Shop Technology Timeline Crop

Digitizing Your Shop

January 26, 2017

I recently read a great article in Ratchet+Wrench (R+W) called the “Four Areas to Address When Digitizing Your Shop,” in which my good friend, Jeremy O’Neal (, was quoted several times. R+W and Jeremy made the article a practical approach to digitizing your shop and gave solid reasons as to why you should do so.

Jeremy explained, “If you can go digital on the inspection and documentation of the condition of the vehicle, it literally makes the sale for you. What happens then is the customer will call you and say, ‘I got your report; I’m not really concerned on the struts, but I see I need brakes, transmission service, and spark-plugs. How much would it be to do all that?’ That just made the sales presentation for me.” This is a great example of leveraging technology in your sales process. And, trust me when I say it works, as has been proven at Golden Rule Auto Care and in many other shops across America who are also on the digital path.

Because I know as business owners we get frustrated at this path, I created the Shop Technology Timeline ( to provide a guiding light. This can be used as a tool to benchmark your business. The good thing is your shop is already on the timeline; you’re already moving in that direction.

I want to sum up with one more great quote from Jeremy. “It’s going to be a rough patch for 30 days. But, guess what? When we come out the other side, we’re going to have a more streamlined operation.” Change is never easy, but, as leaders, we must steer our ships in the right direction, even if we know we must pass through rough waters to get there.

Chris Cloutier

Chris Cloutier

Architect/President at

As an auto repair shop owner of Golden Rule Auto Care, Chris Cloutier realized the need for a better way to communicate with his customers as he observed how communication gaps created bottleneck situations and wasted valuable rack time. With 20+ years experience as a software developer including employment stints at Southwest Airlines and Wyndham International, Chris had seen the benefits of the marriage of software and customer service.  With the entrepreneurial passion to create an innovative solution to solve a common industry problem, Chris designed autoflow, a tool that dually functions as a visual workflow management system and as a means for keeping customers engaged and informed by providing status updates throughout the stages of the vehicle repair process. Click here to read more…

Chris Cloutier