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Jobber Relations Âť Waterborne/Low-VOC Âť Advanced Materials

March 2013//Vol. 32 No. 3

Social Media Marketing Communicating who you are, not what you offer.

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March March 2013

Vol. 32 No. 3


ON THE COVER Marketing Through Social Media More and more collision repair facilities are using social media to establish a connection with customers by communicating who they are...not what they offer.


50 Do You Know What You’re Working On? TECHNICAL

It’s critical for technicians to be able to identify the advanced materials in today’s vehicles to perform proper and safe repairs.

60 Great Inventions SHOP PROFILE

With ingenuity and innovation, Eddie’s Auto Body has transformed itself into a lean, mean and efficient machine.

68 Using Your Jobber for a Win-Win JOBBER RELATIONS

Your jobber can be huge asset in helping you reduce paint and material costs.

SHOP TALK Editor’s Notes

6 8 Publisher’s Perspective 14 Clark’s Corner 24 Web Presence Management

PartsTrader: The best thing that ever happened to the collision repair industry.

A customer satisfaction lesson at 30,000 feet.

Waterborne/low-VOC requires you to follow the rules.

Twitter is not for twits.

BODYSHOP BUSINESS (ISSN 0730-7241) (March 2013, Volume 32, Number 3): Published monthly by Babcox Media, Inc., 3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333 U.S.A. Phone (330) 670-1234, FAX (330) 670-0874. Copyright 2013 Babcox Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Periodical postage paid at Akron, OH 44333 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to BODYSHOP BUSINESS, P.O. Box 13260, Akron, OH 44334-3912. Member, BPA Worldwide

DEPARTMENTS Guess the Car ....................................................................................4 Industry Update ................................................................................10 NASCAR Performance........................................................................12 Detours............................................................................................20 Tech Tips..........................................................................................28 Product Showcase ............................................................................80 The Shop ..........................................................................................84

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the Car


Reader Contest! Win $50! What vehicle MODEL does this picture represent? Fax your guess to (330) 670-0874. Include name, title, shop name, city, state and phone number. Or submit your guess with our online contest form by visiting The winner will be randomly selected from correct entries and awarded $50. Entries must be received by March 29. *Only one winner will be selected. Chances of winning are dependent upon the number of correct entries received. Employees of Babcox, industry manufacturers and BSB advertisers are not eligible to enter.


#119 See the April 2013 issue for winner of Guess the Car #119.

Tore-rent = (Pontiac) Torrent


WINNER #118 Wendy Wold, owner, Quality Auto Body, Menomonie, Wis.


March 2013 | BodyShop Business

Ram-page = (Dodge) Rampage

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S. Scott Shriber, ext. 229 Editor

Coming Together ’m starting to think that PartsTrader is the best thing that ever happened to the collision repair industry. Before you go gather your pitchforks, rope and knives, please hear me out.


One needs to look only at all the new associations that have been formed since State Farm unveiled PartsTrader to the industry. For the first time ever, collision repairers in Utah formed their own association, holding their first meeting on Jan. 12. Word is more than 100 people showed up, despite a blinding snowstorm. In case you think it was just coincidence that a bunch of collision repairers decided to come together in the Beehive State and sing “Kumbaya,” think again. And then there’s Alabama. The Alabama Collision Repair Association disbanded roughly six years ago, but now another one has been born: the Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE). If

you recall, Alabama received national attention last year when the PartsTrader pilot was launched in the Birmingham market and 17 shops quit Select Service in protest. Even though there are some repairers who are upset that ALARISE was formed by an ex-State Farm employee, it’s up and running. Let’s not forget about the Idaho Autobody Craftsmen Association. Dormant for nearly a decade, repairers in the Gem State decided last summer to reunite. These three new associations also decided to become affiliate associations of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). While there are many good reasons for doing this, the overriding one is the belief that many united are better than one. In 2012, the Texas Independent Automotive Association and the Northern Michigan Body Shop Association also became SCRS affiliates. All this activity points to repairers saying, “Enough is enough.” Many repairers believe insurers subscribe to the “divide and conquer” mentality, but it seems PartsTrader has done just the opposite: it has united repairers.

Jason Stahl, Editor Email comments to

Jason Stahl, ext. 226 Associate Editor

Gina Kuzmick, ext. 244 Contributing Editors

Charlie Barone, Mitch Becker, Mark Clark, Mark Claypool, Erica Eversman, Tom Ferry, Curt Harler, John D. Lyman Sr., Hank Nunn Graphic Designer

Lisa DiPaolo, ext. 281 Advertising Services

Kelly McAleese, ext. 284 Director of Circulation

Pat Robinson, ext. 276 Director of eMedia & Audience Development

Brad Mitchell, ext. 277 Subscription Services

Ellen Mays, ext. 275 Tel: (330) 670-1234 Fax: (330) 670-0874 Website: Corporate

Bill Babcox, President Gregory Cira, Vice President, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Stankard, Vice President Beth Scheetz, Controller A limited number of complimentary subscriptions are available to those who qualify. Call (330) 670-1234, ext. 288, or fax us at (330) 6705335. Paid subscriptions are available for nonqualified subscribers at: U.S.: $69 for one year. Canada/Mexico: $89 for one year. Canadian rates include GST. Ohio residents add current county sales tax. Other foreign rates/via air mail: $129 for one year. Payable in advance in U.S. funds. Mail payment to BodyShop Business, P.O. Box 75692, Cleveland, OH 44101-4755. VISA, MasterCard or American Express accepted.

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Perspective I Just

Dribbled O

n a recent flight home, I had one of those experiences that moves me to write about it. These epiphanies are usually related to customer satisfaction – and this one was no exception.

In my job, I have to travel a fair amount and find myself on airplanes fairly regularly. I don’t have any fancy status; at best, I have the initial level of status that gets me on the plane a little early. I just want to be clear that my recent experience was a regular old coach one and pretty mundane. On this particular trip, I had to fly from Memphis to Houston on my journey home. It was a small jet with only one flight attendant. She was very friendly and had a great rapport with the customers. When she asked me what kind of soda I wanted, she even called me by my name. What? How did she know my name? I left this cramped, uncomfortable flight with a good feeling, and it was completely driven by this flight attendant’s attitude. I forgot all about the hard seats. Onto my next leg and into the big bird with

decent room and seats. Four flight attendants and lots of breathing room…ahhh. Enter the customer satisfaction killer (CSK). The CSK was a seasoned veteran, barking orders up and down the aisle and slamming carts around. She came to my row and my seatmate ordered water. As she handed the cup to the guy at the window, it spilled into my lap and just missed my computer. (Good thing because now I can write this). Her comment has not left me yet: “Gosh, I’ve just been dribbling stuff all day.” She quickly stuffed a few napkins at me and moved on – no “Sorry!” or any sort of apology. As I reflect back on the incident, I realize there’s a great business lesson here. Which attendant do you have working for you? All organizations will make mistakes. It’s the way our people handle them that makes the difference. I’ve learned over my career that empathy is not a teachable skill; it’s inherent in our DNA. It’s important to keep the people who have it in front of our customers, and our less skilled members out of the front lines. Better be on the look-out for CSKs on your team!

S. Scott Shriber, Publisher Email comments to

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Update Axalta Coating Systems’ Top Executives

Discuss Transition from DuPont Name, Global Strategy he Carlyle Group recently finalized its acquisition of DuPont Performance Coatings, and announced the renaming of the company to Axalta Coating Systems. With many in the collision repair industry wondering about the company’s new name and strategy, BodyShop Business and interviewed two top executives at Axalta with the intent of answering the industry’s questions: Michael Bennett, North American marketing manager, and Michael H. Crickenberger, global marketing, communications and strategic planning director.

T Michael Bennett, North American marketing manager

Michael Crickenberger, global marketing, communications and strategic planning director

BSB: Why are you changing the name from such a universally recognized one? Bennett: The red oval and the DuPont name is a strong brand and enjoys fantastic recognition in the marketplace. But today, we’re no longer owned by DuPont, so we must change with that transition. We plan to ensure that our market understands that while the name is changing, the same people, products and services that have been in this marketplace for 90-plus years are not changing. And so the trick here is to transition that recognition from the DuPont name to Axalta by giving the clear understanding that, while the name is changing, the legacy will remain. Our brands such as Standox, Cromax Pro and Spies Hecker will not change. Our product lines enjoy great recognition in the market today, and we have no plans to change any of them. Crickenberger: This was the result of a fairly long and intensive process to

come up with a name that was unique. And when you do business in 130 countries like we do, that’s a significant process. The name is derived from other words, but like many names, it’s made up. But we can look at it and build from it, and it’s really what this business stands for. When you say ‘Axalta Coating Systems,’ we’re emphasizing the systems we supply to our customer and the systems we utilize in our own plants and processes. Having ‘coatings’ in the name now signals to customers that these coatings are the sole and only focus of our business. There’s no need to repatriate revenues to parent company DuPont – we’re now an independent business. And Axalta does resonate with the concept of a heightened purpose, to exult, to drive the performance of the business. The combination of ‘Axalta’ and ‘Coating Systems’ makes a name the company felt really wrapped up who we are into a good package. BSB: How long will body shops and jobbers be able to display the DuPont logo on their business cards, stationery and buildings? What’s going to happen if they ignore that and just continue to use the logo? Bennett: The DuPont logo can remain at shops for many months. Once our full new logo and design is ready, our sales teams will be in direct personal contact with all of our customers to help them switch over a period of time. Nothing needs to be done in the meantime. Also, our customers can continue to use all of our products that have the DuPont name on them indefinitely. Circle 120 for Reader Service »


