overnight shifts

Multiple Shifts Enable Auto Body Shop to Offer Overnight Repairs

A recent webinar during Automotive News’ Fixed Ops Forum promised “Five Secrets of a Body Shop That Rocks,” though not all five were too much out of the ordinary.

Dan Dayfer, manager of the Northtown Collision dealer-owned shop in Amherst, NY, for example, discussed the blueprinting and quality control checklist system his shop uses, procedures fairly widely adopted throughout the industry.

But he also discussed the shop’s nearly round-the-clock operation, with one shift working 7:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and a second shift working those same hours Thursday through Saturday. Once a month, those two teams switch the days they are working---meaning once a month, one team works six days in a row, while the other team gets a week off.

A third team consistently works nights, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

That enables one of Northtown Collision’s other “secrets": overnight repairs. Dayfer said any job considered “fast-lane” can be dropped off up until 9 p.m. and will be done by 7 a.m. the next morning. He said that generally includes jobs with 20 or fewer body labor hours---repair or replacement of a fender or bumper, for example.

“Customers might go out to dinner, drop their car off after that, and it’s detailed and ready before they work the next day,” Dayfer said. “I would say eight to 10 customers every week will take advantage of this. Usually they’re just blown away. It works great, especially if someone doesn’t want to get into a rental.”

One of the other ideas Dayfer shared was how the shop tracks materials usage.

“All of our supplies are billed to each individual tech’s cabinet,” Dayfer said. “So for instanceif a tech turns 100 hours in a week, and he buys $400 worth of materials, that’s a $4 per hour cost in materials. Through the month we track this, and everybody tries to be the lowest. We give out gift certificates or buy lunches for those who are lowest every month.”

Similarly, the four-person paint teams on each shift are rewarded with a monthly bonus if their per-hour paint and materials costs stay under $14.

“So the two painters will share clear, and any extra base that’s accumulated they use as ground coats,” Dayfer said. “They really do a fantastic job.”

Rob Gehring, a consultant who suggested Automotive News highlight Dayfer’s shop on the webinar, said Northtown Collision produces more than $1 million in monthly sales from an 18,000-square foot facility.

“What I am so impressed with is that his gross profit margin on paint and materials is 70%,” Gehring said. “Frankly, I’ve never heard anyone do a better job than that.”

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