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Fully one-third of collision repair shops nationwide said they have never asked to be paid for “masking the engine compartment” when this “not-included” procedure has been necessary as part of a repair, yet another one-third of shops who do seek to be paid for it say they receive that payment “always” or “most of the time.”

That finding is just one of hundreds revealed in a survey conducted recently by Collision Advice, which is also launching a new survey this month.

Across the country, collision repair industry training programs face jeopardy due to a lack of funding, and although it seems like summer just began, classes will be back in session in a blink of an eye. While students enjoy the beach and make memories in the sun, their instructors are already busy plotting how to provide the best possible technical education with limited budgets and resources. The Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF) invites the industry to partner with their organization to ensure that the next generation of collision repair professionals graduate with the skills necessary to be useful to their future employers. Brandon Eckenrode, Director of Development for CREF, believes, "Together, we can make an impact on the fall semester and beyond!"

Thursday, 25 June 2015 00:00

Make Your Month, Every Day!

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Do you run your shop or does it run you? I spend many hours in collision repair businesses and unfortunately what I see is usually the latter. The collision repair businesses that are really getting it done these days take a systematic approach to success. Today’s article focuses on how successful shops own their days, their months, and financial future through the use of a simple daily system.

Thursday, 25 June 2015 00:00

A Better Way to Measure Cycle Time

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For those of you that are using your management system to measure your cycle time, congratulations! Too often, collision repair shops don’t measure their shop’s cycle time performance, instead allowing our insurance partners to measure it for us with questionable reliability. Much of the cycle time information that insurers use to measure & judge you by, is derived from rental car length of rental “LOR.” While this outside information can be useful, you are much better off using detailed cycle time measurements that will contribute to your shop’s continuous improvement.

Collision repair shop owners are mainly in the people business. The days of one-man shops are long gone. Every shop has employees, and most have technicians specialized in body, paint, structural and more. The typical shop owner came up through these ranks and is sufficiently knowledgeable about the details to hire competent workers. But marketing is different. Few shop owners come from a background in sales or marketing, and only fairly affluent shops can afford to hire personnel solely for marketing and sales. But that doesn't mean the need isn't there. To survive today every shop needs to bring in new customers and that means reaching out with sales and marketing.  And it may mean that some employees have to do double duty. Generally that means estimators and front desk people, but it could include the parts guy and even some unusually communicative technicians.

Although non-OEM parts were, not surprisingly, the focus at the recent Automotive Body Parts Association (ABPA) convention in Chicago, there were plenty of other topics of interest to collision repairers.

PartsTrader, for example, announced that vendors can now designate in the system which parts a shop returned and why. A year earlier, parts distributors at the ABPA conference told a PartsTrader speaker that because the monthly fees they pay PartsTrader are based on their total sales through the system, they should be able to indicate in PartsTrader if a part was returned (and thus potentially lower their fees) even if the shop doesn’t indicate the return in the system.

20 years ago in the collision repair industry (July 1995)

A 1995 Collision Industry Conference (CIC) survey…found that 70 percent of shop owners, and 83 percent of insurers, are dissatisfied with the way business is practiced between the two industries.

The survey results are among the first steps taken by a CIC committee focusing on the “invoicing methods and practices” used within the industry. The committee’s long-range goal is to try to help the repair and insurance industries develop a new method of doing business.

For many years, body shops have not been able to precisely quantify how much adhesive they are using on each particular repair. By basically guessing and operating in the dark when it comes to figuring out the volume used to perform plastic repair and related procedures, shops have not been getting properly reimbursed from the insurance companies, in many cases.

There are two ways to promote your shop: 1.) Advertising and 2.) Marketing. Advertising is when you buy space or time or impressions and you pay a fee for the exposure. Marketing is an enormous category that includes product marketing, branding, re-branding and a whole list of other things that are used to hopefully bring you new business while strengthening your position in your market.

You’ve decided to do some advertising—in your local newspaper, radio station, TV or cable station, but are wondering what can you say in your ads without getting into trouble? If your ad is effective, consumers will hopefully see it and/or hear it, but also remember—your competitors will too! Even though you have the best of intentions, if your advertisement is deemed false and misleading, it could become your worst nightmare.