Sponsored Editorial

Capitalizing on the ADAS Opportunity: Three Shop Owner Success Stories


Any vehicle design and mechanical advancement often acts as a disrupter in the repair industries, creating challenges for collision and mechanical shops regarding technician hiring and training, tooling, and customer and insurance invoicing.

Perhaps no technological advancements have created such a condition as the increasing adoption of Advanced Diver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Around-view Monitoring on even the most basic vehicle lines.

Even though an estimated 60% of vehicles on North American roads today come with one of these safety systems—that's 180 million vehicles—some collision shops have not developed an effective strategy for servicing vehicles with ADAS.

"The strategy a shop chooses whether to perform the work in-house or sublet calibration work to another shop, calibration center, or mobile provider, depends on multiple factors, including its size and layout, the training and current workload of its technicians, and quite simply, its business plan, said Autel Senior Executive of ADAS Sales Stewart Peregrine.

"Ideally, if shops have the space, the technicians, the funds for equipment investment, and the desire, they should consider bringing ADAS calibrations in-house. In addition to the simple financial rewards, in-house calibrations allow a shop to operate more efficiently, recouping the time associated with scheduling and moving the vehicle and ensuring the quality care that comes with key-to-key, in-shop service control.

"There are calibration centers and mobile calibration providers that offer comprehensive, quality service with accuracy and quick turnaround that you can partner with. Many of them use our equipment; we're proud they do," said Peregrine.

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Precision Diagnostics in Madison, Wisconsin, Fuller's Collision in Auburn, Massachusetts, and Angie's Service in Newbury, Massachusetts, are ADAS calibration shops that became so proficient that they started separate companies to handle other shops' calibrations. The results have been startling.

Tom McGuire and Dave Zielke started Precision in response to repeated poor service from those they sublet to. "We were seeing an increasing number of delays from a cycle time perspective, getting cars back from the dealerships, and there was probably one mobile vendor in the space then. And frankly, the service levels just were not there; they weren't realistic with what I needed as a body shop, " McGuire said.

So, McGuire and Zielke created a calibration solution for their collision shop and others who didn't want to perform ADAS calibrations themselves.

"The goal (with this new business)," McGuire said, "was to be an extension of the Body Shop's production team—that's what I would have wanted when running shops. Hundreds of different things are pulling on them —the insurance companies, the customer, and the OEM specifications—all those pieces. [They] want somebody that can come in and look at it and say this isn't a problem at all, here's what we need to do, here's the OE information on it, here's the process," McGuire said.

"And we really had a vision that if there was a company that focused on the collision side as a partner, and if we did it and we did it well, there was an opportunity," McGuire said. What started with a small shop and one van has blossomed into a fleet of 100 mobile vans and three brick-and-mortar facilities, including a 10,000-square-foot facility.

Today, Precision performs about 60 monthly calibrations per physical site, while his mobile units (all outfitted with a technician or two and an Autel MaxiSYS MA600 mobile ADAS system) perform about 4,500 ADAS calibrations combined per month, McGuire said. They service 1,500 shops across 11 Midwestern states.

Mike Ambrosino of Fuller's Collision Center in Auburn, Massachusetts, faced similar challenges with subletting and decided to bring ADAS in-house. "One of the toughest things that we were dealing with was scheduling with dealerships, getting the vehicles out to the dealerships to be properly calibrated, and getting thorough reports from the dealership that these cars were being calibrated properly," Ambrosino said.

After considerable time discussing what calibration system to purchase, Fuller's went with Autel. "Once we made the decision to go with Autel, training was included, and they sent a trainer out shortly after the purchase for a full day. . .We have faith in the coverage from Autel that it's going to be there, and we're going to be able to get the job done," Ambrosino, now the director of ADAS calibration and diagnostics at Fuller's, said.

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The decision to bring ADAS in-house has been beyond successful for Fuller's. Since purchasing their first Autel ADAS system in 2021, Fuller's Collision purchased two more and created a separate business, ADAS Diagnostic Solutions LLC, which serves Fuller's Collision and about 45 shops in the area. "We're doing about $72,000 a month (in calibration revenue), " Ambrosino said.

ADAS Diagnostic Solutions has six bays and three calibration systems. Its turnaround rate has gone from 10 calibrations a month to almost 15 daily.

Gary Machiros of Angie's Service Inc. in Newbury, Massachusetts, is not new to ADAS. In fact, he got started not long after Autel released the IA800, its first system to use cameras for target placement, about four years ago.

"We calibrate every vehicle that comes through our shop with Autel equipment and have done so since our first purchase," Machiros said.
Over the years, the demand for ADAS calibrations at Angie's Service Inc. has grown significantly, with the shop now performing about 50 calibrations weekly. This growth is a testament to the shop's expertise and status as the go-to calibration shop for the area's collision and mechanical shops.

Machiros was also an early adopter of the Autel IA900 system, which offers a holistic approach to vehicle repair—diagnostics, visual inspection, alignment, and ADAS calibrations—and he says he has never been disappointed, especially when he compares the Autel system with those of other manufacturers. "Autel is the only company to offer a total approach, giving you everything you need for calibration," Machiros said.

Everything includes diagnostics and service capabilities that are at the foundation of the Autel brand, including pre and post-scan and the numerous initializations and resets often required as part of a collision repair. "What's great about Autel is that many of these procedures are built into the tools. Autel has been doing diagnostics for 15 years, and all the resets and relearns that are often needed are in the tablet. . .The Autel systems are so accurate we've never had a vehicle returned for recalibration, " Machiros said.

"We're seeing double and sometimes triple the calibration work because we are working on more and more later model vehicles. This workload will only grow with the increase of late model cars on the street. With more radar, cameras, and other systems incorporated into the vehicle, accurate ADAS calibrations become even more necessary. Right now, there is a huge potential for independent outfits to service local body shops."