About 30 miles south of Cleveland, just a few blocks off the square in the small town of Medina, OH, sits a red brick building that houses the 17-bay Mighty Auto Pro repair shop.
Originally opened in 1987, Mighty Auto Pro was purchased by Bill Hill in 1997. He currently employs five ASE certified master technicians, who “specialize” in any mechanical work, including engines, transmissions and differentials.
Customers are greeted at this community-oriented business by well-kept grounds, easy access to parking and a clearly marked entrance. A clean and comfortable waiting room welcomes them inside with offerings of coffee, hot chocolate and cold beverages and attractive artwork depicting the rich history of the area.
Hill and his staff are proud of their business, and training is an important and integral part of their operation. Everyone at Mighty Auto Pro, including Hill, is required to get 40 hours of continuing education every year. Twenty hours must be classroom training, but 20 can be online. The requirement is always exceeded, with his technicians averaging around 68 to 70 hours per year and the service advisors averaging about 50. Hill himself rings up over 160 hours of training per year.
One of the common problems facing the automotive industry, Hill pointed out, is a sense of mistrust. Many people are quick to claim that the cost of repairs is too high, or quick to post a bad review, but he believes it’s because they don’t understand auto repair. One aspect of Hill’s business that has been a big help educating the customer has been the use of shop management software. Mighty Auto Pro has been using it for 10 years, and digital inspections are the beginning of every job that comes through the door.
“What it’s done for my business — and I think our industry as a whole — is make us completely transparent,” Hill said. The advantage has been that the technicians can take photos or videos of exactly what a car needs and share them with their customers, helping them to understand it better and allowing them to share the information if they want a second opinion.
“We don’t push fixing cars,” Hill said. “We’re not into hard-pressure selling; the pictures and the videos do it for us. They’re designed to educate the client as to what needs to be done and why it needs to be done, and they do a great job of it.”
One of the ways the industry has changed in modern times is that customers don’t request maintenance like they used to.
“They don’t normally bring in their vehicles on a regular basis unless they have a problem,” Hill said. “What I like about shop management software, and we use BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY here, is that it gives us the ability to sell maintenance.”
Hill explained that every time a car comes in, as part of their normal inspection, they look at all of the things that may need to be maintained, for example, transmission, brake, power steering or differential fluids, or engine oil and coolant. They take photos of a drop of the fluid in the customer’s vehicle, along with a drop of new fluid, so they can have a visual representation of the differences for the customer.
Not only does it help when a car is in the shop, but it also helps build an ongoing profile of the vehicle. All photos and inspections are stored and can be easily accessed at any time.
“That’s what the maintenance part of the business is all about,” Hill said. “It gives us the ability, not only this time, but the next time the vehicle comes in, to look at the previous pictures and inspections, so the client can see the comparison in fluid condition over time.”
We all know that customer service is an important aspect of this industry that never stops, and Hill has seen the benefit of improved customer service with the use of his shop management software.
“One of the things that has made the biggest difference is text message reminding,” Hill said. “It has stopped customers from not showing up and forgetting they had the appointment. And if they have to cancel, they don’t just not show up. They call us on the phone or send us a text message back. It’s been the most effective way to make sure our clients are coming in when they are supposed to.”
Communication has also improved among Hill, his service writers and technicians. They all have a team chat set up and each technician has a tablet at his toolbox. If Hill needs to get a message to a technician, he simply types it and sends it, and the technician is alerted on his tablet.
“We can actually have a communication right through the BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY software,” Hill said. “It makes it really simple, especially if we are busy.”
For Hill, the benefit of shop management software has gone beyond improving the flow of operations with considerable savings on supplies, which has proven to be both budget- and environmentally friendly.
“With 17 bays, five technicians, two service advisors, a customer service representative, myself and our customers, I would spend thousands of dollars on ink and go through 20 or 30 reams of paper each month,” Hill said. “I’m a completely paperless shop now. Everything is done on the tablets or computers. It’s a huge savings.”
He added that they do print the occasional wiring diagram or flowchart, and they provide printed receipts to their customers, but overall costs for ink and paper are comparatively down to almost nothing.
Being completely paperless has also improved workflow in the shop. At first, they thought it may be an inconvenience, but it turns out the technicians like it better. “All they have to worry about is a set of keys,” Hill said. “Everything else is on the tablet.”
Utilizing shop management software has ultimately been a complete success for Hill and Mighty Auto Pro. When asked about the outstanding points that can help shops grow their business, there were a few that immediately stood out.
“One, I think that any time you can do digital inspections versus paper inspections, it adds a lot of transparency to you,” Hill said. “Two, it makes your customer feel that you’re trustworthy and you’re willing to put it out there for them to see. And three, it proves to them why you’re recommending something. You’re not recommending something they don’t need.
“As a shop owner, BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY has worked out great for our shop. I love their text reminder system. I love the next appointment pre-book system. I love their oil change sticker system — and their reporting is outstanding,” Hill said. “They’ve got a great system, and they do a great job with it.”
To see more about Mighty Auto Pro, go to mightyautopro.com, and to see a complete video presentation of this shop profile, click HERE.