CARSTAR held their annual National Conference for 2011 in Seattle, WA, from September 24 through 27. The conference drew in around 400 industry members and franchisees. During a teleconference leaders of the multiple shop operator (MSO) offered insights into their future plans for growth over the next few years.
CARSTAR’s CEO, David Byers, who was added to the team as of this year, started the conference by highlighting where CARSTAR is presently. Byers said the MSO is on track to reach total sales of at least $600 million, and that according to industry averages for independent shops, individual CARSTAR franchises make about twice as much per year.
Byers also talked about how the MSO has been able to continue to grow thanks to continued industry consolidation since the company’s inception in 1989 and an increasing trend of insurers moving towards using MSOs.
At the Conference Ryan Keller was named the new head of Business Development, and he is expected to help the MSO open 40 to 50 new stores in the next year. This is 2 to 3 times more growth than the MSO has been able to produce over the last few years. This dramatic increase in growth is expected because of a renewed focus on acquiring new stores and adding a lot of new staff, according to Byers.
Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations mentioned that part of CARSTAR’s success can be attributed to the way their franchises are set up. Although each store is a CARSTAR franchise, there remains one owner at each location and this enables the franchises to self-manage and have a single point of contact for insurers and customers per franchise.
Stacy Bartnik, Vice President of Field Services also talked about the MSO’s continued efforts to grow existing stores as well. She mentioned training existing shops on lean processes so they can improve cycle and touch times.
Gerald Wicklund, Owner of Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also on the teleconference. His franchise was the first franchise of CARSTAR and he is the second generation owner. He talked about the Conference’s focus on educating their franchises about effective marketing and website and social media management.
Wicklund also mentioned that the military appreciation efforts his franchise makes have been very effective marketing tools for his business.
“25 to 30 percent of my customers that come in the door have done their own research before I write the estimate,” said Wicklund.
Wicklund’s CARSTAR was also honored with the Outstanding CSI Award at the conference this year.
For more information please visit www.carstar.com.
Golden State Collision Centers will hold their annual Harvest Festival on November 15 from 5:30 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. at the MSO’s Orangevale, CA location.
This mixer will serve to benefit the Twin Lakes and Orangevale Food Banks, as well as providing local businesses an opportunity to network together. The collision center is the beneficiary of the Orangevale Chamber’s $500 ‘Chamber Gives Back’ grant, which will be presented to the food banks, along with all canned and non-perishable food items collected from October 1 through November 15th.
The MSO will be collecting food donations from October 6 through November 15. Simply drop off your food items at Golden State Collision Center’s Orangevale location located at 9439 Greenback Lane, Orangevale, CA. If you are unable to drop off donations, please contact Rebecca Endres at (916) 580-5637 or and she can drop by your business to collect your donations.
Golf is a difficult game, but running a body shop is even harder. So, logically you would think that playing golf would be an easy task for people working in the collision industry. Evidently, it’s not the case.
Golf balls were raining down like sunshine on a beautiful day when the Santa Clara Chapter of the California Autobody Association hosted its 18th Annual Golf Tournament at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, California in late August. The only problem was—most of the balls were landing in the bushes, on golf paths and in surrounding trees.
With 75 golfers primed to attack this beautiful course overlooking Coyote Canyon, body shop personnel, vendors, industry icons and friends were quickly humbled by the course’s undulating greens, tight fairways and bottomless bunkers. Cinnabar Hills is an award-winning course consisting of 27 holes, but 18 were more than enough for the participants, according to Rob Snow, SCC CAA member and former officer.
“It’s not about the golf, fortunately,” said Snow, who owns Monterey Collision in San Jose. “It’s about hanging out with people you respect and work with. Getting a nice crowd for this tournament is a big deal and maybe it tells us that we’re coming out of this recession and looking for better days.”
Tobias Padilla from Hertz was the main force behind the event. “It was a strong turnout and everyone had a great time,” Padilla said. “We all work very hard in this industry, so when we get a whole day to enjoy a sport like golf, it’s a much-needed break. The people at Cinnabar were great and I want to thank everyone who volunteered their time to make it a big success.”
The biggest Tiger Woods-like moment of the day took place when Young Ko, the owner of KS California Auto Body in San Jose nailed the closest to the pin, when his ball landed less than a foot from the 17th hole. The modest gallery (three squirrels and a pigeon) gasped at the majestic shot and Ko is undoubtedly still talking about it.
