Auto Beauty Center in Independence, MO, started out offering quick services like alloy wheel restorations and paintless dent repair. It later bought a mobile business offering detailing and minor collision repair, and brought those services into its retail location, along with mechanical repair.
Owner Brett Starr knew he was on to something. With a background in sales and marketing, he knew business is all about relationships. He also knew from his research that most shops pull in customers from a 6-mile radius and usually only see their regulars once every five years.
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision & Mechanical Repair
Facility Employees: 18
In Business Since: 2016
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 25,000 square feet
But his shop offers so many services in one place---including its own fleet of rental cars---making it so easy to keep a vehicle looking and running like new, it was drawing customers from all over the Kansas City metro area, and they were returning more frequently, allowing Auto Beauty Center to build a loyal customer base that trusted it.
“There’s a certain amount of the population that likes to keep their cars looking really nice, and we just make everything super convenient,” Starr said.
It wasn’t long before some of those regular customers needed more extensive collision repair services, the kind of jobs big enough to involve insurance companies.
“We did one or two [jobs], and thought we had to go full speed into this, because it’s a great opportunity,” Starr said.
However, one skillset not in Starr’s background was collision repair.
“I was nervous, never having worked in a shop as painter or body tech, but I wanted to make sure that we were following all the proper procedures,” Starr said.
Starr said he got to work putting together a plan to get into collision repair---including the tools he needed. His CCC representative recommended ALLDATA, because it automatically syncs with CCC’s estimating software, which the shop was already using. Starr said that turned out to be the right move.
“ALLDATA has played a big part in our growth,” Starr said.
The shop now uses ALLDATA Repair software and ALLDATA Diagnostics, which turns a tablet into a scan tool to pull trouble codes and works with the software to look up OEM repair procedures for any vehicle that comes into the shop.
ALLDATA helps the shop repair vehicles quickly and accurately, which Starr said keeps cycle times down and customers happy as the shop processes about 300 vehicles per month, between all of the services offered.
“It’s impossible to know everything about every vehicle out there, especially as things are changing rapidly on cars, with more ADAS and more electronics,” Starr said.
ALLDATA enables the shop’s crew to pull up repair plans and schematics, as well as information about any special tools needed to complete a job.
“It just helps with the guessing game,” Starr said. “This car’s gotta be safe, and the only way to know is to print out the repair plan, go over it with the technicians and take in-process pictures along the way to make sure everything is done according to that plan.”
If one of the shop’s technicians runs into a problem, ALLDATA has master technicians on call through its Tech-Assist hotline service who can connect remotely to look at the vehicle, to either immediately identify the issue and how to fix it or do more research and call back with the solution. “Instead of my technician having to do that research, he can go work on another car,” Starr said.
“The support is outstanding,” Starr added. “Being able to just pick up the phone and call another master tech who specializes in Subarus or Mercedes-Benz or whatever vehicle is priceless.”
Technicians can also make a “Library Request” if they can’t find repair information for a particular vehicle, which sometimes happens on older or more rare models. ALLDATA quickly finds the answer and returns it.
ALLDATA also syncs with the shop’s QuickBooks software to upload estimate invoices directly, freeing up an employee who used to type in invoices to instead help customers, and keeps track of the shop’s inventory, alerting it when it’s running low on frequently-used supplies.
“It just simplifies our whole operation,” Starr said. “It helps us try to make repairing a vehicle more affordable for our customers.”
Starr said he also appreciates how proactive ALLDATA is.
“They’re always telling me about new things they’re working on,” he said. “I can tell them about pain points and they’re already working on it. They are always looking ahead, asking how can we make our system better and more efficient.”
Starr said he thinks of his vendors as strategic partners. The right ones can help the shop be more successful.
“ALLDATA is definitely one of those companies I rely on to help us be successful,” Starr said.
Company Contact: James Loveridge
Marketing Manager (916) 478-3255
To read more auto body shop profiles in the October 2023 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.