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»| Industry Update |« BSB: How aggressive do you plan to be as far as boosting your market share? Who do you intend to target? Bennett: Our primary strategy is to effect this transition in a seamless manner for our existing customers. We want to make sure our customers understand that we’re focused on them and will deliver the same products and services to them. For quite some time, we’ve had a growth strategy. Because of this transition, I think this now gives us a greater opportunity to focus on that. This is a bit of a liberation for our business in that we now get to focus solely on our market segment. The profits and earnings that were being funneled back to the parent company, DuPont, for some time now get to stay in our business so we can fund growth. What customers are we going to target? My answer is simple: If cars are sitting in front of a body shop and they’re spraying paint, those are the customers we want to focus on. If they’re repairing cars, we want to sell paint to them. BSB: Does this strategy take into account the consolidation currently occurring in the industry? Bennett: We have a lot of programs in place to focus on protecting and supporting our existing customers. But in addition to that, with a dynamic occurring in the marketplace, we have to understand that dynamic. And given that we intend to grow and invest in this business, you can’t ignore the dynamic in this marketplace. We have a clear understanding of this consolidation effort going on, and our growth plan takes that into consideration. But the first thing is to protect and support our existing customers, helping them to grow so we can grow organically through the shops we already have. Then we also need to effectively target sustainable shops and grow with them as well. BSB: Does The Carlyle Group owning both Service King and Axalta Coating Systems indicate a desire to integrate the two? Bennett: Carlyle has made it perfectly clear to us that, while they’re invested in Service King, they expect [Axalta] and Service King to operate our businesses in our best interests. There is no grand strategy of integration. They expect us and Service King to make business decisions that suit our respective business needs. When I get asked this question by a lot of my customers, I point out that paint companies have invested in body shops for awhile. In fact, one of our largest competitors is heavily invested in The Boyd Group (Gerber) and some other types of customers, but it’s only this relationship where there seems to be this perception of integration. Carlyle has been very forthright with us in telling

us to operate our business to suit our needs and give Service King the same attention we would give them whether they were owned by Carlyle or not. We currently do provide Service King paint and have enjoyed some business with them for a period of time. They’re not just supplied by our competition. Crickenberger: When Carlyle makes an investment, they do it through various funds that they’ve raised inside of Carlyle, and these two acquisitions (Service King and DuPont) were made with different funds. So, from Carlyle’s perspective, those investments need to be managed independently and for the best interest of the fund they’re part of. BSB: How much will the new business focus on growing business outside of North America? Crickenberger: We do business in 130 countries today. We have a significant presence in China, Brazil, Russia and India. We have made new investments in India and China with new manufacturing facilities over the last five years. If we’re talking specifically about the refinishing business, it’s those areas that are driving global growth, whereas the more developed markets like North America and Europe are stable to declining. BSB: How aggressive are you going to be in converting shops to waterborne/low-VOC coatings? Bennett: Our waterborne not only enjoys a nice position given the environmental legislation that’s occurring across the globe, but the real value proposition is that it also delivers a productivity advantage over any other competitor in the marketplace. So even in areas that aren’t focused on meeting legislated requirements, we believe our new water-based technology offers advantages from a productivity standpoint. So our effort is beyond just those regulated areas – we’re going to be moving on our waterborne technology globally. We will continue to be aggressive because we believe [our waterborne product’s] value proposition is such that a lot of customers are responding to it even outside of regulated areas. We’ve seen some states in OTC regions postponing or delaying establishing a deadline for conversion, yet we’re still able to sell on the value proposition of ‘more environmentally friendly and greater productivity.’ Crickenberger: Outside of Europe, the U.S. and Canada, the market is still generally a solventborne market. When you look at emerging economies and BRIC countries, it’s primarily a solventborne market. In China, there are a lot of OEM certifications driving the refinish market there, and some OEs are utilizing waterborne technology for the sake of being green, not Continued on pg. 78

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Track Talk Inside NASCAR’s Black Box

team of field investigators In 1992, General Motors was recorder. In the event of a places a looking for ways to decrease crash, big or small, NASCAR recorder into the number of lower leg officials are able to retrieve the that bracket. injuries to its Indy Car drivers. data and details of the crash, Once a magIn the automaker’s research, it including the rate of decelera- netic sensor was lacking one piece of tech- tion when the car hits a barrier. inside the nology to help them measure According to Tom Gideon, box detects it During a race, the “black box” measures the the force drivers were subject to senior director of safety, has been acceleration or deceleration of a racecar 10,000 in crashes. research and development for placed into times per second. GM did, however, have a NASCAR, the incident data the car, it device placed in shipments of recorder hasn’t failed to collect goes into a state of readiness. spected before being replaced expensive equipment going information on a crash yet. Because the units don't have or repaired. oversees to determine how the "From 2002 to now, we've an on/off switch, the magnet NASCAR also uses these cargo was being handled, and recorded over 6,000 incidents sensor helps to preserve battery devices to reconstruct actual track when it was mishandled in the national series," he said. when they aren't in a car. crashes to improve safety and and by whom. With a few "All the vehicles in our nation- During a race, the device meas- to test new developments. tweaks, such as an increased al series – which include ures the acceleration or deceler- Technicians are able to take the range of measurement, the NASCAR Sprint Cup, ation of the car 10,000 times numbers from a wreck and, company realized these devices Nationwide and Camping per second. NASCAR officials using a hydraulic cylinder and could be placed in cars to World Series racecars and remove the IDRs from the car dummy model, examine the measure the impact of a crash. trucks – are required to have a after each race, recording infor- effects of that identical force on That was the beginning of crash recorder." mation from those in cars the body. They have even used the incident data recorder Since 2002, the accident involved in wrecks. these data recorders to test the (IDR), or "black box," in data recorders have ridden Once NASCAR extracts the Generation-6 car's improved automobile racing. along with NASCAR drivers. data from a crash, the num- roll cage by capturing the Today, NASCAR supplies Teams are responsible only for bers are then released to the impact when a car is dropped each of the cars in its three the aluminum bracket that team whose car held the upside down in the Research national racing series with an holds the recorder in place in recorder. Teams use this and Development Center parkupdated version of that that car. Before each race, a information to determine ing lot. how hard "We're at all times looking the car was for improvements to the car hit, and that we can validate, so that w h e t h e r when we finally put it in the the impact car, we're not worried that was big maybe we did something enough to wrong," Gideon said. cause damLearn more about the latest age to the technological advances in seat and NASCAR by visiting the restraints. new NASCAR Automotive If so, the Technology Center Engineered seat – By Mobil 1: which can automotivetechnology. cost up to $12,000 – By Kristen Boghosian, An incident data recorder, also known as a “black box,” gives NASCAR officials the ability to will be NASCAR.COM measure the effects of crashes. fully inFollow NASCAR Performance on Twitter and Facebook ■

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By Mark Clark


Not Yours pecific strategies for painting cars have been the hallmark of productive painters throughout the many years I’ve been in our industry. Successful painters don’t just wander into the booth and start pulling the trigger – they have a plan. How to prep the vehicle, adjust the spray gun, mix the components, position the car within the booth and where to begin and end are all part of producing attractive paint work quickly. You make money in collision repair by getting it done right and fast the first time. Having a plan is still key to refinishing success, but the elements of the plan have changed and are much less at the whim of the painter these days.


Birth of the Spray Gun » The critical piece of application equipment, the spray gun, has become more efficient and more expensive over time. When I began selling them in 1970, shops’ spray guns of choice were a Binks No. 7, a DeVilbiss MBC or JGA, or a Sharpe 75. All were suction feed and based on the design created by Dr. Allen DeVilbiss, an ear, nose and throat doctor in Toledo, Ohio. Using some tubing, a rubber bulb and the base of an oil can, DeVilbiss created the atomizer to enable his patients to spray medicine on their sore throats. In 1907, Allen’s son, Thomas DeVilbiss, used his father’s principal design to create the first hand-held spray gun. All suction, or siphon, feed guns work on the same notion: crossing air streams in front 14

March 2013 | BodyShop Business

of the tip to create a partial vacuum, lowering the atmospheric pressure (14.7 PSI). By virtue of the hole in the top of the attached onequart, push-lock cup, the liquid in the cup rushes up the pickup tube to fill the vacuum and is blown onto the surface to be painted. While these devices were faster than applying the coatings with a brush, the cloud of turbulent air flying around in front of the air cap blew much of the paint into the atmosphere. Until the air quality folks in Southern California passed Rule 1151 in 1987, no one cared that the transfer efficiency (how much of the paint reached the surface and how much was lost in overspray) was only about 30 percent for suction-feed guns. As much as 70 percent of the liquid in the bottom-mounted cup was lost into the atmosphere.

Modern Marvels » These days, the meticulously machined, cleverly designed, small fluid tip diameter, high transfer efficiency, gravity feed spray guns do a better job. With the cup mounted above the tip, the paint runs down into the atomizing air stream. These guns are able to finely atomize high solids coatings and keep at least 65 percent of the paint on the target and out of the atmosphere. What hasn’t changed is the painter’s ability to wave the gun at the car productively. The necessity to smoothly trigger, pass and release the gun exactly parallel to the surface are mandatory to duplicate the OEM finish. Gun distance, hand speed, head position, body

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»| Clark’s Corner |« stance and general coordination are still critical to good-looking paint work the first time.

20-20 Rule » Back when I wanted to learn to paint cars, I asked for the advice of three of my customers whose work I admired. They each had slightly different strategies about where to begin, how fast to move, how to reach difficult areas (rocker panels, wheel wells, etc.), but they each had a consistently repeatable plan. One lesson I took away from their instruction was that they all had some valuable tips. If you learn to paint from a single co-worker, you may miss some important elements – derisively referred to as the 20-20 Rule, as in, “He learned to paint in 20 minutes and has been doing the same thing for 20 years.” Every paint manufacturer offers hands-on training on the most pro-


March 2013 | BodyShop Business

ductive way to apply their products. If you haven’t attended your brand’s classes, you may be missing some key tips on getting great-looking work even more quickly.

similar to the offerings from brands B, C and D. Each brand had some distinguishable features, advantages and benefits, but they mixed and sprayed in familiar fashion.

Spray Latitude » Prior to the latest

Low-VOC » One of the biggest changes in my era has been the adoption of compliant, low-VOC coatings. Whereas the existing National Rule coatings mix and spray in similar ways, the compliant systems use either water (no VOC) or one of five compliant solvents to meet mandated maximum levels of volatile organic compounds. In researching the eight articles I’ve written for BodyShop Business on lowVOC coatings, I’m now clear that painters are required to mix and apply them in specific manners. Painters can no longer mix solvents and catalysts to get the results they desire. First, water is a one-speed sol-

legislation to further reduce air pollution by lowering the solvent content in auto paint, painters had many choices in blending the right concoctions to accommodate their unique painting styles and conditions. One paint company called this ability “spray latitude,” meaning the painter could speed up or slow down the dry and evaporation rates to accommodate the weather conditions or their own proclivities by changing solvent and catalyst speeds. For years, I think the industry closely approached chemical parity in paint, meaning that the solventbased offering from brand A was

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»| Clark’s Corner |« vent, and second, the H2O chemistry employed by brands A, B, C and D are quite different from each other. In

the course of my many interviews with regulated Southern California painters, the ones having trouble

were those who insisted on shooting the new coatings the old way.

