The Collision Vision(aries): 6 Months into Autobody News’ Podcast
By Cole Strandberg, Autobody News
Published Sept. 22, 2023
In the realm of collision repair, the past six months have marked a compelling journey for The Collision Vision. As the host of Autobody News' weekly podcast dedicated to the business side of the collision repair industry, I've had the distinct privilege of connecting with industry trailblazers who have cast a penetrating light on the road ahead. Join me as we reflect on the past, navigate the present and peer into the exciting future of the collision repair industry.
A Decade of Remarkable Transformation
Over the past decade, the collision repair landscape has undergone a dramatic evolution. From the surges of consolidation and the infusion of sci-fi-worthy vehicle technologies to the escalated significance of OEM certifications and the persistent challenge of recruiting skilled technicians, our industry has witnessed a remarkable evolution. How has your business performed throughout this period of evolution? And how are you feeling about the future?
Navigating the Persistent Talent Shortage
A recurring theme throughout The Collision Vision has been the industry-wide talent shortage---a challenge that transcends the boundaries of single shops, regional and national MSOs, and even vendors in the collision space. While this issue may intensify before it gets better, industry thought leaders have presented some seemingly attainable solutions.
Mike Anderson, a revered figure in the industry and a three-time guest on The Collision Vision, has stood at the forefront of addressing the technician shortage. Mike's perspective is clear: as a shop owner, you have the power to enact change at the micro level. Need technicians? Consider expanding your talent pool. Struggling to find skilled workers? Be prepared to offer competitive compensation. If your pay scale falls behind local businesses, much less global business powers, attracting top talent will remain a challenge.
Dave Luehr, another industry thought leader, echoes this sentiment, emphasizing personal responsibility in overcoming the technician shortage. How can you take action and make the rubber meet the road? Follow the example of Thomas Goforth at Absolute Collision in North Carolina, who proactively engages with local trade schools, organizing events and supporting the establishment of new educational institutions. While powerful players within the industry are diligently working on this issue on a broader scale, the immediate responsibility falls on individual businesses.
Charting the Course for the Bright Future
Some of the most exhilarating conversations we’ve had on The Collision Vision have revolved around the future of collision repair. Electric vehicle collision leaders like Kelly Logan and Jake Rodenroth, who lead collision repair programs at Rivian and Lucid, respectively, have shared their perspectives on what lies ahead. The outlook is undeniably bright.
Success in the future of collision repair may not come easily, but for those willing to invest in training, equipment and scaling their operations, prosperity awaits. For those with limited resources or a shorter time horizon to attain that return on investment, there remains good news: the market for consolidation and mergers and acquisitions remains robust for body shops. Private equity firms actively seek platform investments, while existing consolidators, both national and regional, are in pursuit of add-on acquisitions, each with its own unique flavor. For those reasons, another industry icon, Frank Terlep, and I share a favorite saying in the industry: There has never been a better time to be a business owner in the collision repair industry.
What Lies Ahead for The Collision Vision?
The Collision Vision is more than just a podcast; it's an invaluable resource for the collision repair industry. Alongside our distinguished guests, we've delved into a wide range of topics, from marketing and growth strategies and new-store development to the intricacies of OEM certifications and financial planning. These insightful conversations are readily available for your perusal here.
The journey continues, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for the collision repair industry and The Collision Vision. As we celebrate our first six months, the road ahead promises to be as enlightening and transformative as ever.