Step-By-Step Guide on How to Audit Your Repair Orders

Only by taking an in-depth look at your operations can you resolve problems and achieve great success with your auto repair shop. One way to do that is by making repair order auditing a top priority.

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Audit Your Repair Orders with Chris Cotton of AutoFix Auto Shop Coaching; image of African American female shop owner going over repair order with older male mechanic near shop tools and printer

You will need to set aside about one hour per week for this process. Then, just follow these steps to see where to make improvements in creating your repair orders.

Select a Random Repair Order

Although it is tempting to grab suspect repair orders from the stack, you want an honest assessment on how your team is doing on any given day. For that reason, you should always pick your repair orders at random when performing the audit.

Either go into your auto repair shop management software, like Tekmetric, or into your older system and pick the second, seventh, or tenth repair order. Switch it up each time to always get something different.

Check for the Correct Customer Info

Once you have the repair order in front of you, start by looking at the customer information. Check to see if your employee recorded the customers’ contact info and their vehicle’s plate number and VIN on the paperwork. As you do that, don’t forget to check for the in and out mileage on the ticket.

In addition, if your point-of-sale system tracks it, verify that they asked about the customers’ preferred method of contact. Most customers nowadays prefer either phone calls and texts, although the rare few still keep their email inboxes organized and well-monitored. By knowing their preferences, you can get in touch with your customers fast and honor their way of doing things.

Review the Original Complaint

Next, you’ll want to go down the work order to find the customer’s original complaint. What was their pebble in the shoe: A strange noise or smell? Drivability issues? Or were they just swinging by for general maintenance needs?

Once you identify it, keep this complaint in mind, so you can tell if the customer got the level of service they needed and expected. The work performed should have resolved this complaint in full. Plus, your team should have added even more value through mileage-based services or by resolving any additional problems found during the digital vehicle inspection.

Look at Inspection Quality and Findings

At this step, you want to look at the quality of the inspection and see what problems your auto tech found. Reflect on your shop standards for pictures, videos, and notes to see if the tech met your expectations.

Did they take enough photos? Are the videos clear and show the full problem to the service advisor and customer? Did they jot down thorough notes that are actionable and easy to understand? As you answer all these questions, you can decide if your auto techs are doing great inspections or need more training.

Verify the Estimate Was Written Up Right

You’ll review the estimate next to see how well your service advisor used the auto tech’s inspection findings. They should have written up a full price estimate for the work needed to resolve the original complaint.

After that, they should have priced out any additional repairs found during the inspection plus mileage-based services. If any of that is missing, then your service advisor will likely need more direction on how to properly write up estimates for your shop.

Calculate the Closing Ratio

Your last step in the repair order auditing process is calculating the closing ratio. Divide the total amount of work sold by the estimated amount to find this figure. If your service advisor wrote up a $1,000 estimate, for example, but you sold $500 in service, then your closing ratio is 50%. While that’s not terrible, a 65% closing ratio is a much better goal.

Follow Up with Your Team to Resolve Problems

Once you have your repair order audit complete, you can follow up with your team to resolve any problems found during that process. Reflect on who’s responsible for handling each task assessed in the audit.

If the inspection was not up to par, for example, you’ll have to speak with the technician to help dial in their efforts. If the estimates fell short, on the other hand, then you’ll be talking with your service advisor instead.

No matter who you talk to, just be sure to provide constructive feedback and clear direction on how to improve. As you do that, make sure you’re stressing that these steps are important and why.

Plan to circle back later to verify that your team is improving their efforts to best match your expectations. Remember that what you allow is what will continue, so be sure to keep your team accountable to achieve great results in all you do.

Need Help with Repair Order Auditing? Look to Your Auto Repair Coach

If you’d like support in completing repair order auditing and improving your other processes, consider partnering with a trusted auto repair coach. With help from Chris Cotton at AutoFix Auto Shop Coaching, you can streamline your processes, increase monthly revenues, and reach all your goals in running your auto shop. Ready to schedule your call? Just fill out our online form or reach out to us at (940) 400-1008 to find a good time to talk about the future of your auto repair shop.

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