Repair. “The team at AMT stepped up to provide a software solution that lets us know where each wheel is in the process, manages service requests and scheduling, enforces quality control, and ensures the right wheels get back to the right client and vehicle. Our first day with the new software didn’t cause a huge reduction in our daily volume, despite the unfamiliar process. Once everyone gets used to the new process, I know we’ll be able to grow both in quantity and quality.”

AMT’s ReconPro provides comprehensive management of the reconditioning process and includes both mobile and back-office modules to ensure everyone in the cycle is informed about where and when work is required. This keeps work moving at optimal speed and results in faster turn-around with fewer errors and full visibility of the work-in-hand.

The adoption of ReconPro will allow Elite Rim Repair better command and control of the recon process with full visibility as each wheel progresses through the process, enabling them to measure and optimize results.

Other notable benefits of ReconPro include:

  • Multiple access roles – Team and area management functions allow or restrict access rights to view or modify information.
  • Customizable pricing – customer discounts can be set and managed by the appropriate role.
  • Parts and Labor Hours Management – The system provides access to OEM part numbers, mechanical labor hours, and parts ordering feature will soon be added.
  • Billing Management and Payment – The system manages all billing, both in the field via mobile devices, and in the back-office, and administers hours and pay for each job, including commissions and splits.
  • Real-time Reporting – Elite will know the status and stage of every wheel in-process, and can quickly identify bottlenecks.

“Elite has one of the most robust reconditioning operations we’ve ever seen. With this kind of volume, making sure workflows are efficient is crucial. We are proud to provide the software solution that enhances that efficiency.” said Jerome Hall, Chief Product Officer for AutoMobile Technologies, Inc. He added, “Wheel remanufacturing has some unique challenges, and we have been able to create a custom solution to address them. The team at Elite, and their sister company, Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, are terrific partners and have been incredibly helpful throughout this deployment. We look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

AutoMobile Technologies provides software applications to solve workflow and back-office problems for auto dealerships and reconditioning operations across North America.

For more information, please visit https://amt.company.

About AutoMobile Technologies

Since 2006, AMT has been building software applications to help companies in the automotive industry replace paperwork, enforce processes, and gain instant visibility to business operations, regardless of team size and geographic distribution. Our mission is to distribute easy to use, affordable solutions to help dealerships, PDR and SMART Repair technicians, detailers, and reconditioning companies improve customer service, make more money, and eliminate back-office inefficiencies.

About Elite Rim Repair

Elite Rim Repair offers top quality wheel repair and refinishing with a next day turnaround with in-house wheel refinishing, painting, powder coating, PVD Chrome, and Black Chrome, and Polishing. Elite currently refinishes hundreds of wheels per day with all going through a 7-point repair and inspection process so you can be assured your wheel will be reconditioned to like-new specifications. Elite has all of the top of the line, cutting-edge equipment which allows us to provide the services quickly and efficiently with exceptional quality.

Media Contacts:

Elite Rim Repair

info@eliterimrepair.com

Ted Gaines

AutoMobile Technologies, Inc.

gaines@automobiletechnologies.com

How Sloppy Timekeeping Can Lead to Lawyers

We like an article posted recently on smartauto.repair that discussed some of the hidden pitfalls of poor recordkeeping for businesses.

You could be blindsided by current or former employees, and if you don’t have all your records in shape, it could be very costly. Read the article here.

 

Advantages of the Trade Tariffs for the Reconditioning Industry

Increased prices on new cars and parts spur greater reconditioning investment

The reconditioning industry has been experiencing a huge boon in 2018. This is partially a result of the 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum placed by the US on Canada, Mexico, China, and the European Union. And while automobile manufacturers and new car dealerships are scrambling, the reconditioning industry is popping as consumers continue to drive and maintain their vehicles longer.

According to V12Data, the reconditioning industry is forecasted to reach $722.8 billion by 2020. So while there are legitimate concerns surrounding the increased costs for manufacturers driving up the price of new cars, things are looking up for anyone working in reconditioning.

The automobile industry is still profiting despite the impact of the tariffs, but there’s an air of anxiety that increased prices may be discouraging consumer purchases. V12Data reports the average age of vehicles out on the road in 2018 is 11.5 years old. So while decreased new car purchases may be a result, the older age of cars means consumers are spending more to keep their vehicles up and running.

