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The difference between just any inspection sheet and an impactful inspection sheet is worth $1,000’s in higher approvals and speed of operation in the shop. This episode will take existing inspection sheets and have the experts Brittany Schindler and Matt Fowler examine them and share with Bill and Uwe what is awesome and what they would change.

Episode Transcript

*This transcript was generated using Artificial Intelligence. Errors may occur. If you notice an error, please contact [email protected].

Bill Connor (00:00:06):
Let’s go ahead and get started. Good morning, good afternoon. I’m Bill Connor and you’ve reached a Digital Shop Talk Radio. One of our panelists may be joining us a little late. That would be Brittany Schindler, the general manager of Rod’s Japanese Auto Care. I also have Adam Bendzick, owner of Pro Service Automotive Repair, been with us many times on Digital Shop Talk Radio. Great panelists that loves to share what he’s learned over time. And also Matt Fowler, owner, new owner of Airport Automotive plus we have Uwe, our very own Chief Innovation Officer with AutoVitals. And so this is going to be a great group of panelists today, and this is a very important topic today. We’re going to be discussing the difference between any inspection sheet and an impactful inspection sheet that can be worth thousands of dollars in higher approval and also an increase of speed as things go on through the shop.
So this episode is going to take some existing inspection sheets when we get down toward the end, and we’re going to let our panelists talk about what is good about them and what they might think about changing. And as always, the digital shop, the inspections is a key part of providing transparency and competing instead of motorists. And you’re going to take away some really solid tips from our panelists today when it comes to the inspection sheets. And as always, you’re going to learn from our guest panelists today and even episodes in the past. So if you want to go ahead and get us started here, I’d certainly go ahead and appreciate it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:01:33):
Sure. Welcome Brittany. Thank you.
This idea was born in one of the previous podcasts where we said, let’s go down and dirty and get concrete with inspection sheets and compare different inspection sheets. And I like that idea a lot because traditionally it sparks a lot of discussion and a lot of findings and in this industry there is no lack of opinionated shop owners about what’s right, but we all learn from it. So that’s why we wanted to put it on. And the title is a little deceitful, I have to admit, because it implies there is the inspection sheet we just need to put in place and everything else is going to happen and we all know that’s not true. So what we would like to do is really go around to our three panelists and let you guys introduce yourself, but not shop name, size and so on. But let’s talk about a few KPIs, like number of pictures, duration of inspection you expect, how much on average do you estimate in dollar per appointment and how much of it is on average close?
So everybody knows what your expected process is and not only that, the other thing I would like you to ask is if you could think back before digital and when you did the paper inspection and compare that with now, what were the biggest light bulb moments, the biggest changes you had and couldn’t live without today? Because the reason why I’m asking that is that there’s still this perception that digital inspection is nothing else than paper tone digital. The inspection sheet is the same, the process is the same, and we have learned over the years the opposite is true and we would like to get your take on it. Does it make sense? Oh yeah. Brittany, ladies first, if that’s okay?
Brittany Schindler (00:04:29):
Absolutely. So I’m Brittany. I’m from Rod’s Japanese Auto Care in Bellingham. We actually have two locations now, but we’re going to talk about my main location. We’ve been using AutoVitals for eight years and the expectation for the technicians is they do the inspection within about 15 to 25 minutes. And I was just doing our KPIs yesterday when we were talking about this. So my number is just a little bit skewed because we take so many pictures during the appointment so it’s not separating the two. So I have 47 photos per appointment is what we have on ours, and that’s in the last 90 day average. I write up about $5,000 per car. And then our current ARO is 1300 for the last six months and we have a six and a half bay shop with four technicians. And yeah, I mean everything’s going great with AutoVitals.
I mean, eight years ago was a long time ago when we started to do these DVIs. I had say biggest light bulb things was a lot of education to the customer that they can learn on their own. Once you send the inspection, so you send the inspection, it gives them tons of information to actually learn about what they’re looking at and the picture on their specific car and then it gets reiterated with the service advisor. The service advisor then calls and then they talk about the same thing that’s on the inspection if they want to Google it, Google says the same thing that’s on our inspection. Then the same thing that the advisor said. That’s always been super helpful. I feel like consistency is a huge, huge thing for people. It is for me and it is for consumers too. They like to hear the same thing over and over.
Wherever they look, whoever they ask, they like to get that same answer. So that’s been super helpful with our inspections to our customers. And then the little short videos that AutoVitals has pre-made for us that if you want to learn a little bit more, if you don’t like to read about it, we still have that option to watch a short little video on how that system works and learn even further into it, which is amazing. And then we also get to tell them what happens if they don’t do it. So we don’t get to do any of that on a piece of paper inspection. We don’t get to show ’em the drips of coolant coming off their car or the oil that’s just coated the bottom of their car or the loose tire or anything like that. Those are huge, huge with DVI that you just cannot do on paper. Those are some big things for us that we’ve learned over the years that our customers really love too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:07:11):
If I may. Thank you. The 1300 is for mainly Japanese. Makes
Brittany Schindler (00:07:20):
Mainly Japanese, yes. But we do work on other vehicles as well.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:07:24):
Thank you. Matt, would you like to follow?
Matt Fowler (00:07:31):
Not really because she’s a gangster, but that’s okay. I can go ahead and put my hat in the ring, Brittany, I’m just astonished at those numbers. I mean you, I have a lot to learn from you, so I hope we continue this because Very impressive. Anyhoo. So I’ve been in the industry 10 years. I’ve worked at the current shop. We’re at now Airport Automotive for the last five and the end of 2021. We successfully retired the business owner and he now is fully retired and my wife and I purchased the business as of January 1st, 2022. So that’s kind of been my evolution. Prior to my getting hired, the owner Gary, purchased AutoVitals about a year before I was hired. And he met you, he met the product, he was impressed, I believe it was at the ASA show and signed up and punched the ticket and got all the equipment.
