Sutherland Shire Automotive Centre
David Marston has been operating Sutherland Shire Automotive Centre for many years. He is also the MTA Chairman of the Auto Mechanical Repairers Division. So he gets an overall view of the industry as well as from under the bonnet.
Here is his story
“I often assist Members with information on dispute resolution. What amazes me is the number of workshop owners who still keep incomplete records on paper. Accurate record keeping for your workshop has always been important, and these days even more so as legal action increases. If you are the victim of a legal action get prepared for a day in court or at a tribunal, especially if you cannot prove you did the right thing. It’s expensive in time, compensation payments and even more expensive legal fees. As an example, the water pump you changed three months ago just failed. Do you know when and where you got it? Can you look at the invoice and click on purchase history and find the supplier, invoice number, costs etc? Can you do it in a couple of seconds or does it take a long while to find the information?
My workshop has been using The Leading Hand for the past six years. We use it because we simply cannot manage our workshop without it. Whether for Bookings, Invoices and Accounts, follow-up with customers, vehicle details, technician performance or maintenance histories, The Leading Hand tells us all us we need to know, and even stores pictures of customers’ vehicles.”
But David has found other vital benefits with using The Leading Hand, like sales and outstanding customer reports.
“Most customers will happily pay for work done especially on a clear itemised invoice. Unfortunately, there are also those who are not honest and will do all they can to avoid their obligations. They try to make untruthful claims about the work done (or not done) and blame the mechanic for any problems their vehicle may have. We have all experienced people like that and in many cases it can cost us plenty. By using The Leading Hand we can avoid such hassles.
The Leading Hand enables us to keep accurate records of work done. We can look up jobs performed back to the first day we used it. We can store photos and documents concerning particular vehicles to enable us to get a full history of work done and the vehicle condition. This, combined with accurate job cards signed by the Customer, means we are now prepared to handle unscrupulous people or complicated jobs.”
A question for David was whether setting up his workshop for computerised management would be a big job.
“Well it can be; but The Leading Hand team make it as easy as possible. They are always available and all the team there know about the program, so any one who answers the phone can answer virtually any question.”
As part of his changeover his old database was converted, so he could get to work straight away.
As David says, “Computerised management requires a long term commitment. However, the long-term benefits (just time saving alone) are quickly obvious. Then once an invoice is created I make it in to a template and next time that job is done again (example remove and replace cylinder head, subcontracting and all the parts used) I just use the template. It saves me time but means I don’t forget to charge for parts used like sealant and workshop materials, they are the things easy to forget which add the profit to the Bottom Line.
Time and Time again The Leading Hand has proved it is the most vital tool for my (in fact any) workshop”.