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Three Tips to Save Successfully

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While setting goals, budgeting and maintaining cash reserves are key to financial stability at a shop, cost control is also important. Here are three areas shop operators can keep an eye on—or make changes to—to help their budget.

Front office personnel. Tony Nethery, business development manager for COLORMATCH, a DuPont paint distributor that offers value-added services like financial consulting, sees a lot of shops becoming heavy in the front office. They have as many people in the front office as they do people repairing cars, he says. The people doing administrative work don’t generate any dollars for the business and become overhead cost for the company. Nethery suggests training your technicians on the administrative side of the business—like having them photograph vehicles—so you can cut down on your overhead in the office.

Office supplies. Randy Miller, owner of Randy & Bob’s CARSTAR Autobody in Chicora, Pa., keeps a close eye on office supplies. If there are months when his shop runs over-budget on office supplies, “we let our employees know where we’re at, and that we have to make do with the materials we have on hand without buying anything extra,” he says.

Utilities. Miller also targeted his utilities use for cost savings. He installed motion lights in the employee restroom, put timers on the shop’s outside lights and shuts the heating system off for a few hours every night to cut down on his utility bills.

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