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Four images of SMART repair areas - PDR, chip repair, wheel repair, and paint touch-up

S.M.A.R.T. Repair 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, glass repair, and paintless dent repair (PDR) companies we increasingly see across America. An assortment of cosmetic, cost-effective and quick repair techniques, SMART repair offers U.S. mobile repair and fixed operations a way of offering more services for more revenue, and more inexpensively than conventional collision repair shops.

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:

  • Records and Customer Management
  • Creating Inspections
  • Parts and Labor Times
  • Estimate Approvals
  • Monitoring/Managing Employees
  • Customer Pricing and Commissions
  • Invoice Accuracy
  • Accounting

A good resource for SMART practitioners can be found here.

AMT is here to provide help, too. ReconPro™ helps the mobile repair professional get organized and get busy. 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 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. As your business grows, the software will help you manage multiple technicians and teams, regardless of geography. ReconPro helps manage workflows and back-office tasks to give you more time to spend with clients and vehicle repairs, and offers a full suite of productivity options, including commission calculations, service requests and dispatch, time and attendance management, role-based access, customer-specific pricing and much much more.. 

ReconPro is available for iOS or Android devices, and completely self-contained, meaning you can take it anywhere and complete your work without needing to connect to Wi-Fi. When you do connect, all your work is synched to 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!

Detail microfiber wipe

5 ways To Grow A Mobile Detailing Business From Scratch

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit and are good at detailing cars, becoming your own boss may be easier than you think. The one thing that all businesses need to survive and grow is sales, and we’re going to cover five ways to find a new business when you are just starting. Surprisingly it is hard for some auto businesses to find and retain detailers. Body shops and dealerships seem like they always have an ad out for a detailer, and this is where you can start.

  • Auto Body Shops- Auto Body shops are busiest on Mondays when they take cars in and Fridays when most people pick up their vehicles. Even if a shop already has a detailer, it’s typically just one guy, and a good shop can fix 12-15 cars a week. If you have a mobile detailing shop and can get to your customers onsite, chances are you could probably pick up a couple of jobs a week just by demonstrating some reliability. Auto Body shop detailers are the most entry-level position, and as a result, they are some of the most unreliable employees at a shop. But the cars must be detailed before they are delivered so an excellent strong business acumen, skill, and reliability could probably land you some new customers very quickly, especially if their detailer calls out.
  • Dealerships- Just like auto body shops, dealerships are always struggling to keep detailers. The beautiful thing about dealers is the cars need to be clean to sell, and they sit out all day long and get dirty. It is a great way to get some early work for your detailing company if you can be a mobile detailer, especially after major weather events such as heavy snow, or a particularly rainy week.
  • Fleet owners- This may take a little more salesmanship on your part, but anybody that has a large fleet of vehicles has a lot of business, which also means that they know how to market themselves. Think of your local HAVC guy or plumbing company where you see their trucks all the time. Offer to come in when the trucks are off the road for the day and get them cleaned up by the next time they go out. The pitch here is reminding the fleet owner that their image is what got them there, and a clean vehicle sells more than a filthy one.
  • Large Office Complexes- Every town has an industrial complex with multiple businesses with tons of employees. Surprisingly not many people come through these complexes offering their services. You may run into some non-solicitation issues. Step one would be to try and approach the office manager or receptionist and offer a group rate just for that business. The second option would be the old-fashioned flyer under the windshield wiper. The trick is to get the first couple of jobs in that office complex. Use your network to try and get a couple of jobs even if you have to give one away. Once employees see you out there cleaning co-workers’ cars while they are working, word will spread fast.
  • Amazon Last Mile Depots- This one will be the hardest for you to get into, but once you do, it will be the most lucrative. In every major city, there is an Amazon last-mile depot. This is where packages get sorted and delivered to individual locations. These are typically called DPX’s. Each depot has multiple fleet owners inside some having anywhere from 5-20 sprinter style vans in their fleet. The key is getting to one of these owners, and identifying them is as simple as asking your next delivery guy for the name of the company they work for and who to contact and at what number. The guy delivering your package in that grey Amazon truck does not work for Amazon; they work for a Logistics company that Amazon has a contract with. Get in with that one fleet owner, and you have access to dozens of more owners just like him. Also, Amazon trucks are typically parked overnight in a leased parking lot. With a mobile detail business, you could have more vehicles than you can handle if you do a little hustling. The key is to get them clean before they head out for the next day. 

