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May 2013//Vol. 32 No. 5

Shop Owner...........................34 Operations .............................36 Insurer-Repairer Relations .....42 Market....................................46

www.bodyshopbusiness.com

Purchasing .............................52 Personnel ...............................54 MSO.......................................58


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Inside

May May 2013

Vol. 32

No. 5

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ON THE COVER 2013 Industry Profile Do you like numbers? Well then you’re going to love our Industry Profile, where we offer a statistical snapshot of today’s collision repair industry. Based on a survey of our readers, we highlight seven segments:

Shop Owner ............................34 Operations ..............................36 Insurer-Repairer Relations ........42 Market ....................................50

Purchasing ..............................52 Personnel ................................54 Multi-Shop Operations..............58

FEATURES

60 Against the Grain TECHNICAL

All sandpaper might look alike, but you would be surprised at all the different components that go into it. Plus, we discuss sanding best practices.

74 6 Keys to Winning Negotiations BUSINESS

Negotiation is an everyday part of life, and by adhering to these six concepts, you’ll win more times than you’ll lose when you face off with insurance adjusters.

SHOP TALK Editor’s Notes

6 8 Publisher’s Perspective 10 Viewpoint 14 Clark’s Corner 18 Web Presence Management James Bond’s got nuthin’ on me.

Are we ready to fix advanced systems?

Just say no to partial refinish!

You never know enough to bypass training.

Making LinkedIn part of your brand promotion.

BODYSHOP BUSINESS (ISSN 0730-7241) (May 2013, Volume 32, Number 5): 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 ..............................................................................12 Tech Tips ......................................................................................26 NASCAR Performance ......................................................................32 Product Showcase............................................................................93 The Shop ......................................................................................96


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Guess

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 bodyshopbusiness.com/guessthecar. The winner will be randomly selected from # correct entries and awarded $50. Entries must be received by May 31.

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*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.

May 2013 | BodyShop Business

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SOLVED!

See the June issue for winner of Guess the Car #121.

Three Buttes = (Mazda) Tribute

#120

I want to catch some rays.

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#121

Tammy Nix, receptionist, Jack Wilson Chevrolet, St. Augustine, Fla.

D-art = (Dodge) Dart

!

WINNER


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Editor’s

Notes

Publisher

S. Scott Shriber, ext. 229 sshriber@babcox.com Editor

Stahl, Jason Stahl

Jason Stahl, ext. 226 jstahl@babcox.com Associate Editor

tahl, Jason Stahl. Ever since hitting the tarmac at England’s Gatwick Airport, I’d been looking for an excuse to utter my name just like James Bond. I don’t know what got me thinking of Bond when AkzoNobel extended me an offer to visit England and tour the McLaren Technology Center in Woking, Surrey – probably the fact that A) I’m a huge Bond fan, B) England is Bond’s home country, and C) I might actually get the chance to ride in a Bond-like supercar with gadgets galore.

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The only time I did utter my name like Bond was at customs, where the agent hardly seemed amused. But I did feel positively Bond-like when I arrived at the McLaren headquarters that looked like it came straight out of the movies. The first thing I noticed, besides the cleanliness of the place, was the vintage race cars in the reception area. One was the car Bruce McLaren won his first race with at age 15. There was even a “secret door” that opened up to reveal the new P1, a hybrid supercar that costs more than $1 million. I also got to meet Ron Dennis, chairman of McLaren

Gina Kuzmick, ext. 244 gkuzmick@babcox.com 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 ldipaolo@babcox.com Advertising Services

Kelly McAleese, ext. 284 kmcaleese@babcox.com

I got to ride shotgun in a McLaren MP412C thanks to AkzoNobel.

Automotive and McLaren Group, who explained that his inspiration for a chrome coating on McLaren Racing’s Formula One car came from his bottle of aftershave. “Could we achieve that on a coating?” McLaren wondered. “Not a wrap, or a plastic film, but a coating.” The task seemed impossible, but Dennis said, “We liked impossible. That’s the McLaren way.” Thanks to AkzoNobel, the impossible became possible. They created a coating with a huge commercial benefit and the look McLaren wanted that was one-third the weight. I suspect that if Q had revealed this paint technology to Bond, Bond would have said, “You’re joking.” And Q would have responded, “I never joke about my work, 007.”

