Shop management software can streamline operations in auto shops, clothing stores and other retail businesses. From tracking inventory to keeping track of vendors, a good shop management software package can ease the burden on staffing levels while reducing the occurrence of costly errors. That said, there are numerous shop management software brands to choose from, each offering various benefits and different user interfaces. Some systems also cost more, but they may be easier to upgrade and require simpler installation. Ask the following questions if you're on the market for shop management software for your business.

Shop management software can streamline operations in auto shops, clothing stores and other retail businesses…

From tracking inventory to keeping track of vendors, a good shop management software package can ease the burden on staffing levels while reducing the occurrence of costly errors. That said, there are numerous shop management software brands to choose from, each offering various benefits and different user interfaces. Some systems also cost more, but they may be easier to upgrade and require simpler installation. Ask the following questions if you're on the market for shop management software for your business.

Which shop management software features are more important?

The scope of your business is the largest role when choosing a shop management software package. Do you work with many vendors, and are you constantly ordering inventory? Do customers place orders for goods and services, or do you service customers as they visit your shop? Do you have a large enough staff that you need to better manage shifts and hours? You must identify the ways in which shop management software could help your business before you'll find the software that's right for you.

Does this shop management software require a subscription?

If your business is just starting out, then cost may very well be an important deciding factor for you. Some shop management software packages are purchased with a one-time fee, just like any other piece of software. More advanced shop management software may require a subscription fee or even a long-term agreement. Even if the software you're considering doesn't have a subscription fee, always ask about fees for additional services such as installation, training and troubleshooting.

Does this shop management software handle employees clocking in and out?

Not all shop management software packages keep track of employee activity, but some do. This may not be a priority for smaller businesses, but it's something worth asking about for people who operate midsize or large businesses. Fast-growing companies should also ask about these options.

What if I can't figure out how to use the software upon purchase?

Some of the most useful business software programs are also the most complex. This is why whichever program you ultimately choose, you can rest assured that there is a training program available to teach you and your employees how to use it. You don't have to worry about losing productive hours by attempting to learn the software, because you will be provided with step-by-step instructions.

What do online reviews say about this shop management software?

These days, you can find reviews about almost anything without spending too much time searching. Check out business and software forums, trade publications and business publications to find reviews on the best shop management software packages.

Will this shop management software help me communicate with customers?

For that, there's a different kind of software you should ask about. CRM (customer relationship management) software can assist you with communicating with your customers before, during and after they've purchased your products. Just like with other software programs, when purchasing CRM software, you need to ensure that the program you choose is appropriate ahead of time. If you have a small business, then you need a program that is geared towards smaller businesses.

Can I see a demo before purchasing this shop management software?

Not only are demos available for a majority of shop management software programs, but they're recommended. Before you commit to a certain software, you want to ensure that it functions in the manner that you expect. Software is non-refundable, so you need to be absolutely sure of your decision before purchasing.