Their Way, Not Yours » Some elements are still the same between waterborne and solvent-based paints. For example, moving air past any waterborne finish helps drive out the water, and good prep work still makes for clean paint jobs. But the steps to mix, spray and recoat the various waterborne offerings are brand specific. Whether legislation has come to your market or not, the color match and clarity of waterborne finishes do a great job of matching the OEM coating. But understand you’ll have to follow the manufacturer’s exact instructions rather than mixing your own brew and applying it your way. You’ll still need a plan to productively paint cars, but there are fewer painter-controlled variables. Let your jobber or paint rep show you how to get it done correctly and quickly. BSB

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Mark R. Clark is the owner of Professional PBE Systems in Waterloo, Iowa; he is a wellknown industry speaker and consultant. He is celebrating his 25th year as a contributing editor to BodyShop Business.

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By Lauren Weidinger

Painter Reaches

for the Sky with Artwork om Ferry’s painting changes colors. That’s right. It actually changes colors. And you don’t need to ingest any hallucinogens to see this. All you have to do is look at it from different angles. The painting, which is made entirely from auto paint, arose from Ferry’s fascination with the aurora borealis and night, themes that play out through many of his works. And the masses seem to like it – it sold at a recent art show in Ketchikan, Alaska, where Ferry works as a painter for Ketchikan Autobody and Glass. The curator told him if she had 20 of those paintings, she could have sold every one. “I was amazed when she said that,” said Ferry.


A Gold Star Student » Ferry was also amazed when, in second grade, he received a “gold star” for a ship he drew in art class. That’s when he realized he might have some talent. Later on in his academic career, he was named art editor of his high school newspaper and also cultivated his passion for art by creating cartoons, aspiring to one day become a political cartoonist. It wasn’t until after high school that he started pursuing different types of artwork more seriously.

Painting Cars » After Ferry parlayed his talents into a career in the collision industry, he discovered that painting for work and painting as a hobby can be a difficult balance. “It’s kind of hard [managing both],” Ferry says. “Here at the shop, I’ll just prep a piece of aluminum, or get a canvas from 20

March 2013 | BodyShop Business

Ferry’s “aurora borealis” painting shows different colors depending on the angle you look at it.

someone, then pick a particular paint right off the wall of the paint room and start painting away as I’m also painting a car. It’s kind of wild.” With 40 years of experience in auto painting and a lifetime as an artist, Ferry equally enjoys both his occupation and his hobby. “[I love] my hobby as an artist because there is no pressure to produce like a true professional artist, but I have and could sell a lot of artwork if I wanted to,” says Ferry. “The one thing I like about auto painting is the challenge, as it’s the hardest part of doing an auto repair; it makes or breaks the job.”

Experimentation » Like all artists, Ferry enjoys experimenting with different forms of “art and medium.” Looking to broaden his scope, he recently delved into three-dimensional art, including sculpting and construction. An aluminum sculpture he laid eyes on for the first time inspired him to try to craft one in the future. As for construction, he just built an addition to his parents’ 1940s-style home. “To design something on a 1940s-style home and put an addition on that doesn’t look like an addition is quite a task,” he

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»| Detours |« says. “It went really well, and a lot of local architects really liked it, too. So now I’m also an amateur architect.”

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Music » Ferry also discovered a love of music early in his life when he was introduced to the bass guitar in high school. He became so enamored with music that he moved to California to pursue it as a career, writing songs, recording three albums and participating in different groups, including “Black Ice Hot-N-Heavy.” Through this process, he discovered that he loved music above all other art forms…and that the inspiration for art and music is quite similar. “With art, sometimes you go through spurts of inspiration; it just comes flowing out of you, which is like music also,” Ferry says. “When I was playing music, I would have a recorder next to my bed so I could make up songs and hum a few bars on the spot, record them and then play them in the morning. With artists, you have spurts of real creativity, and then you have times where you just draw a blank.” Recognition » Ferry’s recent success with his “shifting colors” painting was not the first time his work has been recognized. He also received a few awards at the Blueberry Art Festival held annually the first week of August in Alaska. When he retires, Ferry hopes to generate a series of paintings depicting fishing boats in coves or other remote areas. He also dreams of being commissioned to create paintings for art enthusiasts. Having worked in numerous art forms, including sculpting, designing logos and tattoos, painting, drawing and others, Ferry believes the future is limitless. BSB Lauren Weidinger is a student at Revere High School in Richfield, Ohio, and an aspiring journalist who hopes to further her studies at Northwestern University.

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Web Presence


By Mark Claypool

Twitter Is

Not For Twits “I t’ll be a cold day in hell before you’ll ever catch me tweeting,” a shop owner recently told me. The mere thought of having a Twitter account for his business made him disgusted, and you could clearly see that on his face. It’s too bad. According to HubSpot, 42 percent of businesses have gotten sales through their participation on Twitter.

Ignorance Is Bliss » Ignorance is bliss for a lot of people in this world. There’s only so much collision work out there, and the competition for each and every vehicle is higher than it has ever been. Social media is all about branding your business. In fact, it was the new frontier of marketing. But describing it as “new” anymore is so 2012. Generation Y (people under 30 years of age) is the largest generation on the planet. An astonishing 97 percent of them are on social media. It should come as no surprise that most of them are participating in social media via their mobile phones. Twitter is huge with Generation Y.

Do you ever see anyone under 30 in your shop? Of course you do. So even if you don’t “get it” with regard to Twitter, you should not turn a blind eye to it. Designate someone in your organization who is already on Twitter to set up and manage a Twitter account for your business, or get someone to research and learn about it. Another option is to outsource the management of Twitter to a company that will do the tweeting and monitoring for you. This can be done for as little as $95 per month.

Setting It Up » Twitter allows you to create a customized background that showcases your company’s brand. The size should be 2,048 pixels wide by 1,900 pixels high. These backgrounds don’t scroll down as the visitor scrolls; they remain static. You should include your contact information on this background as well. For the sake of consistent representation of your brand, the icon, or profile picture, that you choose to represent your business on Twitter needs to be the same as what you use on Facebook and Google+. If you have a horizontally oriented logo, it should be altered into a square or it will be cut off on the right and left edges. Twitter limits the size of the image you submit to 700KB, and then they will resize the image you upload. Twitter accepts images in JPG, GIF or PNG formats. Collision Works of Del City, Okla.’s Twitter account showcases their brand with a nice logo and consistent colors.


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»| Web Presence |« The “cover” photo will really allow you to showcase your business. Make it graphically pleasing to the eye, interesting, fun and engaging. Unlike Facebook, you can include a call-to-action that directs your followers to an action you want them to take. To add a cover to your Twitter account, you simply need to click on the gear located at the top right side of the Twitter page, then click on “Settings” from the drop-down menu. Next, go to the profile tab on the left and upload your photo under the header option.

Search Ranking » Effective social media participation is now having a positive effect on your search ranking potential, so be sure to include keywords in your 160-character bio on Twitter. Remember that those keywords are “auto body,” “body shop,” etc. (visit and type in “using SEO” in the search box). Build a following and promote your Twitter participation everywhere you can. Use QR codes on your printed materials. Find and follow people in your community through You can search by places or by terms like “car crash,” “body shop,” etc., to see who in your area was in an accident and tweeted about it. And keep in mind that anyone who follows you should automatically be followed back. It’s considered bad form to only take on followers and not follow others.

Character Limit » When you post something on Twitter, called a “tweet,” it’s limited to 140 characters, including spaces. But tweets of 120 characters or so are getting more clicks, so less is more. You can schedule your tweets to go out at a certain date and time so you don’t have to be hovering over Circle 26 for Reader Service


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your computer all day long to send them out. You should send out at least two tweets per day, and as much as 15 to 25 if you’ve got the time and content. You can pay a few bucks to feature a tweet at the top of your Twitter feed. This provides you with an opportunity to run specials and promotions and provides you with increased visibility for a longer period of time than the typical tweet. These should feature a photo or video which will be more engaging and ideally provide you with more leads for your business.

Next Up: Twitter Vine » Next month, we’ll explore more on Twitter, including information on the new Twitter Vine, a new mobile video app that allows you to capture and share short videos six seconds long or less to highlight various aspects of your business. This opens up an entirely new option for brand recognition. Cutting edge is what you’ll be if you’re a body shop participating on Twitter. BSB BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, business/ education partnerships, apprenticeships and Web presence management. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive. com), which provides website design, development, SEO services and social media management services. Claypool’s work history includes stints at Metro Paint Supplies, VeriFacts Automotive, the National Auto Body Council (NABC), the I-CAR Education Foundation and SkillsUSA. He is the founder of Mentors At Work and cofounder of the Collision Industry Foundation. He served, on a volunteer basis, as the SkillsUSA World Team Leader for the WorldSkills Championships from 2003 to 2011.

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By Dan Espersen and Jeff Webster

What’s the Deal with Steel? ehicle manufacturers are once more asking us to become metallurgists. Without an understanding of the changes they’re incorporating into new vehicles, we in the collision business ultimately may compromise the safety of our customers and the integrity of their vehicles. What’s the deal with steel? One consequence of strict governmentmandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will be a change in construction materials. As manufacturers strive to meet the 2016 requirement of 37.8 miles per gallon, structural integrity, safety and weight considerations will all come into play – which directly impact what the vehicle is made of. Critical structural components will no longer be constructed of the mild


steel that was once the norm. Ultra High Strength Steels (UHSS) with a yield strength or MPa of 800 or more will be one of the mainstays of vehicle design. Currently, repair of this material is not even considered. Technicians, estimators and insurers need to understand that identification and reparability will be critical factors when a vehicle comes into the shop. Access to proper, upto-date OE information will be required before repair/replace decisions are made. Decisions take time, and time cuts into productivity, profit and customer satisfaction. And what if you’re wrong? Can you really afford to do a job twice when you’re only getting paid once? Information is the name of the game in today’s world of complex vehicles. There is no substitute for having manufacturers’ information readily available. OE information is the gold standard for material identification. Here are some manufacturers’ diagrams and information on vehicles that incorporate UHSS.

