"Your world is getting very complicated. It's changing at a rapid pace, and it's either going to make you step up or go in a different direction," Gruskos noted.
Exploring the benefits and challenges of applying for OEM certification, Gruskos emphasized the importance of adhering to OEM guidelines and stressed that OEM certifications are the present and future of the collision repair industry.
Gruskos discussed examples of technological advances and referenced the renowned John Eagle Collision lawsuit as an example of the type of liability issues that shop employees could face if they fail to properly repair vehicles.
Position statements are "not a suggested way---they are THE way---to repair a car," he explained. "These cars can come back to haunt you."
He recommended that shops interested in securing their place in the industry invest in obtaining OEM certifications.
"You can't survive in this business and not be certified. It's just not going to happen,” he said.
Gruskos covered each step of the process of obtaining OEM certifications, including researching the OEM equipment required, acknowledging the financial investment and determining the ROI.
One vital component of the certification application process is the onsite facility inspection.
Gruskos warned, "Don't have an inspector come to your shop if you are not prepared.”
Gruskos explained that OEMs consider every aspect of the business before granting a shop its certification. These considerations can include how staff members are treated, the cleanliness of the shop and even a bathroom inspection.
As he concluded, he reiterated the importance of each shop downloading OEM position statements on each job.
"It is extremely important to just simply do it the right away," he said.
For more information on AASP/NJ and its events, visit aaspnj.org.