Just because your auto repair shop is small doesn’t mean your goals should be too. Even the tiniest operations can increase revenue, grow their customer base and thrive. The key is to make the most of what you have by increasing efficiency in important areas. Here are three zones to focus on.
Workflow is an important place to look when it comes to efficiency. It’s likely there are things your team is doing that waste time, and whether it’s 5 minutes of downtime or 30, it can add up. The techs in your shop have first-hand insight into what’s working and what isn’t. Share your efficiency goals with them and then solicit their input. Ask them:
- When do they come to a standstill and have to wait?
- Which steps in the repair process tend to create a logjam?
- Do they get all the info they need upfront?
- How much time do they spend walking to different areas of the shop during the day?
If they can’t think of anything right off the bat, give them a week or two to take some notes and then check back in. You’ll likely start to notice some patterns and see ways that you can make improvements. You can also check with your fellow shop owners. How are their processes different than yours? Do they have any time saving ideas?
If you have a small shop, make the most of your floor space. That means thinking strategically about where each bay is placed, paying attention to where tools should be stored and leaving open spaces where needed. The layout of your lifts is important here. Your lift manufacturer or distributor can help you sort through clearance requirements and fit together the best setup. There are many great small-lift options that can help you squeeze more in. For instance, the inground SL210 requires just 11 feet x 24 feet of space, which means you can fit in more work areas.
While you’re considering the size of your lifts, don’t overlook how they operate. Specifically, how fast are they? Your team members can only work as quickly as their equipment allows. Don’t let your lifts be a hindrance. Look for ones with speedy rise and lower times. For example, Rotary Shockwave™ lifts go up and down twice as fast as standard lifts. That means your techs can slot in more jobs each day, which will make them—and you and your customers—happy.
Small shops can definitely be mighty. It could take some extra energy to squeeze every bit of productivity out of your days, but it’s worth the effort.