Service Information » Always refer

2013 Lexus GS 350


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to ALLDATA Collision for safety procedures, identification of material types, recommended refinish ma-

terials, removal and installation procedures. Always refer to the manufacturer for questions relating to applicable or non-applicable warranty repair information.

HSS Steel » The bodywork is made up of a number of different steels to improve fuel economy and provide optimal protection in the event of a collision. The types of steel in this section are High Strength Steel (HSS), which has a higher tensile strength and yield point than ordinary steel sheet. The yield point increases when it’s heat treated. HSS steel can be more difficult to align than ordinary steel plate. When using an alignment bench, HSS components can cause problems if the counterhold is not fully tightened. Note how the bodywork reacts to tension, and ensure that only the deformed area moves. NOTE: HSS steel must not be heat aligned.

Boron Steel » Boron steel is in the same group as HSS steel. In Figures 1-3, the components marked in black are manufactured in boron steel, and the gray/dark gray sections are HSS with a yield point above 340 MPa and therefore must be treated with extra care during repair. Boron steel is high tensile with a high breaking point. When replacing boron steel components, the welds cannot be drilled. Grind or plasma cut instead. It has good tolerance for welding, and it cannot be galvanized during manufacture. These components must be rust-proofed extra thoroughly.

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»| Tech Tips |« NOTE: Boron steel must not be bent or heated. NOTE: Boron steel can only be joined where indicated in the method. Mark carefully using a template. Use a cutting disc or plasma cutter.

Extended Information » Steel can be divided into further subgroups

based on the yield point, or the force required to deform the steel. These groups are: 䡲 HS (High Strength Steel) Steel with a yield point between 220 to 450 MPa (marked light gray in the illustration). There are three main types of steel within this group:

1. Phosphorous-alloy steel This steel has a higher strength due to the use of phosphorous alloy. 2. HSLA steel (High Strength Low Alloy) This is a low alloy steel, where alloys such as vanadium, niobium or titanium are used to increase the yield strength. 3. DP steel (Dual Phase) This steel is strengthened by heat treatment during manufacture. A two-phase structure of iron and carbon is formed. DP

Figure 1: 2013 Volvo XC90

Figure 2: 2013 Volvo XC90

Figure 3: 2013 Volvo XC90 Circle 30 for Reader Service


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»| Tech Tips |« steel will lose its strength if it’s exposed to temperatures exceeding 300 °C. 䡲 EHS (Extra High Strength Steel) EHS has a yield point between 450 and 800 MPa. It’s light gray in the illustration. Both HSLA and DP steel are within this group, although the strength has been increased through the addition of greater alloy substances. 䡲 UHS (Ultra High Strength Steel) UHS has a yield point between 800 and 1400 MPa. UHS is dark gray in the illustration. There are two main types of steel within this group: 1. DP steel The strength is even higher due to an advanced manufacturing process and the greater quantities of alloys.


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2. Boron steel The addition of boron gives this steel greater strength. Boron steel also contains relatively high quantities of carbon. The profiles of the sheets are formed between a press and pad while the metal is red hot. The material also hardens here. These sections must not be straightened because of their extremely high strength. NOTE: These repair/service procedures are excerpted from information published by the vehicle manufacturer and are intended for the purpose of promoting OE collision repair information to trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. Before attempting any repairs described, refer to the complete article in ALLDATA Collision S3500. It’s

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recommended that these procedures not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.” BSB Dan Espersen is ALLDATA’s senior collision program manager, holds an AA degree in automotive technology, and has 46 years of experience in the automotive industry, 19 in collision. © 2013 ALLDATA LLC. All rights reserved. All technical information, images and specifications are from ALLDATA Collision S3500. ALLDATA is a registered trademark and ALLDATA Collision S3500 is a mark of ALLDATA LLC. Lexus and GS 350 are registered trademarks of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Volvo and XC90 are registered trademarks of AB Volvo, Volvo Car Corporation or Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. All other marks are the property of their respective holders.

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More and more collision repair facilities are using social media to communicate who they are to customers...and increase sales.



Social Media By Curt Harler he body shop world seems to be divided into two sectors: those who use social media and love it, and those who don’t and are terrified of it. There’s definitely a learning curve, just like switching to waterborne/low-VOC refinishes. And embracing something new is scary. But there are a few shops where the outcome proved rewarding, one being Paul’s Quality Collision in Monroe, Mich.


Community Connection » Run by Paul and Tammi VanAken, Paul’s Quality Collision integrated social media into its overall marketing strategy on Jan. 27, 2010. “Social media is a great resource and hugely un34

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derrated,” Paul says. “Social media is about revealing who we are to the community. It requires a commitment. It will expose both your strengths and weaknesses. But the object is to get the customers talking about us to other potential customers.” VanAken can point to glass repair and towing jobs that were a direct result of the shop’s social media presence. Camille Eber, the second generation of the Eber family to be owner-operator at Fix Auto Portland East, the former Roth & Miller shop in Portland, Ore., has found success with social media as well. “Success in this endeavor is not so much that I can track that Mary Jones found us via Facebook,

COVER STORY » Social Media

but rather, she can find us regardless of where she happens to be searching and let us know she found us ‘online,’” says Eber. Finding out how the customer found them is not so easy, Eber says, particularly because they don’t want to be drilled beyond the initial question, “Where did you find us online?” States Mark Claypool, CEO of Optima Automotive and Optima Social Media, Chicago, Ill., “Social media is the new frontier of marketing and, when done correctly, beats the pants off other examples of marketing. Yellow Pages? I don’t think so…hardly anyone uses them anymore. Radio can be expensive in some markets. Billboards might be okay, too.”

Brenda Kyle, customer service rep with Douglas Auto Body & Paint, Pasadena, Calif., says that not being a multi-shop operation means that TV and radio are not in their price range. But since social media is free, they’re all about it. “With social media, the feedback is instant and more personal,” says Kyle, who also advertises in a local paper that has a loyal following (but no billboards since there aren’t any in Pasadena). “Facebook lets me know who ‘likes’ me – the gender and age group too. It’s working for us in the sense that we get to build a rapport with previous customers and future customers at the same time, in a way that isn’t obtrusive. We don’t bombard our customers with emails, nor do we send out big mailers. We generally don’t ‘talk shop.’ We focus on the social part of social media. We give

safety tips, tell jokes, give community news, post funny pictures and before-and-after shots. “When a customer thinks of Douglas Auto, we want them to feel like they’re bringing their vehicle to a friend. Every once in awhile, we throw in a copy of an ad we’re working on, but we’ll also tell the story of how we came up with the concept. Our goal is to make sure our customers know we’re real people, and we’ll treat them like a real person.” Some shop owners might bristle at the term “free”; after all, they have to pay someone to monitor social media. But other than an investment in time and giveaways you choose to offer, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and local bulletin boards are free. Claypool figures it shouldn’t take more than a couple hours a week to participate in all three of the big social media sites.

Fear of the Unknown » Fear of the unknown seems to be a big deterrent to shops that don’t use social media. “Don’t be afraid to participate,” says Dusty Dunkle, vice president of SureCritic who believes social media offers the best ROI. “It’s most likely our strongest form of marketing to Generation Y, a quickly increasing percentage of our industry customer base.” “Social media tops the market,” VanAken says, comparing it to other outlets. He notes that it’s much more than advertising – more an adjunct to a good community outreach or public relations campaign. “The key is to coordinate what is effective for your shop in your market.” In his case, it’s leveraging a program 35

COVER STORY » Social Media to discourage texting and driving. They’ve given away 8,000 T-shirts with the same message they promote online. “It gets good PR and TV news coverage, too,” he adds.

Big Influence » Roughly 47 percent of social media users say that information from sites like Facebook and Twitter influences their buying decisions. Plus, they’re three times more likely to believe and trust peer opinions than advertising. “Social media is not a fad or trend; it’s the latest way we keep our business in front of a huge number of potential customers,” Dunkle says. Eber says the first steps in their success with social media were to have claimed, set up and verified (if verification is required or an option) profiles (listings) in directories such as Facebook, Google+/Google Places, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Angie’s


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List, Merchant Circle, City Search, Yahoo Local and YouTube, to name a few. “That is success online, because there are still many shops that have not done this,” she says, adding that a greater measure of success would be to visit and update at least something on the shop profile every three months.

Time to Update » Updates don’t have to be all hard-sell auto body or paint matching. Any auto or music buff has to love the fact that Douglas Auto Body is located on Colorado Blvd., made famous in Jan & Dean’s song about the Little Old Lady from Pasadena. The shop plays that up with a video clip. They go farther, too, hyping local ties with the Rose Bowl Parade and football game and posting a dozen or more photos of the best cars in

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the parade. That’s the kind of softsell that draws users back to the site again and again. Their “Name that Car” feature and safety tips seem to be most popular. Recently, Kyle posted a picture of a roadside emergency kit with a package of kitty litter. A customer asked, “Why kitty litter?” Kyle explained that it was for traction in icy conditions. That may be common knowledge for 75 percent of the country, but Southern California drivers may never give ice a second thought. “She was rather appreciative,” Kyle says. “She was the only person who commented, but a substantial number of people saw it, including her friends.”

Blow Your Horn » Shop owners should not be shy about blowing their own horns. If you sponsor a Little League team, post pictures of

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COVER STORY » Social Media the team to the account. If you bought 20 soccer shirts for the girls’ team, let people know about it. Update their wins and losses. Every ballplayer has parents, uncles, grandparents and neighbors who will feel just as good about seeing you support local causes as you do. Eber notes that customers on the

Internet have no idea how online information is generated. “It’s get-fished for by search engines from here and there,” she explains, warning that the data may not be accurate unless an owner takes the time to take ownership of it. I have had friends contact me via Facebook with regard to business and then have them

brag about us on Facebook. That gets spread around.” Her shop also has cards in the office and QR (quick response) codes that customers can scan with their smartphones to get to their Facebook page. Earlier this year, Eber tallied 116 “Likes” on Facebook. “It’s not a huge amount, but if I post something, it’s likely to be seen by all of them and any friends or the public they allow to see their information.” Followers’ participation is measureable, SEO expert Claypool says. “Through Facebook’s ‘Insight,’ you can see how many people are participating in what you’ve been posting. You can see how many friends your followers have.” The hard part for shops is getting people to follow them (i.e. “liked” on Facebook). Shops must take every opportunity to promote their social media presence. Hand out flyers, discuss Facebook when the vehicle is delivered back to the owner, position flyers with QR codes at the counter, and provide links on cardstock in the glove box of vehicles worked on. Most shops, including VanAken’s, focus their efforts on the consumer market. If there is some carry-over with DRPs, that’s a bonus.