It then proceeded to sit on the shelf for a year. When I was interviewing with Gary, he explained to me that this was the future and this is what was going to happen, and I was excited about it. I didn’t come from a digital environment. I came from taking pictures and sending them myself because I believed in the concept. I got hired, it took a full year before we actually got serious and Gary said, listen, for this year we need to do this. And I said, okay, send me to Santa Barbara. So conveniently enough there was the first shop conference that I was able to go to and I met Uwe specifically and the team at the time and just was struck with the sophistication and the professionalism of the product. And at that point I then became the advocate. So I came back to the shop and then I believe that that was a big part of the success is that as the service writer or the service manager, I was now the belief in the product and the person that could execute it.
And then we just took off. We then became a pilot shop for AutoVitals as a turbo shop and we continued to evolve in that and then I became accountable for the product and then as a result we brought on new vendors like Protractor that worked simultaneously and symbiotic with AutoVitals. And then with my recent purchase, I also brought online 360 payments because of how that’s integrated. Gary had contract stuff that ended with his ownership on the 2021 and then 2022 I then brought that product on because of the belief and how it all works together. That’s a little bit about my history. Do you want me to talk about the numbers now?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:10:32):
Yeah, shop size, what type of cause you service and then the numbers, if that’s okay.
Matt Fowler (00:10:39):
So similar to Brittany, we are a six and a half bay shop. We have an emphasis on Japanese, however we all makes all models, but the future is plugin hybrid. We just went to a bunch of training, so that’s the future of the shopper moving forward. But we have an emphasis on Japanese, but we’re not isolated to that. We will take Euro, we take diesel and we will fully diagnose and fully repair to the best of our ability or then delegate to a dealership or a neighborhood shop.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:11:14):
Number of pictures, work order and inspection. Do you know,
Matt Fowler (00:11:19):
Let me try here. So let average pictures taken is 24.97, so 25 and that’s cumulative of the year of 2021. So last year in 2021 we presented or quoted 2.9 million and we sold 1.4 million, so that’s right at a close of about 50% average. ARO for 2021 loaded was right at a thousand dollars and our cars 15, just over 1500 total car count.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:11:58):
Thank you. What’s your expectation for the duration of an inspection?
Matt Fowler (00:12:04):
Say that, I’m sorry. The expectation of how long an inspection takes, we have three levels of inspection last year. We completely revamped our inspection process and made three different categories. Our most common one is expected to take 45 minutes from the technician. Now the service writer is expected to take 45 minutes scrubbing, getting it ready, presenting, and then the selling occurs after 45 from a tech, 45 from a service writer to prepare and then we stack the cash as they say.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:12:40):
Thank you. If you remember the time before digital and now, what was the biggest light bulb moment for you? If there was any or more than one?
Matt Fowler (00:12:53):
I believe there were multiples, but just speaking from the seat that I sat in at the time, it was me becoming the advocate for the product and then being the activation device, the one that actually told the techs we’re piloting, be patient, let’s learn. Let’s grow because this is a company that we can build our company on.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:16):
Okay, thank you Adam,
Adam Bendzick (00:13:19):
How are you doing?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:13:20):
Adam Bendzick (00:13:21):
Good. So Adam from Pro Service Automotive Repair from Lake Minnesota, we have been with AutoVitals for eight years now. About the same time probably as Brittany has joined up with you guys, it’s been the same time as us. Answer your first question of what went from paper inspection to digital. As in our pre-show talk yesterday, I’d made the comment about basically what it is is how to get what is needed from the text view to the customer’s view in the quickest way possible, as thorough as possible in a way that the customer understands to which Uwe you added. Also taking out the root of the fear of the experience and that was a great point as well. So that to me is a paper inspection in digital, whether it be a paper inspection or digital. We’re trying to just basically talk about you brought the vehicle in for one specific problem or multiple and then we’re just trying to get the information from you to our technician and then from our technician back to you in a way that you understand.
And ideally with all of our process of doing so, it would all make sense through the pictures and the videos and the library of videos, educational videos and such, all those pieces. If we can get it back to the customers in a way that they understand and now we’re just talking about time that it takes to do the work and then costs and such, then we did our job. Obviously it’s more difficult than just saying that is that easy, but all those pieces, how the inspection is built, how we’re communicating from the customer to the technician. I also made the comment, it’s like a marriage. It’s very much a front staff and back staff have to be working in unity with each other to make that customer experience the best it possibly can be. And how the inspection is set up is what makes either a strong marriage or a weak marriage.
And it doesn’t matter necessarily Uwe, you like to go on long walks on the beach with your significant other or whatever it might be. I like to watch football on Sundays. We might be doing different things in our marriage, but nonetheless there is. I think that’s a great example of how we need to set up our inspection sheets and then how that communication needs to be done between the front staff and the back staff moving into numbers and such. We’re an eight bay shop. We have four techs still. We have one service advisor and we have one production manager. And then we also have our front desk office assistant, Jessica Front who helps in several different areas of the front staff. So that’s our overall staff size. Last year we did $2.2 million in sales and then this is actually our 20th year in businesses was celebrated eight days ago, so that’s kind of cool to hit that milestone numbers from inspections.