Ko’s name also appeared in the victorious foursome that captured the tournament, with Vince Rojas from Annex Color & Supply, associate Jeff Parker and Joe Bugisle from BASF. With a good share of birdies sprinkled in with a passel of pars, this foursome took the title and walked away with the coveted title.
A new law in NJ (N.J.S.A.39:13-2.1) amends the insurance coverage requirements for damage to property and for liability arising from bodily injury which an auto body repair facility must maintain for a full service license. The law reduces the minimum amount of garage keepers’ liability insurance that a shop must maintain from $300,000 to $50,000.
Full service licensed auto body facilities must still maintain insurance coverage for damage to property and for liability arising from bodily injury, including, but not limited to: eligible garage liability or equivalent commercial general liability insurance in a minimum amount of $300,000 or a letter of credit in the amount of $300,000; Garage keepers’ liability insurance in a minimum amount of $50,000 or a letter of credit in the amount of $50,000. Limited full service license applicants and licensees must also comply with these requirements.
“This will make the law fair to the shops by not forcing a small shop to purchase more insurance than it needs,” said Charles Bryant of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey, which proposed and supported the change.
New York State’s Suffolk County suffered the highest insured property loss among the 191 counties affected by Hurricane Irene, according to the latest estimate and reports made by Insurance Journal.
New Jersey, New York and North Carolina were the top three states with sustained insured property damage topping $500 million from Irene. Virginia and Maryland completed the top five. The estimate was prepared by insurance data provider Verisk Analytics and released on Oct. 17. Among the individual counties affected by Irene, Suffolk County, New York, was followed by Dare County, North Carolina—with more than $200 million of insured property damage in each—ranked first and second by insured damage. Completing the top five worst-hit counties from an insured property damage standpoint—with more than $150 million in damages in each—are Nassau County, New York; Monmouth County, New Jersey; and Worcester County, Maryland.
Overall, eight counties had estimated insured property damage in excess of $100 million.
Verisk Analytics’s estimate, called Verisk Catastrophe Index, was prepared for the District of Columbia and the 13 states and 191 counties within these states that were affected by Hurricane Irene.
Following flooding and damage done by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, body shops and dealerships on the east coast were not prepared to have to deal with heavy rain storms. In northeast Pennsylvania and western New York state heavy rain drenched an already inundated area with more water the week of September 26.
During Hurricane Irene, rushing water ripped the bay doors off the service department at Maroon Kia in Wayne, NJ. The water was so powerful it washed two front-end alignment machines, each weighing an estimated 2,800 pounds, from the service bays into the nearby Pompton River. About 40 to 50 new and used vehicles were destroyed by the floodwaters, according to a report in Automotive News.
The dealership’s building that houses the new-car showroom and service department had severe cracks in the walls and ceilings following Irene. The dealership’s used-car lot was littered with holes—one about 15 feet long, 10 feet wide and 6 feet deep.
The National Automobile Dealers Association says it estimates that 10 percent of the dealerships in states affected by the recent storms would be unable to operate due to storm-related damage, according to Automotive News.
Maroon Kia sustained major damage and waterlogged vehicles. Other dealerships said the only impact came from distracted customers who prepared for the storm rather than shopping for vehicles.
Following Hurricane Irene, Station Auto Body in Newark, DE, was left under 3-1/2 feet of water, according to owner Rob Amadio. Luckily, the shop was able to get out from under the flood waters and returned to normal service shortly after the hurricane passed through. Amadio said they did not experience any recurring flooding in the storms at the end of September.
McBride Auto Body in Woodland Park, NJ, also sustained flood damage due to Hurricane Irene, and owner Joseph Carioti III took advantage of the mandatory cleanup as an opportunity to renovate some parts of his shop. Most of the flooding damage occured in the office area of the building, since the shop floor is bare concrete, but parts of the business were under 4-feet of water after Hurricane Irene blew through.
Thankfully not all of the cars were flooded during the storm, but the business did lose some tools that got damaged by all the floodwater. McBride’s office area is now better than before Hurricane Irene hit, he told Autobody News.
English Color and Supply announced on October 11 that they have acquired Affordable Auto Color in Austin, Texas, and created their 42nd location.
Chad Francis, who is the Store Manager, began his career in the paint business working for his Grandfather at Big 3 Auto Supply in Temple, Texas. In 1996 Chad started Affordable Auto Color in Austin.