So there you go, five ways to get started in your mobile detailing business. And once you get up and running, be sure to check out AMT’s suite of customer management products to virtually eliminate all the annoying back-office work that you will need to do to get paid on time.

Dealer Metrics Graph

6 Crucial Metrics Every Used Car Dealer Should Track

As you’re gathering everything you need to evaluate your dealership’s performance, what are the metrics that matter most?

Dealership happy customers

3 Areas In Your Dealership That Could Use Immediate Improvement

No matter how well your dealership is doing in sales and against the competition, there is always room for growth. There’s no such thing as a dealership that is doing everything right all day, every day. If you think your dealership is good to go and doesn’t have any areas for improvement, then it’s only a matter of time before the overall dealership performance dips. 

Finding ways to improve does not mean failure. If anything, it’s a way to enhance your business by taking it to the next level and maintain a competitive edge. It’s as simple as asking yourself a few questions that explore how your dealership performance can improve. 

Three of the most significant areas in your dealership that will always require improvement revolve around your customers and your staff. Top-performing dealerships know that working on these areas is honing their competitive edge. The advice offered below isn’t revolutionary and probably isn’t something you haven’t already heard. But it is frequently overlooked or deferred, so we pulled together the following ways you can immediately improve three areas in your dealership. Check them out below: 

Dealership happy customers
  • Customer retention: Currently, are there any customer retention strategies in place at your dealership? Popular methods at dealerships include reward programs, loyalty incentives, and extra perks that can be used at the service department. These can consist of free car washes, oil changes, and even manicures or other personal services for the vehicle owner. The best part is, the free incentives will bring even more sales and service revenue to your dealership, and maintain your brand awareness.
  • Staff retention: When you manage a large dealership staff, it can be difficult to keep everybody motivated in the workplace. Employee engagement at dealerships is lower than most other industries, and that engagement is even lower amongst Sales and Customer Service workers – the face of your dealership! Are you currently doing anything to show support for your staff? There are several different ways you can show your appreciation for your employees if you aren’t already. Learn about their interests, congratulate them on a job well done or meeting a sales goal, and celebrating job anniversaries are just a few ways to show employee appreciation. If they feel valued in the workplace, they’ll work harder, and as a result, your entire dealership will benefit. 
  • Customer care: What kind of atmosphere does your customer waiting room currently have? When a customer comes in for their scheduled service, they should enter a welcoming environment and not a room full of uncomfortable chairs with cold coffee. Small additions to your waiting area can be those necessary touches that create a welcoming environment for your customers. Healthy snacks, free Wi-Fi, a variety of beverages, and a comfortable seating area go a long way in making your customers feel valued. When that happens, you create customer loyalty. You might need to spend some money to add these improvements, but can you ever put a price on earning a customer’s loyalty? You never know what can come from it or who they’ll refer to your dealership. 

No matter where you discover your dealership can improve, it’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight. Small changes can add up to significant results, and before you know it, your dealership will have a reputation as the best in town. 

Used cars balloons

Advantages Of Management Software For Your Used Car Dealership

  • Faster Turn Times
  • Improved Vehicle Volume
  • Better Coordination

For used car dealerships, management software is an excellent way to increase your efficiency both in the back-office and front-end operations.  Having a system in place not only reduces your overall cycle time but also increases your throughput– maximizing profit and minimizing overall costs.

Employing a management software solution for your fixed operations and reconditioning emphasizes your commitment to making your dealership run as effectively as possible, that you care about making tasks more streamlined for your employees, prioritize customer service and sales readiness, and you’re willing to adapt to the newest technologies out there for dealerships.