Our average, I was thinking of duration, was motorist research time, so I looked at that. That was 360 seconds. As far as the duration that the techs work on it, it’s kind of like Brittany said is in that 15 to 25 minute window, I would say we’re probably closer to 15, but on average. But then there’s always those vehicles that just have more fluid leaks and more things going on with ’em that end up taking 20 or 25 minutes because we do have to have a tech to get a great video of a loose ball drain or something like that. We have another tech come over, hold the camera so it’s nice and stable and then the one tech uses a channel lock or wiggles the wheel or something like that rather than expecting our guys back there to be able to hold a camera steady and focus and do that at the same time. So those are the ones that end up taking in that 20 to 25 minute window. I would say average build hours per work order is 2.51. Our ARO is 615. One thing that I think is insanely important to keep track of is the average estimate per work order. It’s about 1450. So then our closing percentages in the 41 to 42%. Awesome. Thank you.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:17:50):
To stay true to the title of the podcast and we spend way more time in the pre-talk yesterday about it. We almost did the whole show yesterday, so we have to get everybody up to speed. The clear outcome was yes, it’s important how the inspection sheet looks, but the way more important things are, how you involve the team, what culture you have set and what process you have set. And so to Adam’s point that the marriage is important, but it can have many different implementations we would love to go through, we would take the AutoVitals sheet Bill is going to present it and let every one of you say what was important to you to change there so it fits your process. And we would love to go in the remaining a little bit more than half an hour maybe do that if everybody’s okay. And please feel free before we get into the nitty gritty to really point out what are the underlying success factors for you where a simple sheet taking over from somebody else would not work. So what is important, you might have the same topic, all of you have the same topic on the inspection sheet, but the way you incorporate that in the process might be different. So it’s really important to point that out. Bill
Bill Connor (00:19:49):
Woke me up. So this is an inspection sheet that most shops go ahead and get started out with these days. So this is the one that we kind of selected to go ahead and talk about so we can dissect the different sections on it and then the topics within the section. So I’d like to go ahead and start getting the information from our panelists for sure and just whichever one wants to volunteer, let’s get started.
Adam Bendzick (00:20:22):
Sounds great. Going the same order as before, do you want to lead off Brittany?
Brittany Schindler (00:20:28):
So I mean just to start off with how we went about editing this at the very beginning was I grabbed my entire team, all of us together, service advisors and technicians together, and then we put it in the order, we had it in the order that AutoVitals had and then we went to go do an inspection on the car and then we all sat down again and we talked like, Hey, actually this should move here because you look at the front struts and then you look at oil leaks or whatever and then you go to the back. So we need to switch the order of things to make it more efficient. So when we had, that’s a huge, huge thing of how we made the inspection so impactful for our business specifically and impactful meaning impactful for the customer, but also impactful for the business and the technician and the advisor to be as most efficient as they can and just keep editing it and making it better.
Like, hey, this actually makes sense here. And then everybody agrees together as a team. Everyone puts their input in and agrees that that’s the way that it should be done here at our shop specifically. And then we talked about even the check-in, we switched to only the service advisors do the check-in, and that was a long time ago, but we talked about it and that made the most sense because I didn’t want my technicians out there doing the four corners and getting a picture of the dash. That’s something the service advisors should do because they get the license plate and then they get the VIN number and then they get the mileage and they can go inside the shop and then they can start pre-writing up recommendations based on time and mileage. So I feel like if you get your team involved in editing this and making it better, that’s going to be the most impactful for you and your business specifically. But this is definitely a good place to start. Luckily for us that AutoVitals has something to start with, a template to start with that you can keep building on and then you can change at any time that you want, which is awesome too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:22:27):
Can I ask you some question about it? Did you number one about the team? The team, of course in the first meeting everybody gave you input, everybody was super happy about it. I’m facetious obviously because there has never been done before. So how did the team respond to such a meeting?
Brittany Schindler (00:22:51):
At the very, very beginning there was definitely some like what are we doing? This is going to take a lot longer. It’s completely different than a piece of paper. It’s completely different than a piece of paper. They’re becoming photographers. There’s definitely pushback. Definitely had pushback in the beginning a long time ago. But then I would do the inspection and I would send the inspection to the technician to show them what it looked like in the customer view and they’re like, wow, that looks great to the customer. That’s why we’re doing it. And it made more sense to them. So that’s talking about how we’re making the impactful sheets. That’s how you do it is get your team fully on board, get them to help you build it. Then you have full buy-in from both sides, your service advisors and them. And I highly, highly recommend if you have a DVI already with AutoVitals, hit that customer view button and see what it looks like to the customer. That’s the other biggest part of it too that needs to be addressed and it needs to look pretty so it makes sense.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:23:52):
The other question I have is you took the check in and assigned it to the service advisor. Is that a separate inspection sheet or just the section dedicated to the service advisor and then the same inspection sheet gets assigned to the tech?
Brittany Schindler (00:24:07):
It’s the same inspection sheet, it’s just a different tab where you have exterior there. It says check in for us.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:24:19):
And what did you establish to maintain it? Is there a process where you go into a meeting every week or is everybody encouraged to submit changes and then I don’t know, one is responsible to make the changes? How does that work?
Brittany Schindler (00:24:39):
Yeah, well first of all, I have a technician inspection etiquette sheet, so we’re all on the same page all the time. So we recommend specific fluids by the same mileage so everyone’s recommending the same stuff no matter how many times the car comes in. I don’t want an inspection to look different than it did the first time. And then yeah, we have team meetings every Friday, so that’s just our time to talk about anything in the shop. And just two weeks ago we edited our inspection. Like I said, I’ve been with AutoVitals for eight years with this inspection sheet and we are still editing it, we’re still making it better all the time. And it’s again, it’s so awesome that we can edit it and the change happens immediately.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:25:21):
And is it more, now that it is mature, is it more adding more conditions so nobody needs to type stuff or are you still moving topics around and make fundamental changes?
