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Auto Body Shop Saving Time and Money After Switching to Axalta’s Spies Hecker® Permahyd® Hi-TEC

Bamford’s Collision Service in Fredericton, NB, Canada, uses Axalta’s Spies Hecker® Permahyd® Hi-TEC waterborne paint system to save both time and money in the paint booth.

Bamford’s Collision Service in Fredericton, NB, Canada, has stayed in business for more than four decades by living by the motto “Good enough is not good enough---it has to be right.”

Owner Jerry Bamford opened his shop in its first location in 1982, after training and working at other area shops for several years. Later, he seized an opportunity to relocate his business to a larger building, increasing the number of work stations from four to 15.

Bamford’s Collision Service
Fredericton, NB, Canada

Company At A Glance...
Type: Collision Repair
Facility Employees: 14
In Business Since: 1982
Number of Locations: One
Production Space: 6,000 square feet

Since then, Bamford’s Collision Service has built its reputation as an independent shop producing high quality repairs that come with a lifetime guarantee, with a staff that believes in the mission, several of whom have worked for Bamford’s for more than 30 years.

“That’s a testament to how [Jerry Bamford] operates and how the business works,” said General Manager Chad Farrell, who has been with the company for a decade.

“We’re not connected to any banners,” Farrell said. “We’re proud to be independent, as we have more flexibility that way.”

In May 2020, the single-location, 6,000-square-foot shop bought A Plus Auto Glass, an auto glass business to which it used to sublet work.

Bamford’s staff of 14 includes employees who have worked at the collision repair shop for more than 30 years.

“It just went hand in hand with collision repair,” Farrell said of the reasoning. A Plus also sells accessories, like tonneau covers and vent visors, that can get damaged in a collision and need to be replaced. “It makes sense to have your own avenue to buy those,” Farrell added.

Farrell said he got into the collision repair industry in a “roundabout way.” An electronics engineering technician by trade, he started in the gaming industry, then worked in the security industry for nine years. A friend who happened to be the accountant for Bamford’s Collision Service thought Farrell would be a good fit at the company, and introduced him to Bamford.

Farrell had grown up “tinkering around cars” since he was 8, with his uncle, a mechanic in a small town. “I always had a fascination with cars,” he said. “It became a perfect match.”

Farrell said he has been able to apply some of the things he learned about management in the gaming and security industries to collision repair. His electrical engineering background also gave him experience with things like sensors and modules, which came in handy as the technology on cars rapidly evolved.

“I can help train our techs and teach them some of that technology that I’ve learned in the past,” he said.

Axalta has been the paint vendor of choice for Bamford’s Collision Service since it opened, and in 2022, it switched to Axalta’s Spies Hecker® Permahyd® Hi-TEC.

Axalta describes it as “one of the more advanced waterborne technologies available,” with a unique base coat formulated to help meet VOC regulations---Canada requires shops to spray waterborne paint---and to help technicians achieve dramatic results in less time.

Farrell said Axalta representatives came to the shop and helped the company’s two painters---one with 30 years of experience, and the other having been licensed for only one---make a “seamless changeover” from the Axalta system they were using previously.

“We were up and running in a half day,” Farrell said.

General Manager Chad Farrell said the customer service the team gets from Axalta is on par with the quality of the Spies Hecker Permahyd® Hi-TEC system.

Farrell said there were a few differences between the shop’s previous system and the Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC that caused a slight learning curve, but less than a year later, he can say it was a great upgrade.

“We’re using less product, so it’s reducing costs,” he said. “Also, seeing some of the technology advancements---we can do wet-on-wet---we can save time as well. Reduced time and material mean savings for the company.”

The base coats are a little more costly than those of the previous system, but the shop’s painters are using less of it, saving money.

“Insurers don’t seem to be paying enough for materials to cover repairs,” Farrell said. “We weren’t making enough on materials, but we’re seeing that gap close for us.”

And while the quality of the Spies Hecker Permahyd Hi-TEC is important, even more so, Farrell said, is that of the customer service Bamford’s gets from Axalta.

“Axalta provides exceptional customer service; that’s key to us, we need to have those relationships with our suppliers,” Farrell said. “We need to be able to call when we have an issue and get it resolved quickly, and that’s what Axalta has done for us over the years. We have been approached by other suppliers, but we don’t give them the time of day because of that support that we get.

“Excellent service is something we value and strive to provide to our customers, and we expect it from our suppliers,” Farrell said. “And we absolutely get that from the Axalta team."

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To read more auto body shop profiles from the June 2023 Shop and Product Showcase, click here.

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