Wednesday, 25 June 2014 21:45

LIABRA and Auto Body Craftsmen’s Guild Holds First Joint Meeting

On Thursday, May 29 at 7:30PM, the Long Island Auto Body Repairmen’s Association (LIABRA) held its first meeting since merging with the Auto Body Craftsmen’s Guild (ABCG). The meeting, which took place at Spray City Collision located at 1316 Castleton Avenue in Staten Island NY, focused on the joint organization’s legislative goals, labor department updates and sales tax audits on auto body shops. Enterprise Rent-A-Car provided pizza and soda for attendees.

The meeting began with a presentation by Ed Kizenberger Jr, Director of ABCG and Executive Assistant for LIABRA, who discussed the importance of unity between the two merging groups as well as the need for the collision repair industry to be represented in their state. He continued to speak about the association’s goals and how they will use LIABRA’s experience garnered over the past three decades to improve the Guild as they prepare to become an organization focused on education.

Next, Ed Kizenberger Sr, Executive Director of LIABRA, emphasized the need to educate all shops in order to assist those shop owners with the least knowledge to reach their full potential because “the least educated of shop owners will be the ones who tarnish our industry and hold us back from making progress.” Kizenberger Sr also spoke about the association’s legislative agenda for 2014, specifically their proposed parts procurement bill which would prevent insurers from interfering with the parts ordering process and restoring control over this aspect of the repair to the collision repair professionals and the consumers.

Further discussion followed on the association’s plans to conduct a labor rate survey as well as their focus on providing educational opportunities not only to collision repair facilities on Long Island but also the five boroughs which they plan to expand into. The group also covered what they hope to achieve through this expansion with the ABCG.

Last but not least, Mark Stone from Sales Tax Defense LLC provided a comprehensive presentation on the importance of properly keeping records and other ways to prevent a sales tax audit. He also explained the audit process and discussed what rights a shop has during the investigation.

This was the ABCG’s first meeting since the group deteriorated around three years ago, and Kizenberger Jr notes “it was an eye opener for many participants with a lot of good information that a lot of them hadn’t heard before. We’ve received some really positive feedback from members since the meeting.

Kizenberger Jr feels that association meetings and events are vital “because knowledge is power. Unless shop owners know how to run their businesses properly, they will run this industry into the ground. We need to improve the performance of the lowest performing shops to keep them abreast of changes in the industry because the outliers drag the rest down. It’s a pretty big deal that we educate everyone we can reach.”

LIABRA and ABCG’s next meeting will be held in the Fall in Brooklyn. The last ABCG meeting that was held in Brooklyn five years ago attracted 125 attendees, so Kizenberger Jr predicts their next meeting will be heavily attended by members and non-members alike.


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