Lack of Understanding » Since almost every body shop owner has a computer, and there’s always some downtime during a typical week, why don’t more shops set up an online presence? “I think they don’t understand it or the importance of it,” Eber says. “Many of the sites are difficult at best to navigate and figure out.” Although Eber is quite tech savvy, she says she’s frustrated with the changes Google has made. “I’ve not had the time to dedicate to keeping up with their changes while I worked on some other projects. They may start to get it if they stop getting new business.” “I think that other shops are slow to accept social media because they Circle 38 for Reader Service


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COVER STORY » Social Media think of it as a waste of time,” Kyle says, noting people go to a body shop because they have to, not because they want to. “I was hesitant at first because we offer a service, not a product.” But then she changed her perspective. “Our product is Douglas Auto Body & Paint. Once I thought about

shifting the focus from ‘what we do’ to ‘who we are,’ it was easier. The ‘what we do’ falls into place.”

Creating an Icon » The first step to success is creating an icon that represents your brand, Claypool says. Then, to the extent that each system allows, create the background (or cover on

Facebook) to further project your brand/image. VanAken has an online avatar that’s trademarked. He says one reason many independents don’t have strong online presences is they feel the crush of the job in many areas and social media falls by the wayside. “If it’s not important to you, it will not happen,” VanAken says. “It has to have a level of priority.” “Regular posting of quality content is crucial,” says Claypool. That means, ideally, once a day on Facebook, minimum of once a week; twice a day on Twitter; and at least once every 72 hours on Google+. By “quality” content, Claypool means things that get followers to engage in the conversation either by liking, commenting or sharing what has been posted. “Tweets take very little time,” says Kyle. “How difficult is it to type, ‘It’s raining out there, Pasadena. Slow down and drive safely!’”

Defending Your Reputation » The Internet not only gives people an opportunity to tell the world how great you are, but also how lousy you are. If people are saying bad things about your shop – poor workmanship, failure to meet delivery promises – it’s best you find out and meet those problems head-on before your online reputation is shot. There are social media sites from Yelp to Angie’s List that rate the performance and service of local businesses. Whether you like it or not, your business is likely to end up being reviewed on some of these sites. “All businesses need to keep a close eye on everything that’s said about them online,” Dunkle says. Shops need a consistent process, or program, in place that detects negative sentiment immediately. “Otherwise, there are immediate consequences.” Negative comments are part of the bargain with social media, VanAken says. “Everyone is human. If we make a mistake, our first commitment is with the customer to remedy the problem.” Circle 40 for Reader Service


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COVER STORY » Social Media If a shop feels it was slandered, say on a Google review that was grossly off base, its first contact should be Google, VanAken advises. When negative comments appear, it’s essential to respond immediately, whenever and wherever possible. “In responding, never get defensive,” Dunkle says. “Show the

online community that if a customer has a problem with your business, you pay attention, you care, you react quickly and you do everything in your power to satisfy the customer. Consumers know that no business is perfect, and when there’s a problem, they want to see how you react.”

Most reviews, positive or negative, are on review sites like Google, Yelp and Yahoo rather than on YouTube or Facebook. A shop might find more reviews on Twitter than Facebook. Claypool agrees that, when faced with a negative review, a shop should respond professionally without being defensive. “Point out your high CSI ratings, that you’re sorry you didn’t delight them with your service, and tell them that you’re hoping to have the opportunity to earn back their business again some day,” he says. “For positive reviews, shops can thank the reviewer for the opportunity to serve them.” Kyle says, “At the moment, we have one dedicated person. Me!” One benefit is that the shop’s “voice” is consistent. “Plus, I double check my spelling.” Fix Auto Portland East has had only one negative posting, and Eber says it was bogus since the shop does no engine work (the gripe was about them ruining an engine). “It appears to have been posted either by a competitor or by a company attempting to sell a service that supposedly could remove negative reviews,” she says. In response to it, she publicly encouraged the person who posted it to contact the shop to discuss the problem. She posted that they didn’t recognize the claimed scenario. The same review was posted on Yelp and Google. Yelp filtered it out as irrelevant. Periodically, Eber responds publicly to favorable reviews by acknowledging them with a thank you. “Plus, it’s an incentive to do the best you can do,” VanAken says. “It comes down to business ethics.”

Managing Metrics » Before a body shop attempts to use a tool like social media, it should have some idea of the size and scope of what it’s doing. The previously mentioned “Insights” feature on Facebook can help monitor this reach. Google also provides a similar service. Circle 42 for Reader Service


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COVER STORY » Social Media “With social media, many of the benefits are common sense,” Dunkle says. “Once I thought about For example, estabshifting the focus from ‘what lishing regular communication with we do’ to ‘who we are,’ it was potential customers easier to accept that social through Facebook and Twitter, along media would not be a waste with maintaining a of time.” — Brenda Kyle, Douglas glowing online reputation, will have a positive Auto Body & Paint impact on the bottom line. Eber admits pinning this down can be tough. “I’ve found ROI difficult to measure other than people finding us, but my experience has saying they found us online,” she been the number of deals turned in says. “We’re only going to get back is miniscule compared to the effort to make and maintain them,” Eber what we put in.” Last year was “complicated,” she says. “What’s working for us are the says, noting that she’s a bit behind in positive online reviews we’ve reher social media efforts. ceived, and verified reviews – people “I’ve tried a few deals in the past tell us they see those and it was in order to track where people were the differentiator.”


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Eber predicts that, at some point, as online reviews compile and nearly everyone has many of them, their significance may decrease slightly. “But directories such as Google will continue to find ways to mix up the game, like they did last year, in an attempt to set themselves apart. We owners will have to figure that out, too.” It can help upstream, too. “When

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COVER STORY » Social Media we call on agents or market our shop to insurance companies, we always mention our Facebook page,” Kyle says. “We have gotten referrals from agents directly from our Facebook page. It’s a great way for companies that are out of state to get a ‘sneak peek’ as to who we are. It’s definitely more relaxed than our website, and has the added bonus of interaction.”

ROI » VanAken says the power of social media is experienced when you can trust your customers to do your talking for you and you give them a vast network of potential customers with whom to speak. “You’re putting the microphone in your customers’ hands,” she says. Claypool, who helped the VanAkens set up their original program, has long maintained that many shop owners are so busy working “in” their business that they don’t have time to work “on” it.

“When presented with new things, they dismiss them because they have enough to worry about already in their business (and one of those key things is that they could truly use more cars to fix, something that effective marketing campaigns like social media can do for them),” Claypool says. “The fact is, however, that I’m seeing more and more shops at least attempting to get on Facebook. Whether they’re doing it correctly or not, they’re making the attempt.” One concern shops have is the

“I’m seeing more and more shops at least attempting to get on Facebook. Whether they’re doing it correctly or not, they’re making the attempt.” — Mark Claypool, SEO expert


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COVER STORY » Social Media time investment. “It is time consuming. It does take resources, either your own if you manage it yourself as I do, or money if you hire it out,” Eber says. But Kyle says benefits are trackable since they can see how many people they reach, including demographics. “We get weekly reports giving us feedback on our posts, pins and tweets,” she says. “I find the info very helpful for finding more content to post. For example, the bulk of the people who ‘Like’ us on Facebook are women, but on Pinterest our followers are men. Once we attach ‘coupon codes’ for social media specials, we’ll be able to see how much traffic it will drive through our door.”

Gen Y’s Job » Many shops put their younger office staff in charge of social media. “As long as parameters are established as to what can and cannot be posted to represent the business, that can work well,” Claypool says. But, he adds, owners still need to pay attention. “My company, Optima Automotive, provides these services as the shop’s outsourced partner, too. That’s another option.”


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Dunkle points out there are individuals who live and breathe social media. “Many of them are efficient and effective. There are also vendors that provide turn-key solutions that don’t require the staffing and associated expenses. These options allow you to focus on the core of your business,” he says. If you do hire someone outside of your shop to do the job, be sure you get someone familiar with the industry. Eber says she handles social media herself to ensure it gets done well. “Initially, it would be easy to spend all day for several days to a couple of weeks getting things in order, depending on how accurate your information is portrayed already,” Eber says. Someone has to develop a system to manage it, too. “The few things that I have hired out, I’ve been very disappointed in the outcomes,” Eber states. “Providers have not fully grasped that ‘auto body’ is not ‘auto repair’ and the work has been sloppy.”

of social media that’s imperative to manage,” Dunkle says. Many shops have large advertising budgets and may use social media. “But if a poor online reputation exists, potential customers are lost,” he warns. “The marketing may have worked perfectly, but customers are lost due to a poor online reputation in the final stages. There’s no metric to prove how much business is lost at this stage. A positive online reputation eliminates this leak.” “Social media is a great resource and hugely underutilized,” VanAken says. The average person on Facebook has more than 200 friends, Claypool says. “If they participate in what the shop is posting, their friends often see this participation, giving the shop brand exposure, or impressions, that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise,” Claypool says. “Loyalty with existing customers can be expected as well, when they’re actively following the shop’s Facebook page.” BSB

Brand Recognition » The key ben-

Curt Harler is a Cleveland-based freelancer specializing in the auto, technology and environmental areas. He can be reached at

efit from social media use is brand recognition. “Online reputation is a segment

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Paintless Dent Removal (PDR)

Is Making Its Way Into Traditional Body Shops epairing dents without breaking the factory finish is always beneficial. Not only is it better for the vehicle, but it saves time and money. Steck Manufacturing’s Tab-It, a PDR accessory upgrade for the Stud Lever, allows you to quickly pull glue tabs or pull pins (used in traditional body repair processes) while controlling the dent pulling process as well as the accuracy of the pull. By using the dent repair capabilities of both the Stud Lever and Tab-It, the technician has control over both types of repair. Tab-It’s glue tab collar simply slides over the


Stud Lever, and the U-shaped capture mechanism slides under the top of the glue tab and grabs it by the stem. The U shape accommodates both round and oblong glue tab stems. Tab-It also includes a padded extension block to protect the vehicle’s painted surface, and allows the technician to easily adjust to the glue tab’s height. The product’s unique design allows PDR specialists and body shop technicians to take advantage of the Stud Lever’s pivot base, which allows onehanded operation and provides increased leverage, accuracy and reach for the pull and crown compression processes.