Jason Stahl, Editor Email comments to jstahl@babcox.com

Director of Circulation

Pat Robinson, ext. 276 probinson@babcox.com Director of eMedia & Audience Development

Brad Mitchell, ext. 277 bmitchell@babcox.com Subscription Services

Ellen Mays, ext. 275 emays@babcox.com Tel: (330) 670-1234 Fax: (330) 670-0874 Website: bodyshopbusiness.com 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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Publisher’s

Perspective Do You Know

What These Are? E

arlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Collision Industry Conference (CIC) in Phoenix. I found several of the topics noteworthy and thought I would highlight them here for all of you.

The first thing I learned was that electronic stability control (ESC) has been mandated on the 2012 models of all U.S. passenger cars. While I remembered when the government started the phase-in, I didn’t recall that all cars produced for the U.S. market were required to have ESC now. ESC is a great innovation and has been around on premium vehicles for a long time. It’s an advanced vehicle system that utilizes the ABS system in conjunction with directional sensors to ensure a vehicle is heading in the direction that the wheels are turned. This was the first “aha” moment I had. This is a mandated system that relies on another system to operate...and interdependence means complexity. The CIC Technical Committee delivered an excellent presentation on other safety/ crash avoidance technologies available today and on the horizon. Some of these technologies include:

䡲 TPMS – Pretty straightforward and already on most cars. 䡲 HAC and HDC – Hill ascent and descent control. It’s pretty simple to figure out what these do; both run through the ESC components to operate, which means they use the ABS too. That’s three systems relying on each other. 䡲 Blind spot warning – This alerts drivers when there is someone in the vehicle’s blind spot. 䡲 Lane departure warning – This alerts drivers when they’re attempting to leave the lane they’re traveling in. 䡲 Adaptive headlights – These actually follow the direction the steering wheel is pointed. 䡲 Adaptive cruise control – This will actually slow the car down on cruise control based on your following distance. While all of these features are arguably important, the concern is, are we ready to fix them? Do we have the diagnostic equipment to troubleshoot these complex, interdependent systems? Do we have the training to diagnose these options? Change is good and, in this case, positive, but we need to plan now for all that it includes. See you in the other lane...if my car will let me go there.

S. Scott Shriber, Publisher Email comments to sshriber@babcox.com


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Viewpoint

By Mike Watson

Just Say No to

Partial Refinish e see this on many insurance Making Your Case » Some will ask, company estimates: “partial re“How do I argue this with the insurance finish.” Most body shops just company?” Actually, it’s simple. Ask the let it go and take the loss. Have adjuster, “What’s the actual difference in you, as the owner of the shop, taken the what we’ll be doing for a partial refinish time to consider how and what we’ll be much money you’re The good news is that when doing for a full reletting slip out the finish?” And then, you say, door by letting this before they can anpractice continue? swer, answer the question yourself. 90 percent of Explain how parExample » Let’s tial refinish actually break it down. You’re insurance companies will costs more. We still working on a 2005 give you full refinish. have to clean and Toyota Highlander sand the entire panel, tailgate and have a except with partial refinish, we have to four-hour dent. The estimating program sand much more slowly and carefully. gives you 3.7 hours to refinish, which And since that is the case, we now have to breaks down to $118.40 in paint materials have a professional painter prep the panel, and $177.60 in labor for a total of $296. not a low-paid tech. This will cost the That’s not too, bad considering that all inshop more. Also, we now must use a surance companies refuse to pay for feathblending agent, which adds even more er, prime and block. But with this formula, cost. Then, tell the adjuster, “We may have a shop only breaks even for this refinish used $5 less in paint, but we’ve used more job. There is simply no room to reduce rein blending agent and prep time. Now pay finish time. me to use my highly paid painter to prep Let’s see what happens if you let the inand to use blending agent, and also pay surance company bully you into a partial me to feather, prime and block sand, and refinish. They reduce the refinish time to I’ll be glad to accept partial refinish.” BSB 2.3 hours. That’s $73.60 for paint material and $110.40 for labor for a total of $184.40. You just lost $111.10. Remember, you still Mike Watson co-owns Jim’s have to feather, prime and block, which Body Shop LLC with his brother, will result in another $80 loss, bringing the James, in LaPlace, La. He can be total loss to $191.10. The good news is that reached at (985) 652-5804 or when you say, “We do not accept partial rejimsbodyshop1016@gmail.com. finish,” 90 percent of insurance companies will give you full refinish.

