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Monday, 02 November 2020 19:00

Body Crafters: A COVID-19 Experience

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It seems the painter was never happy with the finish sanding job the body techs gave him, so the painter would spend even more time sanding the same spot, again, slowing production to a crawl.

 

Eventually, Wise had to consolidate things. He laid off one tech at each shop and combined all his personnel from both shops at the Body Crafter location. The techs from the two shops learned how to work together, cut waste and be more efficient.

 

Things were looking up. Cycle time had been cut in half, waste was minimized and the shop was making more money. And then COVID-19 hit.

 

Just when his new business was starting to gain traction, March 2020 saw a dramatic drop in cars coming through the door. But Wise kept advertising and promoting the shop.

 

“It was scary for a while," said Wise. “But then things picked right up again. We are in a rural area just south of Madison, one of only three shops in this area. We have been able to pull some business from Madison and because we are close to my old shop, my existing customers followed me. It worked out.”

 

When asked if they did anything special to generate business during the height of the pandemic, Wise replied, “We do a lot of radio ads. In one of our ads we offered to write the estimate at the vehicle owner’s home. If they agreed to have us do the work, we would pick up the car, complete the repair and return a repaired and disinfected car to the customer. They would never have to leave their home.

 

"Despite all the talk about staying home and staying safe, no one ever took us up on our offer. Work kept rolling in the door.”

 

Now, a year after taking over Body Crafters, and despite the COVID-19 slowdown, Wise is setting sales and profit records for the shop.

 

“We have only one DRP arrangement, and that’s with State Farm," ” said Wise. "We have a good working relationship with them. We have plenty of collision work, and few insurance company issues.”

 

And as for the custom work, Wise replied, “Custom work is fun and interesting, but sometimes it’s tough getting paid, so I pick and choose what I work on. Right now, I have a two-year backlog on custom work. It’s nice to be in demand!”


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