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Collision repair association leaders from around the country met in Secaucus, N.J., in mid-March to share ideas and discuss state legislative or regulatory successes and efforts. The “2015 East Coast Resolution Forum,” an event sponsored by the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP) of New Jersey, was held in conjunction with AASP-New Jersey’s NORTHEAST 2015 trade show.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 00:00

The Power of P.R. - Body Shop Edition

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Most people think they know what "P.R." means when they see it. Movies, TV, recorded music and other forms of entertainment rely heavily on promotion and most people think that P.R. is just a synonym for "promotion." But the fact is P.R. stands for "public relations," a very distinct aspect of marketing. The dictionary tells us "public relations" consists of "methods and means by which a person or an organization seeks to promote a favorable relationship with the public." It is often confused with "publicity" which is the effort to get favorable mention is media and the press.

Body shop owners as a rule are adept at studying and interpreting all kinds of numbers and statistics, and that’s why the successful ones are very good at tracking their performance. They calculate each minute that goes into every vehicle and what exactly their profit will be at the end of each day. They know how to read Excel sheets and decipher the numbers and use them to refine their processes. It’s in their DNA and in a fast-moving, high-production environment having useful numbers at your disposal is vital.

On March 25-27, the 15th International Automobile Recycling Congress (IARC) was held in Berlin, Germany, and the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) interests were represented by ARA CEO Michael Wilson and ARA Past President Ed MacDonald.

Because ARA represents over 4500 professional automotive recyclers through direct and affiliated chapters in the US and 15 countries internationally, “an ARA presence at international automotive recycling events is important,” Wilson states. “The IARC is an opportunity to hear directly from our international members and grow ARA’s voice internationally. While ARA members’ business facilities differ from facility to facility, there is significant commonality in the global issues facing the professional automotive recycling industry. Additionally, the automotive industry worldwide is becoming more and more integrated. Specific automotive recycling activity is no different, with a number of entities within the industry expanding internationally."

How does your shop’s billing practices differ from other shops? Are other shops being paid for procedures you’re doing but for which you’re not being compensated?

Those questions form the basis of a new series of industry surveys being conducted as a joint project by CollisionAdvice and CRASH Network.

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

Tucked into a referendum on the ballot in Michigan last November was a provision that would have allowed an insurer to establish a direct repair program only if all repair facilities meeting the insurer’s criteria are allowed to participate in the program.

But the provision was part of a larger referendum on renewal of the state’s no-fault insurance regulations, and opponents of no-fault insurance successfully defeated the measure.

Hey Everyone, I am back and I hope you all are enjoying a great start to the new year. I recently gave the following test to the CIC audience in Palm Spring this past January and to an association group meeting. What was amazing after giving the test, how many repairers and insurers did not know the correct answers. Out of 40 repairers, only one knew what R1234 yf was and this new refrigerant in found on over a dozen vehicles with more converting to this Freon. Not good at all. Take the test and see how well you and staff do with it. All these questions were taken from I-CAR’s New 15 class* (Vehicle Technology and Trends 2015).

Thursday, 19 March 2015 00:00

Putting First Things First

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If you are anything like me you are probably wondering, “WOW, where has this year gone already!?”

It’s amazing how quickly time can slip by and then you realize you haven’t really made the progress on the goals you have set for yourself or worse yet haven’t set aside the time to create goals in the first place. You no doubt have been very busy working in your shops, it is the “nature of the business.”

Back in 1999, a court decision in a class action lawsuit resulted in a $1.2 billion judgment against State Farm – at the time one of the largest judgments ever levied against an insurer. The ruling changed the way many insurance companies dealt with non-OEM parts for years, and despite the fact that the judgment was later nullified, the “Avery vs State Farm” lawsuit even today is seen as the basis for State Farm’s limited use of such parts.

But now, 18 years after that lawsuit began, the lawyers who represented the vehicle-owners in the Avery lawsuit are still fighting against the overturning of that judgment by the Illinois Supreme Court. The amount they are seeking from State Farm this time is considerably larger: triple the damages of the Avery case plus more than a decade of interest, all adding up to more than $8 billion.

“Tell them once and then tell them again,” an old ad executive told me years ago, long before the Internet, web sites or applications existed. And it still pertains today, because although marketing and advertising change almost daily, the main concept behind branding is still the same.