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“We do not accept partial refinish,”

The views expressed in this editorial do not neccessarily reflect those of BodyShop Business magazine.

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Industry

Update

Spring 2013 PPG MVP Business Solutions Conference Yields Largest Turnout To Date By Gina Kuzmick PG’s Spring MVP Business Solutions Conference, which took place April 7-9, 2013 in Scottsdale, Ariz., yielded the largest turnout to date. More than 400 collision repairers gathered at the beautiful JW Marriott Camelback Inn for three

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days of golf, educational breakout sessions and industry speakers. Keynote speakers included Sasha Strauss, managing director at Innovation Protocol and adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, and George Avery, CIC chairman and State Farm claims consultant. “We continue to focus on and strive to deliver

(Clockwise from top left) Jim Berkey, director of PPG MVP Business Solutions; keynote speaker Sasha Strauss; guests at the opening reception got to nosh on some tasty vittles; Greg Benckart,vice president, PPG Automotive Refinish; these guests took traditional “golf attire” to a whole new level at the golf outing.

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the best in class and most relevant content at our conferences to help our customers achieve and keep a competitive edge in the marketplace,” said Jim Berkey, PPG, director, MVP Business Solutions. “Partnerships, education and time are more valuable with each passing day, so developing the right relationships and delivering industry-leading learning opportunities provides the groundwork for growth and sustainability for our customers’ businesses.”

A gala dinner, held Tuesday, April 8, featured delicious barbecue food, a viewing party of the NCAA tournament finals game and a live performance by the KSG Band. Keynote speaker Steve Gilliland delivered final remarks with his energetic “Enjoy the Ride” speech. To view some of our highlights of the event, visit bit.ly/YklzOb. For descriptions of the images, view the slideshow in full screen mode and click “Show Info” in the upper righthand corner of each photo. Circle 120 for Reader Service »


»| Industry Update |« Automotive Service Association Names Dan Risley Interim Executive Director he Automotive Service Association (ASA) has announced that Dan Risley has been named interim executive director. The announcement comes following Ron Pyle’s decision to step down as president and chief staff executive. Pyle joined the national staff in July 2002 and assumed the role of president in November 2002. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve an association with the storied hisDan Risley tory of ASA,” said Risley, who joined ASA in March as executive vice president. “The ASA board of directors is committed to strengthening the association through open communication and collaboration. I intend on helping them fulfill that commitment.” Added Darrell Amberson, AAM, ASA chairman and vice president of operations at LaMettry’s Collision in Minneapolis, “Dan’s leadership and presence within the auto repair industry are just a few of the underlying reasons we believe he is a perfect complement to ASA. The board looks forward to collaborating with him and leveraging his strengths to better the association and the value our membership receives.” Risley, who has served the industry in many roles throughout his career, came to ASA after six years at Allstate Insurance Co. where he was a market claims manager. Prior to that, he served as executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). Pyle, who shared with the board prior to the meeting his plans to step down, will continue to work with ASA in an advisory role until the end of the year.

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Mississippi AG Instructs Insurers to Pay Properly for Hail Damage ississippi Attorney General Jim Hood has sent a letter to all insurance companies conducting business in the state, asking them to pay for necessary procedures to restore recently hail damaged vehicles to pre-accident condition. A recent hail storm left numerous Mississippi residents with damage to their businesses, homes and vehicles. Hood’s office has received reports that some insurance companies are

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not including certain procedures in their estimates that would restore vehicles to pre-accident condition. In addition, a survey of more than 30 body shops indicates that claims for repairs deemed necessary by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or estimating software are not being included in estimates. The shops have stated that they will not make these repairs without payment from the insurance companies. The letter in its entirety is as follows:

