Complete and Thorough Auto Repair Shop Invoicing - Part 5Jul 05, 2021
Invoicing Part 5 - Consequences and Wrap Up by Rick White, President 180BIZ
I really want to talk about the final aspect of invoicing. And I want you to realize it's a contract. Your invoice is a contract. Yes. You're going to get paid. Yes. You're going to have parts and labor on there, but you want to make sure it's complete. You want to make sure it's telling a story. In other words, what was the customer's concern? What was the cause? What was the correction? Was it confirmed? What are any consequences for any declined work documented? Are we making them aware of those consequences?
You want to make sure that it is complete and thorough, and well-documented in simple, easy-to-understand English. If you're just pulling in labor lines from your SMS it is probably not clean. It probably won’t make sense to the client. Understand that you are going to live or die based on your documentation. It is a contract. The only thing your client is walking away from the visit with them is that piece of paper. Make sure that it is an accurate dictation of the visit. Because if you end up going to court or you ended up with a chargeback, everything must be documented.
Document the complaint, the cause, the authorizations, and the corrections. Document that the corrections are confirmed to fix the complaint. If you end up in a situation where it is poorly documented, you will lose. Courts will side with the client.
And then the last thing I want you to do is own your shit. And I'm sorry for the language. If there's a defect in your documentation, a hole in your story, you should always give the benefit of the doubt to your client. For example, if I replaced the driver's side headlight, but I don't document it. And two months later, the passenger side headlight goes out. I'm telling you right now, your client's going to think that is a comeback. And because you didn't document it properly, you're going to have a problem.
So, what you want to say is, “According to my records, we replaced the driver’s side headlight. But because we weren't clear, we're going to take care of this for you.” Any holes in your documentation shouldn't be at the expense of your client. They should be opportunities where you can talk to your team and learn from it. So don't take it out on your client. It's not their fault. They don't understand vehicles. They are trusting you. You must earn that trust every single day. And if there's any little bit of discrepancy, always go with the relationship over being right. It's so important. Slow down to make more money. Don't speed up. You don't need more cars. You don't need more activity you to slow it down in here. First, calm down, be thorough, connect, communicate, and document everything. And you are going to see your profits grow.
Stay safe, have fun, and go make some money.