Jill Trotta Explains: Knowing Your Numbers

 
“In God we trust, all others must bring data”, is a popular saying in the tech industry. I believe that it is also an important factor in running your automotive repair facility. As the RepairPal Certification Manager, I speak to many automotive repair facilities every day. These shops have applied to our RepairPal Certified program and I guide them through our certification process. I am always truly interested in hearing about their shop and the processes they use to run it. These questions often start great conversations which at times turn into questions about numbers, volume, and efficiency.
 
More often than not such interactions lead to more questions and a friendly debate about what the numbers actually mean. You had a great week last week, how do you know it was a great week? Is it efficient to look at the total income for the week or the year and feel satisfied because it’s a big number? Do you, as a shop owner, know the actual breakdown of those numbers? It’s really great that your shop did 600k last year but what is the breakdown of the 600k and why is the breakdown important to know? There is a huge discrepancy in our industry between the shops that know what these numbers mean, how they break down and more importantly, how small tweaks and simple awareness can make a huge difference in their bottom line. There are many shop owners that don’t. It's better to be the former than the latter!
 
There is a big difference between being a great automotive technician and being a successful business owner. In my experience, I find that a lot of the issues in our industry are created because the gap between these two roles can be vast. I have always said that it is imperative that someone babysits the money and usually this isn’t the person who runs the workshop. Does waiting an additional 10 minutes for a part make a difference? If you know your per minute breakdown of your shop costs you’ll know that 10 minutes of lost time is expensive, especially if you look at it every day over the period of the year. Knowing these numbers can add thousands to your bottom line.
 
One of the things we value at RepairPal is training; good quality training from professional training organizations. The cost of this program can seem daunting and you can sit and wonder if it is worth the investment. My personal experience is that knowing your numbers, refining your workshop process, and being aware of the actual data is always worth the investment. Monitoring your numbers daily or at least weekly will expose inefficiencies that may be easy to correct and more importantly add dollars to the bottom line. There are many companies who offer this training and picking the right one for yourself is up to you, but making the investment can make a difference from being profitable and being very profitable.

Being profitable doesn’t necessarily mean charging more; sometime tweaking a few processes and using your resources efficiently can do the trick!


Jill Trotta is an ASE-certified technician and consultant, and a Certification Manager for the RepairPal Automotive Group. She has over 23 years of experience in the automotive industry as a technician, service advisor, parts manager, and service manager. She has both dealership and independent repair experience. Jill is passionate about changing the face of automotive repair through education and creating a culture of fairness for both the consumers and business owners.


If you would like to learn about becoming a RepairPal Certified shop, simply fill out the short form in the upper right of this page, or you can email us directly.

ShopInfo@RepairPal.com

Add a Comment (1) Comments
  • zaloomsauto, May 27, 2014, 08:15
     Enthusiast

    Absolutely! You must measure and then analyze the information (Data) Increase productivity and you'll find you just decreased payroll and increased GPM. I thought one tech was so productive until they started clocking in and out of jobs and found he was the least productive. That was 20 years ago. Also watching parts margin 1% diff can push you over the top. Most important is no what the benchmarks are for the industry. I need to hold a GPM of 50% to be profitable. Also your point of waiting on a less expensive part will cost you, since a tech waiting in my case costs $1.50 per minute. Waiting 10 minutes cost me $15 to save $5? Thanks

    Flag This