Brittany Schindler (00:25:35):
I moved a couple topics around and then we’re like, okay, what conditions do we click on the most? We click on do by mileage and then because we don’t have history, so we click on those two things, those are all brought to the very top of the conditions on each topic. So that’s what we did just recently even to make it better and faster. And then there was conditions that we never clicked on we’re like us advisors, we never saw that pop up from the technician, so it was like why is it they’re clouding the space on their tablet? So we deleted a bunch of stuff too.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:26:08):
Very cool.
Brittany Schindler (00:26:09):
Matt Fowler (00:26:11):
Okay. So for us, prior to doing digital, I was under the thinking that digital does not have accountability and so you can only get accountability through doing a paper inspection. And that was part of my reluctancy. And then when the owner at the time Gary said, no, we are going digital as of this year, when I went to Santa Barbara, I then learned how the automobiles product specifically gives you the ability to look at timestamps, date stamps. You can go back and determine accountability internally through the AutoVitals product. And I didn’t see that in the other products on the market. So that was part of where I became all in because I could see where digital now is replacing the analog in terms of accountability. The next thing was external accountability. So taking photos and doing a walk around of that vehicle before it crosses the threshold as I call it, where it becomes a liability of the company.
So now I can hold a customer accountable if they say that I hurt their vehicle when I have pictures before we even moved your car. And so then you just kind of manifest that over time to where the accountability piece digital is now better than analog and the old style of doing it because of the safeguards that are here. And once that was done, and I think there’s a common thread between what Brittany was just describing and myself is that I then believed in the product. I then was the advocate and then it could be executed to the team with the marriage and the mom and the dad trying to figure it out and working through the family issues that you’re having as a team. Now myself and the shop foreman can do the things that Brittany just described, improve it, tweak it, trim it.
In 2021, the technician said, this inspection is so weighted to take technician time that it’s not fair. And so then in 2021 last year, Gary and I completely scrapped our inspection and made three new inspections, a basic one, a little more sophisticated, one that the client now purchases or what we call our pre-purchase, kind of the top shelf one, and we clarified that with a technician emphasis because the voice of the employee said, Hey, you’re taking advantage of my time, you’re taking advantage of my skill. I’m not a photographer, I’m not of this, I’m not of that, but you want me to do all of this. So now we need to make it more harmonious with the front and that’s why I use some of that language where to make it fair, the time that the technician invests in the inspection, the expectation is that the salesman now invests in equal parted time and then ideally we create a product that the client spends the same amount of time and there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a killer, ARO, a killer close ratio and now built in work for the future in the deferred work.
And so that’s kind of been some of why we’ve done what we’ve done and we’ve just seen exponential growth in ARO and close ratio and we have less, but we have higher sales because of the value now that we’re placing in the product to the customer. I see your lips moving, but there ain’t no noise.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:29:56):
Yeah, technology are we, did you do something similar? Brittany described that you took the inspection sheet and went on a test run with a call to identify whether it’s going to be smoother and better than before.
Matt Fowler (00:30:17):
Yeah, probably not as formal as Brittany did because again, she’s really good. We did it a little bit more archaically, so we did it more like caveman than an eloquent person like she is, but we did bang it out. We kind of worked through it and said this is clunky. This is clunky and similar to her, it’s constantly evolving. So the focus on 2022 now is once we have the people in place, which as of yesterday we have our second service writer hired, now we’re going to start to really get in there and tweak it. And I really like what Brittany is doing. I mean you can’t argue a $1,300 ARO on a technician sheet that takes 15 to 20 minutes. There is so much wisdom in that, and I was sharing that with my shop foreman or number two in the building and he was like, salivating. He’s like, I want to see her sheet. I want to see what they’re doing. I want to talk to her. I want to talk to her shop foreman, which by the way, Brittany, he wanted me to ask, do you have a shop foreman? If so, he wants to talk to that individual.
Brittany Schindler (00:31:18):
Yes, absolutely. Let’s talk.
Matt Fowler (00:31:21):
So we’re going to have to create a little link for them because he’s like, Sally, he’s like, oh my gosh.
Brittany Schindler (00:31:26):
Yeah. Sounds good.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:28):
The other thing, since we have Brittany on, again, Brittany, would you mind sharing in the Facebook forum your etiquette sheet for inspection sheet editing? Would that be okay?
Brittany Schindler (00:31:39):
Yeah, absolutely. I can totally share it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:31:42):
Thank you. Yep. And the question I forgot to ask you, do you remember percentage wise or a number of topics, how much you are resulting inspection sheet of the first go around differed from the AutoVitals sheet? Was that a complete throwaway basically, or 20% or I mean is there some metric you can use?
Brittany Schindler (00:32:11):
It was good bones to start with. I mean I have 97 topics, but not all of them get clicked, so I mean I definitely still agree to start with the AutoVitals one, but just build it with your team.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:23):
Okay, agree,
Matt Fowler (00:32:24):
Totally agree.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:27):
Matt, do you know when you built the three, was the outer oil sheet still a consideration or you just started from scratch?
