Choosing a Shop Management System for Lang Racing Development Logo

Almost all our blog entries are technical articles. Articles specific to BMW and or Porsche repair, maintenance, or performance builds. It’s rare we talk about the business of running an independent shop. We wanted to shoot a quick update on our new Shop Management System – Many of our regular clients have noticed the change. We thought it would be good to comment on why we changed it, and what that process looked like.

Today I’m going to give you a peek behind the curtain on our shop management. Specifically, the software that many of our clients have seen or interacted with. We used to handle everything in our invoicing program. Yet, it was lacking many features we needed to streamline our processes. While it did contain client information, it lacked shop specific info to help us. Info to stay in touch with our clients, and organize their projects.

We needed specific features like;

  • Searchable client contact information
  • Client vehicle information
  • Year/Make/Model of vehicle
  • VIN
  • Milage (in/out)
  • Vehicle specific notes

Another feature that was very important to me was a cloud based solution. We run on Google Apps, so something that we could log into from any computer was a must. I’ve learned how mobile you need to be in a shop. A bonus would be having many users at a single price point so we could each log in and track who made what changes etc.

So, we needed something;

  • cloud based
  • quick and easy to access for everyone on the team
  • categorized vehicle specific info
  • cost effective
  • modern

I did a lot of searching for shop specific management. Most systems were license based. Meaning that we’d have to install it on specific computers in our shop and that’s where it would stay. Beyond that they were old, windows based software that didn’t look like a fun space to work in all day. As a tech guy, I was hoping to find someone who was pushing the pace with modern “project management” services. Something that would work well for us and provide a good experience to our clients. A service that could keep pace with evolving web based platforms. I wanted something as slick as Quickbooks Online, but tuned for automotive shops.

Not only did the service itself have to work, but the vendor had to have passion and understanding. We’re a small business and we needed someone who understood that. The team here does this work because these are the things we care about. We expect the same from our vendors. I looked for an aggressive roadmap combined with fast and accurate support. Finally, effective on boarding was a must.

Enter – full disclosure, I’m a big fan of this product. I’m a bigger fan of the team behind it. Shopmonkey checks all our bases for technical requirements. It’s cloud based. It unifies and simplifies all our quote writing, appointments, and communication. Since I started writing this post, they’ve added the ability to look up labor rates and part numbers! There’s no ceiling here, only room to grow our business. It’s saved us time in the office. I’ve had comments from our clients about the ease of communication.

That is not the reason we chose them though. I chose because after one phone call with their founder – I was confident my team was in good hands. I believe in the folks behind the product and that’s why I wrote this little update. To give them a hearty thank you, and to spread the word. (Also because I may not be able to write up a technical article to help a BMW owner, but I can write one to help fellow shop managers!)

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