Garage Management Software | Case Study: Cleevely Motors

Matt Cleevely, starting in the motor industry at 16, advanced through an apprenticeship into a pivotal role in his family’s garage – Cleevely Motors. Transitioning to focus on electric vehicles in 2018, he established Cleevely EV, significantly expanding the team. The shift to Garage Hive software revolutionized operations, enhancing efficiency, customer service, and profitability. The software’s integration and management tools notably improved workflow and professionalized the business. Remarkably, the garage experienced a 40% growth in turnover within the first year of adopting Garage Hive. Read on to learn Cleevely Motors’ story…

Matt joined the family business in 1999

“I started in the motor industry straight from school at 16, where I started an apprenticeship with a family-ran independent and completed a 3-year apprenticeship. At 19 I joined the family business (in 1999, so 25 years this year!) as a freshly qualified technician and the 3rd generation, joining my dad, uncle and aunty there at the time, my grandad had retired after starting the business in 1962. As my family aged, and left the business, it was up to me to take control and guide the business in the right direction for the future. I had always advised about investing in the latest equipment and training, so when EV became prevalent, I opted for this as a specialism, because I have an interest in renewable technologies. In 2018, we added Cleevely EV as a separate business and doubled the size of the team. We now operate with 6 techs, an MOT tester, 3 front-of-house and me, steering the ship!”

Running the garage before becoming a member

How were things different day to day before you had Garage Hive? What made you think about switching?

“When I joined the business, we used paper triplicate job cards, and kept quite a good record of our customers and their vehicles. We switched to a basic computer software for invoicing and history in 2008, which served us well when we had one front-of-house and the techs ordered parts and spoke to customers, but it had its limitations. As we expanded and grew it became obvious that we needed to change the way we operated, so I started to look around at options.”

How did you first come across Garage Hive?

“I had learnt about another GMS [Not Garage Hive] via trade magazines, so I agreed on a trial, but found it not to be that intuitive to use.  My wife Claire and I were at an award evening when [Garage Hive’s Technical Manager] Rhys ‘found’ us at the bar and bought us drinks…..so bribing us to make the switch to Garage Hive, it worked!! We also went and spoke to another local Garage Hive workshop, and Martyn’s praise of Garage Hive won us over.”

What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since joining?

“Efficiency is the biggest change we have noticed. Having the processes and procedures of GH has revolutionised how we operate and maximised the technician’s repair times. Our customer communication has also improved, we weren’t bad at it previously, but now our customers are very happy with reminders, confirmations, and surveys. Finally, being able to invoice for actual time spent has made a huge difference to our bottom line.”

 

Experience with Garage Hive

Looking from when you first signed up to now, talk through how the first 6 months were and the feelings you had while transitioning on to Garage Hive.

“The Garage Hive team warned you that the first 3 weeks/months are the hardest and are painful to get through, but we embraced the transition, and everyone got on board with the change, so it wasn’t as bad as we feared. We were apprehensive but prepared, and now I couldn’t imagine being without Garage Hive.”

How do you find the training and support before/ during, and after you went live?

The training and support from the whole team could not have been better. From the initial enquiry, even to the odd issue today, the whole Garage Hive team are friendly, knowledgeable, and endlessly helpful. They don’t over-promise and under-deliver, quite the opposite, and they are realistic about what their system can do for us.”

What would you say is your biggest challenge when learning Garage Hive?

“The biggest challenge was getting all the technicians to understand the change and embrace it, but a couple of on-site training days with Tom and Adam gave them all of the confidence they needed. Front-of-house have a bigger task with Garage Hive, but they enjoy the day-to-day. Our biggest challenge now is getting through all the work that we have!”

Now you’ve got used to using Garage Hive day to day, how have you found it changed things for you and your staff?

 

“We have had new staff join us since the adoption of Garage Hive into the business, and they have said that they find our business the perfect middle-ground between a main dealer and a small workshop, which I think is a fair assessment. We, as a team, now feel and act in a much more professional manner, and our customers view us as a more professional business, too, which has allowed us to increase our prices without having to justify additional costs.”

Garage Hive World

What would you say your favourite features, are in Garage Hive? how have they helped you resolve any problems you had before or introduced a new way of working?

“So many to choose from! Having GSF integration is a great time-saver, especially when our local branch is directly opposite! The homescreen make following and understanding every job card easy. I personally like how understandable the diary is to follow, especially as I am not constantly directly involved with the day-to-day myself now (but I am on-site) and checking the amazing data given by Reporting Suite. The technicians have commented on the Vehicle Inspections being an addition to the business, whilst FOH love how easily transferrable it is to build an estimate and convert it to a job card. Amazing all-round.”

How have you found being part of the Garage Hive Facebook community? What do you like about it?

“The Garage Hive community is awesome! Like-minded, quality garages all over the country that aren’t competition, they are like colleagues too. The depth of knowledge of Garage Hive and the trade is an additional fantastic resource to have.”

Cleevely Motors Results

Tell us what you have noticed has improved in numbers in your garage since joining.

“The biggest change I noticed was a huge uplift in turnover during the first year of Garage Hive. We joined in April, with our financial year ending 6 months later, but turnover increased by 40% in that first year! Amazing numbers, and it is due to the process-driven management by Garage Hive.”

Would you recommend Garage Hive to other garage owners?

“I can’t recommend Garage Hive highly enough, it has transformed my family business and complimented it as we have grown. The information I now have about every aspect of the business is invaluable to plan future growth and improvements, and the community of Garage Hive workshops are fantastic, so many new friends made.”

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