GMS, Case Study: RM Motors
RM Motors’ story so far
Richard joined the Garage Hive back in September 2021. He is the owner of RM Motors based in Batley. Since joining us here at Garage Hive, Rich and his team have been on the journey of being brand new and learning the garage management software from scratch to where they are now, having become experienced software users. We wanted to catch up with Richard to get his perspective on the journey he’s been on so we can share this with others.
Where did it all start for you?
“I left school at 16 and got a job at the local Bodyshop and started painting cars, doing all the dog’s body jobs. I essentially started at the bottom and worked myself up before setting up my own garage. This was a backstreet garage with 2 working bays, and I was there for 3 years. I then moved onto bigger premises and was there for another 3 years. At this point in my career, I started to think about packing it all in and getting a regular 9 to 5 job. Being a one-man-band, I worked long hours, and when I wanted time off, I wasn’t earning. I had also heard the landlord of the premises I was renting from was looking to use the unit for storage space for his own business. I decided to start looking for a new garage, which was challenging as they were either unsuitable for what I needed or out of the area. Then there was a breakthrough. I was having a conversation with my Dad about the challenges in finding other premises when my sister mentioned that she had driven past a garage up the road with a private for sale sign up. We went to have a look, and I decided to buy it. This led me to decide to stay in the industry.”
“After the sale went through and the premises was mine, I knew I could run it like a proper business, employ staff etc. I employed a guy called Barry, who had been workshop manager at Jaguar and Nissan in 1993. In 2000 I fitted an MOT bay and changed the garage’s layout. It was at this time I decided to drop the bodywork.”
“I also started training with Andrew Page but felt I knew a lot of what they were teaching. From there, I went to John Batten at Bosch to do training with him. In 2006 I trained with Bosch to learn the KTS system, which is Bosch’s aftermarket diagnostics machine. Investing in my future was important as having the right training and proper systems and tools is paramount in helping you and your business grow.”
Where have you got to now?
"I am proud to say I now own my garage outright and have been involved in the industry for 42 years in total. I employ 6 team members, 4 techs and 2 front of house."
Experience before joining and now with Garage Hive
How were things different day to day before you had Garage Hive?
“We had an ancient Garage management system and felt like we were still working in the 1980s. It didn’t have any capability to track what parts had been ordered, so when you were busy, you ended up with loads of parts, and you didn’t know who had ordered what and for what job. At least now with Garage Hive, I can easily track all the parts I’ve ordered from different suppliers and keep track of what stage of work my technicians are at through the schedule. I just got to a stage where I knew I needed more information through the software. There were too many gaps in our old software, so we didn’t know what was going on.”
What are the biggest changes you’ve noticed since joining Garage Hive?
“I can sit in the office much more now and see what everyone’s doing; we have 4 units next to each other with all the techs separated out. Before, I had to walk from one unit to another to see how everyone was getting on, where they were up to, etc. Now I can drop on to Garage Hive, and see exactly where every tech is up to by the minute.”
Looking from when you first signed up to now, how the last 6 months have been, and the feelings you had while transitioning on to Garage Hive?
“In the beginning, it was mind-blowing; there was so much to take in and remember. I’m not a computer whiz, so the initial learning curve was steep. I was determined to learn it and wanted to put the time in. With you guys helping my team and myself on the trial system initially, I was able to use this training alongside the Garage Hive YouTube videos and tutorials and practice building up jobs using my current bookings on the Garage Hive trial. My wife goes to the gym early in the morning, so I could get into the office and, for the first hour, and practice on it undisturbed before customers came in.”
"I just followed the instructions from you guys and the videos/tutorials. With me being limited for time, the content you guys have on YouTube and your documentation website is brilliant."
“Your videos and content on docs.garagehive.co.uk enabled me to get to grips with the system relatively easily, and in my own time. Having time to practice when you can focus solely on using the software allowed me to get my head around it as I wasn’t being disturbed. I would recommend anyone thinking of joining Garage Hive just to put some time aside to learn it.”
“The odd early morning, a couple of evenings after work, or the odd weekend (when you’ve no plans) are ideal when your train of thought isn’t being interrupted by footfall, and the phone ringing really helped me learn it.”
How do you find the training and support before/ during, and after you went live?
"The training and support from the beginning of me signing up to now has been amazing. From the time I got the trial to having the remote pre go-live training and the on-site consultation, it has been brilliant from start to finish!"
“There’s only so much you can learn from the videos and initial training, so the on-site training for me was very valuable. It was thorough and filled in many knowledge gaps. I must say, Tom, who came out to help us all through the working day when we went live, was exceptional. On-site is definitely worth its money in terms of the value you get from it. Since going live, I’ve been calling support as there are always questions to be asked, and Leigh or Rhys are always on hand to offer help; you never stop learning. ”
What would you say was your biggest challenge when learning a new garage management software?
“Just getting your head around it initially, if you missed something off, then Garage Hive would pop up with an error message, which when seeing it for the first time, I didn’t know how to fix the issue, so I had to call support. Once you see the errors a couple of times, you learn the causes so you can fix it yourself, so it was minor, really.”
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’ve seen a massive change in the office. The online authorisation inspections have just made it a totally different job. It’s so much quieter in the office now as everything is systemised. Customers receive a link through their phone, which gives a description of the work required for their vehicle with any pictures and an estimate for repairs. A picture speaks 1000 words, which makes it so much quicker and easier to get the work authorised!”
“We weren’t doing vehicle inspections before. We’ve noticed a dramatic increase in particular work being authorised. For example, we’ve gone from doing 3 cam belts per month to doing 3 per week now by following Garage Hives processes and sending out vehicle inspections for customers to review and authorise. We are finding customers are authorising so much more work now as they get all the details in black and white and can see what needs doing.”
Do you find a lot of customers authorise the work without speaking to you?
“Yeah definitely! It saves me so much time picking up the phone and speaking with customers about their vehicles. The online authorisation does this all for us now. We are certainly getting more work authorised for each job booked in. It’s been a game-changer for both our customers and us as it’s so convenient for them and us. Before we would ring, if customers were at work, they had to ring us back, and we could be busy. It really is a much quicker and easier process for everyone now.”
Results in figures
"In the few months we've been with you, last February on our previous software we turned over £44.4k. This February, we've done £61K, so a £16.6k increase. We also did 50K in December 2021, and December usually is pretty slow."
Wrapping up, would you recommend Garage Hive to others?
“If you are willing to learn the system, Garage Hive is by far the best software out there! It can dramatically improve many areas of your business. I am not so interested in the Garage Hive Reporting, which many customers really like. I was already making good money and had a good hard, working team before Garage Hive. What was important to me was to have software that helped me run my business more efficiently and allowed me to know what was going on in the workshop at any point in time. It was also important that it could help me deliver great customer service and continue making money. I feel with Garage Hive, it’s certainly provided us with all of this.”
"It has given us the processes we need and has systemised many of the everyday tasks, meaning we have saved massive amounts of time in the office. Coupled with this, we are now seeing more work being authorised on the jobs, which is reflected in our bottom line."
“With the ongoing support and constant development of the software by the Garage Hive team, I know we are in safe hands, not only today but also for the long-term future. The community is constantly growing with new garage owners joining Garage Hive, making it stronger every day. It’s a community of many like-minded garage owners, so it’s been great to meet them and share knowledge when we meet up at some of the events which Garage Hive set up or attends. I am confident we will be a Garage Hive customer for many years to come. ”