Equipment and Furniture Repair: Industry of the Month

By: Andrea Lotz Sunday July 6, 2014 comments

Equipment and Furniture Repair

Summary:

AllProWebTools solves the workflow and communication problems common to many of these small businesses. 

  • Shops which tend to have multiple repair projects ongoing
  • Stores which both sell and repair items, or repair only
  • Most have customers bring equipment to shop and leave it there

By upgrading their tasking and customer communication strategy, small equipment repair shops can improve efficiency and meet the needs of more new customers.  They also increase their ability to attract new customers by improving their website and marketing capabilities.

Integrating all these functions into one software solution can save them a lot of energy and give them access to unique, time-saving tools.

Includes:

  • Bicycle Repair
  • Musical Instrument Sales, Rental, and Repair
  • Sewing Machine and Vacuum Repair
  • Appliance Repair
  • Lawnmower Repair
  • Ski Tuning, Snowboard Waxing, Repair, Boot Fitting
  • Sports Equipment and Home Gym Equipment Repair / Tuning
  • Firearm Repair and Maintenance
  • Refinishing, Reupholstering

Recommended Tools:

Workflow Timeline

The Workflow Timeline gives owners, managers, and employees access to a live feed of important business updates. 

  • Stay connected and in-the-loop without progress reports.
  • All users can easily track the status of repair projects, new orders, and timecard notes.
  • All the tools below post to the Workflow Timeline, making it a powerful tool for small business owners.

Customer Service

Customer satisfaction is critical for small repair companies.  Using Customer Relationship Management tools (CRM) helps keep customers happy and draws in new leads.

  • Status Tracking for Customers: Customers can receive automatic emails giving them updates about the status of repair work. This means that customers no longer need to call the shop for updates.
  • Client Notes: Internal client notes post automatically to the Workflow Timeline, so everyone has the most current information. The team can work together to complete the project as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Customer Database: Keep the contact information of all past customers, current customers, leads, affiliates, and more in one database, integrated with the sales pipeline.

Productivity

In a shop with many different repair projects going on at once, information equals productivity.  Making use of AllProWebTools’ timecard and tasking tools, both of which post to the Workflow Timeline, makes it much easier to track progress on various projects.  All employees can scroll through the timeline to see what work has already been completed, and what’s next.

  • Timecards: Workers clock in to specific projects, and clock out each time they switch tasks. For companies who bill by the hour, this provides accurate to the minute data for the invoice.
  • Pay in Advance: Companies can also charge a retainer and have employees clock in to drain from that retainer.
  • Tasking: Managers and workers can assign each other tasks with various priority levels. Tasks can be shared among several employees, and tasks can be set to recur on any schedule.  It’s perfect for setting a to-do list for each project. 
  • Updated tasks post to the Workflow Timeline, so all employees can track progress.

Website

These companies often don’t sell products online, but having a web presence is a great way to acquire leads, provide information to potential customers, and give current customers a place to recommend the company’s services.  Some businesses could benefit from selling parts, equipment (especially Instruments), and consultations online.

  • Online Scheduling: Clients can make their own appointments online without picking up the phone. This is perfect for companies that spend a lot of time playing phone tag.
  • Video Testimonials: Let satisfied customers speak for themselves with engaging testimonials.

Marketing

Many get new business from word of mouth and the phone book, but a more proactive strategy could yield more dramatic results.  Tapping into the resource of past customers can give an edge to small businesses that do outstanding work.

  • Automated Email Marketing: Find out how many website visits, leads, and appointments result from each individual email campaign, to make it clear what’s working and what isn’t.
    • Send  automated emails to past customers at set times after a job is completed to offer upsells and maintenance offers, or to request a testimonial.
    • Proactively seek out maintenance work by reminding customers of periodic maintenance needs.
    • Offer special deals or send newsletters
  • Opt-In Lead Box: Offer emailed special offers or maintenance tips from a lead box on the website. Send new customer notifications as a text directly to the owner or manager, to keep up with leads on the go.

Hypothetical Case:

A small bicycle shop does all the following:

  • Repairs bicycles brought in by customers
  • Offers bike pickup service for close local customers
  • Sells upcycled bikes and parts in the shop

They have a shop with an adjoined garage that gets crowded with bicycles.

The owner works half-time in the shop and half at home.  He has three employees, bicycle mechanics that work shifts at the register.

Dashboard

The shop gets AllProWebTools and quickly starts getting integrated.  All the web tools are hosted from one dashboard.  The main feature of the dashboard is a Workflow Timeline, a live feed of important business updates.  The mechanics can access the dashboard from the computer in the garage or their mobile phones, and the owner can see it at home and with his smartphone. 

Just by scrolling, they can see:

  • New projects and sales
  • Timecard notes and internal client notes on each project
  • Tasks for the day

Productivity

The shop uses the tasking tool to make to-do lists for each bike, with task priority levels and the ability to create recurring tasks for shop-wide maintenance. 

  • The timecard tool allows them to charge a retainer for each bike, which the mechanics clock into for accurate to the minute invoicing
  • Timecard notes tell the client how the time was spent
  • Uses tasking to create to-do lists for each bike and set recurring tasks
  • Each user’s individual timeline reveals how the day was spent

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The shop had been using spreadsheets to keep track of client information, and CRM software from AllProWebTools gave them the ability to store that information in a much more convenient customer database.  The list can include clients, leads, affiliates, and more. 

  • Client notes keep track of what work has been done on each bike, and what issues remain
  • Automatically send client notes to the customer by email, so they can track the status of their bike without a phone call

Website

The shop uses the website as a way to promote the business and schedule appointments for repair consultation.

  • Online scheduling allows clients to make appointments to bring their bike in for repair
  • Attractive, clean-looking site with an image slider
  • Image gallery shows restored bikes and bikes mid-repair

Marketing

All marketing reports draw information from each one of the web tools, so they provide unique perspective on the business.  Automated email campaigns are combined with powerful marketing tools, making it clear which ones are making the most impact.

  • Shop’s email box providedbyAllProWebTools
    • Tracks click-throughs and emails opened
  • Lead box offers special offer on a tune-up for filling in email address
    • Automated email sends welcome message and coupon code
  • Emails customers two weeks after repair to check satisfaction
  • Sends maintenance reminders every season
  • Event Tracker shows him how their marketing initiatives have made an impact over longer periods of time or day by day

Overall

The bike shop is better organized and work as a smoother team.  They spend less time asking questions and checking in, and more time working on bikes.  Their increased efficiency allows them to take on more repair jobs, and plan for more growth in the future.  AllProWebTools made the hard parts simple.

 

Andrea Lotz

About the Author: Andrea Lotz

Andrea is the resident writer for AllProWebTools. She loves to write about just about anything, especially small businesses, sustainability, and whatever is new and upcoming on the horizon.  She lives in Fort Collins and spends her free time cycling, welding, cooking, and playing ukulele. 

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