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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Tuesday, 05 April 2022 15:49

Consolidation Coach Guides Auto Body Shop Owners Through Life-Changing Decisions

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Laura Gay owns the Consolidation Coach, a consulting company that helps independent shops when they sell to MSOs. Here she is with her three dogs, from left, Mopsie, Stagger and Oscar. Laura Gay owns the Consolidation Coach, a consulting company that helps independent shops when they sell to MSOs. Here she is with her three dogs, from left, Mopsie, Stagger and Oscar.

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If you own an independent auto body shop, you have likely been approached by a large MSO about possibly selling your business.

Maybe you’re approaching retirement and want to fish and play golf in your golden years. Maybe you have kids who aren’t interested in working in the collision repair industry.

 

Laura Gay, owner of the Consolidation Coach, began her business after selling her shop to a large MSO.

 

Her story began when she landed a job at a car dealership that eventually led to an opportunity to work in the company’s collision center. Gay excelled in the collision center, and within just a year, she was managing the shop, doubling its revenues.

 

Subsequently, she was recruited to work for Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, Progressive Insurance and USAA in estimating, bodily injury, salvage, arbitration and management.

 

In 2006, a shop owner approached Gay and her former husband about buying a shop in financial trouble. Gay negotiated the transaction by purchasing the shop’s account assets and real estate. In her first 18 months, she tripled its annual sales from $1 million to $3 million. The shop’s revenues grew to $5.5 million in sales in less than three years.

Five years later, Gay purchased a second failing collision center to duplicate its success, taking it from $750,000 to $3 million in the first year.

 

In 2015, she sold both of the shops to Caliber Collision, after learning as much as she could about consolidators.

 

Subsequently, she started helping some of her friends and associates with the sale of their shops, and in 2017, she founded the Consolidation Coach. She saw a definite need for a company that can help smaller and independent shops when that phone call from an MSO arrives.

Today, the Consolidation Coach specializes in assisting body shop owners in sales to MSOs all over the country. With a mantra of “been there, done that,” Gay has received countless accolades from clients for her negotiation skills, knowledge and experience.

 

She also now owns Collision Consulting of Florida, a separate consulting business that provides shop evaluations, marketing and operational advice.

Laura now lives in Georgetown, SC, with her high school sweetheart and her three dogs. She is an avid golfer, loves anything to do with any type of racing, and is a member of several car clubs and ladies’ golf leagues.

 

Who normally benefits more when an MSO acquires an independent?

 

It’s never that easy. Consolidation is changing the landscape for the industry and in many ways, it mirrors changes in society. If you own a body shop, you know that...


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