Five-Bay Shop Grosses Over $250,000 in One Month with Help from Protractor

The 1981 founding of Canada’s Meadowvale Auto Repair Specialists has all the markings of the typical brilliant-technician-turned-shop-owner story, but with a twist. As Carrie Hall, the shop’s second-generation owner, tells it, it was her mom Sharon who urged her father, Gord Hall, to “go out on our own.” She then proceeded to remove every obstacle in the way of their dream.

“My dad was very comfortable where he was and doing extremely well,” she says. “But my mom said, ‘We’re never going to get ahead.’ So, Gord went out and found the location and built the business off the ground with my mom during those first two years.”

The shop’s 22% revenue increase in 2021 — Meadowvale’s 5th year under Carrie’s leadership — makes clear the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. She maintained her parent’s well-thought-out, paper-based accounting processes, took online courses to improve those processes, and then spearheaded Meadowvale’s switch to Protractor to take the business to another level.

“By Day 3 with Protractor, I was like, ‘Whoa, why didn’t we do this sooner? This is making my life so much easier,’” Hall says.

Opening the Profitability Doors

Hall estimates savings of more than $20,000 per year in accounting fees since making the switch. What she values most is having the ability to monitor the shop’s health in real-time using the shop management system (SMS)’s customizable dashboard.

“In the old days, you would submit everything to a bookkeeper and then wait to see the year-end reports months after the fact. You could be losing your business and not even know it,” she says. “The fact Protractor provides that instantaneously is really quite mind-blowing. Now I know if we’re hitting a roadblock and what has to be fixed.”

Protractor has especially resonated well with the Hall family’s next generation, Carrie’s son Jacob and nephew Tom. The prior serves as Meadowvale’s lone service writer, who averages more than $1,000 per repair order and closed out November 2021 with $251,000 in sales thanks to Protractor’s deep integration with AutoServe1’s digital inspection tool and the SMS’s ability to keep track of deferred work and maintenance schedules. The tool’s CARFAX integration also allows Jacob to land maintenance work for vehicles with no service history.

Hall notes that Jacob also learned how to rebuild job packages and set proper parts and labor margins within Protractor. He also configured the software to route jobs based on the technicians’ skillsets and the work needed. She credits the coaching her shop received from ShopPros for making the transition to Protractor seamless and for elevating the skills of her son and nephew.

“They embrace and build off of the technology,” Hall says of her son and nephew — the latter, she notes, is brilliant behind the wrench like her father. “For them, they don’t know or understand any other way. So, without Protractor, they wouldn’t be able to grow or move forward. It’s a tool they utilize to its full capacity.”

Paperless and Highly Efficient

Hall reveals that Protractor has allowed her shop to go 100% paperless, thanks to the communication link the SMS forges between her son and the shop’s technicians. She also reveals how Protractor’s scheduling capabilities have her licensed technicians running at an efficiency rate of between 140% and 155%.

“So, the technicians can see exactly what is coming in two to three days in advance, based on what Jacob has allocated,” she says, adding that the shop’s twice-daily staff meetings ensure her technicians stays on schedule.

“Then, in our shop, there is a 50-inch display in each workstation. It shows what vehicles are being worked on and all work orders on one half, and the day’s schedule on the other. So, at any given moment, they’re able to see what the other tech is doing, which is great when a job requires two technicians. And they’re able to look at their day and use their time efficiently by coordinating their workloads.”

Hall saves her highest praise for Protractor’s payroll functionality, which she calls a powerful tool. She also lauds Protractor for the support her shop receives, especially when it comes to updates. Not only does her shop get alerted, Protractor delivers short training videos explaining what’s changed.

“Everything you need to run a successful business is within this software,” she says. “It’s incredibly efficient. You don’t have to spend money on a bookkeeper; you know what’s happening in your business every minute. I have reviewed other options over the years, and I always say, ‘No, we are staying with Protractor.’”