Auto Repair Compare (ARC) plans to expand its automatic repair shop quote service, ARC Smart Quoter, to 800 shops in the Midwest starting this month. Shops can use the software to quote auto repairs in a minute or less using their own labor rates, parts pricing from local distributors, markup and shop supplies.
ARC of Fort Myers, FL created an early version of the quoting system in 2011. The current version debuted last November, and is being used by 125 independent and franchised auto shops, including several Tuffy franchisees, throughout the South and Midwest, according to the company.
Smart Quoter is both a website and a service writer program, powered by Motor, with Nexpart from WHI Solutions as an e-commerce partner, ARC executive vice president Rick Goodwin explained.
“The days of manual quotes and ballpark estimates are long gone,” Goodwin said. “There is a major distinction between an estimate and a quote. Today’s customers are comparing quotes, so shops must be competitive. At the same time, the quote must be accurate and profitable.”
Younger customers, primarily millennials, are frequent online shoppers and want an instant quote, he said.
ARC has primarily used shop management software and tire distributors to get the word out to shop owners about Smart Quoter.
“Our software reps already have relationships with shops throughout the country, so they were the natural choice to help sell our product,” Goodwin said. “The reps are able to come into shops and demonstrate the benefits of the ARC Smart Quoter to help increase car counts and provide transparency to the consumer.”
The roots of ARC grew from the experience of a group of investor/partners who have owned and operated their own shops. ARC first tested the product in the Fort Myers area, with a second test in the Tampa area covering 170 repair shops. The partners used Google AdWords, TV and radio advertising, and social media to drive business.
The company is now preparing to launch another product that works alongside Smart Quoter. ARC Tech Tab is an electronic inspection form designed to help expedite vehicle inspections. The service writer enters a customer’s license plate number in an electronic tablet that pulls up vehicle data provided by Carfax.