In an ideal world, your auto shop would have a steady, consistent stream of business all year long. One new vehicle would arrive in the shop only as another was leaving, and comebacks would be unheard of. But unfortunately, with summer comes volumes of AC problems and road trip tune-ups, and winter brings 4-wheel drive issues and ABS failures — all at the same time, it seems. None of this is to mention those unexpected upticks in business you can't predict in the first place.
Of course, you want to avoid turning any customers away from your shop, but in order to service every vehicle in a timely fashion, you'll need to manage your workflow carefully. In this post, we'll give you a better idea of how to balance your auto shop's workload during busy seasons and how these long-term changes can enhance your shop's efficiency year-round.
Ways to Manage a Heavy Auto Shop Workload
- Use management software: In the world of shop management, technology can do so much of the legwork for you. At the very basic level, using shop management software like Shop Boss can give you the tools to automate schedules and services around the jobs you know are coming. For a more customized approach, investing in a custom CRM to track customer information and schedules will allow you to track and edit the information that's most important to your business at any given time. Having all that information at your fingertips allows you to make smart scheduling and service decisions during those busy seasons.
- Optimize tech-to-vehicle ratios: In order to reorganize your workload management process, you need to know exactly how much work your business can actually handle. Whether you're dealing with fleet maintenance or general rebuilds, take the time to track and calculate how many of your techs it takes to service a workload of a certain size. Having these ratios on hand helps you schedule work realistically and give your customers accurate time estimates. Optimizing your recruiting and hiring process helps you keep your staff consistent so that your ratios won't change often.
- Increase general productivity: Perhaps the most important key to handling busy seasons is to increase productivity continually instead of only when demand is high. Regular productivity is crucial because the best way to handle a heavy workload is to prepare ahead for speed and efficiency — whether you know the work is coming or you want to be ready for the unexpected. To manage your workload, invest in optimizing your physical shop space, buying quality rebuild parts you can depend on, and encouraging your techs to participate in training and seminars.
Managing Auto Shop Efficiency Year Round
If there's one thing you take away from this article, it should be that protecting your auto shop's reputation and service can't take a back seat just because you're in the middle of a busy season. To avoid the scrambling and confusion that can come with any busy season in your shop, take your preparation seriously ahead of time and set yourself up for success. Whether a sudden boom of business is expected or not, no influx of customers can trip you up if you're always ready with the same excellent service and productive processes.