About AutoInc.’s Shop Management Software Guide
By Leona Dalavai Scott
Each July, AutoInc. publishes a comprehensive comparison guide of shop management software features. This issue is the most requested of the year and is compiled from AutoInc.’s software questionnaire that is completed by shop management software companies. AutoInc. is the only trade magazine that devotes this much coverage to shop management software programs on a regular basis.
For AutoInc.’s 23rd Annual Shop Management Software Guide, we’ve changed things up a bit. This year, we wanted readers to hear directly from the software providers themselves. We asked each company to answer three questions designed to help shops with their purchasing decisions:
The 2013 questionnaire was distributed by email to various shop management software companies in the automotive service industry. Twenty-seven mechanical shop management companies and six collision shop management companies participated in this year’s Software Guide. Software companies are listed alphabetically.
A special thanks to all of this year’s participants! If your company is a provider of shop management software for automotive service and collision repair businesses, and you would like to be a part of the Software Guide for 2014, please send your request by email to email@example.com.ALLDATA Manage
1) Software distinctions: ALLDATA distinguishes ourselves from others in the marketplace through our award-winning customer support and training as well as our full product suite from OE repair data, parts and labor to marketing programs.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Look for fully integrated products and software that improves or streamlines shop workflow. By using integrated products, it will reduce the amount of time managing software vendors. When you use products that improve or streamline your shop workflow, you improve customer satisfaction and reduce shop overhead.
3) Tech support: ALLDATA has award-winning customer support and training. We also have library staff that can assist you to find the information you need.
1) Software distinctions: It’s so user-friendly, a blind man can use it: Larry Woody’s completely blind. He runs his own shop, D&D Automotive, without worry, by using AllsystemsMax to gain a competitive edge.
Purchase options, easy payments: Buy your license outright for a single low price (from $500). Automatic monthly installments
($100, 0 percent interest) available until fully paid. After that, use the software forever for free and still receive free automatic updates.
2) Advice for purchasing software:
Perfect doesn’t exist. Prioritize needs, then evaluate software accordingly. Talk directly with vendors. Ignore those who don’t know how to listen.
3) Tech support: It’s professional, personal and direct. You work with programmers and developers at AllsystemsMax, or prior users.
Either way, you’re assured of helpful assistance and advice from people who genuinely care about your success.
AIMS for WinAIMS
Automated Invoicing Management
1) Software distinctions: Easy to use with the best price/feature ratio in the market.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Shop around, then try us. Free six-month full-program try-out period.
3) Tech support: Call us 24/7 (505-286-0190) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Support included in subscription (no additional support charges) even during initial trial period.
Applied Computer Resources LLC
1) Software distinctions: Estimator is an easy-to-use management system for running your business, designed to meet your budget and offer many features to customize the system to your shop’s needs.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Choose software that is user-friendly, meets all of your shop needs and provides support that is eager to help you succeed.
3) Tech support: Our tech support is knowledgeable and courteous, with the latest solutions for making sure your software operates efficiently.
ASA* Automotive Systems LLC
1) Software distinctions: Backed by 20 years of industry experience, AutoRepairMaster is built to grow with your business. Much more than simple auto repair shop software, options include a comprehensive point-of-sale package and versions with accounting functionality for both single-store and multi-shop environments. Round out your system by adding optional interfaces for retrieving parts and labor information, processing credit cards and safely storing your business data.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Invest in a software company that can grow with your business.
3) Tech support: ASA’s support staff is comprised of highly trained analysts with an average tenure of eight years. Most importantly, our installation consultants know your business, many having worked in the tire industry themselves. Our analysts have a variety of backgrounds, including a CPA, controllers and extensive support experience.
*Not related to the Automotive Service Association.
Chilton, Cengage Learning
1) Software distinctions: ChiltonPRO is cost-effective and contains Chilton’s famous labor times to create estimates. ChiltonPRO also contains videos and animations to show users how to complete certain repairs.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Request multiple trials and make sure that the program fits your needs and your budget. ChiltonPRO is a great solution for a shop on a budget looking for quality service repair information and estimating.
3) Tech support: We have technical support available Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. We also offer 24/7 online self-help support and ticket logging.
Commercial Data Systems Corp.
