In business, the right tool can open up a world of opportunities that you scarcely could comprehend without it. Imagine what the simple implementation of Wi-Fi did for coffee shops around the country, moving them from businesses of leisure toward pseudo-workspaces where remote workers could read, write, convene, trade and more—all with the aroma of coffee beans lingering in the air and some local music drifting in the background.
The last twenty years have forced a drastic change upon repair shop owners as well. Today’s shop is a mix of old-world service and repair combined with contemporary cutting-edge technology. Wireless communication coupled with the ongoing shift of the car to a computer on wheels has transformed what many know and think of as their local shop down the road.
Collectively, there is much to consider—how will you stand out from the crowd? How will you communicate with customers, build trust and ensure their safety? How will you run your shop at maximum efficiency using today’s tools without sacrificing quality? And how do you market and grow without the resources of a huge corporation?
In other words, how can you minimize bottlenecks and achieve your maximum potential? Is the whole of your shop operation greater than the sum of its parts?
And when those parts falter, how would you know the difference anyway?
“You look back and you wonder how we got from where we were to where we are,” says Gerald Martin, owner of Martin’s Auto Service (Anna, Ill.).
“The fact is you’ll never have a 100 percent perfect process, but you want as smooth a system as possible. Employees get interrupted with vehicular emergencies, errant phone calls, etc; these things happen all day. The trick,” Martin emphasizes, “is doing the best you can with what you have.”
What Martin has, to put it simply, is a state-of-the-art technological suite that informs every aspect of diagnosis, repair and communication. Working with BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY and its array of services provides something greater than the sum of its parts—it provides the BOLT ON Effect.
And he’s not alone.
Bolster Your Staff
“BOLT ON was a huge deal for us,” says Eddie Mrok, owner of three Car Life Pro facilities near Phoenix, Ariz.
“BOLT ON helps us see it all, and when you can see it all, you can make informed decisions,” he continues. Vision to the shop, the customers and ROs was the primary need for Mrok due to a simple truth in contemporary car repair—good technicians are hard to find. Staffing is the No. 1 bottleneck Mrok encounters as an owner. In his eyes, the most critical bottleneck can’t be solved with an equation; it takes something truly special to make up for something shop technology could never replicate—that human touch.
“Many people attribute car count as the number one bottleneck, but without good people it won’t matter,” Mrok says. As his shops grew, he became frustrated with the fact that he couldn’t find enough talented and reasonable technicians and service advisors to say “yes” enough to customers. Working with the BOLT ON team, however, he decided he’d be able to manage effectively and grow the shop even as the occasional employee came and went. It was all a part of building his long-term team.
“Finding technicians and front-of-house employees became a beastly endeavor. So BOLT ON was a huge deal for us—in our main shops, we did $1.5 and $1.6 million with only two people up front. But the seamless integration of Bolt On Technology into our shop management system makes us incredibly efficient and speeds our ability to help our customers.”
Today, Mrok has seventeen employees at three different shops and uses BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY to gain an eagle’s-eye view of customized shop data to help drive business forward.
“What helps me coach for all three stores is that I can quickly see and assess how and why a repair was made or not made; I can be really educated without physically seeing every customer and car. I can more easily ask and see what was the cause, complaint and correction.”
“It’s all at my fingertips.”
Boost Your Efficiency
When AutoStream Car Care Center Director of Operations David Askwith finished the trial presentation with BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY, he immediately resolved to take action: “We literally threw away every piece of paper that we had,” Askwith says, “and decided that this is how we’re moving forward.”
For Askwith, BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY helped him overcome one of the most common—and troublesome—KPIs for any shop: technician efficiency.
He describes getting the "big work out" and the all-too-often lack of communication between technicians and the front counter. How much time was sold on the vehicle? When will we get an update? What does the customer know or need to know?
“Through BOLT ON, we are able to get accurate estimating and conversation rate results,” he says. “The ability to track the number of pictures taken helped us drive ARO from $439 to $546 in less than ten months, and the Bolt On dashboard showed us—figuratively and financially—that our technicians were more efficient, not only selling more but working in more productive ways.”
"BOLT ON single-handedly changed our business for the positive," Askwith says, "and for us, there is no other option."
More than anything, Askwith is confident that BOLT ON can do a lot more than simply increase his team's efficiency and raise the RO a hundred bucks—he's confident BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY is the team he needs to handle the bottlenecks of the future, whatever they may be.
“These guys have bent over backwards to help us become great and challenged us when we thought that we were good to be better.”
As the shop of the future and the cars of tomorrow continue to streamline, update and evolve from the outside in, where will you be? How will you handle your own bottlenecks? And do you have the tools you need for when the demands of tomorrow’s business outstrip the capabilities of yesterday’s technology?
Blow Open the Bottleneck with BOLT ON
In the nineties, digital was the future of film. Today, digital is the crux of contemporary car repair, though not for what it offers to the vehicle, but rather what it offers to the customer.
“DVI [digital vehicle inspection] builds trust, more than you can imagine,” Gerald Martin continues. “When people can visualize what they need to have done, it answers so many questions.”
To Martin, Mobile Manager Pro from BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY is the tie that binds his whole shop together.
“Mobile Manager Pro has probably been the single biggest game changer for us,” he says, “because it helps us take our workflow electronically. I couldn’t imagine working without Mobile Manager Pro and the ability to create digital inspections.”
Martin emphasizes that loyalty to a tool or service is only as valuable as the service itself. “I’d turn the key in the door and walk away,” he says, “but we use BOLT ON Technology and I know they’re going to innovate further; if I felt like they were happy with where all their software is now, I’d probably start looking elsewhere at other systems. After all of these years, they’re still listening to me. They’re nimble enough to innovate to bring new features and work with the repair shops to stay ahead of the game while being stable enough that I know that they aren’t going away.”
Martin feels the bottleneck of the future is communication; no matter which system or practices your shop has in place, it won't matter if owners and managers don't have the ability to communicate effectively with their staff, their customers and communities. He doesn't know what the tool will be, or how it will be implemented, but he's confident BOLT ON is looking ahead on behalf of its customers.
“I look at their suite of products and there’s not a single piece of the software that I would want to be without.”