With management software in place, back-office administrative tasks that used to take hours can be cut down to just a few minutes. It allows all of your departments to be connected and work together, while also improving productivity on all fronts. Instead of relying on one employee or vendor at a time during each stage of vehicle processing, the operation becomes a more team-oriented environment. There’s a clear and organized structure that doesn’t rely on a back-office spreadsheet or whiteboard to get done. If a team member updates a vehicle’s status in the software, all relevant team members have access to the information, instantly, on their desktop or mobile devices. This lets the team know what’s in the pipeline, and lets both your technicians and your sales team plan for when work is coming.

You can see what vehicles are being reconditioned, where they are, the stage they’re in, and who’s working on them. You can also track and anticipate bottlenecks or delays during the reconditioning process, and improve resource planning based on vehicle volume and where they are in the recon process. The goal, of course, is high-quality work at optimal speed. Workflow management software can get your cars from acquisition to front line sales-ready in as little as a few days. Dealerships lose an average of $30-$50 per day when cars are stuck in reconditioning, so each day you can shave off your recon equals more profit per vehicle. And that savings adds up!

Workflow management software will make your used car dealership faster and more efficient both in the back and front-end of operations. You can create and refine your processes to make the back-office, reconditioning, and retail side of things work better together.

Automobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your used car dealership and reconditioning process as efficient as possible. We also provide you with better visibility and get your vehicles frontline ready in the shortest possible time.

ReconMonitor™ is powerful workflow automation for auto recon, dealerships, and auto remarketing companies that integrates with Dealer Management and Accounting Systems to ensure seamless operations across the enterprise.

Pensive At Laptop

Is Reconditioning Software Still Relevant in 2019?

Too much paperworkIf you’re staring at a desk surrounded by sticky notes and stacks of papers, wake up! It’s 2019! It’s no wonder you’re backlogged when you can’t even find the invoice for yesterday’s customer.

But somehow even with all the hours spent on invoices and paperwork after a long workday, many repair business owners and technicians take more comfort in this chaos rather than adopting a new method. The problem with that comfort zone is it’s virtually impossible nowadays to keep track of the repairs, check-in with your customers, and keep the business coming with increasing revenues. It’s frankly, well, not wise for these SMART repair shops to be using out of date methods for managing a business when even the way a technician approaches a car repair has gone through significant changes over the past few years.

Perhaps the fear of change is because many of these programs have often been designed without the mindset of the typical auto repair shop owner and its technicians. They’re often very complex and require specific training.

This is why AMT created a simple yet powerful software solution that eliminates the paperwork and helps make you more profitable. The software comes with all the features you need to be in command and control of your work, from PDR and hail damage estimating to an invoicing system that seamlessly integrates with your accounting software.

When it comes to reconditioning, the top 4 things that a thriving repair operation needs to keep track of are:

  1. Estimating the cost of the service
  2. Managing the front and back-end operations, including overseeing your technicians and making sure everything is running on schedule
  3. Billing and invoicing
  4. Serving your customers well = generating more profit

SMART Repair is all about doing the most effective job in the least amount of time to keep a steady money flow. Sticky notes and dry-erase boards may have worked before. But why be running your shop with limits when you can be limitless? AMT’s Automotive Repair Software manages over $139 Million in monthly repairs and estimates across over 23,000 repairs daily!

Go ahead and schedule your demo today!

Why Choosing ReconPro Helps You Claim Your Life Back

  • Reduce the hours spent on paperwork
  • Coordinate jobs and teams
  • Complete visibility of every job and customer

When you manage a SMART repair business, you are the captain of your own ship. No matter how big or small your business may be, your systems allow you to see how your technicians are doing, manage your team, check your sales figures and more. You’ve spent late nights creating invoices and filling out paperwork, only to be back on the job early in the morning. Sound familiar?

