Depending on what part of the country you're in, most body shops are highly dependent on their insurance partnerships (DRPs).
Every once in a while, a shop owner or manager will ask me, "Why do we market to the consumer, when in the end we get most of our work through our DRPs?"
It's a logical question, so what is the answer? Should shops' advertising and marketing efforts focus more on insurers than customers? Many of them must agree because some large shops are cutting back their marketing budgets and moving away from consumer advertising, such as broadcast, print, collateral, direct mail or various forms of online marketing. Is it a wise move or will it come back to hurt them down the road?
Jim Keller, president of 1Collision Network, has heard the same question time and time again. His 45 locations nationwide are always aggressively marketing themselves to their DRPs under his organization's direction.
"We do a significant amount of marketing for our locations in addition to all of our many other programs and have seen positive results by developing unique programs catering to DRPs and agents," he said. "Through marketing efforts that are specifically designed for both insurers and insurance agents, our shops are more likely to land a new DRP(s) when the opportunity presents itself, which can help drive revenue and the bottom line. Our performance system also enhances shop operations to gain more work from existing DRPs."
Pursuing and attaining OE certifications is another way to attract DRPs because it indicates to the insurer that a shop is committed to repairing vehicles properly and using OE procedures and recommended equipment.
Keller said, "This is a huge opportunity for shops to get onboard because now we have four parties involved in the claim procedure: the shop, the customer, the insurance company and the OE car manufacturers. The certifications are becoming recognized by the insurers, including those that have DRP programs. We make certain to promote our location’s OE certifications and I-CAR Gold Class status on their websites, social media, collateral advertising and other forms of marketing. A body shop with multiple certifications creates an added level of legitimacy and integrity, making that shop more attractive to insurers, DRPs, agents and the consumer. We also believe certifications will aid in recruiting the better technicians to our shops because it ‘raises the bar’ within the industry.”