Dear Mr. Counsel, A recent hail storm in Mississippi caused significant damage to many Mississippians’ businesses, automobiles and homes. Our office has received reports that some insurance companies are issuing estimates that do not include certain automobile repair procedures specified by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software as necessary to return vehicles to their pre-accident condition. Furthermore, our office has survey responses from more than 30 auto body repair shops. The survey results indicate that claims for certain repairs specified as necessary by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software, such as feather, block and prime, denib and finesse, masking of jambs, broken glass clean-up and more are not being included in estimates issued to the insureds. These auto body repair shops have not agreed to make these required repairs without payment by the insurers. The refusal to include in an estimate the work required by the insurance companies’ own manuals and/or software to return vehicles to their pre-accident condition has created an environment for companies potentially to take unfair advantage of insureds and/or auto body repair shops. The inconvenience and financial damage to property caused by the hail storm should not be compounded by the shift of covered expenses onto the automobile owner or auto body repair shop. All insurance companies should be aware that such practices could subject the companies to civil or criminal penalties. Therefore, I am asking you to take whatever steps are necessary to correct this inconsistency in your business practices. Please communicate to your staff the necessity to consult the procedure pages provided by your chosen manual and/or software and your responsibility to pay for repairs according to the labor allowances provided by your databases. Your cooperation in protecting Mississippi individuals and businesses is greatly appreciated. If you have any questions, please contact the Consumer Protection Division at (601) 359-4230. Sincerely yours, Jim Hood Attorney General

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Clark’s

Corner

By Mark Clark

You Don’t Know

What You Don’t Know hen I was given the opportunity to write this column in BodyShop Business to celebrate my 25th year as a contributing editor, there were two topics I immediately decided I wanted to advocate from my new soapbox. The first one on my list was the effectiveness of formal training. Long before I began to train others about auto body issues in 1986, I was a devoted student of any industry education classes I could attend. It’s still true; I relish the opportunity to learn from PBE people. “You don’t know what you don’t know” is an old saying that’s been around forever but has always held true. I know that whatever

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position you occupy in your business, you have some useful skills. If you’re pulling the metal, painting the car, writing the estimate, running the shop, selling the supplies or making the paint, you’re able to “git ’r done.” But unless you regularly attend some training, you may not realize that there are faster, cheaper, more productive ways to work.

Negative Neds » All too frequently, I run across people who have negative attitudes 14

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about training. They fall into two general categories: the giant ego people and the onetimers. The ego crowd has made a good living and brought home the bacon each week for many years. They fix more cars than any tech in town or have managed several repair facilities or opened their own businesses. What can you possibly tell them about their own work issues? The second category of training-averse folks are the one-timers – those who attended some class (once) and had a bad experience. “Yeah,” they say, “I went to a training class back in the day and the instructor was a poor speaker and didn’t know squat about my work.” And they never went to another class because it would no doubt be just as worthless. “I believe many people stay away from training because they’re afraid of looking dumb or because the training they’ve attended previously was boring or unprofessional,” says Dave Dunn of Masters Autobody School of Management. “One of the complaints we hear at Masters is that the facilitators/trainers are either people who failed in the body shop business or who have never run a shop. In fact, why would anyone get out of the business to be a trainer if they know so much about running a shop?” I tell the story about one of my old customers who started selling used cars for someone else and ended up owning two profitable Ford-VW stores. Ford had asked him again and again to join one of its 20 Groups, but his attitude was, “What could I possibly learn?” He was a self-made success, and it was unlikely that anyone could tell him anything he didn’t already know about selling cars. Finally, Ford got him to attend one of the meetings and, in a single three-day session, turned his attitude completely around. He


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»| Clark’s Corner |« said he couldn’t believe how many nickels and dimes he stepped over all those years to pick up the stray dollar. Turns out someone did know more about selling and fixing cars than he did! He became an even bigger success by making sure he and all of his employees took advantage of formal training on their job skills at every opportunity. He didn’t know what he didn’t know – and to listen to what others in his field had to say was plenty helpful in doing his job faster, better and more profitably.

