If you’re a small fleet owner with a truck repair shop, chances are you’re also the shop service manager. Maybe you are or were a trained technician who got into the trucking business as a sideline. Or perhaps the opposite is true, that is you ran a thriving small fleet, got to know trucks well over the years and decided to branch out into the heavy truck repair business. Whatever the case, now you find yourself managing two or three technicians and taking on outside customers who know your reputation for good work.

So, you’re lining up loads and juggling dispatching with scheduling customer trucks for service in addition to keeping up on repairs and maintenance of your own vehicles. You find yourself spending a lot of time on the phone much of the day and the evening too.

 

Familiar Questions, Usual Answers

Hire an assistant like a service writer? “Sorry, trucking and repairing are both low margin businesses. Can’t afford another employee.” Hand off duties to a family member? “Sorry, nobody can do it as good as me. No family member.” Use a load broker to take charge of loads for your trucks? “Nope, don’t want to pay them when I can do it myself.”

So, soon you face a logjam of work and you’re constantly trying to put out fires by applying bandages. That kind of stress will eat you up in no time. Before you know it, your health and your businesses are in dire need of help just to survive.

Or you learn to manage the work instead of trying to drink water from a fire hose. And to do so will require a number of strategic changes to the way you handle your two businesses.

Wake Up Early

Start off by beginning your day before the shop opens, whether for your own trucks or those of customers. Once you see which trucks are waiting and know everything that’s required in what time frames, schedule work according to urgency.

 

 

Delegate for your Sake

Consider naming your most experienced tech as lead person responsible for assigning work to his or herself and the other techs. Delegating is not optional. You must do it to ease your burden. It is likely that more work will get done this way because you had to work with constant fires from excess workload. It’s not that you were bad at your jobs, just bit off more than two people could chew.

With the lead hand managing the shop you have more time for writing work orders and passing them to the crew so you can spend time marketing to new customers and lining up better paying loads for your own trucks.

 

Add Help Without Hiring

The next strategy you should employ is to invest in a software based repair shop management system. The new software will be specifically designed and built to manage a small, heavy truck and trailer repair and maintenance shop just like yours. But that doesn’t mean it’s inadequate or lacks power to make real changes for you and your shop people. The system includes embedded training so you and your shop people will be up to speed in 30 minutes or less.

For starters, you will never again need to write repair orders by hand. All your paperwork automatically becomes digital, including storage of documents from inception of the system, so file cabinets become a thing of the past. And you won’t need to leave your desk to assign work to techs. All work orders will be transmitted to the lead tech electronically for assignment.

As parts are needed for a job they are picked from inventory and issued directly to the repair orders error free and listed on the RO. Inventory management is a breeze when the system automatically provides you with a recommended parts order list based on techs recent usage. Just create and issue a digital purchase order and transmit it to your favorite supplier.

Technician hours are tracked in real time to eliminate errors that could otherwise require a rewrite. ROs are transmitted back to you and completed with clicks on your computer, tablet or smartphone and turned into an invoice to be emailed directly to the customer. Life is good now.

 

Marketing your Shop Becomes Easier

Techs will love using the system and your customers will be impressed by your upgrade to the powerful digital age of technology. They’ll go on their way talking up your shop and will keep your people busy.

At BrightOrder Inc. we designed and built this system called FleetSquared to simplify and speed up shop work. We based it on our decades of experience with heavy truck and trailer repairs and technicians. It will speed up shop work and enable you to take on more business without all the hassles.

FleetSquared comes with a free 30 day trial so you can test drive it to see its many advantages. Sign up with your email to start your free trial today.