1) Software distinctions: AutoWise was designed and developed by an experienced repair shop owner to be easy to learn and use, and to fit the specific requirements of a typical repair shop.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Pick a package that is easy to learn and use, and that fits your specific requirements.
3) Tech support: Telephone support is available during normal work hours. Support personnel are also available to connect to the user’s system via Internet or dial-up and provide support.
1) Software distinctions: ServiceShop™ by GenesisFour is the professional tool for the professional service shop. We offer a high-power management system with all the tools necessary to create profitability. Using our trademark formula MPG/h™, we pinpoint profit leaks in your business and determine a strategy to correct them, which upon implementation allows you to meet your profit levels on a daily basis.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Contact GenesisFour and request our PowerPoint presentation answering exactly this question.
3) Tech support: Set up just like your service department, support orders written and results tracked for completion and customer satisfaction.
Janco International Inc.
1) Software distinctions: Extraordinary number of third-party Web integrations; NexPart, Activant, Alldata, ATD, NAPA, AutoZone, CarQuest, Mitchell, CarFax, IAP, QuickBooks, CustomerLink and many more. Serving the automotive aftermarket since 1982.
2) Advice for purchasing software:
Support after the sale, pricing and catalog updates, shop performance metrics, technician productivity reporting, ease-of-use and software reliability. StockTrac has the ability to budget and monitor your bottom line, and we can customize the software to your shop with hundreds of configuration options. Single and multi-shop configurations.
3) Tech support: It rocks! Toll-free number providing support Monday through Saturday
8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST). We’re there when you need us. We have a highly trained technical staff with an in-depth knowledge of our software as well as PC hardware, operating systems, printers, networks, Internet connectivity, switches and routers. We have you covered.
Auto Shop Writer
1) Software distinctions: We listen to our clients, and we respond by constantly evolving our software to meet their needs and requests. We’ve done this for more than 30 years, and people often respond: “This software works the way I run my business.” Our clients become friends, not accounts. It’s all personal!
2) Advice for purchasing software: Make a list of what you want, then see how the task is performed in that software. Learn what the TOTAL costs are, and carefully evaluate the ROI. Never make a decision on the spot. Meet the support staff with whom you will work.
3) Tech support: All questions are answered personally, never with a script. We listen first, then respond. Support is provided by email, phone or online. Problems are resolved in minutes, not months. Support is provided by developers, not outsourced.
Master Repair 8000
1) Software distinctions: Master Repair 8000 is an ever-evolving software that our team constantly develops based on our customers’ needs. Not only is it intuitive and very easy to use, but we also work to provide key partnerships. These include CarFax, WorldPac, NAPA, Quickbooks and various marketing companies.
2) Advice for purchasing software: With numerous software options available, make sure you find one that suits your business’ needs. Download a trial, give it a test drive, and involve the software provider to ensure that they are as invested as you are in your business.
3) Tech support: Our company guarantees that you receive excellent customer service, dedicating our efforts until a user feels completely comfortable with our product. We will work around your schedule to get you the support and training you need.
1) Software distinctions: MotorWare is simple, easy to learn and easy to use shop management software. It comes with an interactive Getting Started tutorial. The aim is to make start up time as short as possible for new users. The program has been around since 1995 so serious technical glitches are rare. It is constantly updated and revised.
2) Advice for purchasing software: No program can be all things to all people. Be wary of vendors who promise too much or claim to do everything. Modern shop management programs need to provide interfaces to programs that provide specialized services – such as Intuit’s QuickBooks for accounting, or Microsoft Word for word processing and letters.
3) Tech support: Polite and efficient. Problems that can’t be quickly resolved by email or telephone are handled by a remote support session.
1) Software distinctions: Shop efficiency is crucial; that’s why we offer the most integrated solution. Our industry standard Mitchell 1 labor times, game-changing ProDemand™ OEM repair information, SureTrack™ (expert-based information), Social CRM digital marketing and QuickBooks Integrator are all integrated with the industry’s most popular shop management platform, Mitchell 1 Manager SE™.
2) Advice for purchasing software: While there are many moving pieces within shop management software, it is crucial to consider the company that stands behind the products and how attuned they are to hearing the customer’s voice.
