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Monday, 13 May 2019 18:25

75-Year-Old Automotive Group Switches to DeBeer Refinish Waterborne to Save Time & Wow Customers

Written by Autobody News Staff


Rickenbaugh Automotive Center’s Manager Chris Hudson is using DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series and loving every minute of it.


NOTE: This June SPS was originally published online in May 2019.


Usually when a shop switches to a new paint system, there’s a brief introductory period during which its management and crew familiarize themselves with the product’s nuances, application processes and support.



Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center
Location: Denver, CO
(303) 571-4443

Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 48
In Business Since: 1944
Number of Locations: One
DRP Programs: Two
Combined Production Space:
60,000 square feet



But in this case, team members at Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center in Denver, CO, hit the ground running when they seamlessly began using the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series last year, according to the collision center’s manager, Chris Hudson.

Rickenbaugh Automotive Group hired Hudson two years ago to reduce the shop’s dependence on its DRPs. The results have been very positive.

“We’ve doubled our volume in the last two years after cutting our DRPs from six to two,” he said. “A lot of things have changed since the John Eagle Collision court decision, which has confirmed the fact that shops are liable while the insurance companies are not. It’s more important now to perform repairs using only OE-required repair procedures without deviation. So we informed our DRPs last year that we are no longer interested in cutting costs, compromising our quality or risking our reputation to save a few bucks for them on a repair.”

The shop is on track to do $10 million in business this year without cutting corners in any way, Hudson said.

“To be completely honest, we have definitely turned away some business because we’re inflexible when it comes to negotiating with the insurance companies. We have been here for 75 years, and we want to be around for another 75 years, so accountability and transparency are a big part of that. We have proven that we can still excel with fewer DRPs by concentrating on being lean, working smarter and taking the high road with everything we do,” he said.

Part of Hudson’s approach involves working with the finest tools, equipment and products in the collision repair industry, he said. This included converting the Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center to a DeBeer Refinish shop.

“To stay relevant, we knew that we needed to work with the latest technology, and to be honest, our former vendor was behind the times. So we decided to look at all the brands and entered into an open bidding process,” he said.

Hudson embarked on a 60-day journey and learned about all of the paint companies and their waterborne products as a result.

“We tested and re-tested, visited a lot of shops and talked to their painters and managers. We just didn’t do demos; we actually painted cars in our facility, which turned out to be an invaluable experience,” he said.

Now Hudson’s crew is extremely comfortable using the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series.

Debeer Sherwin Williams Rickenbaugh June 2019 SPS 2 3

Left: Detailer Leonardo Cardenas at Rickenbaugh Automotive Group Collision Center is delighted with the amazing finished product that DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series provides. Right: Assistant Manager Katrina Wuensch appreciates the fact that the DeBeer Refinish waterborne system delivers dead-on color matches.

“We are saving 30 percent when compared to our former paint, using fewer toners and creating an amazing finished product on the 300 vehicles we paint every month,” he said. “It’s like night and day when comparing the efficiency and productivity of our former product with DeBeer Refinish, and our paint technicians are delighted about producing 15 cars out of three booths every day.”

One of the main benefits Hudson and his crew received came from tapping into the service and advice the shop got from its new jobber, he said.

Alan Squier from Specialized Product Supply in Denver has really stepped up and brought genuine value to the entire process,” he said. “He gives us real numbers with real results, which is phenomenal. We are not just a number to them, and Specialized Product Supply proves it by visiting us frequently and making themselves available to us 24/7. They did their research and showed us that they knew the market here, and that’s why we can rely on them for anything we need.

“One of the best things about the DeBeer Refinish waterborne system is that it delivers dead-on color matches. The color library is fantastic, and we’re adding to it all the time. With our old system, we had problems literally every day, but now those issues are gone. Using the spectrophotometer, we are able to match Tesla’s colors and even Mazda’s with those quad coats. Every carmaker has at least one tricky color to deal with, and this system’s database gives us several options to choose from. It’s turned what was a problematic part for our production into a no-brainer.”

Every time a vehicle exits its booth painted with the DeBeer Refinish WaterBase 900+ Series, the decision to switch paint brands is reinforced.

“The clears give us a glossy look with more depth and less shrinkage, which is a big difference,” Hudson said. “The cars come out of the bake looking spectacular, and they stay that way. When we see our customers’ faces every time they pick up their cars, it makes our day.”


To download a PDF of this article, click here.


DeBeer Refinish, A Valspar® Automotive Brand
4440 Warrensville Center Rd.
Warrensville Hts., OH 44128
(800) 321-0672


To read more auto body shop profiles from the June 2019 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.

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