Unbiased Information » When I started teaching, my original class was designed to instruct auto parts salespeople how to sell paint and body supplies. Before long, my main audiences were body shop folks who were trying to understand the many industry changes brought on by the introduction of the frame-less, three-

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box unicoupe vehicle design. Before they spent $25,000 to buy a device that would hold, measure and pull those sheet metal cars or a wire welder to repair them, they wanted some unbiased information – and the best training classes are chock full of this kind of information. It helps if the presenter can speak in an interesting manner, but a poor presenter with great information is still time well spent. I credit BodyShop Business with greatly expanding my breadth of PBE knowledge. All the interviews I conducted to write the 140-some articles I was assigned made me a much smarter guy. I didn’t know what I didn’t know…until I asked someone who did. What’s the best way to adjust a spray gun, anchor a rocker panel, match a color, job cost an RO? Trade associations, equipment vendors,

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paint companies and I-CAR all have answers to those questions and many more. Don’t be the shop that complains that they’re too busy fixing cars to attend a class. Attending the class is the first step to fixing even more cars! Says Loren Hursh, auto program director for Vale Training Solutions, “Adapting to change quickly is very important in this competitive environment. By investing in quality training, the learning curve is shortened, improving job performance and your bottom line.”

The Teacher Is Taught » I’ve been fortunate to have had thousands of collision repair people in my audiences over the last 27 years. And in that time, I’ve never presented a class where I didn’t also learn something from the students. I certainly don’t have a corner on


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»| Clark’s Corner |« good ideas, and I always look for the opportunity to include useful ones from other industry players. Occasionally, I get a nice “thank you” from someone, saying that what I told them did indeed made their business better. I always point out that I told the exact same thing to hundreds of others, it’s just that they were the ones who acted on the data. Changing your business model is the hardest part, but pulling the trigger on change and implementing the good ideas makes all the difference.

success. Another third of the students made at least one change and were still talking about making more, but they got derailed when the many existing problems in their jobs got in the way of their good intentions. The last third either didn’t take my phone calls (Mark who?) or “just hadn’t had time” to do anything different. Not surprisingly, their results were unchanged from before the training. Attending the class is step one, but doing something about the information is the critical component.

class in pairs, attending alone is way better than not attending at all. Can’t spare two people from work to go to class? Then by all means send one – with instructions to share what they learned with the rest of the crew the day they return. Telling others what you heard is the best way to organize your own thoughts. And, most importantly, empower them to act on the new information. Your business will be much better…and you’ll know something you didn’t know. BSB

Follow-Up » Some of my programs have a follow-up component several weeks after classes end. My experience with those phone calls over the years is pretty consistent. About onethird of the people who pledged to make changes actually made them and couldn’t wait to share with me their process and resulting business

Two Is Better Than One » My last

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

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piece of advice about attending educational sessions is to send two people to the same program. Without exception, if you and your workmate hear the same presentation, you’ll get much more done when you return to your jobs. However, even though the best outcomes occur when you attend

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Web Presence

Management

By Mark Claypool

Link Up on

LinkedIn onfused by LinkedIn? Don’t know what it is? Do you believe it has a place in our industry? Do you feel it’s just too complicated for you to even hope to achieve anything by using it? You’re not alone. Jumping into anything unknown is hard and usually keeps us from even trying at all. But let’s get familiar with LinkedIn and how it can benefit your business.

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Who, What and Why » What is LinkedIn? Simply put, it’s your online resume, but it’s so much more than that. While your profile is a resume, it’s also an interactive one. LinkedIn is the premier social networking platform of business professionals with more than 160 million users, mostly from North America (unlike Facebook). Companies and professionals see LinkedIn as a valuable place to promote their products and services. Who’s on LinkedIn? Just about anyone who wants to network with others. There are full- and part-time employees, contractors, freelancers, insurance agents, key decision makers from any given industry and many companies. Insurance agents in your area are obviously important for you to link with for referral connections. Why LinkedIn for networking? “Because companies don’t give you business, people do,” says Tyler Claypool, director of social media management for Optima Automotive. “When building a resume, the whole purpose is to sell you. If you’re a business owner, are

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you not the business? You’re promoting yourself and promoting your business all at the same time. I often hear someone asking where they can get their car repaired, and the response is usually, ‘Take it to Joe over at ABC Collision. He does a great job!’ Joe’s the owner and usually gets named in the referral. This is exactly what LinkedIn can do for a business, but on a larger scale.”