For more information on the Tab-It, Stud Lever or Steck’s other innovative tools, visit Steck’s webpage at and see your Steck dealer today. 49


Do You Know

You’re Working On? Today’s vehicles are made up of a combination of different materials for weight reduction and improved safety. It’s critical for technicians to be able to identify these materials and repair them properly to avoid liability and wrecking a shop’s reputation. By Mitch Becker hange is the one constant in life we can count on. It’s happening right now in vehicle manufacturing with the additions of new electronics for comfort and safety and changes in designs to add strength but reduce weight. This evolution is the reason shops need to be educated on

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the repair of these vehicles. Identifying these changes and adapting to new repair procedures will help shops maintain vehicles’ structural integrity and service life longevity — not to mention keep the shop’s quality and integrity intact. These vehicle changes have been driven by numerous factors. One is the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ), which will require vehicles to hit 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. To meet this standard, automakers are increasing their use of combinations of lighter construction materials. This “hybrid construction” will create a challenge for shops. In the automotive world, most people think of

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TECHNICAL » Advanced Materials Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) when they hear “hybrid.” HEVs combine internal combustion engines and electric

drive systems. Simply defined, hybrid is the combination of two or more different things.“Hybrid construction” is the use of two or more materials to

Weld bonding the uniside of a vehicle.

manufacture vehicles. The evolution of today’s automobile has required shops to rethink, retool and retrain on how vehicles are repaired. To learn about materials currently being used and what is coming, take I-CAR classes New11 and New13. I also recommend taking SPS07 and the new AIL01.

Aluminum and Steel » One trend is that a lot of automakers are using aluminum to reduce vehicle weight. The increased use of aluminum is driving the need for more production and expansion of existing suppliers. The combination of steels and aluminum in vehicle construction will only increase in years to come. The trend of manufacturing more high-production, aluminum-intensive vehicles for consumers is also evident with the introduction of the Mercedes Benz SL. The 2013 Honda Accord Front Subframe is an example of a vehicle that


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TECHNICAL  Advanced Materials combines steel and aluminum. This not only reduces weight but increases the rigidity of the suspension mounting points. The two metals are joined by a factory process called friction stir welding (I-CAR NEW13). It’s a factory-

only procedure of joining galvanized steel and aluminum. The use of galvanized steel prevents corrosion between two dissimilar metals. But hybrid construction can also be used in a combination of steels that

are different in strengths and mechanical properties. Stronger steels in the 700 MPa to 1,500 MPa range may require different welding procedures. The 2013 Honda Accord does not allow GMA (MIG) plug welds to be done

Roof panels on Fords are now adhesively bonded or rivet bonded using urethane similar to the kind used for windshields.


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TECHNICAL » Advanced Materials on the 1,500 MPa steel (I-CAR NEW13). Instead, MIG brazing is required.

Why Change? » Hybrid construction is changing many procedures in collision shops. “I’ve been doing it this way for 20 years. Why should I change?” becomes a dangerous statement to a shop that values its reputation of quality and skill. It can also be dangerous from a liability standpoint. Rivet bonding, weld bonding and MIG brazing are procedures shops need to learn and use every day. Squeeze Type Resistance Welding (STRSW) is also recommended for many repairs. If a shop doesn’t have the equipment to do STRSW, alternate repair procedures may be required.

Adhesives » The majority of procedures to date have involved adhesives. Their ability to bond to many different substrates at the same time has given


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them a multi-purpose role. They not only bond the materials, giving them good strength characteristics, but also add rigidity and stiffness. These properties allow the vehicle to not only be stronger but quieter. Adhesives also have good corrosion protection properties, an area often overlooked during repairs. They bond materials but also separate the materials, preventing galvanic corrosion.

Fasteners » Mechanical fasteners are also being used in the factory, in some cases in place of welds to bond panels with adhesive. Using rivets to join aluminum to steel has been and still is being used extensively. The Cadillac ATS uses rivets and adhesives to bond the aluminum front wheelhouse to the upper and lower rails. A new procedure using flow drill screws is being used to join aluminum panels to boron alloyed steel and inner aluminum

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structures, such as on the 2011 Audi A8 and 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera. On aluminum panels or aluminum intensive vehicles, flange preparation is critical to the performance of this material. To prevent weak links in the repair, prep all flanges according to directions. This may involve flame treating the flange, then applying primer before bonding the aluminum parts – a procedure recommended by BMW and Jaguar. More training can be found in I-CAR AIL01.

Carbon Fiber » Carbon fiber is a lightweight, extremely strong construction material. Since it’s so expensive, its use thus far has been limited to high-end luxury models. Future vehicles may have more carbon fiber in them as mass production procedures evolve and costs go down. Carbon fiber panels could be attached using bolts, rivets or adhesives

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TECHNICAL » Advanced Materials with rivets. Lexus is producing a vehicle with a carbon fiber exterior similar to the Corvette, where most of the exterior panels are made of this composite. Carbon fiber can be repaired under certain criteria. I-CAR PLA03 covers many types of repairs on these materials.

Magnesium » Magnesium door shells with aluminum skins are being used on the Jaguar XJ and on the Ford MKZ liftgate. These durable and lightweight doors help reduce stress and fatigue associated with opening and closing. Magnesium is also used on the core support of the 2011 Jaguar XJ. Panel Removal » Repairers these days even have to stop and pause before removing panels due to the fact that heat can damage the steel or corrosion protection on damaged or adjacent panels. New spot welding


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removing tools that don’t also remove the thin surrounding metal reduce the need to use drill bits, which can be destroyed during panel removal. When using drill bits, technicians should be careful not to leave material or let material come in contact with other materials. Using a vacuum instead of a blow gun will prevent metal contamination to other vehicles. This also helps to reduce technicians’ exposure to metals in the shop air. Ford roof panels or the new aluminum roof panels being used on steel structure vehicles are now adhesively bonded or rivet bonded using urethane similar to the kind used for windshields. Shops must follow recommendations when adhesive bonding the aluminum panel to the steel structure since the use of incorrect urethane could cause part failure. A non-conductive urethane is recommended to prevent corrosion between the aluminum and adhesive.

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Although I-CAR GLA02 is a glass replacement course, it teaches all the technical procedures for using adhesives in performing a quality repair.

The Big Picture » With all this hybrid construction going on today, it’s critical to identify materials you’re working on. Training on aluminum repair, MIG brazing and other repair procedures is necessary. Without this information, a technician could cause serious damage or do an improper repair, damaging a shop’s credibility along with increasing its exposure to liability. Understanding procedures and why they’re used will help technicians make good decisions for shops and vehicle owners. BSB Mitch Becker is a technical instructor for ABRA Auto Body & Glass. Contact him at (763) 585-6411 or mbecker@

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Inventions With ingenuity and innovation, Eddie’s Auto Body has transformed itself into a lean, mean and efficient machine. By Gina Kuzmick

ddie Lupinek is always thinking one step ahead, striving for constant improvement in his shop’s operations. His forwardthinking mindset comes from years in the business – or rather, his entire life. “I waited for the kindergarten bus at the shop,” he recalls. “I grew up there.” Back then, Eddie’s Auto Body was owned by his father, also named Eddie, who started the business after leaving the army in 1956. Originally located inside a Chevy dealership, the shop quickly began to see an increase in business. Eventually, Eddie’s outgrew the dealership and moved to its current location in an industrial park in 1986. “It’s a very rural, small town in Connecticut,” he said of East Haddam.


Eddie’s Auto Body Location: East Haddam, Conn. Established: 1956 Gross Sales: $1 million Square Footage: 3,300 Owners: Eddie and Carol Lupinek


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No. of Employees: 1 painter, 3 technicians, 2 detailers Repair Volume/No. of Cars Per Month: 60-70 Average Repair Cost: $1,200 to $3,000 DRPs: None

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SHOP PROFILE » Great Inventions

Eddie’s custom bumper rack lifts bumpers to the ceiling, adding extra floor space.

A portable, ultra bright light allows techs to see more clearly what they’re working on.

With a drive-through setup in the booth, cars can exit the shop right from the booth.

“We overlook a skating pond. It would actually be a beautiful place for a house.” Perhaps the scenic environment helps stimulate creativity as well – Eddie’s custom creations would certainly serve as a testament to that.

ciency, including equipment. He had wanted to redesign his cross-flow booth for years, but just couldn’t figure out how to accelerate the curing process. He and his wife, Carol, discovered the missing link at a trade show last year: a medium-wave infrared drying system from SunSpot. “They gave us the ability to go outside the box with spraybooth design,” he said.

Installing the drying system into the booth allowed Eddie to create a drive-through setup, which lets cars leave the shop right from the booth. The new renovation, which merely heats the paint film without air movement, fully cures water-based color to dry in six minutes and clearcoat in 10. “It gives us a real edge in that it saves us a lot of time in moving cars through the shop and decreases bay

Outside the Box » As an innovator, Eddie looks to factors he can control in order to improve his shop’s effi-


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SHOP PROFILE » Great Inventions tie-up time,” said Eddie. Eddie’s spraybooth doesn’t have an air make-up unit. Instead, it uses a “clean room,” which takes air from the shop’s ceiling and filters it three times before entering the booth. This process generates a consistent flow of warm air, not only making the work environment efficient but safe as well. “The body men are getting fresh air and using it first,” he explained. The booth redesign also presents a cost savings to the business. While most shops spend about $25 to $35 per bake cycle, Eddie’s is spending only 30 cents. “It’s very energy efficient and very safe for the employees as well,” he said. “For all our curing, we’re using the equivalent [amount of propane] of a gas grill per month.”

