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Tips to Improve Your Business During Downtime

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April 8, 2020—As the federal government has deemed automotive repair as an “essential” business, shop owners across the country are working to change their business practices to reassure customers of their health and safety when getting their vehicle repaired. Many of these practices, like shop cleanliness and customer service enhancements, will have a lasting impact on shop operations, according to a VeriFacts Automotive press release.

Here are 10 tips to improve your business during the downtime:

  1. Facility Maintenance and Spring Cleaning:Take advantage of the lower car count to clean and sanitize all walls, counters, surfaces and floors. Explore more ways to keep it clean like a dustless sanding system.
  2. Equipment Maintenance: Perform annual maintenance on equipment and make needed repairs. If it’s time to replace equipment, now is a good time to negotiate with equipment suppliers to make those purchases.  
  3. Inventory Management: Conduct physical inventory of all of the supplies, parts and materials you have in stock and determine how to order and use more efficiently.
  4. Organize Parts and Supplies​​​​​​​: Add a tracking system so as parts and supplies are consumed, they're re-ordered promptly. This can reduce delays on parts.
  5. Paint Department Improvement and Cleaning​​​​​​​: Deep clean the booth and remove overspray, change filters, clean pits and update lighting. Re-apply booth coating or sand down and repaint inside and out. Consider adding a booth wrap on the inside walls and floors to make future cleanup easier. Also look at improving air movement for waterborne paint conversion. This may be the time to consider upgrading from your current booth to one that is more efficient to operate.
  6. Shop Process Improvements​​​​​​​: An evaluation of your shop layout and repair process can identify new opportunities to improve how vehicles move through the repair process in your shop, increasing efficiency and decreasing unpaid time.
  7. Employee Training: Participate in online training and coaching opportunities. 
  8. Employee Reviews:​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Annual or ongoing reviews often get put on a back burner in busier times, so this an ideal opportunity to conduct reviews with your employees, get their feedback and map out how to grow together.
  9. Year-End Financial Evaluation and Budget Planning​​​​​​​: Conduct a thorough financial review with your accountant. If you’re part of an MSO, review your financial plan with your peers and field operations team.
  10. Manage Your Parts Orders and Vehicle Intake​​​​​​​: Make sure you verify parts availability before you disassemble drivable vehicles to ensure you can get the parts to repair them in a timely manner.

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