Location: Yorkville, IL
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 14
In Business Since: 1976
Number of Locations: One
Combined Production Space: 9,000 square feet
So when we interviewed Justin Fisher, owner of CARSTAR Yorkville, located roughly 50 miles west of Chicago, it wasn’t a surprise that it was a painless and highly informative conversation.
Justin, 36, has only been in the collision repair industry for six years, but knows more than most shop owners who have dedicated their entire lives to the business. He credits much of that to the CARSTAR system, which trains its people its way and makes education and training a priority. By working with his father, Dean, for 11 months before he was hired as the MSO’s COO, Justin has been able to excel in a competitive market and grow every year. His dad founded the business in 1976, and Justin acquired it from him in 2014. CARSTAR now features more than 600 locations in North America; much of that success is credited to the systems that the company utilizes to fix cars and provide both its DRPs and customers with excellent service.
“CARSTAR’s Operations platform is called EDGE Performance; all of our operators go through it,” he said. “There are multiple tiers and training mechanisms within the platform, allowing it to provide a high level of uniformity throughout the entire organization. They set us up for ongoing success and make us stronger across the board. There are several resources throughout the zone structure within the U.S. organization to gain competitive advantages in insurance relations, marketing and operationally.
“We’re all independently owned and operated, so using these tools is at each owner’s discretion; perhaps the most valuable part of EDGE is the EDGE Performance Groups (EPGs). EPGs are very similar to other 20 groups, but these consist only of CARSTAR owners meeting multiple times throughout the year at different locations. These groups allow CARSTAR owners the opportunity to compare financial data, industry KPIs, operational procedures and administrative best practices. We all have the same reporting mechanisms and chart of accounts, so we are able to compare more closely than maybe some of the other traditional 20 groups, which when coupled with the training and education, makes CARSTAR truly best in class. It’s a power in numbers situation, and it benefits us on many levels.”
To paint more than 100 cars every month, Justin has been using the Spies Hecker® Permahyd® Hi-TEC paint system since November of 2016, a highly productive waterborne paint. The shop has been spraying a waterborne product for more than a decade, but this one is a completely different type of paint. Justin is delighted with the results for a wide range of reasons, he said.
Top: Justin Fisher, owner of CARSTAR Yorkville, is achieving big things with the Spies Hecker® Permahyd® Hi-TEC paint system. Bottom: Fisher can clearly see that Spies Hecker is looking good and improving his stats year after year.
“With Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC, this product requires a different spraying process that is allowing us to paint 25 percent faster than with our previous paint,” he said. “Our painter liked our former paint, but once he tried this one, he said it was the best he had ever used. The advanced camera and color-matching system is the best we have ever used as well. We now have two paint prep technicians who have to work a little harder to stay up with him since we started using Spies Hecker.”
Since the shop is always looking at its numbers, Fisher can clearly see that Spies Hecker is looking good and improving his stats year after year, he said.
“Two years ago, we were averaging 90 cars monthly, then last year it went to 94, and this year we are on track for 102 vehicles monthly. In sales numbers, that means that we’ve added almost $400,000 in total revenue, and much of that is contributed to adopting Spies Hecker, which is exceptional,” he said.
Using a paint system that benefits his production in many ways allows the shop to succeed even when things get really busy, Fisher said.
“We’re getting the cars out faster, which eliminates bottlenecks, increases our car count and shortens our cycle time, so we’re benefitting across the board. It’s helped us with our DRP relationships because we’re able to meet their needs, and they can see it rather clearly,” he said.
Backed by strong support through a fantastic relationship with his Axalta contact and tapping into the manufacturer’s outstanding and convenient training, CARSTAR Yorkville is hitting on all cylinders with Spies Hecker.
“Axalta’s Gene Wooden is the Chicagoland Market Sales Manager, and we’ve developed an excellent rapport with him. He and his team are great resources for us,” Fisher said. “Whenever you work with any vendor, you want a product and relationship that will make you a better shop, and having someone like Gene is a big part of that. One of Axalta’s training facilities is located in Itasca, IL, so it’s an ideal situation to keep our painter up to speed and improving the process.”
To download a PDF of this article, click here.
To read more auto body shop profiles from the October 2018 Shop & Product Showcase, click here.