Mike Anderson

mike anderson autobody newsMike Anderson is the president and owner of Collision Advice, a consulting company for the auto body/collision repair industry. For nearly 25 years, he was the owner of Wagonwork Collision Center, an OEM-certified, full-service auto body repair facility in Alexandria, VA.

Wednesday, 06 May 2020 15:25

From the Desk of Mike Anderson: Not Busy? If You’re Leading the Business, You Sure Should Be

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When work slows down, shop owners need to get busy. Now isn’t the time to think there’s nothing you can do to respond to the current situation.

Here are some positive steps you should consider taking.


Close out those repair orders (ROs.) I’ve been preaching for years that ROs should be ready to close the day the car leaves, but I know that often doesn’t happen. Now is the time, however, to get any outstanding ROs closed and billed, and then recommit yourself to not getting behind on supplements and paperwork.


Don’t put off knowing your options. Now may be a good time to get your bank or landlord on the phone and find out what your options are if you’re struggling to make a full payment. They might be willing to let you skip some or all of a month or two and tack that money on later, over time. Have those conversations before you really need them, so you’re prepared.


Manage your credit. Hopefully you have a good credit line established before now with a bank that’s a good partner for your business. But if not, start those conversations.


Follow up. I mentioned this in a previous column about improving your “capture rate.” When a DRP assignment comes in, start contacting that potential customer immediately through multiple means. Go back through estimates you’ve written in the past six months to follow up with customers who didn’t schedule in the work. These are things that are easy to let slide a little when you’re busy, but now is a time to make them a priority.


Get them committed. Consider asking a customer scheduling a repair for a small deposit to help ensure they don’t back out. Tell them parts can sometimes be a little harder to come by quickly, but for, say, a 10% deposit, you can start the parts order immediately to help ensure they are there when the car arrives.


Chase your money. If you have parts to return, that’s like money gathering dust on your shelves. And get after your receivables; that’s actual money of yours sitting out there.


Look at your expenses line-by-line. There are “must-have” expenses and there are “nice-to-have” expenses. Your estimating software subscription and business insurance are “must-haves.” But office cleaning services or landscaping services may be “nice-to-haves” but things you could be doing in-house.

Don’t stop marketing. One expense I would not cut out is marketing. Now more than ever, your name has to be out there, top of people’s minds when they need you.

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