Things You Never Knew You Needed
When you’re looking at where the profit lies for your shop, the vast majority of it is in labor and not in parts mark-up. Taking a mechanic or yourself off of a job for some menial task not only takes up time, it takes up profit. To this end, we’ll put together a list of time-saving tips that we’ve seen from shops across the country.
Use a UTV
Small utility vehicles, or UTVs for short, have become very popular as play toys these days, but they can also be an invaluable tool for the shop. You can use them to take other employees around back to pick up pickups from a storage yard, use a hitch hook-up to move trucks around, or if your town is small enough, go on a parts run. This doesn’t need to be some fancy $11,000 RZR, an old landscaping vehicle, Gator, or Kubota will do just fine. Until you had one of these that is dedicated just for a shop you won’t know how you ever lived without one.
Buy a chassis dyno
Out of everything on this list, a chassis dyno might seem like it’s needed the least. After all, you just use them to spike horsepower numbers right? Not so fast. Trying to tune a 1000 horsepower truck on the street can be incredibly difficult, because you’ll be well past the speed limit in just a few seconds. Not only is it safer, a chassis dyno allows for multiple tunes with instant results and just a few hours. You can also use a chassis dyno to test new transmission installations, set monitors for smog, or diagnose drivability issues. And of course you’ll always just have those customers who want a power number, and are more than willing to pay for it.
Use a labor tracking program
It may sound a little big brother, but using a software program to track labor can be an valuable tool. Not only can you monitor how long a job takes, you can compare book rate to actual labor time to see the difference between the two. Often the owner of the shop is the hardest person to keep on task, but if they have to have the all seeing computer over see them as well, they’re a lot more inclined to get jobs done faster. Not only does this type of program make a shop more efficient, it also will give you a record of what vehicle was in when, and how long it took for that vehicle to be completed and removed from the shop. Remember that most of your profit is in labor, so that’s definitely something you want to keep a close watch over.
Hire a shop sweep
It can be hard to find good help these days, but there is always some young kid out there who is willing to learn. While mechanics can be hard to find, having someone to sweep up the shop, test drive vehicles, answer the phone, and perform other day to day tasks can be a huge savings and time over having the shop owner or a mechanic perform these duties. After all, you don’t want to take someone off of a $90 an hour job to answer a question about online parts. It may seem like a redundancy to hire another employee to do these tasks, but in the long run it will save you both time and money
Hold Yourself Accountable
It may sound like a cliche, but saving about time and money first starts with the owner of the business. Be honest about how much time you put in, and how much of a profit that time results in. There’s always the cliche the owner kicking back while the mechanics do all the work, but in fact any time put in by a shop foreman or shop owner will be rewarded two fold or three fold.