Mark Shanks has been in the autopaint business for 25 years, 12 of which has been with Affordable Auto Color. English Color welcomes their technical expertise and experience to the English Color and Supply family.
English Color and Supply has locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.
The Austin store is located at 9800 Gray Blvd Austin, Texas 78758.
Reach the store by calling 512-339-8447 or email .
Store Hours are Monday through Friday from 8a.m. to 5p.m.
For more information please visit www.englishcolor.com.
The Northwest Louisiana Collision Repair Association (NWLCRA) held their monthly members meeting on October 4 at 6:30 pm. October’s monthly meeting was held at Louisiana Glass and Mirror’s new location in Bossier City, LA.
Mark Monroe, an instructor at Bossier Parish Technical School opened the meeting with a prayer. Bill Burnside, NWLCRA Secretary-Treasurer brought the meeting to order by reading the anti-trust statement. Bill also reminded the group to start planning for the NWLCRA Christmas Party on Dec. 3. The Walker Street Band will be the Christmas entertainment again this year. NWLCRA will also sponsor the “Toys for Tots” charity. Everyone is encouraged to bring a new, unopened, unwrapped toy for either a boy or girl to the Christmas party to be donated to the US Marines that help with the “Toys for Tots” program.
Funds and advertisements were discussed, and the group has one more advertisement space available on their website. Anyone interested in advertising with the NWLCRA just needs to click on the “Advertise with Us” link and fill out the online form on their website at www.nwlcra.org.
Several members of the NWLCRA helped with the BPCC 100 annual fundraiser (See Autobody News September 2011). This is where businesses compete in a race using go-karts, NASCAR style. For more details on the race, see www.bpcc100.org. Kevin Adams with Krystal Auto Collision, Chris Shepherd with Louisiana Technical College, and Bill Burnside with Tri-State Coatings helped by being judges. The BPCC 100 raised over $50,000.00 for scholarships this year. Every cent is going to be used for Bossier Parish Community College and Louisiana Technical College scholarships.
Big changes are in store this month for one of the country’s biggest multiple shop operators (MSOs): Caliber Collision Centers.
Caliber Collision will be relocating the company’s corporate headquarters from Irvine, California to Lewisville, Texas—a suburb in the northern area of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“Our relocation to Texas allows us to consolidate management spread across a number of locations in California and Texas,” said Steve Grimshaw, President and CEO of Caliber Collision Centers.
Caliber plans to move into their leased 16,397 square foot space at 401 E. Corporate Drive in Lewisville, Texas in mid-November. Caliber will move because of Dallas-Fort Worth’s affordable metropolitan area, central location, business-friendly environment and large, diversified workforce—all of which will support the company’s growth throughout the United States, said Grimshaw.
“Our move to Lewisville provides us with an opportunity to consolidate much of our management which is currently spread across a number of locations in California and Texas,” said Grimshaw.
Grimshaw also said the relocation does not indicate any change in the company’s approach to current or future markets. “Our first priority is to ensure we have sufficient coverage in our existing markets for our clients and customers. We also look to seek new geographic growth opportunities in states contiguous to California and Texas, such as Nevada and Arizona, and finally other markets based on our client’s needs.”
Following Ray Gunder’s charge alleging altered documents that show State Farm’s manipulation of their market survey of rates and allowances, State Farm has elected to pay the charged amounts of Gunder’s Auto Center and avoid further discovery of its business records. See sidebar.
In seeking discoverable information pertinent to three separate lawsuits by three of Gunder’s customers (of which Gunder was acting on behalf of each customer through power-of-attorney) State Farm’s refusal/failure to provide the requested documentation within the time-frame provided resulted in a court’s order compelling the nation’s largest personal auto insurer to comply and present the subpoenaed records ‘or else.’
As a result, State Farm first made overtures of a global settlement to avoid further litigation (and discovery) by inviting Gunder’s to mediate the more than 30 pending lawsuits pressed against them on behalf of Gunder’s customers for claims including, but not limited to Tortious Interference against State Farm employees including Larry Swearengin and Bob Davis as well as Breach of Contract and Bad Faith claims against State Farm Insurance.
While guarded, Ray Gunder agreed and thus the Contempt of Court hearing scheduled for September 22nd was postponed and mediation was scheduled for October 6th, 2011.