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How to Optimize Your Auto Repair Shop Layout for Efficiency with Autoflow

How to Optimize Your Auto Repair Shop Layout for Efficiency with Autoflow

June 27, 2023

How to Optimize Your Auto Repair Shop Layout for Efficiency with Autoflow

by Jun 27, 2023Blog

Every day, auto repair shops waste time and energy with those tiny inconveniences that eat into your profits. Like it or not, every step between the hoist, the toolbox, the supply room, and beyond really adds up.

By streamlining your shop, you can reduce wear and tear on your staff and to serve customers better. Above all, tapping into new auto shop layout ideas can build up your bottom line.

Likewise, replacing time-consuming processes with tools like digital vehicle inspections (DVIs), like Autoflow, also factors into the equation. If you combine an efficient layout with better assessment and communication tools, then you really start to make the most of every minute.

Importance of an Optimized Auto Repair Shop Layout

When you go through your day, you know exactly where you mutter when you repeatedly hit a snag. All those frustrations add up and distract you from the demands you already face in a busy shop.
Now, it’s time to try some new auto shop layout ideas. When you take away those aggravations, you make the workplace more streamlined and friendlier.
Similarly, when you have a more effective shop layout, each repair takes less time. Those valuable minutes really add up and allow the next repair to slip into the bay a little sooner. The next thing you know, you have reduced turnaround time, served customers better, and increased your shop’s revenue.
However, if you don’t address an inefficient layout or clunky processes, your staff and customers have to deal with delays. This results in lower productivity and growing customer dissatisfaction, which could cost you repeat business.

Tips and Efficient Auto Repair Shop Layout Ideas

So, where do you get auto shop layout ideas? Well, you learn from others who have worked through this process already. We have gathered their best tips to share with you here.

How Big Is Your Shop?

First, consider your shop’s size. Most shops find that they can generate $2.5 million a year in sales from a mid-sized shop. That means 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of well-managed space.

Next, assess your customer base and how it impacts your operations. If you market for dozens of small oil changes a year, you’ll need more bays for quick turnaround. But if you focus on transmissions, you’ll need fewer, larger bays. In other words, choose your business model to make the most of what you have.
Of course, the physical size of the shop will dictate those dreams. For a smaller shop, you’ll aim to maximize your space with vertical storage and placing efficient use of floor space.

Optimize Workflow

Regardless of size, the sooner a service advisor can prepare an estimate, get parts and hand the job to a technician, the better.
Now, take an honest look at how these orders move from one person to another. Is your service advisor walking back and forth to the bays for updates? Do technicians waste time checking in on parts orders?

When you work out these kinks, everyone works more wisely. Try assigning specific tasks to designated workstations and reducing unnecessary steps between key points.

The Right Equipment in the Right Spot

Fixing cars is a tough, dirty job. Why make it any harder?

How you lay out your shop impacts how much staff need to move and lift during each day. When you make it easier, you prevent injuries and workers become more productive.

Ideally, you want to place equipment so the heaviest pieces sit where they get used the most. Now, no one needs to move them as much. If you must, using mobile carts takes the strain off.

Meanwhile, the tools you need the most need to sit within reach. It’s so simple yet we can all fall into bad habits.

Organize Inventory for Easy Grasp

Sorting through disorganized parts takes time and generates frustration. Even worse, you may order parts that you already have on hand. Now, you’ve wasted money too!

Good inventory organization removes this pressure and boosts productivity so your auto mechanic gets right back to the repair. Tracking what you stock starts the process, but you work better if you also use labeling systems and manage inventory in clearly designated areas.

Set Up Designated Workstations

Face it, when you juggle two tasks in one place, the wrong things always get in the way. Instead, simplify the process by trying these auto shop layout ideas: set up stations just for parts cleaning and diagnostics.

First, decide which type of work needs its own home. Once you choose those options, set up the tools you need without moving them back and forth. As a bonus, techs can focus on the job in front of them, then move efficiently onto the next step.

Now, Add Autoflow’s DVI Software to the Workflow

Underlying all this, you rely on strong communication between workers about what the potential customer wants. Ideally, those details can flow without having to backtrack based on illegible handwriting or a misheard word.

With Autoflow’s digital vehicle inspection software, everyone works from the same digital file. All the recommendations, parts orders, and customer communication sit in one place. When one person updates it, their coworkers instantly see the newest inspection results in real-time.

Thanks to customizable inspection templates, service advisors get repair orders started sooner with intel from previous repairs. During the day, customers get complete updates via text or email, so they also get accurate updates.

Overall, this smoothes out the auto repair shop workflow and improves business operations. Once you add integrated payment options, you also get your money faster.

“This truly is an outstanding tool for us, as we are constantly looking for ways to improve our customer’s overall experience and get better as a company,” says Mike Rizzo, president of Lex Brodies Tire Co.

“We use this product in all 9 locations. Words can’t describe the impact,” adds Ricky Gutierrez of Thomas Tire and Automotive in North Carolina.


To sum up, so many small details in your day have a big impact when you add them all up. By optimizing your auto shop’s layout, you make the most of every piece of equipment and square foot to grow your business.

On top of that, streamlining your processes will eliminate wasted time and effort so your team will be more productive. Upgrading to Autoflow’s DVI software results in happier staff and customers who easily communicate during each repair.

Today, look around your shop and see where you can optimize your workflow based on these auto shop layout ideas. Next, contact Autoflow for a demo so you can see how digital vehicle inspection software can boost your business. It will all pay off for you.

Craig O'Neill

Craig O'Neill

VP of Training

Lois Tuffin