3) Tech support: Mitchell 1 operates a professionally managed technical support department of 40-plus technicians at no charge for current users. Questions may be addressed by telephone, user forum or email; certain issues are addressed using remote control software.
MOTOR Shop Director
MOTOR Information Systems
1) Software distinctions: MOTOR Shop Director offers a complete system, which covers work order writing, service tracking, marketing and the ability to interface with MOTOR Estimators, Part Suppliers and Accounting Systems. MOTOR Information Systems is a trusted name in the automotive industry for more than 100 years. We will continue to support our customers with new information and updateable management software for years to come.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Many systems write work orders. The details, however, are what can make the difference in how a system performs for you over the years. Your management system must give you the tools that save time writing work orders, managing accounting and marketing to your customers.
3) Tech support: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. Our people are highly trained and very friendly.
NAPA Auto Parts Genuine Parts Company
1) Software distinctions: Immediate results – Users report profit increases after setting controls that ensure targets are met. On-Site installation/Training – Factory-trained professionals ensure your shop is up and running fast. Backed by the best – TRACS has been tested by shops for 20-plus years and is backed by NAPA AUTO PARTS. Grows with your business – Estimating, management and bolt-on options available to fit any size shop. Ready for a change – We convert data from other systems including the FREE NAPA PROLink Estimator.
2) Advice for purchasing software: No shop management system is perfect! Do your homework, visit/talk to users; especially about support, training and updates after the sale.
3) Tech support: Live support six days a week, free user meetings ensure you get the most from your TRACS investment.
Omnique Shop Management Software
Omnique Shop Management Software
1) Software distinctions: Omnique is the only fully integrated, Web-based shop management software available today. We include parts ordering, labor times and marketing whether you own one shop or 100.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Don’t ever be forced to spend a bunch of money up front for a system that you haven’t tried in your shop. With our free trial you can use Omnique live, in your shop with no obligations, without even entering your credit card info!
3) Tech support: Omnique is the only shop management system that provides live technical support available right in the system! Just click our “live help” button and users are instantly connected with a technical support representative who can answer any questions you might have. Let us answer your employees’ questions at no added cost!
YES Management System
Pace Software Inc.
1) Software distinctions: YES is a full-featured point-of-sale system that includes invoicing, scheduling, online ordering and inventory tracking at all levels. Time clock functions, marketing, accounting and customer loyalty systems are also available. YES shows you what’s happening at your shop so you can manage your technicians and your workflow. YES can handle a wide variety of shops, from one-man-shops to large companies with multiple locations.
2) Advice for purchasing software: After 25 years in business, we know the importance of finding what works for your shop. Find a flexible program that fits the needs of your shop.
3) Tech support: Our tech support team knows what it’s like to work in a shop. We are dedicated to answering questions and solving problems quickly so you can get back to your most important asset: your customers.
Simply Genius/Auto Genius
Personal Computers of America
1) Software distinctions: Since 1986,
Simply Genius became the industry leader in features, ease of use and affordability evolving into an industry powerhouse. Simply Genius is built for the quick and demanding needs of a high-volume point-of-sale environment with flexibility and ease of use that is unmatched. Our software includes fully integrated accounting including payroll with onsite training, data conversion and installation.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Be sure your software provider includes data transfer from your old system and onsite training. Select a software provider that, after understanding your additional needs, is eager to make custom changes to the software. Always have physical access to your valuable data; business relationships can change.
3) Tech support: All support calls are answered by a live person, located in the United States, 24 hours day.
1) Software distinctions: Web-based software, back-ups, updates, done by ProfitBoost.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Buy for the future; software is evolving as is the auto repair industry. Desktop software is disappearing, and CD and online applications are the future. Look at the features, the longevity of the provider, the integrations and the reputation – not just cost. Cheap is cheap so make a list of your requirements and make a buying decision on your needs.
3) Tech support: Live, in person, or through our online Help Ticket system from within our software. M-F 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Our intention is to provide answers to questions within hours, not days, and all calls are answered live and in person; very rarely do our clients have to leave a voice mail.
Protractor & Protractor.net
Protractor Software Inc.
