If you don’t currently have a garage management system in place it’s likely you’ve operated in the same way for many years. Usually that means paper diaries, paper invoicing and only communicating to customers over the phone.
That may have worked just fine for a long time but now you’ve learnt more about what a garage management system could bring to the table so implementing one is becoming more of a consideration. But, how do you know if it will positively impact your operations in a big enough way to warrant a change from the way you’ve always done things?
If the benefits do seem big enough to take the leap, when’s the right time to make the change and what type of garage management system should you consider?
That’s what we’re going to unpack in this article so that you can make informed decisions whilst considering your own set of circumstances.
Before we get into it, it’s important to understand what a garage management system is and what they can do.
A garage management system (GMS) is software designed to simplify and automate multiple aspects of running your garage.
GMS’ can manage your diary for you – customers can make bookings and the system will block the relevant time out in your calendar. Some systems even allocate bays for each job meaning there’s even less planning and admin for you. Most GMS’ can give you live vehicle information when you need it – such as owner details, MOT and service history, and address lookups. Then there’s the finance side, GMS’ can generate invoices and send these to customers, run financial reports, and help you manage overdue payments. Finally, a key benefit of implementing a garage management system is to communicate with customers more effectively. Most systems let you communicate via text message and email automatically. They can send job status updates, MOT reminders, appointment reminders and more.
A garage management system can help you save a lot of time, prevent double bookings, avoid no shows, improve productivity, and help you win repeat business, whilst improving the overall customer experience.
Let’s see if implementing one is right for you. Things to consider are…
If you’re a growing business or you’re looking at expansion to additional sites, that would usually mark a good time to introduce more automation and digital processes. If it isn’t happening already you will likely find it more difficult to manage your team, your jobs, your customers and your admin as you grow. A garage management system in this instance is a worthy investment. One that could aid every aspect of the business as you grow and it could negate the need to hire more office staff.
On the other hand, if you’re considering retiring or closing down the business, it may make more sense to keep things as they are.
If you’re considering selling your business, implementing new systems to improve operations and access smart new reporting tools to show financial information might just help you find more willing buyers and get you the best sale price.
If your situation is likely to remain fairly unchanged in the coming months and years, look at how things are working for you day to day currently. One of the primary benefits of a garage management system is improved workflow efficiency. If your garage is struggling with manual processes, paperwork, and fragmented communication channels, a GMS is the perfect solution.
Most garages are already busy, and as a garage owner you likely often find yourself stretched for time. Maybe you’re even turning away jobs.
That said, your competitors might be too! Customer experience is therefore still important if you want positive word of mouth and people to come back to keep you in that enviable position. If you’re striving to get to that position a garage management system can give you a significant competitive advantage – take the advantage. Some GMS’ also have customer check-in capabilities, making the vehicle drop off process much smoother, for the customer and your operation.
Improved customer satisfaction is a natural by-product of improving your customer communication channels and allowing people to book online. This also improves your productivity as you’re not fielding phone calls and managing the diary all day whilst trying to complete your jobs at the same time.
We’ve mentioned the core financing and reporting capabilities of most garage management systems so it comes down to whether these features will improve the financial management of your operation. Would you benefit from automating invoicing, improving your monitoring of money you’re owed and money you owe, and having digital reporting at your fingertips?
It’s worth mentioning too that most garage management systems can integrate with the leading accounting software platforms such as Xero, Sage and QuickBooks.
If you’ve now made your mind up and think that it’s the right time to introduce a garage management system, you’re likely now shifting your thoughts to finding the right solution and wondering how hard it may be to implement. Fear of change is normal, but if you’re looking for your first GMS solution you likely don’t need anything complex. Even the simplest garage management systems can provide the features and benefits we’ve highlighted throughout this piece.
We know this because of the experiences of our own customers. We created Simple GMS to be an entry-level garage management system perfect for garages that want to eliminate paper-based operations for a low cost, whilst having access to all the features they’re likely to need.
You can find out more here: Simple GMS: Garage Management Made Simple
View our pricing here: Simple GMS Pricing
When you’re ready, book a demonstration with our team by clicking the button below and we will show you exactly how it all works so you can be sure you’ve found the right solution for you before you commit.