Pencilwrench enables techs to write more accurate service reports

McCue, who began his career as a technician in 1979 before advancing to various leadership roles in both sales and service, has always prided himself on being the consummate professional. In addition to being knowledgeable and well prepared, this means looking and acting the part — “suiting up” for success, communicating with all his i’s and t’s properly dotted and crossed and everything punctuated correctly.

As a service manager and fixed-operations director, McCue was constantly encountering a pet peeve of his — poor grammar.

“Every day, my technicians generated these reports and, by nature of [the dealership management system], whatever they write lands in the customer invoices,” he said. “You see some crazy stuff — misspellings, terrible wording and worse.”

McCue remembers one egregious example of a bad service report that read: “Hey, installed special order part, can’t guarantee it will work.”

“Stupid stuff that makes you look bad,” he said.

McCue first had the idea for Pencilwrench when he was heading up service operations at a Ford dealership. He started developing the tool after taking his next job as director of performance management for Markham, Ontario-based Dealer-FX, which specializes in data analytics.

Working on the project on his own time, McCue said he spent several vacations demonstrating the product to dealers. These early versions were rudimentary and less than optimal, he acknowledges, but they continually got more sophisticated and accurate thanks to feedback from customers and consultants.

After struggling to land and retain customers, McCue said he asked for divine intervention. This led to an epiphany, and in 2019 he started devoting his full attention to Pencilwrench. McCue is CEO, while co-founder Colin Snyder is CTO and co-founder Greg Thrasher (who penned the Thrasher Equation for multipoint inspections) serves as training manager. The fourth member of the leadership team prefers to be a silent partner.


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