The world’s most-used spreadsheet shows up in such a wide variety of places that it’s sometimes easy to forget just how much it can impact a business. Far beyond just tracking the bottom line, even a relatively straightforward business like an auto shop can find several uses for Microsoft Excel.

10 Top Uses For Excel in an Auto Shop

Tracking the Bottom Line: Yes, it’s true! You can put Excel to use by giving it your income and your outgo and having it chart your profits over time.

Inventory and Ordering: With a little bit of wizardry, Excel can not only keep track of how much inventory you should have, but it can Email you an alert when you get too low on a particular product, making ordering a breeze.

Doing the Schedule: Of course, Excel can be used to graphically display what times any given employee will be on the clock and thus make it easy to ensure that all of the necessary coverage is there for you.

Customer Tracking: Few businesses need to track customers more accurately over a longer period of time than an auto shop; Excel offers you the power to do just that. By setting up an entry form that gathers the necessary information and then stores it deep in another sheet, you can easily keep records on hundreds of customers and their vehicles over months and years.

Receipts: Because of an auto shop’s specific needs when it comes to breaking down parts, labor, taxes, and other charges, Excel makes for an excellent receipt-making program.

Invoicing: Speaking of templates, Excel comes equipped with a wide variety of templates for invoicing services — like laundry service for your work grubs.

Create Recommendations: Whether you put it on your receipts or on your work orders, Excel’s ability to add drop-down menus to a cell can make it easy for your employees to select an extra bit of maintenance that a customer’s car could use.

Maintain Service Histories: The same drop-down menus that power the ability to offer maintenance recommendations can be used to create standardized service histories that are easy to read and use.

Work Orders: A simple Excel template will allow you to create standardized and easy-to-read work orders that can be printed, modified, and saved with ease.

Customer Reminders: This is clever. Excel can be programmed to send an Email when a cell gets beyond a certain limit — so if you’re doing oil changes that should be done every few months, just collect the customer’s Email address and have Excel use it to send them a helpful Email a few months after they had their oil changed last!

The powers that Excel can offer your auto shop stretch so far beyond merely watching the profit margins that if you’re not using it for more advanced functions, you’re losing out. Stretch it’s wings! Set some automatic alarms for your inventory and some automatic Emails for your customers, and see what Excel can do for you!