Collision repairers around the country aren’t sitting still as business conditions continued to evolve as summer began.
Here’s a cross-country tour of what’s happening as shops around the U.S. respond to the pandemic and its economic fallout.
Helping employees and the community
Shops continue to be generous in their efforts to help out their employees, their customers and their community.
Zach DeGroot, manager of Riverbend Body Shop in Grand Rapids, MI, said the shop covered some of the costs for police vehicle repairs after about a dozen such vehicles were damaged during rioting that followed a protest to denounce the death of George Floyd.
DeGroot said the shop has always tried to do something extra on customers’ vehicles in for repairs, but is also trying to step that up, offering free detailing or “repairing unrelated damage on adjacent panels for customers so they do not have to pay out of pocket.”
Christy Jones of R Jones Collision 1 in Des Moines, IA, offered a “pay it forward” campaign in which each of the shop’s customers in May and June received a $25 gift certificate to a local restaurant, and could designate a charity to receive a $50 donation from the shop.
“We’re offering employees later start times so they can help with family or household needs,” the owner of a Chicago area shop said. “We’re offering them four 10-hour days, if that helps, and with that, we’re actually seeing more customer volume in the evening hours.”
Auto Craft Collision Center in Kewaskum, WI, extended through June a 10% discount, up to $250, it began offering customers earlier this spring.
Carney Cataldo of Cataldo’s Collision in Dubois, PA, gave all employees a $1,000 bonus.
A shop in the Pacific Northwest supplemented its painters’ wages to help ease the downturn in flat-rate hours, and an Arizona shop has given commission employees a guaranteed minimum salary equivalent to four days of work, and isn’t requiring them to work more than four days a week.
A working manager at a shop in Iowa is letting the shop’s other technicians do more of the production work while he spends more time in the office getting supplements handled, “to keep cash flow up and make sure all the bills are paid and we still make money.”