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Tuesday, 02 September 2008 17:45

New Texas Association Aims to Unite Body Shop Community

A few years ago, Texas collision repair shop owners stood strong in an effort to enact HB 1131, prohibiting “tied shops”—those owned in whole or in part  by an insurance company. Since that time, however, outspoken shop owners seem to have gone into hibernation.

    While issues pile up across the country—regarding everything from steering to paint capping, no Texas association has stepped up to lead the troops into battle on these issues—until now.
    The Automotive Parts & Services Association (APSA) has established a collision division to mobilize Texas shops. Over the past year, APSA’s Texas Collision Division has held 29 presentations called “Lunch or Dinner with a Purpose” for collision shops primarily in the Austin, San Marcos, and San Antonio areas. Presentations and speakers included Best Practices: Profitability in Liquids and Sales & Marketing, Texas Department of Insurance, Texas GROSS Margin’s Tax, and Recruit, Motivate & Retain Generation Y Workforce. The events have been attended by as few as 6 and as many as 56 collision shops, suppliers, and high school collision instructors.
    “The most disheartening thing I see on the collision side is the loss of hope. What used to be a raging entrepreneurial fire within shop owners is but an ember,” said Debbie Hooge, director of Market Development for APSA.

All join in
Step 1: Set aside Thursday, September 25 to attend the meeting to reignite Texas’ organizations. The event will update legislative efforts and results around the country and show the benefits of shops working together to make things happen.
    The topic “Positioning Yourself in the Collision Repair Industry” offers an out-of-the box view of how a collision repair facility can overcome the challenges in today’s marketplace by focusing on three key areas: sales & marketing, technician development, and financial management.

 Active Image
 Mike Anderson
    Mike Anderson, owner, Wagonwork Collision Centers—two acclaimed shops located in Alexandria, Virginia—will be the main speaker. Anderson serves on the Mitchell and Motor Advisory Boards, the ASA Collision Operations Committee, and the ASE Test Review Committee. He’s also a member of the Virginia Automotive Legislative Committee, CIC, SCRS, CAPA, the National Auto Body Council, and is past director of the ASA Collision perations Division.
    The networking and program will take place from 6:30–9:30 along with dinner that includes King Ranch Chicken, salad, tea and desert. The location is Gary Job Corp, 2800 Airport Highway 21 East, San Marcos. Due to limited seating for this event, payment of $10 per person must be received by Monday, September 22. For more information or to RSVP call 800-375-2968, ext. 4.

Coming up
Step 2: Plan to attend the Texas State Capitol lunch on October 14, which will take place at the State Capitol Building Capitol Grill in Austin from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Representative Jim Keffer will kick-off the lunch that will focus on the importance of communicating and working with the legislature and address the issues of margin’s tax, career and technology education. Participants will visit their legislators led by APSA representative.

Other Collison-related Activities
APSA has attended career fairs to promote members to parents, teachers and students as well as educate them on proper vehicle maintenance and what to do in the event of an accident. Brochures from the members are distributed with this info.
    The association actively participates in Texas Skills on the district and state level. A pressing goal is to expand participation in the collision area. The association also participated in the Texas Education Agency (TEKS) writing workshop to help develop curriculum for a transportation cluster that includes repair and collision.

Stand up and be counted

This is your opportunity to help mobilize the Texas collision repair community.
    “APSA gathers in might the small and gives hope to them by giving opportunities so they can prosper to gain economic freedom. APSA creates alliances for strength and power to protect the interest of small business and their lobbyist provides a watchful eye,” concluded Hooge.

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