Auto Repair Software Buyers’ Guide

1. What is auto repair software?

Auto repair software helps repair shop owners handle their large inventory, bill for different types of services, and keep a record of the thousands of parts for all sorts of automobiles. It streamlines the unorganized workflows and offers complete visibility into shop operations, including service operations, inventory, labour and job scheduling, and billing. It’s used by a variety of automobile shops such as collision repair, car paint, and automobile retailers.

The software offers many features to schedule customer appointments, raise service tickets, assign job orders, bill customers, and track of the service history. It also keeps a tab on the parts inventory to ensure that items aren’t used without being billed.

Some advanced solutions offer built-in CRM functionality to create and manage a customer database as well as engage with repeat customers through promotions and service offers.

2. The benefits of auto repair software

  • Enhance your customer’s experience: Improve your customers’ experience by speeding up the service, from when they bring their automobile until they take it back. Inform them of the approximate costs and waiting time in advance. The software will also make it easy to serve a repeat customer, as it will store their personal information, car details, service history, and even details of possible issues. This helps mechanics repair automobiles faster and reduce the turnaround time.
  • Track the shop’s performance: While manually managing a small shop may be relatively easier, things get complicated when it’s a large shop or multi-franchise. In this case, auto repair software will help you keep track of your operations and workflows in all locations. This saves time and cost, streamlines the flow of information between various shops, and helps owners to manage multiple stores from a single screen.

3. Typical features of auto repair software

  • Quotes/Estimates: Access the database of labour and parts so that you can estimate the final service cost. You can also send and receive quotations for parts and services.
  • Billing and invoicing: Generate bills and invoices for the repairing job and services you provide. Also, process the payments you receive from customers.
  • Work order management: Create and schedule work orders, distribute work orders among your mechanics, follow-up with your team, and bill customers when you complete a work order.
  • CRM: Create an in-house customer database so that you build cordial relationships with your repeat, new and even potential customers.
  • Service history tracking: Maintain customer service records so that you can look up their previous service details in the next visit.
  • Labor rates: Set varying rates for different types of services and accordingly, charge customers for the service they choose.

4. The cost of auto repair software

Most products in the market are priced on a “per month” basis and can be divided into three pricing tiers based on their starting price.

Price ranges*:

  • $25 – $49
  • $49 – $100
  • $100+

*The pricing included in this list is for the entry-level/lowest priced offering that was found on vendor websites on February 11, 2019. These ranges correspond to the 25th, 75th, and 100th percentile of the pricing information gathered from vendor websites of sample products.

This list summarizes pricing of the base plans of most products. An enterprise, or premium product, which is priced higher, may include some additional features such as unlimited invoices, multi-channel communications, management reporting, and third-party integrations.

5. Considerations when purchasing auto repair software

  • Deployment options: Most auto repair solutions are offered as traditional on-premise software, where a raw setup file is installed on local computers. The software’s functioning completely depends on the end user’s IT infrastructure and equipment. However, a few new vendors have started to offer cloud-based solutions, which don’t need huge IT investment—they just need an active Internet connection. Buyers must evaluate their current IT setup to choose a deployment type so that you can decide whether you want to host data on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Pricing: Auto repair software can be purchased upfront or paid in monthly usage fees. If you own a small auto repair shop, opt for a monthly pricing model that fits your budget and avoid long-term software contracts. Do check about any hidden fees, such as termination costs or support and service fees, before making a purchase. Alternatively, check some of the free software in the market to meet your small shop’s basic needs.

6. Relevant auto repair software trends

According to a survey by V12, 75% of the aftermarket auto repair jobs are performed by independent auto repair shops, while 25% of the business is with dealerships. This has led to a series of innovations in auto repair shops such as the following:

  • Mobility in auto shops: Upcoming auto repair shop software vendors are also offering mobile apps in their solutions. These apps can be downloaded on smartphones and tablets, which allows you to walk around the shop while managing key tasks such as engaging customers, accepting work orders, executing payments, and updating service records.
  • IoT improves car maintenance and repairs: IoT-integrated cars have been in the news for some time and the trend is expected to grow. Business Insider predicts that there will be more than 94 millions interconnected cars across the globe by 2021. An IoT-enabled car makes repairs and services easy as it shows you the full information about faulty parts, driving behaviors, oil changes etc. Some vendors, such as Tantalum and Openbay, are working on automotive repair and maintenance solutions that will automatically notify drivers of critical problems in their vehicle for immediate servicing. The software will also direct drivers to the nearest service station.

Sources

Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Capterra’s Most Reviewed page. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra’s directory that offer them.

The following sources were used for this document:

  1. Top 5 Tech Trends for Small Business, Capterra (Date accessed: February 11, 2019)
  2. A Look at Trends and Statistics in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry, V12 (Date accessed: February 11, 2019)
  3. The Internet of Things is Improving Car Maintenance, Admin-Pace (Date accessed: February 11, 2019)
  4. Tantalum and Openbay Partner to Deliver Connected-Car Automotive Services Platform, BusinessWire (Date accessed: February 11, 2019)

Source