Purchasing new equipment can be an exciting yet daunting task for a body shop. There are many options available and it often feels overwhelming and confusing.
How do I decide which piece of equipment to buy? What method of payment is best to use? Is training included in the price?
Autobody News reached out to the industry to find out some recommendations to consider before making a major purchase. The following members of SCRS (Society of Collision Repair Specialists) shared tips to help shops navigate through the process: Michael Bradshaw, vice president of operations at K&M Collision in North Carolina; Kye Yeung, owner of European Motor Car Works in California; and Dave Gruskos, owner of Reliable Automobile Equipment (RAE) in New Jersey, which provides OEM certified equipment and training.
What advice would you give to a shop before purchasing equipment?
“First and foremost, I think the shop needs to identify what type of vehicles they are going to be working on,” said Bradshaw. Once that is accomplished, he said it’s important to reference the manufacturers’ repair manuals and other resources that include specific requirements that need to be addressed. “I think a lot of the problem is the misinformation that is generated by some of the sales people on the equipment side where they will tell you that a certain piece of equipment can do everything or is approved by multiple manufacturers when maybe that’s not the case.”
Yeung, who is currently opening a second location and very involved in acquiring equipment, recommends making a checklist of all the wants and desires of the shop. “On the checklist, you can focus on the necessary items and the wish items.” It will also enable a shop to determine which items are going to provide the best productivity and a better streamlined process in the operation. Those obviously go at the top of the list.
Gruskos said a shop also needs to look at the relationship it has with the automobile dealer. “A dealership relationship becomes key,” he said. By researching the documentation supplied by the OEM, it will help direct a shop to purchase the correct approved equipment.
If a shop is part of a Direct Repair Program (DRP) or OEM certification, the owner doesn’t always have a choice on the type of equipment purchased.