How to Audit ROs

March 30, 2020
You can maximize gross profit by quality checking repair orders, simply by taking steps like clearly labeling your records.

At times, it seems as if Zoe Rains-Hoffa is her father’s shadow. She started in the body shop when she was 15 years old, attempting to learn a trade. She didn't want to do what a typical 15-year-old would do.

Babysitting? No. Working retail? Definitely, no. 

For the past five years, Rains-Hoffa has been following in the footsteps of her father, Kevin Rains, and learning the family business. In fact, in the past five years she's become the owner in-training. 

“Right now, I want to learn everything my dad does, and it's my goal to eventually be in the place where he is now—leading the business,” Rains-Hoffa says.

At the young age of 21, Rains-Hoffa has taken over some of the shop processes, including how to audit the shop’s repair orders. That means her day-to-day tasks include looking over the shop’s KPIs and analyzing how the numbers all fit together.

While her father created the process of auditing ROs, Rains-Hoffa has largely perfected the procedure. The process was created so the owners could become familiarized with the CCC management system and to understand their gross profit better. Since starting the process, the shop has added 2 percent to its gross profit.

Below, Rains-Hoffa outlines the steps to take to audit not just one RO, but every file possible.

As told to Melissa Steinken

Step 1: Read through all files.

Open your management system. Look at the reports of the vehicles that were delivered. Do this for yesterday's vehicles. Then, pull up a report of the vehicle and go through every single tab in that vehicle’s file, and do this from the right to the left. For our vehicles, there are 17 tabs in a file, which is pretty expensive but I go through every single one, even the notes section.

Step 2: Create an email thread.

Since I am doing this for more than one location at the same time, when I’m looking at the files I make an email thread. The email thread is between myself and the other location managers. As I go through the files I make a note in the emails of what I noticed missing or any patterns that have emerged. This way, I can easily send out the email after I’m done and my managers can be updated on the audit .

Step 3: Clearly label your records.

I title every email with the same subject line. I include the label of “audit”, the shop's name, and the date of the repair order that I'm looking at. This way I can always reference back to the correct email and repair order if I need to look it up again.

Step 4: Ask yourself if the customer was satisfied.

As I go through each file I make sure to remember the customer. I ask myself, “was the customer happy with the repair order?” If there’s an issue with a repair order, and it happens more than once, I have the owner sit down with the manager to go over the issue.

Step 5: Look for emerging patterns.

 I typically look for patterns that will negatively impact our gross profit (See Sidebar: RO Audit Checklist). For example, I look at the overall gross profit of the job and look into if we got discounts, and the labor performed by the technicians. If we’re discounted under 25 percent, then I usually question why that is and why we didn't get a higher discount from a vendor. 

Step 6: Make sure you’re getting paid.

Insurance paperwork, the jobs that are getting done, and all confirmations are in the file. You want to make sure that you have all the correct paperwork and signatures for each step of the repair, so that the collision repair facility gets paid.

RO Audit Checklist

Here are the top items to check off in your audit.

Event Logs

  • Are events correct for the DRP?

Repair Plan

  • Correct in/out date


  • Was everything collected at delivery?

  • Are you waiting on money? From where?

  • Any write-offs/discounts offered


  • Does RO match what is ordered and received?

  • Underpaid/waste if more ordered/received than on RO 

  • SOPs for core charges and sublet followed?


  •  RO > Assigned = paid ; If more is assigned than on RO, why?

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