1) Software distinctions: Protractor is an Internet-based management solution that focuses on process management to make the most of the customer relationship with the repair shop. Our new .Net architecture product is just being released and the new features push our industry-leading product to the next level. When you are ready for your next generation system, take a look at Protractor.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Focus on the business processes that will help you drive your business forward, and then find the best available solution to support your business processes.
3) Tech support: Protractor tech support is the best in the business. All typical support calls are dealt with in the same day.
FastTrak® Auto Shop Manager, FastTrak® Fleet Services Mgr.,
FastTrak® Tire Shop Manager
1) Software distinctions: FastTrak’s products are built to support and improve the workflow through an auto repair, tire and fleet business. FastTrak supports the use of portable devices to process repair orders and inventory, includes tiered multi-level pricing matrixes and reports analyzing key performance indicators with comparisons to industry standards. This cycle of continuous improvement ensures that each business can increase sales and reduce cost quickly with small adjustments.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Start with a checklist of the features you want then narrow down the list of contenders to those that provide the features you require. Then compare the positives of the final list and make the best selection.
3) Tech support: The FastTrak support team is ranked among the highest in our industry; a world-class organization with the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
Shop Management Software
1) Software distinctions: R.O. Writer is the only shop management system with Smart eCat: the fastest way to source parts! Smart eCat is the revolutionary software that allows you to search for parts online (via the Internet) from multiple parts suppliers and see your cost and part availability, all in a single window, all within seconds. Plus, with an integrated labor guide, you can create estimates in 60 seconds or less including parts, labor and shop supplies.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Find a system that fills your needs. A shop management system should more than pay for itself by increasing sales, profits and productivity.
3) Tech support: We offer live phone support Monday through Saturday plus offer free Internet-based training webinars. We can also provide customized on-site training.
1) Software distinctions: RepairWriter is the flagship software for SDR Software, which can be customized to fit your specific need. Each client gets the personalized service expected from an independent software development firm.
2) Advice for purchasing software: Invest time into learning what the software firm offers you. Write out a list of your needs. Know the capabilities or limitations of you current system and what you would like to change.
Ask questions about customer service. You are purchasing a product to sustain your business and help grow profit.
3) Tech support: You will get one-to-one interaction with a team member who has the skills to fix your problem. Our goal is to remain accessible and approachable. While we have tech support hours (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST), our goal is to be available when you need us.
1) Software distinctions: Completely cloud-based; nothing to install. Work-flow driven to optimize the repair process interfaces for technician parts and service, also has customer portal (via shop’s website) so everyone involved in the repair process is in the loop. No more wandering around with ROs looking for people.
2) Advice for purchasing software:
Be careful of hidden costs and modular programs designed to mislead you as to the actual cost of the (advertised price) as compared to having your business up and running.
3) Tech support: Shopmax1 tech support is interactive right through the Web. We can walk you through your program in real time.
Total Auto Business Solutions Inc.
1) Software distinctions: We provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art software at reasonable prices, with opportunity for license ownership rather than just subscribing. Our system was built on input from industry users and continues to be updated based on customer needs and requests. We don’t charge separately for updates and enhancements. We integrate with QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, Peachtree, tire distributors and parts databases. Internet product reviews written by our customers, and submitted to sites independent from us, continue to give AutoBiz five out of five stars.
2) Advice for purchasing software:
At http://www.autorepairsoftware.com you will find a blog article titled, 10 Tips for Choosing an Automotive Software Company.
3) Tech support: Knowledgeable support techs are available by phone or chat to help. In our customers’ own words, our “support is second to none.”
1) Software distinctions: Easy to use!
Always evolving. New options do NOT get in the way and can be turned off. Highly configurable. Solid! Pictures, text messaging, email marketing, configure work order screens to suit your needs, customizable to-do list, customizable invoices or select from several pre-made. Easy to teach others!
2) Advice for purchasing software: Make sure you get a live demo (on the phone and/or Internet) with the software vendor. Be sure to have a list of questions ready.
3) Tech support: We have phone support available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, and transfer to a tech’s cell phone after hours and on weekends. We do not outsource. We want to make sure everything is working well for you. That is our main goal.