Then you decide enough is enough and you purchase, or start a free trial of, a mobile reconditioning management software program. However, not every reconditioning program is designed the same way or has all the features you may need. If you make the investment in a flawed solution that is not fully functioning, you may never experience the bliss of owning a smooth-running operation that keeps you on top of all your jobs to keep all of your customers happy. In fact, the wrong program may actually backfire on you and make you miss the days of collecting invoices on a weekly basis, those sleepless nights, and conducting business based on the word of your technicians. Owning a bad solution might end up being worse than no solution at all.

Thankfully, there are programs for PDR and SMART Repair professionals that were designed specifically for those working in the auto recon industry. We all know time is money. But how can we make that money if we are backlogged and unable to effectively manage the repair process? There could be a hailstorm and all of a sudden, a customer contacts you needing repairs on hundreds of vehicles. If you don’t have an efficient way of creating estimates, managing your technicians, the repair process, and making sure your team is all on the same page, you may end up losing a major sale.

What if the time you’ve spent documenting the repair, invoicing, transcribing VIN’s, keeping tabs on your technicians, and more could all be significantly reduced with the right software? You’d finally have your life back to spend your nights for what they were meant for: rest and relaxation.

The quest to reclaim the hours of paperwork and administrative tasks is how AMT came up with the idea for ReconPro™.

ReconPro was conceived with the idea that there had to be a better, more efficient way to manage the repair process that was simple, easy, and accessible anywhere on any device. AMT engineers have a passion and deep understanding of efficient processes and auto recon workflows. As more and more providers entered the industry, AMT wanted to help SMART repairers get a leg up on the competition and get out of their own way. By working in a quick and efficient manner in ReconPro, you are able to handle all the paperwork you’ve had many late nights over and complete it during the work day so you can claim your life back outside of work.

While ReconPro was designed for reconditioning companies and technicians, it also makes the customer process much easier. From mobile estimates to team collaboration, ReconPro allows everything to be managed and accessible in one, easy-to-use location. You are able to set, adjust, and control customer specific pricing with even the most complex pricing models.e all know that every repair is different, no 2 jobs are ever the same. and every customer is unique. The software lets you manage all of the variables.

In addition, you can manage jobs, track time, receive real-time reports of the repair status from your technicians, determine R&I labor times and conventional repair costs for fully informed estimates. Work orders can be assigned, technicians can be scheduled, and customers can receive and approve their estimates, supplements, and invoices. It’s a simple-to-use yet powerful tool capable of doing a lot for you – because you do a lot already.

ReconPro makes the repair process easier for both you and your technicians by keeping it all in one accessible place. Keep the flow in your workflow by using a tool that works wherever you do. The days of IT staff installing software for your auto repair business and you spending hours working on invoices and paperwork are forever behind you. AMT invites you to schedule a free demonstration of ReconPro and see just how well it works for your business.

Four Tips to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Dealership

In 2019, dealerships have a lot of competition when it comes to returning buyers, servicing, and simple repairs. However, if you focus on the customer experience first, you’ll keep them coming back for years to come. Nowadays, it’s not just their time at your dealership that counts, but also their convenience when visiting your website or waiting for their vehicle to be serviced.

The auto industry is evolving every day, and the way your customers experience your business is changing, too. Below, we have four tips that will keep customers coming back to your dealership.

Prioritize A Simple, Effective, & Informative Online Experience

Obviously, smartphones are everywhere. We all know it, and because of this fact, the way customers experience your business begins with a Google search. Typically, they’ll see a list of businesses (on Google My Business)  in their area that match what they typed in. They’ll go through, read reviews, look at pictures you upload, and then they’ll go to your website.

Customer service begins at first touch– your website. If it’s easy to navigate, provides useful information, and puts simplifying the customer experience first, then you’re much more likely to gain their business– and keep it.

Be Transparent With Customers

First and foremost, this will gain your customer trust. People know when salesmen are just trying to close a deal. It’s also safe to say many dealerships believe front end sales are where all of their money is made. However, in today’s market, it’s not so simple.

If you treat a customer well and prioritize their comfort, they’ll be more likely to come back for business and refer you. Beyond that, when you set expectations,  provide exact costs, estimates, rebates, and work with them through every step of the process, you’ll develop a positive relationship.

