Earlier this year, industry veteran David Caulfield opened Fix Auto Anaheim North in Anaheim, CA, using an innovative business model.
Caulfield has been in the collision repair industry since 1975, working every aspect of the trade from the bottom-up.
In 1988, he opened his first body shop in Orange County, CA—East Hills Auto Collision—which eventually grew to include three locations and became part of the Fix Auto franchise. Last year, Caulfield sold his interest in the business and opened Fix Auto Anaheim North, a 23,500-square-foot facility that focuses on heavier collision repair work.
Caulfield recently shared information with Autobody News about the processes he uses at Fix Auto Anaheim North---his specialized collision services facility---and his advice to collision repairers looking to set themselves apart and be more profitable.
Q: What prompted you to open Fix Auto Anaheim North and how have you differentiated your business?
A: After working in the industry for nearly 43 years, I really wanted to focus on things that I felt needed assistance in the industry where there were some trouble spots. I decided to open Fix Auto Anaheim North to focus on reducing the risk and liability associated with heavier collision claims. I feel it will help reduce severity costs through parts price discounts and creative estimating and offer a more objective way to look at how a vehicle is repaired today versus the way our predecessors may have written an estimate on a car.
For example, a lot of metallic-colored panels are estimated with the assumption a blend is required to match the color. The practice of blending panels increases severity, cycle time and the unwarranted removal of parts, yet to set yourself up for an additional buffing process. This is costly to the shop, the insurer and unnecessarily invasive to the vehicle. Using technology correctly and spending a few more minutes to match the colors, we’re finding that eight out of 10 of those that used to be blended in the past are reduced to two.
Another example is PDR (paintless dent repair). It has always been viewed that if the dent is small enough, we’ll PDR it. However, when we have a five- to six-hour dent where the paint isn’t damaged, we’ll PDR those as well. This saves the insurance company and consumer a lot of money.