Solve Repair Shop Headaches through Business Systems | Highway & Heavy Parts

Solve Repair Shop Headaches through Business Systems

Business Systems Puzzle Is your repair shop making enough money? Are you going to be able to retire comfortably from your shop? Can your business run without you?

If you're like many diesel repair shop owners, the answers to one or all of these questions is probably no. The good news, though, is you can take control of your business and move your shop toward the future you want. And a lot of it comes down to how you see your business—and your role in it—in the coming years. Have you thought about where you want your shop to be next year? Five years from now? Ten? Thinking about and setting goals is one of the only ways to truly know if your business is on track, and it can help you solve some of your day-to-day problems as well. That's what our new series, Grow Your Business, Not Your Work, will focus on.


Repair Shop Goals

USA Today published a study in May of 2017 that states approximately 20% of new businesses fail in their first year. But making it to that milestone is no guarantee of long term success. Only half of businesses survive five years, and one third is all that make it past ten. Don't let your repair shop fall victim to these statistics, especially not when there are things you can do to keep your doors open for years to come.

A common mistake many small business owners, including diesel repair shop owners, make is the often quoted "working in the business, not on it." Michael Gerber wrote about this idea in his book, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, from which the quote seems to stem.

In fact, Gerber continues on this idea in his article, The Fatal Assumption Every Startup Needs to Avoid. He mentions that many businesses fail because while business owners are working hard, they're doing the wrong work, focusing on the day-to-day work of the shop, rather than on growing the business. You hire technicians and office staff for a reason. Let them do their job, while you focus on what yours actually is—helping your business thrive.

Bob Cooper writes in his article for Elite, The 7 Most Common Reasons Auto Repair Shops Fail, that the lack of clear goals is one of the main reasons shops fail. Goals, he writes, keep owners motivated about their business and help them make decisions. So what are your shop goals? Write them down and start working toward them.


Working Toward Your Goals

Once you've determined some goals for your shop, you'll need to think about how you can work to achieve them. Implementing systems in your shop can help with this. These systems will help you keep your shop running uniformly and also helps you identify when and where your shop falls short of its goals. For more information on business systems, check out our white paper, The Importance of Systemizing Your Diesel Repair Shop.


Some Common Repair Shop Problems

By focusing on managing your business rather than working in it, you'll not only be able to build a more profitable shop, but you'll be able to fix some of your daily issues as well. This series will focus on how to accomplish this in detail for the following common repair shop problems:

Business Security

Is your business going to be around for years to come? Is it a viable retirement plan for you? If you're not sure, you might want to take a look at how systems can help you have a more secure future.

Not Making Enough Money

Month after month, you notice your shop is barely making enough money to keep its doors open, but you can't figure out what's going wrong. Systematizing your shop can help you pinpoint areas where you're losing money, allowing you to become a highly profitable shop.

Business Can't Run Without You

Sometimes we all need a vacation. But does it seem like you're unable to take even a day off without your phone ringing about some shop problem? Putting management systems into place can help you enjoy some peace—and maybe even an actual vacation.

Busy but Not Making Money

Your bays may be constantly full, but you're not seeing the profits you want. That means something is going wrong in your business systems, but the key is finding where. Managing your systems can help you pinpoint these and come up with a plan to boost those profits.

Staff Not Following Procedures

Maybe you already have systems in place, but your technicians don't consistently follow them without you looking over your shoulder. Reevaluating these procedures and how they impact the shop environment allows you to better shape how your shop operates moving forward.

Can't Get Work Out Fast Enough

Are work delays keeping you from the profits you want? Overseeing your systems draws attention to why these delays are happening and allows you to move vehicles through your shop at a rate that helps boost your bottom line.

Not Enough Technicians

We all know there's a shortage of qualified technicians. But did you know there are things that you can do as a repair shop owner that can help you find and keep techs in your shop? Don't let this be the reason you can't keep your shop open!

Parts Problems

Mistakes happen. But they shouldn't happen frequently enough that your business suffers. Evaluating this part of your shop procedures can really impact your bottom line and keep your customers—and you—happy.

Too Much Time on Office Work

We get it. Office work is essential to keeping your operation going. But is it really the most cost effective to have the owner do it? Laying out these systems can help free up your time—and save your shop some extra cash.

HR Problems

Employee turnover can be expensive, and it can also impact your shop environment, causing even more employee problems. Don't let this hold your shop back, when there are things you can do to fix it!


If you have systems in place, but still find yourself complaining about some of these issues, it might be time to innovate your systems. Our past blog, Innovating Your Diesel Repair Shop Systems, can help you work through some of the issues you might be running into. You can also stay tuned for upcoming blogs in this series to learn in depth how you can solve these repair shop problems!

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