Owning a business is tough work, especially when you’re responsible for securing the inventory and the day-to-day operations. In an industry as competitive as auto body repair and consultation, you’re doing much more than listing junk cars for sale, although buying junk cars to fix up and sell can be a great way to get top dollar for an old car no one thought was worth anything. Nevertheless, let’s look at just a few simple tips for saving your auto body shop some bucks while never skimping on customer service.
Organize and Count Inventory
Has it been a long time since you’ve conducted a thorough inventory? It sounds simple, but consider how much money you’d save by keeping your auto body shop well organized. Aside from offering free quotes, estimates, and performing a great job on bodywork, proper organization and accurate inventory can also equally profit.
It’s a smart business move to count all the items in stock and cut down on unnecessary re-orders. You’ll never pay for something if it’s already on the shelf. Remember, aside from excellent service, you’re also paying your mechanics for their time, and a lot of lost time can accumulate when you’re searching for missing stock.
You pay top dollar for good staff. Typically, labor costs are the most expensive element of any auto body shop, and the average door rate in the U.S. is approximately $34 an hour. That means you’re paying your staff even if they’re digging through the stockroom for something that may or may not be on-hand. Do yourself a favor and do a thorough inventory of your stock at the beginning of every month. You may surprise yourself when you realize how little you actually need to order, and how much you’ve saved on the bottom line. A little additional paperwork is worth its weight in savings. Want to save just a little bit more? Go paperless and keep a hassle-free spreadsheet to show your staff.
Reducing Your Inventory
Save this next move until you’ve installed an inventory routine. When you’re all set, meet with your team and let everyone agree on standard products and services that the shop should offer for old car maintenance. Most of your technicians will have preferences and years of experience of their own. Coupling the most common and needed services into your shop’s offerings will guarantee you can always provide a fantastic job to meet customers’ needs while remaining on top of the competitive market.
Although there will always a place for specialty shops and niche body shops, keeping your stock and inventory general and high quality will attract the largest demographic of clients. Instilling this procedure into your auto body shop will help you reduce your part numbers about 10 to 20 percent, while still keeping your client base satisfied. Keep in mind that the location of your shop and the distance to your supplier plays a big part in expenses. For example, a Fort Lauderdale moving company is a great asset in obtaining larger items needed for specific body jobs if you’re local to South Florida. Saving money elsewhere will allow for the needed funds in long-distance shipping and packing services, especially when using professional movers to assist in moving true junkers to the junkyard where they belong.
Re-Work Can Be Costly
Customer satisfaction is the name of the game. However, accidents do occur and you never want a customer to walk away unhappy. In fact, it’s estimated that an unhappy client will tell about 10 of their friends about a bad experience at your shop, even if you charged a fair price and offered the best deal. Because the customer is “always right,” almost all body shops accept the hassle of re-work jobs, even throwing in bonuses like free estimates or a free tow in the future. However, studies indicate that re-work assignments can cost an auto body shop an average of three times the original amount in stocked materials, not counting additional labor costs.
You may never want to take your frustrations out on your team, especially if the accident or unsuccessful job truly wasn’t their fault, but keeping a genuine eye on quality and hard work will actually save your shop more money than anything else. Keep in mind, as well, that for every job done correctly there is not only a repeat customer but the potential for 10 of their friends to check out your shop for an equally great experience.