Blue Vista Data Partners with Industrial Finishes

Blue Vista Data Partners with Industrial Finishes

It happens every day at a busy shop. You are finishing a repair, and everything is going smoothly, and then you realize you don’t have the correct retainers and clips to complete the job.

The customer wants their vehicle back, but there is still one tiny metal piece left to complete the puzzle. It’s like clearing an airbag light or detailing the vehicle---that one little thing that can keep you from returning the car to the client.

For more than three decades, the people at Blue Vista Data Systems (BVDS) in Las Vegas, NV, have been developing efficient systems to keep track of all these small items and turn lost money into profits when it comes to clips and fasteners. Their system, available at, also enables shops to create documentation that can help them to get paid by their insurance partners.

To help their customers, BVDS recently entered into a partnership with Industrial Finishes, and the shops already using it are giving it five-star reviews across the board. Shop managers, estimators and other related personnel are praising the BVDS system for being user-friendly and featuring more than 30,000 retainers, broken down by location, OE designation and cost, complete with diagrams and specs for each.

Every auto body shop on the planet uses retainers with highly specific applications, and with more than 700 car models out there containing an average of 30 locations each, it’s a significant deal. Identifying and including them in the estimate is something many shops fumble, which means they don’t get paid in many cases.

Annually, the overall number of OE retainers spike because every time an OE gives a vehicle a facelift or re-engineers it, a whole new set of fasteners hit the market. If you’re not on top of it, you might be lost, especially if you’re working on a 2021 car, for example.

If you can’t charge for retainers and clips because you didn’t include them in the original estimate or a supplement, it can add up. Let’s say you fix 100 cars monthly, and on each repair, you eat $30 to $50 in retainers. That’s $36,000 to $60,000 annually---enough to pay a detailer or a tech, depending on what part of the country you’re in.

In 1968, Industrial Finishes opened an automotive paint store in Portland, OR, and expanded its operation to Washington, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and California. It now serves customers in 30 states.

BVDS launched its system in July of last year, right smack in the middle of the pandemic. CEO Russ Ramsey wasn’t discouraged because he was confident his new site could fill a much-needed industry niche that lists every retainer and its location, and is designed so anyone can use the system without changing their current distributor.

“We have been in this business for a long time and have helped a lot of shops to make money on retainers, by making it easier to find the right ones and invoicing them correctly,” Ramsey said. “Our website has tackled the problems associated with retainers because with this system, all of the information they need is right there, with photos and drawings and an easy way to track them. It also enables your shop personnel to find out what they might need from the OE dealer prior to the repair.”

Andrew O’Lear is a shop foreman at Dick Hannah Vancouver Body Shop, one of the largest collision repair facilities in Washington with a brand new 80,000-square foot facility. He began using the system earlier this year and said it’s already an indispensable part of his process.

“The BVDS system is completely different from anything else that’s currently out there,” he said. “We don’t have to rely on our techs to determine what retainers are required. With every vehicle, they have full schematics, OE information and they also offer us the aftermarket alternative. That gives us a chance to compare prices in real-time well before we even start the repair. Then we create the invoice right there and it’s seamless.”

Bill Jaster describes himself as a “project guy” at Industrial Finishes. Recently he was assigned to introduce and demonstrate the BVD program for its clients.

“Once they see what it can do for them, they fall in love with it,” he said. “They’re capturing every penny now and saving a ton of time as well, so it's definitely a win-win.”

Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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