According to the International Trade Administration and Washington Post’s, Heather Long, 79% of all steel and 90% of all aluminum are imported into the U.S. Beyond that, automobile brands such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota are manufactured in Canada, Mexico, and Europe before being shipped into the U.S. Essentially, this means both vehicles and car parts imported into the U.S. cost more under the current set of tariffs– impacting domestic brands like Jeep, Chevrolet, and Ford, as well.

Despite the worries, many PDR and SMART Repair practitioners are seeing increased growth now more than ever, with 75% of reconditioning in the United States done by independent, and domestic auto repair shops. To put it simply, the tariffs aren’t doing car manufacturers or new car dealerships any favors; but they’re helping the reconditioning business become heavy hitters in the marketplace. As new car prices rise, drivers are inspired to operate and maintain their vehicles for decades at a time.

Even prior to the current administration’s tariffs, the reconditioning industry has been increasingly popular. SMART Repair practitioners receive business for dent removal, windshield chip repair, paint correction, wheel repair, and detailing. In comparison, dealerships, outside of vehicle purchases, mostly receive business for tire rotations, oil changes, air filters, and car washes. So, SMART operations are providing consumers with a lot more options when it comes to vehicle maintenance.

And beyond that, there’s an incentive for consumers to seek out SMART Repair professionals because they are driving and maintaining vehicles for increasingly longer periods of time. So with the tariffs on manufacturing, new cars, and OEM parts, the reconditioning industry has been steadily growing in popularity among owners of used and older cars. So if the trends continue, reconditioning will remain incredibly profitable for years to come.

AMT is committed to helping reconditioning professionals maintain and grow their business for optimal results. With owners willing to invest in keeping their vehicles in good condition, demand for recon and cosmetic services will become more active. Managing your workflow and employees to capitalize on that demand is crucial for your operation. We can help.

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How to Manage Your Inspections Without the Paper Chase

Knowledge is power, and complete and thorough inspections are your best source of knowledge for damage assessment and reconditioning operations. But did you know how else you can use inspections to boost your sales and profits? Click to watch how InspectionNotes gives you what you need without all the paper.

Chasing Hail? Don’t leave town without these must-have PDR tools

Business Management Software for This Season and Beyond

For technicians fixing hail damage on the road, the season is in full swing. The season has shaped up to be an epic year for hail in many regions. This could be a big year even for retail PDR and SMART repair shops who don’t hit the road.

Whether you are on the road or not, take a few moments to consider a few tools you may have heard about but haven’t put into practice yet in your business. I’m talking about mobile estimating and invoicing tools such as our two mobile apps, Repair360 and ReconPro.

 

Repair360 – Mobile Estimate and Invoicing Software

Designed to get any auto reconditioning company or PDR technician up and running with basic

mobile estimates, work orders, and invoicing designed to put an end to wasted time spent on administrative paperwork tasks that are required in running your business. Best of all, this product is completely free for single users and available on iOS from the Apple app store or Android from the Google Play store.

What is Repair360 and what does it do?

An easy-to-use phone app, with Repair360, you can log in cars as you work on them, take pre-inspection notes and photos, create and email estimates, work orders, invoices and more all from your preferred mobile device.

Have more than one technician working for you? An easy upgrade to our paid version Repair360, which grants you the ability to manage multiple technicians and integrate with your accounting system, too.

Repair360 Product Features:

  • VIN Scanning and Decoding
  • Customer Record Management
  • Photo and Video Inspections that attach to work orders at the line-item level, on-device Approvals
  • Invoicing, and Back Office systems
  • Customer records, Invoicing, and payments all accessed from the software.
  • Software integration with the popular QuickBooks Online accounting package available
  • Payment Processing integration

Note: Integrations with additional accounting systems from QuickBooks, Sage, etc., as well as Dealer and Bodyshop Management Systems are available with ReconPro.

The app is self-contained, so it works with or without Internet access and can print to most printers, even without an Internet connection.

 

ReconPro – Advanced Business Software for Recon Professionals

Are you running a larger operation than Repair360 can handle? Step up to ReconPro, our mobile management tool purpose-built for Auto Recon Professionals.

With a few clicks from any handheld device, you can document prior damage, create invoices, get PO’s, and streamline back-office operations like payroll and accounting, allowing you to spend less time on managing the business, and more time working on the business.

