Managing a collision repair facility today requires an owner to wear many different hats and have a great deal of knowledge, according to Jim Keller, CEO/president of 1Collision Network based in Milwaukee, WI.
Those roles might include CEO, COO, CFO, VP of marketing, VP of human resources, estimator, parts manager, repair planner and customer service representative.
“Regardless of the size of the body shop, it’s very difficult for one owner to be an expert in each one of these fields,” said Keller during his recent presentation for Dave Luehr’s Elite Body Shop Academy. “We either have to rely on people to fill those positions or we have to know all of this information ourselves, which I think is a very daunting and difficult task.”
To address this challenge, especially for a growing body shop, Keller recommends that employees get involved in organizations to build relationships and become the best they can be to help steer the business forward.
The industry veteran has held a variety of industry jobs over the past 40 years, including paint technician, dealer manager, entrepreneur, franchisee, consolidator and most recently, founder of 1Collision Network. Established in 2012, 1Collision Network is a network of independent and dealer collision repair businesses that work with insurers and OEs to properly repair collision damaged vehicles.
During Keller’s presentation “The Power of Peer Groups,” he shared personal stories that were “game-changers” for him and helped him operate his business more professionally and come up with strategies to address any challenges that he faced. Keller said it all starts by joining a peer group(s).
Q: What is a peer group and why is it important to join one?
A: Wikipedia defines a peer group as both a social group and a primary group of people who have similar interests (homophily) in age, background or social status. The members of the group are likely to influence the person’s beliefs and behavior. Peer groups also contain hierarchies and distinct patterns of behavior.