Matt Fowler (00:32:37):
I mean with that sheet, but then when I went to Santa Barbara, that’s when I met Bill and Bill actually was my guy and Bill, I used a bill sheet and then kind of billed out from that and then from that is kind of where we evolved into what we built out in 2021. So yes and no.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:32:58):
Okay, both of you have not talked about Ken Jobs linkage. Maybe we do that after Adam story because I think that’s one of the most important thing, and I remember Adam showing us in one of those podcasts how it was linked and how fast the estimate building became, so maybe we should talk about that too because that’s one of the big changes to paper, right?
Adam Bendzick (00:33:37):
Yeah, a hundred percent. While they were sharing some of their setup and stuff, I very much agree with going back with the team and either you got to put yourself in the technician’s eyes where what am I going to touch first? But even if you do put yourself in that position, going back and thinking that the way that you would do it yourself is exactly how your team is going to do it may be off. As I shared yesterday, we’re in Minnesota, so my thought when I was building the inspection sheet was the first thing that I would be taking a picture of because I want to get the information to the service advisor is a picture of the back of the vehicle because a submodel information, sometimes it says four by four, whatever it might be, there’s a lot of information on the back of the vehicle just taking a picture of the trunk lid or the lift gate, and then I would go around and I’d take a picture of the tire and then I’d open the door and I’d take a picture of the VIN sticker, and a lot of that information wasn’t anything that would help the customer decide on whether they should stick money into their vehicle or not.
It was just information for the service advisor and the upfront staff to be able to build estimates maybe more efficiently by having that information. So that was my process. It was starting at those first three if I was in the technician’s eyes, but then as I was talking to one of our guys in the back, he’s like, it’s cold in Minnesota. I pull the vehicle in the shop first, so I’m going to take a picture of my dash and dash lights and odometer and I’m going to cycle the wiper blades through and make sure the washer fluid is spraying and stuff like that. So I want those first three or four items as the top of the list through my guided mode inspection, and then when I get out of the car and I’ll take a picture of the back and all those things. So what you think that you would do first may not be what you think your technicians are going to do first, so it has to be set up in the way that they’re going to do it.
I don’t care how they do it, as long as the information is consistent and it makes sense to ’em. As far as what I pulled up in between there was I sent a message to our entire team because I was impressed myself is we had a customer that came in for a one o’clock appointment back on December 30th. We were crazy busy through December and into January and such, and we did an oil change in our normal inspection and then did a battery replacement and all that stuff and 45 minutes from literally the day or the time that they came in was right on their one o’clock appointment. I looked at the timestamp on AutoVitals to when it was invoiced and they were going out the door at 1 45, 45 minutes for oil change inspection. Then also replacing the battery, the whole checkout process and all that stuff.
I would challenge any shop to do it quicker than that, which is completely off of how the inspection is built. And then the process, so we have alerts set up so when the technician gets to the, oh, and also there was $1,300 worth of deferred work on there, which was like an air filter, some sway bar links that were loose, which included a video of the sway bar, links being loose, spark plugs with the plenum gasket fuel system service. Basically all the a hundred thousand mile stuff that that vehicle was in there or not in there for but just needed based off of mileage was all estimated and given to ’em and it’s in the deferred list as well. So it wasn’t just a do a quickie inspection, send it over to the customer, don’t estimate all the work, send ’em out the door and just do the battery.
That stuff was all done there, which was really impressive to me that we’re able to do that and that’s how your inspection is built. So for us, we have a alert that comes through upfront when our technician marks an air filters dirty, why we stock a bunch, but am I going to stock one for that vehicle? I’m not sure. I’m probably going to 90% of ’em, but inevitably that waiting appointment’s going to be one of the 10% that we don’t stock. So when it comes through there, the service advisors and we have a production manager are alerted of it to check our inventory and then if we don’t have it, can we get it quickly? And in some cases the service advisor goes up to the customer and says, Hey, we’re just doing your oil change inspection right now. We aren’t completely finished with the inspection, however we found your air filter was dirty.
Normally I’d wait to talk to you about your whole inspection as of full inspection, however, we just don’t stock that one. If it’s something that you’d like to do, we can get it coming and it won’t take any longer for your appointment today, which any good service advisor with a picture is probably going to sell 50% of dirty air filters and that might be on the light side of things, it might be closer to 75%, but if you don’t have it available and 10 or 15 minutes is critical for that customer to go out the door, your percentage is zero. So it’s just having some of those alerts set up to start building the estimate, start talking to the customer, get them involved, whatever it might be to not just wait for the technician to submit the inspection or submit the whole work order. Have an alert set up where your last item on your inspection sends an alert and a trigger or have your text submitted or whatever it might be to alert the service visor to start taking action on that instead of waiting for the vehicle being put back on the ground and the oil going in.
So those are things that speed up the process. To your next question about using the update work order button religiously every single vehicle is using that update work order. I think that’s also included in how we can do that in 45 minutes is all of those items that are on the deferred list were brought over into protractor. Some of ’em, like the fuel system service, have a preset price with the labor times and the cost of parts and everything. Our air filter has a preset time for it and it as a placeholder for basically whatever the normal price of all of our air filters are. So if the service advisor didn’t actually look up our individual air filter part number, they would still have pricing quickly for the customers that they can have that conversation quicker and then we just fill in the labor or the parts that it might be missing from those placeholders. So I’m a huge believer in using the update work order and transferring that data over. Why wouldn’t you in those cases when it just literally builds building it for you? I think that the work order and the estimate is the first process of building the estimate for the customer starts in AutoVitals and having your inspection set up correctly.
Bill Connor (00:40:18):
That brings a question that Roy had kind of brought in here. How do you go about deciding when it’s time to change an inspection? Is it a technician going ahead and saying, I need this now, or do you have a formal process where you audit things on a weekly basis and get feedback? How do you make the decision when something needs to be changed?