Custom Gadgets » The redesigned booth isn’t the only innovation of

Eddie’s. He also takes pride in his custom bumper rack that he attached to a garage door opener. With a remote control or wallmounted unit, the bumpers are safely lifted out of harm’s way up to the ceiling, theoretically adding an extra bay of space. “Whatever can get mounted on the wall, does,” said Carol. “We’re always looking for ways to make the shop cleaner and run more efficiently.” Eddie also recognizes how important it is for his employees to have a clear view of what they’re working on. To fulfill this need, he affixed a waterproof spraybooth light to a base with wheels to create a portable, ultra-bright lamp. It even includes a handle so users can pick it up and carry it around. “It takes ups very little space, about the size of a person standing,

and it has an extension cord built right into it,” said Eddie. “We’ve been on a very extreme course on finding ways to continually make the shop run better.” That goal goes for the shop’s operations, too. Every Sunday, cars that are due for repair are dropped off at the shop by 5 p.m. Eddie then draws up each car’s location on a sketch pad and arranges them in the shop accordingly. “We’re maximizing work area and putting two undamaged sides together so there’s no activity between [two cars],” Eddie explained. The next morning, the techs come in to find each car’s parts laid out and ready to go. “It saves hours every week by bringing the cars in on Sunday night,” he said.

Maximizing Space » Eddie and Carol are planning an addition to their shop, which will include an extra customer waiting area and a drive-in estimating bay with a lift and wash bay. “Oftentimes in the winter, you have to rinse off a vehicle before you can assess damages because

Behind the Bays Estimating System: CCC One Management System: QuickBooks Spraybooth: Modified Viking downdraft Lift: Rotary Measuring System: Autorobot Welding Equipment: Miller Paint Mixing System: DuPont Paint: DuPont Future Equipment Purchase: Rotary screw compressor, solar panels, in-ground lift Circle 64 for Reader Service


March 2013 | BodyShop Business


Spotlight Waterborne-Breathable Air Combo System s the use of waterborne paints becomes more popular and in some areas, required, the need for clean and dry compressed sprayable air is a critical component. The need for the proper filtration to remove moisture, oil vapors, gaseous hydrocarbons, dirt, rust, scale, and other potentially dangerous contaminants is the minimum at best. Then if the dew point and relative humidity can be drastically lowered, you can create a quality of spray air necessary to properly apply today’s waterborne paint products.


Model 50-WB

The convenience of having a solution to comply with OSHA regulations for proper air supplied respiratory protection, and delivering Ultra Clean & Ultra Dry Air from a single system, is cost effective and efficient. The Model 50-WB can process up to 50 SCFM of Breathable Air or 35 SCFM of Ultra Clean & Ultra Dry Air, or any combination within those parameters.

Martech Services Company has been manufacturing

The Model 50-WB is designed to work with your existing compressed air source to properly filter and monitor the compressed air for Grade “D” Breathable Air, plus this system also provides Ultra Clean & Ultra Dry Air for use in spraying waterborne or solvent-based paints.

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This system can handle up to two painters at the same time. The Model 50-WB is a 50 SCFM system, and is also available in an 80 SCFM system.

Since 1991


For more information, contact your local jobber/dealer or

C O M PA N Y We’re serious about the air you breathe.


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SHOP PROFILE » Great Inventions there’s so much snow and gunk on it. It just makes sense,” said Carol. The addition will also include a parts room. Instead of having parts delivered through the shop and into a tech’s workspace, they’ll be delivered to a reserved space that doesn’t interrupt their work. The couple also hopes to incorporate solar panels into the shop design. “We’re moving forward in hopes of going as green as possible,” said Carol.

Customer Advocacy » If you visit the website for Eddie’s Auto Body at, one of the main things you’ll notice is the great amount of information related to consumer rights and car repair. As the former president of the Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) and a current member of

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Eddie and Carol Lupinek.

its Board of Directors, Eddie feels that it’s his duty to protect his customers’ rights by being honest and fair with them. “We educate them on their choice of the parts to be put in their cars,” said Carol. The couple has aftermarket parts in the shop to show to cus-

tomers, but chooses to exclusively use OE parts. “I find it to be really helpful to tell the truth and tell the customers how things really are,” said Eddie. Eddie’s Auto Body used to have six DRPs, but eventually eliminated them because of their restrictions. Not having any hasn’t affected business, though. “We’ve found that [by] being very transparent and truthful, the customers appreciate that,” said Eddie. “We’re busy, even when direct repair shops are slow, because of our very strong customer base.” It seems that the sky is the limit with Eddie and Carol’s business. By putting customers first and educating them about collision repair as much as possible, as well as by maximizing efficiency through creative inventions, Eddie’s Auto Body hopes to thrive for years to come. BSB

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Using Your Jobber

for a Win-Win Your jobber can be a huge asset in helping you reduce paint and material costs. By Tony Nethery

o I don’t sound like a broken record, I’ll keep my comments on the state of the industry to a minimum. However, it’s necessary to consider what’s currently going on in the industry to understand that the jobber and the shop owner are in the same boat. Shops no longer control their labor and material rates if they choose to do work for insurance companies. Parts prices have been pre-determined for years and are being cut into more deeply every day. Many insurers don’t allow mark-up on

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sublet, so the only thing left to make good gross profit on is paint and materials. But, with material rates being scrutinized more every day and some insurers imposing material thresholds, even that profit center is being squeezed.

Seek a Better Price » There are three ways, however, to increase your paint and material profit – and your jobber is key no matter which one you choose. The most common way is to seek a better price. It has become standard practice for some shop owners to seek a new paint company every three to five years in order to take advantage of the money that’s available for switching brands. With this comes a new contract and purchase requirement that’s nothing more than a prepaid discount, which translates to a better price. The downside

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BUSINESS » Using Your Jobber for the jobber is the fact that they most likely participate in the contract money, so their profit is greatly re-

duced until near the end of the agreement. About the time they begin to make a little return on their invest-

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ment, they lose the business. The downside for the shop owner is the constant disruption in their business caused by changing product, retraining technicians and rewriting standard operating procedures (SOPs). Since the rate is fixed, how do you gain margin between sales price and cost if you can’t reduce cost? The truth is you can’t – and that’s why the best method for reducing cost is to allow your jobber to sell you less. You might ask yourself, “Why would my jobber want to sell me less?” Well, ask yourself this: Would you be just as successful if you could repair 20 percent fewer cars but made 30 percent more profit on each vehicle? The obvious answer is yes, and this is possible if you become selective about the cars you repair. It’s the same for a jobber. There are some product lines that a jobber makes a better gross profit on than others. While you may be an expert on repairing vehicles because you’ve repaired hundreds of them and have been formally trained, your jobber has sold product to and received feedback from hundreds of shops and has most likely been trained on the products they sell. Tell your jobber what you need the product to

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BUSINESS » Using Your Jobber do, then let them select the product based on the best price and what they make the best profit on.

I can’t tell you how many times what’s weighed across the scales. I’ve seen technicians, when the se- More than once, I’ve had a shop ownlection of the product was er tell me that they didn’t left up to them, select want their technicians a name brand when to be bothered with the exact same any additional While it’s product packtasks such as enaged under a tering customer true that the job generic name information berequires what it could have cause of the been purchased loss time. But requires, at a much better look at what price. The only happens in an difference was emergency room the cost and who at a hospital. The warrantied the ER personnel are product (the manufacdealing with life-andturer or the jobber). Somedeath situations and still times using a less expensive product manage to get the information they may not be as cost effective because need to perform their jobs it doesn’t cover as well or go as properly. Each time I’ve seen shop far. A good jobber will take this owners enforce material tracking, into consideration. usage improved. Another thing that a jobber can Use Less Product » The second do is report usage based on your thing you can do to increase your sales. Looking at what other cuspaint and material profit is use less tomers purchase, they may be able product. While it’s true that the job to give you benchmarks as to what requires what it requires, the key is your range should be. The jobber to eliminate the waste. There are I work for can give you a purchasmultiple things the jobber can do to ing report that flags usage of products and whether it has trended accomplish this goal. Most paint formulation software up or down in relation to other today has the capability of tracking products purchased.

the key is to eliminate the waste.

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BUSINESS » Using Your Jobber Another way to use less product is to use the right one for the job. For example, most anything that can be masked with 2-inch masking tape can be masked with 1 1/2-inch tape, and the 1 1/2-inch tape is 30 to 40 percent less expensive than the 2inch tape. The same holds true with 18-inch masking paper and 12-inch paper. While many shop owners often complain about the price of these products, jobbers will tell you that someone continues to order them every day. At one point, we had a pallet of 12-inch masking paper in our warehouse, and when I did a sales search, I discovered that we only had one customer buying it. Masking products are only one example; there are many others like mixing cups, cans and clearcoats. If you use disposable cups for mixing, spraying and storage, you can eliminate cans, mixing cups and a lot of clean-up thinner. Many shops are using disposable cups, but are still buying the other products as well. This is where your jobber might be able to provide some training. While less expensive clears might not be suitable on some vehicles, you might still consider using them on jambs and high-mileage vehicles.

Increase Sales » The final thing you can try to increase the margin between cost and sales is to increase sales. You might say that estimating software and allowed material rates dictate sales, but if there was ever an opportunity to add sales through paint and materials, it’s today. As technology has changed in new vehicles, we’ve failed to keep up on the material side of the equation. For example, think of the various materials used in replacing the average outer door panel. You may need panel bond adhesive; seam sealer; intrusion beam absorber adhesive; sound dampening material; peel rivets for the window regulator; chip coating; flex additive for trim; trim adhesive; weather strip adheCircle 74 for Reader Service


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BUSINESS » Using Your Jobber

Let your jobber select the best product for you – after all, they’ve received feedback on the products they carry from hundreds of body shops.

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sive; and door trim clips. Every one of these products has a part number and may need to be added as a line item on the final bill. In many cases, the insurer will pay for these items if you have a method of tracking and invoicing them. This is where the jobber comes into the picture. Most jobbers have access to some method of tracking these types of products. Every jobber will have current pricing on these products, and should be able to help you document and invoice them. There are many ways to do this. You may have an internal method of tracking and invoicing these consumables, and only need the jobber to keep pricing updated and provide a purchasing report to identify what products you or your technicians are ordering. Another method might be to establish what items you purchase that you may choose to resell as a consumable item or as a part. When an order is placed for one of these items, it may be treated a little differently. You may want to provide the jobber with a purchase order that includes a repair order number. When the order is filled, you can require that the jobber put the repair order number on the invoice. You might also include the service representative’s or

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BUSINESS » Using Your Jobber

Most anything that can be masked with 2-inch tape can be masked with 1 1/2-inch tape, which is 30 to 40 percent cheaper.

Considering a jobber’s vast array of products, sometimes choosing the less expensive one is not cost effective.

estimator’s name and ask that a copy of the invoice be given to them so it can be filed and added to the bill. Because jobbers work with multiple shops that are all struggling with the same issues, they often work with consultants who may offer assistance and training

on increasing sales. They may also work closely with materials management software, or some type of cooperative that offers rebates on purchases.