ReconPro Product Features

  • Vin Decoder – Includes trim, paint code lookup, vehicle recalls
  • R&I Labor Times for fully informed estimates
  • Advanced Commissions – Calculate Flat Rate, % Gross / Net, Tired Commissions, Splits
  • Duplicate Vin Detection to avoid duplicate records
  • Full Service Menu Control -Create a service menu specific to each account
  • Customer Specific Pricing – Set, adjust, and control even the most complex pricing models
  • Service Requests – Dispatch & Scheduling
  • Estimate Approvals – On device, via web or quick link
  • Integrations – Connect directly to many popular dealer and shop management systems, including CDK,  Mitchell, Audatex, and CCC
  • Team Collaboration – Share Inspections, Work orders, or Invoices across teams
  • Configurable Print Templates – Your custom business identity and layouts in hard copy
  • Configurable Email Templates – Your custom branding and layouts in emails
  • Real-time Reporting – Data at your fingertips lets you know your numbers anytime
  • Full visibility and control
  • Fully mobile – on your iOS or Android devices
  • Step-by-step automation
  • The most detailed reports on the market
  • Easy integration with QuickBooks
  • No need for IT staff to install or maintain

Regardless of whether you are a one-man operation, or responsible for teams of PDR techs, isn’t it time you stepped into the world of mobile management and invoicing? Schedule a demo with AutoMobile Technologies today!

Used Car Reconditioning – A Dealership’s Supply Chain – Part II

Part II: Common Dealer Reconditioning Pitfalls

The quality of vehicles coming through the recon process defines the brand of your dealership. If the process is inadequate and quality is an issue, your customers will notice. Overcoming that negative brand perception can be very difficult. The reconditioning process is also what feeds the machine. If the “get ready” process takes weeks or months per car, then your salespeople will not have the vehicles they need to keep selling. If this can be improved to a few days (and it can), then sales will improve as the number of vehicles reliably available to be sold will increase.

Here are 3 of the common causes of dealership reconditioning problems:

  1.  Not prioritizing reconditioning:

Not prioritizing the reconditioning process is something we see in lots of dealerships around the country. Reconditioning of a used vehicle can be an afterthought of lots of dealerships for apparent reasons. Dealerships are often headed by former salespeople and managers. Their goal is to drive sales which increase revenues and puts money in everyone’s pockets. Sometimes, reconditioning of the vehicle becomes an afterthought or is viewed as a necessary evil in the sales process – something that drives up costs which lowers profits. Because of this, we see the reconditioning process not getting the attention and TLC it deserves.

  1. Not having a standardizing reconditioning process:

Not having a standardized reconditioning process is a major issue if you want to have a repeatable process that you can leave to anyone. The more structured and consistent your process is, the better your outcomes.  If there is a lot walk where people just walk around the car looking for damage and then a mechanical inspection that is just the mechanic looking for issues without a checklist, then you risk overlooking different issues. Worse, all of your vehicles will have differing quality when going through the recon process. We highly recommend that both the cosmetic and mechanical inspections be done in a multipoint checklist. This will ensure that all aspects of every vehicle are checked and addressed the same, 100% of the time. This will improve quality and increase trust in the recon team. You may no longer even need to have all managers come to look at cars in a lot walk manner. The same standardized process should apply to the general workflow of the reconditioning process. All vehicles should follow the same general process from A-Z and only deviate as needed (e.g. waiting on parts).

  1.  Vendors rule the henhouse:

There is nothing wrong with having good, trustworthy vendors helping you in the reconditioning process. We are not even suggesting that you bring all vendor work in-house. What we are suggesting is that dealerships take back control of the reconditioning process and own it completely. If vendors are finding and bringing work requests to you for approval, then see number 2, above. Work should be identified during the standardized process of inspecting the vehicle, and then assigned to the vendors. This allows the dealership to control costs, know what work per vehicle needs to be done, and have the flexibility to adjust the vehicle reconditioning workflow to suit its needs. When the vendor shows up to your lot, they should have a list of vehicles already approved for work. This keeps them busy doing what they do best instead of trying to find work and driving your per car to spend up.

If the items above sound revolutionary for your dealership, then you may need a revolution. You’ll be amazed at the improvements your dealership will enjoy focusing on a consistent and repeatable process in your reconditioning operation.

This is the second in a series of articles. Read part 1 here.

 

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