Thursday, 20 June 2013 15:27

Mike Anderson Wows Body Shop Attendees at CAA Santa Clara

Combining his seemingly limitless knowledge of the collision game and his commitment to making it a better industry, Michael Anderson from CollisionAdvice.com gives a spirited, high-energy presentation that is more revival than keynote speech.

By intertwining useful statistics with his sage projections on the future of the body shop business, Anderson talks quickly and moves like a skilled boxer. To find out that he was actually a highly-regarded amateur boxer isn’t a shocker. In fact, if he hadn’t lost to the eventual gold medal winner Pernell Whitaker, Anderson would have represented the United States in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

On May 22, Anderson spoke to the members of the Santa Clara chapter of the California Autobody Association (SC-CAA) in San Jose, CA.

If there was an amusement park for the collision industry, there would undoubtedly be a ride called The Mike Anderson Experience, featuring one of the fastest roller coasters in the world. His talk moves quickly and covers almost every aspect of the collision business, so note takers are in trouble, unless they know shorthand. (I brought a tape recorder). With a Powerpoint presentation consisting of almost 200 slides, it’s full of information that Anderson has compiled over the years.


As the former owner of Wagonwork Collision Centers in Alexandria, VA, Anderson spends more than 250 days a year on the road doing workshops, seminars and consulting shops across the country, as well as in Canada and Mexico. In 2010 he sold his highly successful shop and founded CollisionAdvice.com. Anderson is a featured AMI-approved seminar presenter on numerous topics for both collision repair shops and jobber operations. Participants in Mike Anderson’s seminars consistently rate them as exceeding their expectations and highly recommend his seminars to others, providing CSI results any automotive repair shop would be proud of.

Anderson also serves on the Motor Advisory Board, and the ASE test review committee. Mike is the past director of the ASA Collision Operations Division and currently serves on the ASA Collision Operations Committee. He also serves as a facilitator for DuPont’s highly recognized Business Council 20 Groups as well as an in-demand facilitator of DuPont’s SMART Damage Analysis Course, Cycle Time II course, Process Management course and DuPont’s two-day Lean Manufacturing course. Mike received the National Auto Body Council’s exclusive PRIDE Award for service to mankind above and beyond his business.

Last year, Anderson was on the road 331 days and visited shops in every state except North Dakota. After briefly explaining his history, he laid down the ground rules. “Please don’t mistake my passion for arrogance,” he said. “I’m not married, I don’t have any kids and this industry is my life. If you disagree with anything I said tonight, call me out on it. Discussion is good and if you agree say ‘amen’!”.     Anderson must have been on the money with his comments all evening long, because definitive ‘amens’ resounded throughout the room during his spirited 70-minute presentation.

To set the table, Anderson shared a wide range of industry statistics at the outset, all of which are invaluable to anyone in the collision game. Some of the more pertinent facts will tell you that the vehicle population is aging, because people are keeping their cars longer. Another vital stat is that drivers are getting into fewer accidents than ever (now roughly every 10 years) and how it will impact the industry within the next five years.

Even more interesting to body shop owners are Anderson’s Best of the Best findings, which can act as a performance barometer for any shop. Anderson talks to hundreds of body shops every year, so he knows the premier operators in the country and is happy to share those numbers. Based on stats assembled by CollisionAdvice.com, top shops have cycle times of 1.2-1.8 days (drivable vehicles) and 3.6-5.1 days (non-drivable vehicles). Their touch time for all cars is 5.96 hours per day and the very best shops spend 12.2 hours (drivable) and 6.9 hours (non-drivable) of touch time on each and every repair.

One section that got everyone’s attention dealt with Anderson’s top three reasons why body shops fail. The first one is cash flow, because too many shops rely on credit. Number two is many shops don’t invest in new training, technology and the proper tools, according to Anderson. And the #3 reason is some shops can’t or won’t comply with EPA 6 H Rule requirements for a wide range of reasons.

Rather than give away his invaluable information in this article through a series of “spoilers” you should find out where Michael Anderson will be speaking next and get there. He’s always a featured speaker at NACE and SEMA, for example. His schedule is listed on his website at www.collisionadvice.com and with his road warrior status it’s likely that he’s coming to your region soon.

In conclusion, Anderson admitted that collision repair is indeed a tough business, but if it’s done right, it’s a great ride, he explained. “It’s still a very good way to make money. Where else can you make a gross profit of 15 to 18%? It’s a game and that’s exactly how you should treat it. If you’re going to get stressed out about this industry, save the hassles and get a job with a pension. Otherwise, it’s an amazing business and there are a ton of passionate, good people in the collision industry.”

In other northern California CAA news, SC-CAA chapter long-time member and officer Randy Greenblat received the organization’s coveted Member of the Year award for 2013 at their First Quarter Board Meeting on April 20. The current president of the SC-CAA, Greenblat is all about service to his industry and a worthy recipient of the award, according to CAA Executive Director David McClune.

“Randy has consistently given his time and expertise to the California Autobody Association,” McClune said. “He is willing to get involved in special projects and his can-do attitude is very refreshing. Every organization needs someone like Randy, who isn’t afraid to jump in there and make an impact.”

On May 14, the East Bay chapter of CAA (EB-CAA) met at Dublin Chevrolet to hear a presentation by Rick Carroll, Western Region Trainer for GM Clinics, about GM body shop training, and how to work with the manufacturer’s newest hybrid vehicles. Highlights included an introduction to hybrid high voltage safety procedures and basic troubleshooting, including service techniques on how to properly power down a two-mode system and how to enable the high voltage system.

Tiffany Silva, the owner of Accurate Autobody in Richmond, CA, and the president of EB-CAA, brought four of her metal technicians to the meeting and gave Carroll’s training session five stars.

“We have received a ton of training from Toyota about their hybrids and this was the first chance we had to learn about GM’s hybrids. It was a refresher course, because the technology is essentially the same, but we feel like we can never know enough about these cars. Rick is a wonderful speaker and all of us walked away with a lot of useful knowledge,” Silva said.

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