Understanding the process
Times have changed, as most shops no longer rely on hard copies for customer invoices. When creating digital ROs for your customers, an auto repair business can go one of two routes:
- Using an auto repair invoice template: If you’re running a small business, your auto repair shop can easily use auto repair invoice templates. The only thing to keep in mind is the criteria set by HMRC if your business is registered with VAT. While these invoice templates are ready-made, you will need to customize some things along the way. Look for a system that allows customization. However, the more clients you get, the more important it will be for you to create a client database to link to your invoices.
- Managing accounting software: With the increase in business, you might want to invest in an accounting software such as QuickBooks that does the work for you. Software like QuickBooks can help you with all things finance, from seamless invoicing to comprehensive reporting.
Why you should choose accounting software for your business
Accounting software like QuickBooks can help you fine-tune your shop’s invoices and finances. You can use QuickBooks to:
- Track your expenditure
- Analyze past income
- Prepare taxes
- Access support
- Plan for a financially sound future
How to format your auto repair invoice
Whether you are customizing an auto repair invoice template or going the accounting software route, remember to keep it simple. And that starts with using an easy to read font. Even if your auto repair business is registered with VAT, there are no strict rules around what to include in your invoice. Some established conventions include your business name, logo, and basic information as well as the customer’s data.
What to include in your auto repair invoice
To create a professional auto repair invoice, you will need to add some crucial information. Include the following fields in every invoice:
Name and address: This refers to your auto repair shop’s registered name and address. Apart from your physical address, including your email address, website and phone number makes it all the more convenient for people to reach you.
Business ID numbers: Make sure to include all business IDs on each invoice.
Invoice number: Each vehicle is unique and carries its own number, which needs to appear clearly on the invoice.
Date of issue: This is not only important for your customers but it’s crucial for your books too. Including the date the invoice was created and issued helps keep your customer data in check.
Customer name and address: The customer’s verified details are included at the top of each invoice.
Item list: Any and all parts/items used for repairs on a customer’s vehicle need to be stated on the invoice to avoid ambiguity over what the customer is being billed for. This includes the following two types of items:
Labor: The labor section covers all work done on the vehicle, from an oil change to replacing the timing belt, etc.
Parts: This covers the equipment you use for repairs such as tires, spark plugs, brake pads, etc.
Taxes: Each service you provide for your customers is taxed and needs to be included on the invoice.
Total amount: This refers to the calculation of the sum of all parts, labor, and taxes.
Payment due date: Another crucial detail is the due date for the invoice. The customer needs to be made aware of when they need to clear payments to avoid late payment fees or other penalties.
Terms & conditions: Every invoice needs to state all the terms and conditions of the business. This ensures that you won’t be held liable for terms included in your company policy.
What customers value in an auto repair invoice
When it comes to winning customers’ trust and loyalty, your motto should be transparency above all else. A few ways to achieve that is by remembering the following steps:
- Add clear descriptions: Many details are included in auto repair invoices. To make the repair and labor invoice as clear as possible, make sure you include all relevant descriptions. Ensure this information is easy to understand.
- Avoid clutter: As mentioned above, an auto repair invoice contains plenty of info. The best organization tip is to avoid clutter. Categorize everything and don’t worry about adding an extra page to your invoice as long as the information is clear and easy to digest for the customer.
- Specify acceptable payments methods: This is vital information and needs to be clearly visible and accessible for the customer, especially if you’re using accounting software to generate your auto repair invoice.
- Provide timely reminders on necessary services: One of the best ways to keep track of your customers’ needs is by going over the vehicle services they might have deferred in the past. These can be viewed on every repair invoice sent to the customer. Improve your customer service by highlighting their service and repair needs in a timely fashion.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re creating an auto repair invoice for your shop. These insights will help you prepare repair invoices in a matter of minutes!