Brittany Schindler (00:40:40):
I’ve always learned that you should always be auditing every week. You should be auditing your work orders and you should be auditing your inspections. And funny thing is I went to go do an inspection on a car. We had some sick guys and stuff and I was like, let me see if I can do this. And then I was like, this is kind of stupid where this is at. And I didn’t go change it myself. I didn’t go edit some things on the inspection. I waited until the Friday meeting, so we were all together at one time and I was like, Hey guys, should we maybe move some stuff around? They’re like, yeah, yeah, we should. So I mean you should always be auditing every week. I totally agree with, but if you’re not, I mean always I have team meetings or I also have a little sheet of paper on the shop so they don’t forget it and it’s like any changes they want to make to the shop or to the inspection, they write it down right then and there, then we’ll talk about it at the Friday meeting
Matt Fowler (00:41:31):
So she’s proactive, which I would hope to be. I’m reactive, so if I get something from the technician, then that’s time to audit it. If I get something from the client I got the other day, I got a one star review because I didn’t articulate their issue with a video, so I need to listen to the client and then if the sales are telling me something, those are, you got the three things, you got the employee, you got the company, and then you got the customer. So if any of those three things are talking louder than the other and they’re not staying balanced, then that’s the time we got to do something. That’s the reaction. I too hope to get to proaction like someone else on the panel, but one thing at a time,
Adam Bendzick (00:42:21):
In order to be proactive, the best thing to say is you need to put yourself in the position of every person that is working through the steps. So you need to put yourself in the position of the tech and actually go back and do an inspection whether you know how to or not and whether you have that talent level or not is almost irrelevant. Take a picture when I’m setting up our inspection, I’ll take a picture of my keyboard and I’ll be using the tablet in my hand and I’ll take a picture of the letter A or the number three or something like that and then the captions come up and then I’ll click done. You don’t even have to know anything about vehicles to go through it. And if you don’t spend the time yourself to do those things, how do you expect your staff to, you are building that culture by putting yourself in those positions and then when it comes through and whether you have a service advisor or production manager set up, what’s the next step that you do?
You have to fully engulf yourself in your business to really be able to work on the business. Just hopefully you don’t have to do it every single day. You have the people that you can trust to do so. If you don’t have that ability or the time to do so, then hopefully you have a staff that you can really trust that is working in those positions to give you the valuable feedback. I can definitely tell you that not every employee is going to say, Hey, this is wrong with the inspection. They’re just going to click it and move on because they got another vehicle on their schedule that they need to try to get to. And the same thing for the service advisor. Case in point, our production manager, we recently had a changeover and I learned a lot about what were bottlenecks within our business from the production manager role by just having to fill in myself and doing it.
One example would be Protractor has an axle shaft as a service package. Great, that covers axle shaft. Well, when you go to look up on Napa or O’Reilly’s or whoever it might be, they need the keyword, cv, axle shaft. So whenever our technicians were clicking on axle shaft, I would go and I’d import that over into Protractor and then I go to look at the parts and I always had to back up a screen manually type in CV XL shaft for it to look up the right keyword and I’m like, we’ve been using protractor for three years and now we are just finally fixing this and it had to be putting myself by need necessity, put myself in there and I’m like, okay, whoever’s taking over this role after it is not going to be dealing with these issues. And hopefully as they come up they tell me about it was a 32nd fix for something that we’ve been dealing with for three years literally, and it’s just those are the things.
So you have to be able to trust your team that they’re actually giving you feedback and it probably, even if they are giving you feedback, it might be still worth your time to monthly do your own inspection and go through the process and monthly put yourself in the production manager or service advisors or footsteps and do your own vehicle or a company owned vehicle or loaner car or something like that. Go through those steps yourself. Bring a team member in there that will walk you through like, Hey, can you do an inspection for me? Can I shadow you while you’re doing this inspection? I know it’s for some random customer’s car, they dropped it off. We have plenty of time for it. Spend the time doing those things and it just makes everybody’s job better or easier and better in the long run.
Bill Connor (00:45:53):
Some of the things you’re looking for is the topic in the right section on the inspection sheet, is it in the right order on the inspection sheet? Do I have the right conditions available to technicians? What type of things are you looking for as far as feedback, discovery yourself and also discovery from your staff?
Adam Bendzick (00:46:14):
If they hit the skip button on the inspection, you failed. It’s not set up if they’re hitting the skip button ever, unless it’s just a topic that doesn’t apply to that vehicle or whatever, then it’d be probably even a no issues thing that you click on, no issues or not applicable or something like that. If they’re hitting the skip button repetitively consistently every inspection, it’s probably a setup issue and it’s got to be adjusted.
Bill Connor (00:46:39):
That’s sign number one. What’s sign number two?
Adam Bendzick (00:46:45):
Probably start looking at the report that shows how often technicians,
Bill Connor (00:46:53):
Adam Bendzick (00:46:54):
And stuff like that. Because if there’s a spot that people are skipping and they probably aren’t actually physically even checking it and they’re just marking it good anyway, so there’s a lot of things you can look at, but probably the best thing is just to literally put yourself in, physically do an inspection yourself, even if it’s wrong and you’re going to miss a oil leak or something like that, just go back and do one. Put a car on the hoist, grab a technician to help you, whatever.