1) Software distinctions: Winworks
AutoShop is a one-time license purchase, paid in full or on easy payment plans. This means that you own the licensing for your software and your information. Winworks offers you a complete system, which covers work order writing, service tracking, marketing, labor estimators, part suppliers and accounting systems.
2) Advice for purchasing software: What will a subscription plan cost you over time? A subscription continues to cost you each month with no end in sight. Winworks AutoShop will not charge you a monthly fee beyond the payment plan, if you choose. This saves you lots of money in the outgoing years.
3) Tech support: Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. Our people are highly trained and very friendly.
1) Software distinctions: AudaExplore’s shop management system, AutoFocus, is the most scalable, inclusive and easiest to use in the marketplace. This complete management platform provides shops with all of the tools they need to control costs and increase revenue without the need for additional modules as your business grows.
2) Advice for software shopper: We tell clients that integrating a management system is like learning to drive a stick shift. The more you apply yourself into the on-boarding process, the faster and easier it is for a body shop to realize the benefits and reap the rewards.
3) Tech support: We have three levels of technical support – skilled professionals able to resolve any support issue.
ProfitNet Management System
Axalta Coating Systems
1) Software distinctions: ProfitNet is more than a shop management system, it is a communication hub as well. ProfitNet enables shops to automate communications electronically with all parties involved including consumers, insurance companies, parts vendors, rental car companies, CSI providers, OEM networks, 20-group forums, estimating systems, accounting systems and dealer management systems.
2) Advice for software shopper: Make sure the system can be configured to how you want to manage your business. Ensure plenty of on-site training and phone support is part of the offering.
3) Tech support: YADA Systems provides top-quality software phone support to more than 18,000 body shops in North America. ProfitNet support includes two weeks of on-site training, monthly webinars, quarterly regional user group meetings, followup on-site training as needed and detailed help tutorials.
CCC ONE Repair Workflow
CCC Information Services Inc.
1) Software distinctions: CCC ONE Repair Workflow is a single, unified application that combines estimating and shop management eliminating the fundamental flaw with today’s shop management systems where repairers spend hours per file balancing, rekeying and synchronizing information between multiple systems.
2) Advice for software shopper: Is the solution going to truly deliver a return on your investment? Is the solution flexible enough so you can tailor the software to match your operating model versus changing your model to fit the software? Who will be there to support your business after the contract is signed?
3) Tech support: CCC offers extensive technical support availability Monday through Saturday with a team of specialists who understand repairers’ unique workflow and accounting needs. In addition CCC has the largest team of field support personnel available to provide on-site support.
1) Software distinctions: Crash-writeR gives you all the options and abilities of other estimating systems at an affordable rate, while connecting you to people eager to see you succeed.
2) Advice for software shopper: Find a program that meets your shop’s needs while staying in your budget, and gives you access to people who are happy to make it work for you.
3) Tech support: Our tech support is knowledgeable and courteous, with the latest solutions for making sure your software operates efficiently.
1) Software distinctions: With more than 60 years in the collision repair industry, Mitchell has a reputation for delivering best-in-class editorial data, repair shop management and estimating software in an open, scalable platform. RepairCenter’s modular design empowers shops to select functionality options and tools to meet their unique needs, and facilitates communication with customers and insurance carriers.
2) Advice for software shopper: Choose software that captures all aspects of the collision repair process, so you don’t leave money on the table – software that fosters intuitive prompts, fewer supplements, clear reporting, ease of communicating with customers and carriers.
3) Tech support: Staffed by more than 90 product experts on call Monday-Friday 5 a.m.-
5 p.m. PST, Mitchell’s Technical Support Team is focused on shop support and generating value, not upselling, with an emphasis on increasing the shop’s ROI.
Summit, Ascent, eMarketPlace, and AutoVoto
Summit Software and
www.summitsoftwaresolutions.com and www.emarketingsherpas.com
1) Software distinctions: Our software platform is the only platform available that offers an end-to-end solution that begins with an estimate of repairs through and including a complete digital marketing, communication and retention solution.
2) Advice for software shopper: Determine what you are trying to accomplish by investing in a software platform. Write down what features and functions you want including “must haves,” “nice to haves,” and “these would be really cool.”
3) Tech support: We offer all types of tech support including email, fax and phone. Our service hours are Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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