Find the Right Jobber » Whether you decide to try to increase paint and material margins by cutting cost, cutting usage or selling more product, your jobber can be a huge asset to you. Most will gladly go out of their way for a loyal customer. As a former If you want technician, shop manager and owner who has worked for you need a jobber for to the last seven years, I strongly recommend sitting down with your jobber and asking for their help with material management. Here’s the bottom line: If you want to be above average on paint and materials profitability, you need to find and partner with an above-average jobber. If you find the right jobber, they’ll deliver more than a can of paint. BSB

to be above average on paint and materials profitability, find and partner with an aboveaverage jobber.

Tony Nethery is the business development manager at COLORMATCH. He’s an I-CAR instructor and has worked in the collision industry for more than 30 years. He can be reached at (731) 267-5627 or Circle 76 for Reader Service


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»| Industry Update |« Axalta continued from pg. 11 because legislation is mandating it. And many are looking at this as a way of driving productivity. Bennett: Solventborne applications might take four to five passes to achieve effective color development or hiding; our waterborne requires one to one-and-a-half passes, so there is a significant time advantage in moving cars in and out of the booth. BSB: What predictions do you have for the collision market over the next 10 to 15 years? Bennett: I think the industry is going through several dynamic changes. Consolidation is one of those changes, and will continue to occur if not accelerate. But there will always be the traditional models in place. If you look at the distribution of some of the big

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consolidators, they’re focused in the south and even more focused in urban regions, but the more traditional model is prevalent throughout the majority of the country. So we will be cognizant of these trends. Our first goal is to protect and support our existing customers and help them grow, and then take advantage of our products and of-

ferings to selectively grow as the market is growing. Mike [Crickenberger] talked about where there is growth in the industry on a global basis, but whether it’s Chicago or Shanghai, we seek growth opportunities in North America as well. We think we have an opportunity and the right people, products and services to grow here, and that’s what we’re challenged to do.

GEICO Joins State Farm in Seeking Gag Order Against Gunder’s Auto Center EICO has joined State Farm in seeking a gag order against Ray Gunder of Gunder’s Auto Center in Lakeland, Fla. Gunder is suing the insurers on behalf of his customers for intentional short pays and a variety of other alleged misdoings. According to Gunder, GEICO recently brought in additional legal counsel from Arizona as co-counsel, who immediately sent notice to his attorney, Brent Geohagan, that they would be seeking a delay/continuance for several scheduled depositions and request the court to issue a gag order to stop Gunder from sharing his legal journey with the collision repair industry. Last month, State Farm filed a similar motion with the local court to stop Gunder from sharing information relative to the numerous lawsuits he has filed on behalf of his customers, including deposition transcripts and results of hearings and discovery. “Because no ‘trade secrets’ (i.e. policy premiums, methodology to set or determine pricing, demographics, etc.) will be part or parcel of the discovery in these cases, and because the terms of the insurers’ policy/contracts are readily available to all, as are their marketing efforts, I can see no viable or ‘legitimate trade secret’ concerns that would warrant the courts to issue such an order to silence Ray,” said Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts (ADE). “Based upon what has been learned through discovery thus far, I can fully understand why these two insurers would not want the information relative to their conduct exposed. As such, Ray’s actions and successes have been extremely beneficial to other repairers and consumers and to the collision repair industry at large and may encourage some insurers to change their business practices.”


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Air Cleaner for Small Shops

VOC-Compliant Primer Surfacer MRS-80 DTAM is a high-build, primer surfacer that’s isocyantefree and VOC compliant. It has corrosion-resistant properties, eliminating the need for pre-treatment primer over bare metal, aluminum, galvanized steel and other metal substrates. MRS-80 levels to a smooth surface and sands easily without loading sandpaper.

U.S. Body Products/Airomax has a new, smaller air cleaner suitable for shops up to 700 square feet in size. After using the Model 700, the shop air will be 75 to 90 percent cleaner, the company claims. U.S. Body Products/Airomax Circle 153 for Reader Service

Medallion Refinish Systems Circle 150 for Reader Service

Lots of Power, Little Noise BendPak’s TRI-MAX air compressor is an ASMEcertified powerhouse that features a TRI-MAX extreme-duty three-cylinder pump, designed and manufactured to operate with maximum efficiency under all load conditions. The 100 percent cast iron pump has a “W-3” configuration that provides 360-degree cooling efficiency, and splash lubrication ensures total reliability. A low RPM pump combined with a 7.5-hp motor packs a lot of power but makes little noise. BendPak Circle 151 for Reader Service

Eight Working Heights The American Freedom is a versatile collision repair frame machine that gives you eight working heights from 12 to 42 feet, a 9,900 pound lift capacity and 10 tons of pulling. This machine is available in 20, 22 and 24 feet with two or more towers as well as an optional computerized measuring system. With its well-engineered technology, the American Freedom is designed with many features that will give the shop owner a much quicker return on their investment. CJJ, Inc. Circle 152 for Reader Service


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Grow Shop Revenue Lancer Insurance Company’s auto rental program allows shop owners to minimize their customers’ inconvenience while adding a new profit source. It offers the necessary insurance coverage for starting your own rent-a-car operation. Lancer Insurance Company Circle 154 for Reader Service

Vertical Sand with Ease The Dynabug II is an air-powered orbital finishing sander that features a lightweight design and is ideal for vertical sanding applications. The small, compact tool utilizes a 10,000-RPM motor and features a 3/32inch diameter orbit, making the sander suitable for blending and finishing. It’s available as a non-vacuum tool, a self-generated vacuum tool and as a central vacuum tool. Dynabrade Circle 155 for Reader Service

»| Product Showcase |«

Weld With Style The CE-certified VIKING Series of auto-darkening helmets features three sizes, variable shade control, arc sensors and solar power with battery assist. They include a switchblade grind mode, extra inside/outside cover lenses, a Lincoln Electric bandana and a helmet bag. Lincoln Electric Circle 156 for Reader Service

Quick and Easy Color ID The AccuShade Color Variant Selector makes it easy for refinishers to quickly and accurately identify the exact color formulas they need. It’s organized by manufacturer alphanumerically, covering both domestic and import vehicles. This system features 2007-2011 vehicle model years with room for future updates.

Assess Operations and Repairs VeriFacts’ VQ program provides collision repair facility operators with comprehensive third-party verification of a facility’s technical capabilities including equipment, technician training and skill levels along with overall commitment to safe, quality repairs. It allows body shops to assess their operations and actual repairs to provide independent verification to customers and insurers. VeriFacts Automotive Circle 160 for Reader Service

Matrix System Circle 157 for Reader Service

Fast and Easy Contaminant Removal Medallion’s Paint Prep Cloth (MRS-673) is designed to remove surface contaminants faster and easier than clay bars. It safely removes paint overspray, rail dust, water spots and other surface contaminants from automotive paint, glass, moldings and plastic. MRS-673 can be used up to 50 times and works best with MRS-675 Clean & Shine. Removing surface contamination prior to polishing or waxing will extend the life of the paint job and give it a showroom finish. Medallion Refinish Systems Circle 158 for Reader Service

Zero-VOC Plastic Cleaner Urethane Supply Company’s new EcoClean is a zero-VOC plastic cleaner for use before plastic repair and refinishing jobs to ensure the best performance from fillers, paints and adhesion promoters. It’s designed to perform as well as solvent-based plastic cleaners when preparing plastic for repair and refinishing work. It removes mold release agents and silicones, and is safe for use on all plastics. Urethane Supply Company Circle 159 for Reader Service

Improve Frame Rack Versatility Chief’s tower extension, designed for its EZ Liner Express system, adds another 18 inches of clearance between the frame rack’s tower and the vehicle being repaired. It removes obstructions and makes working on all vehicles easier for technicians. The tower extension attaches to the deck in 10 different locations, creating a true 360-degree repair system. When not in use, the extension can be removed from the tower assembly for better storage. Chief Automotive Circle 161 for Reader Service 81

Process Consulting  Are you not convinced that cookie cutter "lean" processes are the fix for your shop? Tried to implement these processes to your shop only to have pushback resulting in the same old way?  No cookie cutter process works for everyone. I help put the pieces you should adopt together. With the one most important element... Buy in. Also vast experience with social networking and online reputation management.

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Shop Thomas Maimone Collision Repair Advisor – Dealership, VIP Clients Marco’s Collision Centers 䡲 Pasadena, Calif.

You look pretty cut. What’s your workout like? I work out four times a week, mostly heavy lifting. I hate running. It’s just not my thing. I run enough around the shop getting cars in and out.

Do you belong to a gym? Yes, I work out there with my girlfriend. It’s probably one of the only times I get to spend with her, with her going to school at UCLA and me working all the time. But we make it work, and at least we get to stay fit together.

Is staying fit a California thing? I would definitely say that. I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. quite a few times, and it seems people in California care a little more about how they look. Then again, we have beaches and places where we want to go and take our shirts off, so we have to stay lean for that.

Does everyone in California eat healthy? I don’t know about everyone, but I definitely do. With our industry the way it is, you have to eat quick and you can only eat what’s around you. So to stay healthy, you have to bring your own food to work. Plus, you save a lot of money.


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What does your typical lunch look like? Chicken and rice, veggies and wheat bread.

Do you surf? No. I do more what you probably see in the Midwest: riding ATVs, shooting and hunting. I’m definitely a beach guy, though. We have a little place in Newport Beach where we hold barbecues and pit fires. We’ll ride ATVs at our family ranch in Lancaster. My whole family is in the automotive business, and my cousins are mechanics. They’ll bring out their big trucks there and go through the mud.

What’s the best thing about living in California? The accessibility to different climates. You can snowboard in the morning, and literally the same day go to the beach in the afternoon. There are so many options that you never get bored. Also, there are many big cities here where not everyone knows you. You can move around and do your own thing. Unlike a small town where everyone knows you, there are a lot of cities here where you can get a fresh start. BSB

Circle 85 for Reader Service

Circle 86 for Reader Service

BodyShop Business  

BodyShop Business delivers shop management, ­marketing and technical information, as well as industry news and trends, to collision repair f...

BodyShop Business  

BodyShop Business delivers shop management, ­marketing and technical information, as well as industry news and trends, to collision repair f...