Why should my garage use auto repair shop management software to build my invoice instead of paper invoices?
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Posted on Feb 3rd 2020
Here at Auto Shop Invoice we’ve spoken with many customers of different ages and backgrounds. One thing we’ve learned is that despite there being more auto repair shop management software available on the market than ever before, there are still some mechanics and garage owners who are using the tried and true method of carbon copy paper for their invoices. We understand that mechanics and garage owners would take to heart the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” better than anyone else.
However, what if we said you could increase your auto repair shop or garage’s revenue and save yourself time and convenience by making a switch to software? If you’ve recently been considering making the switch from paper invoices to electronic invoices using auto repair shop invoicing software, then we wanted to provide a list of benefits you may never have considered before. Read on to find out more.
Invoices built with software can generate unlimited copies
To the auto repair shops using paper invoices, consider this: the main purpose of traditional 3 part carbon copy paper is to create two additional duplicates of an original invoice. However, this has its own inherent limitations. Imagine that your auto repair shop or garage is repairing a fleet of vehicles owned by a larger company. Larger companies generally have more stakeholders than individual consumers. What this means is that larger companies have multiple people (employees, management, leadership, etc.) that may need to view and approve of an auto repair invoice.
Rather than needing to pass along a single copy of a paper invoice, it is far easier to generate an electronic copy of the invoice using your auto repair shop invoice software. An electronic invoice can be duplicated very easily and then disseminated to multiple people en masse using email. This saves you and your customers time from needing to potentially scan and photocopy the same invoice multiple times.
Electronic invoices are easier to edit
Anyone that has worked with carbon copy paper can attest: any mistakes when writing an invoice can be brutal. That’s because a single mistake is amplified three times, on three separate sheets of paper. There is no “erase” feature when it comes to writing on carbon copy. Think of the countless times you’ve made a minor mistake writing on carbon copy paper and had to start over with a new invoice. Wouldn’t it be nice to just quickly erase a mistake and continue writing your invoice?
Invoices built using auto shop management software don’t face this problem. Garages that invest in shop management software are able to potentially save minutes per invoice by not having to worry about trivial mistakes on invoices. If a mistake is made on an invoice, you can simply hit the backspace key on your keyboard and resume typing your invoice’s information.
Software provides security and insurance for your repair shop
Most auto repair shops and garages understand the importance of backups. Most likely, your shop has some type of shop insurance to protect yourself in the case of extreme, worst-case scenarios. Let’s imagine a worst case scenario such as a fire in your repair shop. If all of your auto repair shop’s invoices and records are destroyed in the fire, you are covered financially through your shop insurance. However, what about the time it takes to build your customer base again? With paper invoices, your customer base and past invoices are the result of hours and hours of past work. When a fire or natural disaster occurs, all of that information is no longer retrievable and you are starting from scratch moving forward. And come tax season, when you need to retrieve financial information on your shop’s revenue, you’re out of luck. That’s why software can act as an invaluable tool when it comes to insurance and backups.
Before proceeding, we should mention that there is a distinction between the two types of repair shop management software: software hosted in the cloud vs hosted software. With Auto Shop Invoice, all of your data is hosted in the cloud, which means your data is hosted in remote servers not connected to your computer’s physical storage. This is separate from hosted software, which means all of your invoice data is hosted in on your physical computer.
The particular benefit we’re describing here is relevant only for cloud-hosted software. (The same also applies to the next two benefits listed in this article as well.) With cloud-hosted software, you won’t have to worry about the worst-case scenarios of invoices being permanently destroyed because your invoice data’s physical location is far away from the physical location of your actual garage or auto repair shop. So on the off-chance the worst-case scenario happens, you can have peace of mind that all is not lost: your data is safely stored in the cloud.
Shop management software is the ultimate flexibility
Another one of the benefits of cloud based software is its flexibility in how its used. When you want to view a paper invoice, you are physically limited in how you can view the invoice. In other words, you’ll always need to be in the same physical room as your invoice in your auto repair shop. Imagine instead if you had your full list of invoices with you at all times in your phone. This is the power of cloud-based shop management software. For Auto Shop Invoice, the software is accessible by visiting our website and simply logging in with your credentials. This means any device of yours that has an internet connection, whether it be mobile or desktop computer, can access your invoices. Similarly, the type of device or browser you use doesn’t matter. Mac or PC, Chrome or Firefox, your data and invoices are just as easily accessible.
Invoices are available at any time
Have you ever wished you could view one of your invoices while you were away from your garage’s office desk? If so, then you may be interested in another benefit of invoices built using auto repair shop management software: high availability. Since invoices built using Auto Shop Invoice are stored within a cloud database, this means they are available at all times of day. All you need to do to access your invoice is a device connected to the internet and your shop management software login. Then all of your invoices are instantly at your fingertips. Whereas before with paper invoices, you were restricted to accessing invoices during business hours when you were near your computer, you can now view an invoice from the comfort of your home on your mobile phone, for example.
Electronically catalogued invoices are easy to search
If you’re using paper invoices, most likely your current organizational system involves a single filing cabinet. Even if your filing cabinet is well-organized, finding a past invoice can require time. And even if your invoices are alphabetized or systematized, think of occasions when invoices have been filed incorrectly or out of place. The cost of a misfiled invoice is most likely several minutes of frantic searching. And as your shop gains more and more customers, you would eventually need additional filing cabinets to hold your shop’s invoices. In other words, it’s more difficult to scale your record keeping, which in turn makes searching for old records more difficult as well. With invoices in your invoice database, you’ll never be in danger of misplacing an invoice because all invoices are easily searchable. Imagine if finding an old invoice was as easy as a Google search, and that’s the benefit you’d get from cloud-hosted auto repair software.
Invoices can be built more quickly using software
Hopefully your auto repair shop or garage has repeat or regular customers. When writing a paper invoice for these customers, do you ever find yourself groaning at the monotony of writing in the same customer information, time-after-time? What if instead of filling in the same name, phone number, email address, and vehicle information for each new invoice, you only needed to enter in this information once, and you could then re-use it any time that customer returned to your shop? That’s the benefit of software products like Auto Shop Invoice. Once you’ve created a customer record once, you can then easily add that customer record and its data to future invoices with a couple of clicks of your computer's mouse. So rather than needing to repeat the same steps again and again, you’ve saved yourself several minutes per invoice each time your customers return to your garage or auto repair shop.
When it comes to quickly and efficiently building invoices, there are numerous benefits to using a garage or auto repair shop invoice software instead of paper and carbon copy invoices. Most of the benefits we’ve listed involve saving auto repair shop owners time or and avoiding inconveniences down the line. Imagine the compounded effect of these benefits with thousands of invoices over the course of many years. If you’re able to save just a few minutes when building each invoice, then multiply this by the number of invoices your auto repair shop does in a year to see the number of hours you could potentially save. These lost hours are productivity that you or your employees could be using to repair cars or drive new business and revenue to your garage or auto repair shop.
Ultimately, that’s what we’re about here at Auto Shop Invoice. If you’d like to see for yourself about how our software can save your business time and money, then sign up for a free trial today.
Also, review our free guide to auto shop invoice software and our ultimate guide to auto repair shop management software for some additional background information on the industry.