Garage Management System | Case Study: RCMR
Robert Cockings Motor Repairs was founded back in 1979 by Robert, the father of Tom Cockings, who is currently running the garage full-time. They have grown from a successful father and son business to now employing 8 people, increasing their turnover to +£75 k a month! Read on to find out the journey of RCMR to this day, find out what lead the garage to use Garage Hive software and how it has improved their business processes.
Story so far for Robert Cockings Motor Repairs
“I was introduced to the family garage business from a young age. Going to work with my father, who started the business in 1979, on a Saturday was a regular thing throughout my childhood and into my teenage years.”
“I never fully intended to work within the business as a real job, but after leaving the 6th form with my A levels in 1999, I decided to have a gap year and work for Dad until my place at Swansea University was ready.”
“Roll on 23 years, and I’m still here!”
“The business has always been busy and used to rely solely on word of mouth, which was always enough work for me and Dad to earn a fair and reasonable income each. This is still pretty much the case with the added dash of social media and a website.”
“Over the last few years, my Dad has semi-retired (he is nearly 72!), we have moved workshop and the business has grown from strength to strength over the recent years.”
“We currently have 8 employees, which is a big jump from a father and son business only a few years ago.”
What was life like before Garage Hive?
“Before Garage Hive was introduced into the business, we used to use a paper diary and daily invoicing was done by another dedicated garage software system. However, as the business was growing, this software package became more and more restrictive and was hampering the ability to function efficiently with only 2 users able to use the system.”
“With extra workshop staff, it was almost impossible to monitor any sort of efficiency with accuracy.”
“I first learned of Garage Hive whilst doing a business course with John Batten from Auto IQ. He informed me of an industry-leading software package that would allow me to monitor and track every aspect of my business and see where things were not right. This was the moment I decided to change.”
What has changed since you joined Garage Hive?
“Since joining up with Garage Hive, things have changed massively within the business, extra staff, not just in the workshop, but now we employ 2 staff in the office full time. Garage Hive has made this expansion easily possible, and every member of staff has their own login. This makes overviewing ‘who has done what’ so easy.”
“I went live with Garage Hive in December 2019. The transition over to the new system was relatively smooth and the team put so much effort into setting up my system so it was similar to what I was used to before as possible, that it made finding simple things easier from day one. All my stock was added into place and pricing set up ready for me to jump straight in.”
“However, I did make a fatal judgement call when going live. I decided that it wouldn’t require any sort of training or onsite set up. Afterall, we never read instructions for anything unless it’s from Ikea! Looking back on this 2.5 years later, I wish in many ways that I had onsite training as part of the install process. It was a very steep learning curve, and I relied heavily on the support team almost daily for the first few weeks as it was clear that this was more than just your average invoicing system!”
“I have since had a Refresher training, where Garage Hive software trainer Adam came to my garage for a couple of days to help me. He helped modify and automate many service packages (pre-built packages with labour and parts) as we specialise in working on many German vehicles, so Adam helped customise these. VW Transporters were my biggest headache as they get called so many different names! Adam created a primary model group, allowing me to get my service packages sorted. He cleared up my system, removing old jobs that didn’t go ahead/estimates etc., and tweaked some of my Vehicle Inspections to make them more specific to what I needed. We also worked through our parts return file on Garage Hive to return parts or update what we’d returned but hadn’t recorded on the system and recategorized some parts to make them stock items, so they no longer showed in the returns file. He also showed me the end-of-day procedures that we had never done, as we didn’t realise what it was or the importance of it.”
“Garage Hive has made me more aware that each and every cog in the business needs to be well-oiled to produce the best results overall. I can see this, monitor it in real-time and make adjustments as needed before it’s too late. I couldn’t do this before, and the difference it makes to my profits overall is immense.”
What are your favourite features of Garage Hive?
“Having used the system for a while, I have invested many hours of my time into learning and using some of the system’s advanced features. V16 price matrix and service packages are the best things I have set up. These 2 features alone allow me to leave my FOH staff to price jobs up without me having to go over every single estimate or invoice. It allows me to setup common jobs, not just servicing, but even complex jobs like timing chains, suspension repairs etc.”
“The pricing matrix ensures that I have the profit margins I see fit for each product type. Some items are more profitable than others, and this can all be set up and the pricing calculated automatically.”
“One of the other great features is that all the technicians have access to all the jobs on-site, they can make notes for front of house to see, fill out a predefined vehicle check sheet for our customers with important information like tyre wear, brake wear and other general safety items that either need attention or not.”
What makes Garage Hive stand out for you?
“We believe in giving our customers the truth about their vehicles’ condition, and a detailed checklist allows us to do this, and the customers really appreciate it. This can be seen by the great NPS score (customer feedback) we achieve each and every month. Our customers like what we do and come back time and time again.”
“Another fantastic privilege of being with Garage Hive is being a member of the Facebook Community group. Not only does this give us a chance to request information on how to do something, but it also allows all the users to interact and see how each other does certain things. I have used this frequently and have learnt there are so many hidden features. The community is full of like-minded people, all invested garages that pride themselves in high customer care and work standards. It is great to pass on your tips and ideas along with gaining information from others freely. I have also made some great friends from this alone.”
“This is also a great platform for requesting new features that would benefit other users. Often there are polls or discussions about this, and very often, things are implemented quickly. One recent discussion was stock control. This was done within 48 hours by the great team at GH and put into Beta testing, we found a couple of bugs, reported back, and this was fixed within minutes. I have never known a company to react in such a positive way to customer requests.”
“Garage Hive has been a key part in pushing my business forwards; using its many features, I can now enjoy an increased turnover and gross profits each and every month. It is going from a 30k turnover per month to a regular 75k+ each month. This increased turnover has been monitored more closely than ever before, so the gross profit margin is as high as possible for the given turnover. This has allowed me to invest more and more into the garage, with an increased training and special tool purchasing budget, which makes such a difference. We now have the special tools needed for doing our common jobs, allowing us to do them more efficiently. It is no longer a tough decision to make the purchase or not.”
“The main benefits of Garage Hive are different depending on whether you are the owner, front of house, technician, or the customer. The customers love the extra features like Pay by link, reminders, booking confirmations and safety inspections. Technicians like having all the information at the tips of their fingers for the day/job in hand, especially with the recently added Autodata integration. Front of house like the ease of use, stock control and service packages. As the owner, I like so many features, but the increased detail and overview of my business is the real game changer. It has changed my business, giving me a better understanding of it and giving me a better standard of living as a result.”
“I often get asked, “would you recommend Garage Hive?”. The answer is always yes, but there is no single reason to make me say that. It’s an accumulation of all the positives that makes it great. The tech support, the features, the community, the customer experience, the list goes on.”