Northside Collision Paint & Body Inc. in San Antonio, TX, was established in 2001, when Mark Gutierrez---a longtime Allstate agent with no collision repair experience---purchased a small body shop, determined to set a higher standard for collision repair in the area.
Mark’s son, Javier Gutierrez, began working for the family business at the age of 12, working his way up from detailing to his current role as co-owner and production manager, with a six-year stint in the U.S. Army along the way.
Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: Six
In Business Since: 2001
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 22,000 square feet
Javier Gutierrez also took a detour to Appleton, WI, when he was a young teen, where he became the youngest graduate of Jaguar North America’s aluminum cosmetic and structural repair certification program. Gutierrez said the repair standards he learned there influenced the standards he applies to all makes and models that come through his shop now.
More than two decades after Northside Collision’s opening, the 22,000-square foot facility repairs an average of 30 vehicles a month.
“It doesn’t matter if you have a $100,000 car or a $10,000 car, we fix them with the same standards,” Gutierrez said. About 10 years ago, the shop had several OEM certifications and participated in multiple insurance companies’ DRPs, as the then-general manager had a “DRP mindset,” Gutierrez said.
“He thought if we could do more cars, we would make more money,” he said. “My solution was, we need to make more money with less cars.” This meant the shop had to get off DRPs and start billing for all work performed.
Gutierrez said the chances of repairing a vehicle correctly while maintaining profitability under a DRP contract are slim to none.
“Most [insurance companies] do not pay for or allow for procedural repairs on their estimate,” he said. “They want the bare minimum on an estimate because they are trying to be cost effective, which can sacrifice both the safety and overall completeness of a repair.”
Gutierrez said he wanted to get out of the DRPs, so he brought in ALLDATA to help with the transition to researching correct procedures for every repair.
“It completely opened our eyes,” he said.
Gutierrez said his shop now uses a third-party company to perform diagnostic scanning---as it has invested the time, money and training into OEM-specific equipment---but uses ALLDATA Collision to research repair procedures.
“We research every single repair and gather all the info directly from the manufacturer, so we’re not arguing with insurance companies on things that aren’t optional,” he said.
Northside Collision also has Toyota and Honda’s research tools, and has compared the results to those from ALLDATA.
“It’s always current,” Gutierrez said of ALLDATA’s repair information compared to the OEMs’. “So now we are leaning very heavily on ALLDATA to gather all of our information.”
Another big advantage to using ALLDATA is the fact the process to research repair procedures is “repeatable,” regardless of make or model.
“Other manufacturers’ sites are extremely different,” Gutierrez said. “With ALLDATA, once you teach the process, it’s the same across the board. The research side is very easy.”
The monthly subscription fee is practically paid for on its first use every month, he said.
“It’s a very quick return on investment,” Gutierrez said. “It’s not so much an expense as it is a tool.”
The shop recently added Bryan Mullett to the team, a long-time insurance adjuster with 20+ years of industry experience. He was quickly and easily trained with ALLDATA and has become an irreplaceable asset.
“I generally can train somebody to use it pretty effectively in about three hours,” Gutierrez said.
And if anyone runs into a snag researching a repair procedure, a “Library Request” can be sent to ALLDATA, which usually returns the answer within 30 minutes.
“I couldn’t ask for a better support team,” Gutierrez said.
Since quitting DRPs, Gutierrez said, Northside Collision is repairing fewer cars---down from an average of 100 per month to 30---but its gross profit is significantly higher, as its average estimate is now $8,700.
“We fight for dollars and cents, to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for the customer. The insurance company pays for everything they’re willing to and the remaining balance is passed on to customers,” he said. “Other shops on [DRPs] get so much work, their only option is to rush through repairs and ultimately not repair them the way the manufacturer says. As a result, the quality of the repair suffers.”
Gutierrez said Northside Collision will soon become a training facility to teach other collision repairers how to do procedural repairs, with support from ALLDATA.
“At the end of the day, the safety for the consumer has to be paramount in the entire repair process,” Gutierrez said. “Everybody in the process has to have that same mindset.
“If everyone can think about doing a safe repair first and foremost, then a quality repair, and then worry about the money after, I think that would completely transform the entire industry.”
9650 West Taron Drive
Elk Grove, CA 95758
Company Contact: James Loveridge
To read more auto body shop profiles in the October 2022 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.