In my previous column, I discussed why I believe it’s critically important for your shop to be building a “bulletproof file” on every job you complete. You need to be able to defend yourself against lawsuits or any claims that could potentially arise – and there’s plenty of evidence out there that such disputes happen. (I talked about some of the real-world scenarios of those in the previous column.)
The good news is that there are fairly simple ways to build that file. Here are some of the steps I recommend.
Understand your agreement with your estimating system provider. Most shops are uploading to the cloud all of their estimates, photos and other documentation on a job. Make sure you understand how long your estimating system provider will maintain that data for you. Ask what happens to it if you are no longer doing business with that provider. Do they offer an option that allows you access to the stored data even if you are no longer using their system?
If your shop holds one or more OEM certifications administered by the Assured Performance Network, understand that includes a service benefit called dataSafe. That allows you to maintain storage “in the cloud” of your own repair file data. It won’t cost you additional money to use it; all you have to do is set it up.
- Even better, I suggest that shops develop their own storage system for their repair data files, not in any way connected with your agreements with some other third party that at some point you may choose to no longer do business with. Cloud storage is not expensive, and it can be configured to make data back-up an automatic and seamless part of your process. Chances are your system is configured to automatically send some files through a parts sourcing system, for example: that same automation can help you capture a copy of all your file data for a given job.