Bill Connor (00:47:23):
So an example might be if they have to continuously type in there over and over again a specific condition, you would really want that condition added to your inspection sheet and then kind of like Brittany said in the order, you put ’em on the inspection sheet if it’s something they’re tapping all the time, put that up to the top of the list and move something that they only hit once a year down toward the bottom of the list or maybe even thinking about removing it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:47:48):
So since the feedback is so incredibly important together with what Adam just described, put yourself in the shoes on a regular basis. Question for you, how long did it take you to get the team buying into that process? So they will step up and give you feedback.
Adam Bendzick (00:48:13):
I mean there’s those reliable employees that you can just expect that are going to give you feedback as it comes up in shop, weekly shop meetings or biweekly, whatever you do or some people do daily. We’ve just asked them to make notes. We have a whiteboard in our break room that they can write down certain things that they want to talk about or adjustments or such. We use Google Hangouts, so if something comes up, they’ll send a Hangouts message. I just encourage it to be like, when it happens, tell me about it right then and there, and I may not fix it right within 30 seconds, but at the same time, if they try to summarize their day and things that they had issues with or their week or whatever, they’ll forget about it. So it’s like hopefully going to send it to me as it comes up.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:49:01):
Matt Fowler (00:49:02):
As far as for us, over the course of the five years that we’ve been fully digital, unfortunately we’ve had probably half a dozen technicians come and leave because of the digital inspection process. And that’s kind of where we really had to reflect from a management from a leadership team in 2021 that we are losing good guys because of our process and we need to improve our process. So that’s kind of where that demand came. Everybody knows technicians good. I mean nowadays it’s hard to find good people period, but there’s still good people out there. It’s just a matter of having a culture that speaks to that individual, whether they’re a salesman, whether they’re a gs, whether they’re a manager, whether they’re a technician, and if you can create a culture that is in harmony, now we’re cooking with gas because we’ve got happy people internally. We’ve got happy people externally and the business owner can, everybody is celebrating together. It’s not a bad word for a business owner to celebrate and be successful, and it seems like there’s kind of this concept where there’s this thinking that, well, if I’m making money, then everybody’s mad at me. No dude, everybody should be winning. And that’s probably the most exciting and made it kind of a no brainer thing for me and my wife to get into this endeavor.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:50:37):
Brittany Schindler (00:50:39):
Yeah, I am right along with that. Good culture is something, one of my main focuses as a general manager, and it has been for a long time I fired a plus technicians, they had rotten attitude and they just weren’t all about what our business was about. Every single person here on my team now fully is, and when you get them part of making the changes of your business and you stay 100% transparent with them, with everything that you do and any changes that you make, I’m not a dictator whatsoever. I am their team leader. We talk about things as a team. That’s when it really, really helps to get that full buy-in from your team and then they’re going to come tell you those changes that should be made because they were part of making it in the first place. So they’re part of the last edit that you made, so why wouldn’t they tell you now and how to make it better and how to make their job easier?
Yeah, I mean, good culture and full buy-in is super important with your whole team and to help get more buy-in from your team. I had everybody, every time I get a new technician, they do an inspection on their own car and then I send the inspection to them. So yeah, I have the advisors fully edit it just like they would for a customer and then I send it to them on their phone and then they can go share their spouse or whatever and see how it looks and they’re like, wow, this looks awesome. I did this inspection with the help of the advisor making the edits and then look how cool this looks at this business. I’m working at full buyin right then and there from how good it looks and just the process of it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:05):
Wow, you’re dropping jewels left and right. Amazing.
Bill Connor (00:52:09):
We got about four minutes left if you want to go ahead and ask them our parting question, if you wouldn’t mind
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:19):
Parting, we are pawning now.
Bill Connor (00:52:21):
No, no, not yet. You want to go ahead and get them to share their top tip that they would like another shop owner or implementer to go ahead and know. And then if we need to go ahead and get further into the inspection later on, we can do another episode. But they shared a lot of really great information today. I’d really like to know each one of them. What is the most important takeaway they’d like to go ahead and share?
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:52:49):
Maybe we do the same order. Brittany, what if you have somebody who’s either struggling implementing what you were talking about or a starting? I’d say, I guess it’s fair to say it’s not the inspection sheet isolated. It can do nothing if it’s not embedded in what,
Brittany Schindler (00:53:14):
Yeah, I’d say just like a helpful thing to maybe just somewhere to get started is set aside two hours in a day with your entire team, do an inspection on the car all together at the same exact time. Make sure it makes sense, and then have the advisors edit it and then everybody look at the customer view because the customer view is one of the most important parts of this inspection, right? If not, the most important part of this inspection is the customer review. So if you’re not looking at the customer view and it’s not making sense in layman’s terms to someone who knows nothing about cars, that’s a problem. And maybe even show someone who doesn’t know anything about cars in your family or your kid or your spouse or something. Someone that doesn’t know what a ball joint is or what a brake rotor is even. We can’t just assume people know what a brake rotor is. So let’s, I would say share an inspection in the customer view too. That’s super important.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:54:08):
Thank you. Matt.
Matt Fowler (00:54:11):
I would say, again, I kind of have this concept of any decision that I make needs to balance three things. And I mentioned earlier the owner, the internal customer and the external customer or the company if you will. So not owner, but company. And if you’re able to create a list beneath those three things, why digital would be improved, then what we currently have, you’re going to quickly see that you can balance all three of those circles with a digital environment. So for example, as the owner, as the company, we don’t want to pay a customer that says we scratch their car. A digital inspection allows me to authenticate. We didn’t scratch their car. So the company now is saving money internally an employee. An employee says, no, no, I verified that that water pump is leaking. Here’s a picture of it. I covered my bases.