However, as you’ll probably guess, this transparency doesn’t end with the in-person meetings. The best dealerships have software in place that will calculate everything a customer needs to know, instantly, for their purchase– including all of the things (and more) that we listed above. Whether it’s for service, or simply offering information, you can send out automated text alerts for customers to stay updated, giving them another easy way to connect with you.

Keep In Touch With Customers

Whether it’s through emails, texts, or phone calls, it’s important to check in with customers every now and then. This isn’t to suggest you should pester them on a regular basis (don’t do that), but sending out promotions every now and then is never a bad idea. Beyond that, if you have a social media page, that can be a great way to stay in contact with customers and provide updates on anything you’re doing that they may be interested in.

Have A Management Software System In Place

We touched on it a little bit above, but it’s crucial to have a system in place that helps make the customer experience as easy and informative as possible. In 2019, the majority of the most successful dealerships have a software system in place that not only increases operational efficiency, but also can create custom forms, email templates for promotions, provide customers with text message updates on services, and inform them of pricing and estimates on the fly.

AutoMobile Technologies

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your dealership more efficient, provide your customers with the information they need, offer you better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date and you’re building a positive relationship with customers.

ReconMonitor is a state of the art workflow automation software for auto recon, dealerships, and auto marketing companies. ReconMonitor dealership software decreases reconditioning cycle time and increases your control and profitability.

3 Ways To Improve Your PDR Business

Whether you’re a traditional collision repair shop or a PDR business, it can be challenging adjusting your workflow. Even within some of the most successful businesses, there are constraints that could be tackled better. A good way to improve on your PDR workflow is by looking at all areas of business, but before you can even consider that, you should prioritize connecting your PDR technicians to your back-office and to whoever is handling the customer invoices.

In PDR, speed and efficiency play the biggest role in how much your business will make on a daily basis. Once you understand this, you can begin to look at how you can re-organize your business’ workflow management system. Fortunately, because of the already fast nature of PDR, it’s pretty easy to adapt to a more efficient management system. While PDR is already a lucrative and fast endeavor, better workflow in all aspects, especially the back-office, will not only increase the number of vehicles you work on in a day, but also make it easier for your technicians.

 

Track Your Data

In the PDR business, the back-office is one of your biggest headaches. You don’t want to spend hours on paperwork, but you also don’t want to track invoices, estimates, employee compensation, or more based on information that isn’t completely accurate. What you do want to track, though, are PDR estimations and the exact amount of hours your technicians are spending on each repair. Beyond that, you’ll want to look at it all in real-time to accurately measure how you can reduce your cycle time and increase throughput. No matter what, it’s important to use a database to track and record important information about the vehicles you’re working on.

 

Upgrade Your Workflow Management System

First thing’s first, in 2019, your PDR business shouldn’t be relying on spreadsheets, dry-erase boards, or even sticky notes. They can get easily lost or misplaced, and create unnecessary bottlenecks in your workflow. Right now, the most successful PDR businesses out there are using management software to track their entire PDR process from estimate to the paid invoice accounting entry. Management software applications can manage your entire workflow, invoices, estimates, upload documents and photos, track individual vehicles, customer pricing, and employee commissions.

 

Find Your Biggest Constraints

After you’ve improved on your workflow management, simply embrace the newest technology available. For a lot of PDR businesses, the biggest constraints lie in the back-office. Whether it’s misplaced paper, poor filing, or communication issues on approvals, the back-office is definitely one of the biggest struggles for anyone in PDR.

 

AutoMobile Technologies Can Help

AMT offers software solutions designed to make your PDR business more efficient, provide you with better visibility, and give you peace of mind knowing that your back-office is always up-to-date.

ReconPro is the industry’s most versatile and powerful software solution purpose-built for auto recon professionals. With essential tools for performing estimates, hail/PDR and insurance matrixes, parts management, paint code lookups, integrations with body shop crash systems and accounting systems, too. ReconPro manages the details of running your business so you can focus on growing your business.