'Automotive Software Solutions to make your shop look more professional, more efficient and more productive.’
Greater Philadelphia area-based BOLT ON TECHNOLOGY is a software development company focused on service to the nation’s 275,000 independent automotive repair shops. Since its founding in 2008, Bolt On Technology has developed and deployed more than a dozen add-on software modules that are compatible with automotive repair shop management systems, including Mitchell 1, R.O. Writer, ALLDATA and Genuine Parts Company, parent company of National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA). The company’s software helps to automate day-to-day operations in the automotive repair industry.
In Conversation with the Key Executive
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
Bolt On Technology was founded to deliver best practices through software automation. The idea that a 16 year old can make the perfect Big Mac in one city, and then thousands of miles apart another 16 year old can make an identical Big Mac. However, when you take your vehicle to a shop, the results although scientific are communicated completely different. Our dream to create systems and processes that are repeatable to deliver consistent results can be reached, we just need buy in from the professionals who would use our technology.
Tell us about your first product that was launched.
431 Pro, is a PC solution that captures all the necessary required elements needed for the state of Pennsylvania for the vehicle safety program. We launched this solution because it is very tedious and repeatable. It has many values that need to be captured and then reported in different places, and because in a shop in Pennsylvania about 70% of the monthly transactions are state safety related. It seemed like a perfect marriage of technology and opportunity.
What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
The average independent automotive repair shop owner is not a millennial. They (the shop owners) did not grow up with broad band internet access their entire life. If you consider how their transactions occur, the vehicle owner brings their vehicle to them; they exchange a pair of keys typically for a piece of paper and a firm handshake with eye contact. When the vehicle owner approves services to be performed on their vehicle, again the shop orders parts that are delivered to them, again eye contact and hand shake. Next when the vehicle owner picks up their vehicle, they exchange a plastic card to regain possession of their keys, again eye contact and possible handshake. This is what our typical buyer knows; selling to them over the phone and internet is not something that just happens. We continue to reduce the stress and challenges in selling into this community and as time goes by the buyers understand and become more comfortable with these types of transactions. Additionally, overtime the average shop owner age will continue to go down and those buyers typically are more ready to purchase items and services on line.
We listen every time they talk to us, they provide us with so much intelligence, its priceless. We pride ourselves in that we are never satisfied with the status quo; once we deliver our latest update we are already upset that it did not include some additional requests that we decided would have to wait for the next release.
What were the grounds on which you have expanded your company and its offerings over the years?
The Company philosophy has always been to reinvest to deliver more and more to the industry that we cater to. At the end of 2012 we had an entire employee head count of 5 today there are over 40 of us at Bolt On.
The goal was always to deliver a “Microsoft Office Suite” type of offering. We have been adding our modules overtime. We now have a much more mature offering that we are bundling much like internet, phone and cable television offerings.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your consistent growth as an organization?
Focus, we are solely focused on solving the problems that we have been made aware of, for the industry that we care to. We do not offer technology to new car dealers or collision shops, even though they are in very similar spaces and we know we technically could, we just continue to be laser focused on the automotive aftermarket.
Are there any trigger factors/events/individuals that have played key roles in shaping your organization’s road map?
I can pinpoint the exact moment when our Director Of Sales joined the team. We felt his presence and effects of his efforts right after he joined the team. As with many other things, the moment you have someone focused on delivering results on a specific effort, and the results start to show the effort, it becomes very apparent how important that effort is.
Where do you see you and your company a couple of years from now?
I hope we will be looking at 10% market share; I would like to be able to put our fingerprint on this industry. One where we can look back and say we made a difference, we helped change how transactions occur at the shop, we delivered on our promise to help shops be more efficient, more productive and look more professional.
Meet the Master
Michael Risich, Founder & CEO: Mike is an efficiency and customer retention specialist with over 8 years of experience in teaching shops how to produce more revenue and repeat business. He provides auto repair shops with the technology and leadership needed to eliminate time and productivity constraints.