That is protecting the employee and it’s also protecting the company. And then lastly, the customer. The customer then can see whatever it is that we’re trying to articulate in a professional sophisticated way like the customer view, like Brittany just said. And we’re able to balance all three of those things that an analog world cannot do, it physically cannot do unless we have a room full of waiters and we just take tickets and we’re there spending hours upon hours of the day just trying to show people that we are a legitimate outfit, we are transparent. Transparency is the new currency. I heard that once and I clinging to it because it’s the future of our world, our society, but more importantly this industry. And we can elevate this whole thing and bring everybody with us, not just the guys that want to go digital, the whole thing.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (00:56:00):
Awesome. Thank you Adam.
Adam Bendzick (00:56:04):
Two things, walk before you run. Use the AutoVitals basic inspection. It’s been a while since, I mean we started with the basic inspection, so it’s been a while since I looked at what’s all on the basic setup of the inspection. But nonetheless, we started there. So walk before you run, get your techs used to doing a digital inspection, get the service advisors used to looking at it, getting the customers, all those things. If I literally gave you our inspection or Brittany or Matt gave you their inspections, it may be too much or overwhelming for a brand new shop anyway, for a client that’s been on AutoVitals for a year or two or better, then all those things would make sense and you would see why we have alerts set up for what we have alerts set up for in the process. The second thing is you have to look at your individual shop and determine how your normal day to day goes.
And by saying that, I mean, do you have waiting appointments at nine and 10 o’clock and two and three and that’s it, and there’s only four waiters a day, or do you have ’em periodically sprinkled in by on demand and you got eight to 10 appointments that are waiters a day. Do you have 20 or 25 cars a day or are you doing eight or 10 cars a day? All those things determine how quickly and thoroughly the process needs to be. And then also too is how many things can we realistically check and meet the customer’s expectations for a half our oil change? So we only have one total inspection sheet, but there is three different levels of how we go about doing that one inspection sheet. And there’s reasons why we have it set up that way, but nonetheless is like you have to figure it out of what makes sense for your own individual shop.
And then think about how your service advisors like to sell jobs. One example, and there’s many examples on our inspection sheet is if a ball joint’s loose, do you go through the process of estimating out every single ball joint, add an alignment and all those things? And then think about if there’s 10 or 15 different things like that that is needed on a vehicle. How long can that estimate take? 20 or 30 minutes? Sometimes possibly not on average, but there are those ones that are just like, holy crap, this thing needs a lot of stuff and it’s going to take a lot of time. And then do you have your service visor wait to get the inspection in the customer’s hands until they’re completely done with all the estimate, or do you have a column set up where they can send the inspection early? And if that customer calls before the estimate’s done, so be it. But at least it’s starting the process of getting it in the customer’s hands because once it’s edited and done, the pricing really only matters if it’s ready when the customer is ready to be talking about pricing. Other than that, it really doesn’t matter.
We are what I feel is a high volume shop in 20 to 22 vehicles a day. That might not be high volume to some, but I feel like it is. And for our staff size, it certainly is. So we have to have outlets of ways of saying, okay, we’re not estimating out every single ball joint, every single sway bar link, we’re selling our next level of inspection. That’s more of a load test. And if the customer says, yeah, I want to see what’s loose on there because I value that, then now we do that next level test and then we estimate everything out at that point. But until then, we just give a generalization of your steering or suspension system is loose and those things save maybe 10 minutes on the process sometimes in getting it to the customer’s hands. And that’s how we’re able to do those jobs in 45 minutes and still a very thorough inspection. Whether the customer sees a technician alongside of the car shaking the wheel side to side and up and down like we all do. Or they see a channel lock on a loose tire end, probably doesn’t matter in the customer’s eyes, all they see is something’s loose. The service advisor’s responsibility is then explain what is loose and then relay the value of, Hey, we should check that or we should fix that.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:00:17):
So you have five to six cars per tech per day. Yes. And do a 20 minute inspection and estimate, what was it? $1,400?
Adam Bendzick (01:00:28):
1450 on average. Yep.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:00:31):
Wow. Very awesome.
Adam Bendzick (01:00:33):
It’s very, that’s one of the most things. If there’s anything, I’m really proud in our business, it’s not our final sales numbers, it’s not what our ARO is. It’s not conversion rates and all the other stuff. I’m not saying I don’t value that stuff. It’s like literally we can take a vehicle like that, do an oil change, a full inspection, get ’em a full estimate, replace the battery, and they’re out the door in 45 minutes. To me, that’s unmatched customer service. And all the other numbers when you have that type of customer service are going to fall in line. It’s just my opinion, I guess.
Matt Fowler (01:01:09):
No, I agree with you, man. I agree with you. I’m salivating what you’re talking about. I mean, that’s crazy. Cool. Yeah.
Bill Connor (01:01:16):
Awesome. So unfortunately we’ve run up against a little bit over the hour. I would really like to thank our panelists. They’ve brought a lot of wisdom with ’em here today and I’m sure that we’d love to have them back. Yeah, time Bill
Carry on this. Yeah, we spent some yesterday. So again, I’d really like to thank you guys and for all those that are here watching and be listening later on, I encourage you to go ahead and share these podcasts and also the digital shop talk that is found at AutoVitalscom/radio with some other shop owners in your area to go ahead and kind of help them out. Our panelists are really good about inviting others to join them here with us live and that’s always good too. And we’d love to have the questions come in. So once again, I’d like to thank these folks and tell everybody else to go ahead and make some money and wow your customers. And thank you guys. We surely appreciate it.
Uwe Kleinschmidt (01:02:13):
Thank you. It was awesome.

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