Busy Work Keeping You from Growing Your Repair Shop?
We've all said it before: I'm just too busy! And there's no doubt that you are busy. But are you the right kind of busy? As a diesel repair shop owner, your time is valuable, but more often than not, many shop owners find themselves caught up in daily office tasks like bills and invoices. While this is a vital part of keeping your shop running, is it really the best way to spend your time?
It goes back to the idea of working on your business, not in it. We talked about this in the first post of this series, and it's an important thing to remember here. If you're not working on ways to keep your shop profitable and growing, who is? That's where the majority of your time should be spent. If a task can be handled by someone else, then you should let them take care of it.
Plus, it's not cost effective for you to be spending so much of your time tied up with office work. Think about the cost per hour of you getting paid to do something versus what it would cost you to pay someone else to do it. Likely, it's cheaper for you to have someone else take responsibility for the little tasks that distract you from your actual job of running your business.
"But no one else can do it as well as me," you may object. In some cases, that may be true, but the root of the problem is that you don't trust anyone else to do it right. And that's where systems come in. If you have systems in place for how you want the bills paid, from where they go once they arrive in the mail to exactly where they should be put to send out, then you can trust someone else to do it—they should be doing it exactly like you would.
So get these systems in place, so you can get to work on what your job should actually be—building your business.
Take a look at the infographic for some of the ideas laid out in this post:
Your ultimate goal here should be to give yourself more time to accomplish other shop goals. This can be set up in different ways, depending on the needs of your shop. Here are a couple ways you could write out your goal:
To hire X new employees to handle [insert tasks taking up your time]. This is to help me focus on creating and implementing strategies to help the shop make $X in profit by the year 20XX.
To rearrange and reprioritize staff job roles and systems so that [insert tasks] no longer fall solely on me to accomplish. This is to help me focus on creating and implementing strategies to help the shop make $X in profit by the year 20XX.
The Shop Owner
Your goal is to save yourself as much time as possible to focus on other aspects of your business, so your responsibility here will mainly be to not let yourself get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that take up too much of your time. Set up systems, hire new employees, and delegate. That is how you can get away from losing entire days to office work. It'll also be your job to enforce the idea that people should not be bringing a problem to you unless it truly is something only you can solve. Otherwise, direct them to the process they should be following.
These staff members should be the ones who actually complete the tasks that take up too much of your precious time. If you don't have them, then you should hire them. You'll definitely save yourself some headaches, and probably money, in the long run. It will be their responsibility to complete the tasks by following the processes you lay out and report back to you. It should be an expectation that each task should be completed according to process.
Measuring the Systems
A good part of measuring if your systems are working is by tracking your time. How much time are you still spending managing invoices? How many hours per day do you find yourself manning the front desk? If you don't track where your time is spent, you won't know if you're achieving your goal of spending more time focusing on how to grow your business to increased profits.
You will also need to review reports from your staff. Are they having problems with the systems? Are tasks being completed in a timely way, up to the standards laid out for them? If not, try to root cause the problem. Is it due to a flaw in the system, or an issue with employee training? This is a more valuable use of your time than actually completing the task yourself.
The systems you'll need for this particular goal are related to the tasks you need accomplished, and will vary from shop to shop. Some that you might find useful include:
- Bills and Invoices: How exactly do you want these completed? When should they be sent out? How should invoices be approached? Accounts reconciled? Make sure your bookkeeper or accountant knows exactly what your expectations are, so that nothing is missed.
- Customer Service: Who should be greeting customers and checking them in? How should they be given estimates? Make sure your staff knows exactly who is responsible for ensuring this gets done consistently every time someone enters your shop.
- Waiting Area Cleaning: A lot of owners find themselves taking on a custodial role around the shop as well. Again, keeping everything clean is important to the success of your business, but it's not your job as the owner to handle it personally. Decide exactly how the waiting areas and restrooms should look to set a standard, and then figure out who is responsible for maintaining it. Do you want to hire an outside crew to come in and clean? Will you have your front office staff handle it? This should be a clear expectation for whoever you delegate the job to.
- Other Tasks: Again, you could find your time being consumed by a variety of busy work. Work to identify which tasks just aren't vital for you to complete yourself and delegate them to others.
Reviewing the Systems
Like with every other goal in this series, you want to make sure you're reviewing how your systems are functioning within your shop. You'll want to review the reports from your employees to make sure every task is being completed up to standards, but you'll also want to keep track of your own time. If you have more time to spend on other shop projects, then your systems are probably working. Just make sure that you don't fill that time with more busy work, which defeats the purpose of the entire goal.
It is possible to have more time, you just have to be willing to delegate to other members of your staff—or hire new people when necessary. So stop making excuses, and start working to grow your business.
If you're looking to save yourself some time, make sure you take a look at our Repair Shop Value Program! We work to make diesel engine parts ordering as simple for you as possible.