It’s All About You » If you’re now convinced that you need to set up a LinkedIn account, let’s get your profile set up. Start by going here: http://www.linkedin. com. Enter your name, email address and desired password, then click on “Join Now.” Then follow the instructions from there. Across the top, there will be a progress bar. Strive for 100 percent. Write a summary of your work background and experience. Add current and past positions. “Education” is pretty easy to figure out; make sure you add the clubs/organizations you were involved in. List your skills/expertise in your profile. As you start typing your skills, a list will pop up with common skills predict-


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»| Web Presence |« ing what skill you’re most likely entering. These skills are there so

other LinkedIn members can endorse you. Keep these focused on work-related skills (see above for example). Finally, it’s time for the profile picture. On Facebook, you can have a picture of yourself on the beach, at a party or any other fun picture. Keep those on Facebook. Your LinkedIn profile picture should be a professional picture

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of you from the shoulders up. Carefully consider the background and lighting. You’re limited to the space visible, so you’ll want to make the most of that space so people can recognize you. Smile!

Building Your Network » The first step to building your LinkedIn network is to mirror your offline network to your online network. Have LinkedIn send out emails to your email list for you. This will tell people that you’re on LinkedIn and you’re interested in “linking” with them. The people who have LinkedIn will usually accept your invitation. The people who don’t may eventually join and link up with you later, so it’s a good thing to get those invites out there. By doing this, you can grow your

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network quickly. Then, start searching your area for other people to link to, such as insurance agents, dealerships, local politicians, etc. Be engaging! Post about new construction, new equipment or a vehicle you just finished. Share some of your connection’s posts; people love to be heard! When you share anything, that person gets a notification that you shared it. Chances are they’ll start paying attention to you because of it. Join “Groups.” LinkedIn is full of groups for any industry, including ours. Find a few groups


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»| Web Presence |« to join and keep up to date with what’s going on around the country. This is a great way to follow what others are doing or check in with key influencers to see the direction they may be heading in (see left and pg. 22 for examples). While you’re at it, you can also create a LinkedIn company page (above). Expose your brand, promote job openings, inform visitors and network with customers. LinkedIn should be another part of your outreach, brand promotion and networking efforts if it isn’t already. Fit it into your schedule. Don’t let these times pass you by – you can’t afford not to participate in this and other social media. Optima Automotive will be conducting free web- inars on LinkedIn and social media throughout the months of May and June. To request more information, visit www.optimaautomotive.com. 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.optimaauto motive.com), which provides website design, development, search engine optimization (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 co-founder 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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Tech

Tips

By Dan Espersen and Jeff Webster

Radar Sensing Technology adar – really? If you haven’t seen it in a crunched car yet, you’re probably overdue. Vehicles utilizing this technology invented for ships and planes are now rolling (or being towed) into shops as a result of collisions. To repair these vehicles efficiently and profitably, you need to understand the specific nuances of each manufacturer’s advanced systems for collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control and parking assist. As with any new system that proves successful, radar technology is sure to become widespread throughout the industry. The safety and convenience factors are simply too great. The National Transportation Safety Board already recommends that all new cars include collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control systems. There may come a day when some emerging new technologies replace or augment today’s radar systems. The only thing certain is that vehicles will continue to become more and more complex, and manufacturers’ information is essential to repairing them safely and properly. Below – as an example only – is a partial and condensed description of the radar technology available in current Mercedes-Benz models.

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Service Procedure » Always refer to ALLDATA Collision for safety procedures, identification of material types, recommended refinish materials, and removal and installation procedures. Always refer to the manufacturer for questions relating to applicable or non-applicable warranty repair information. 26

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Model 221 N62/1 radar sensors control unit (SGR) / Location: bottom right side of the luggage compartment.

Component Description » Here is the GF30.30-P-3301LEB component description for the radar sensors control unit. 䡲 MODEL 216.3, 221.0/1 up to 31.8.10 with CODE (234) Blind Spot Assist as of model year 2009/ YoM 08 䡲 MODEL 221.0/1 (except 221.095/ 195) with CODE (239) Autonomous Intelligent Cruise Control Plus Light as of model year 2011/YoM 10 䡲MODEL 221.095/195 with CODE (234) Blind Spot Assist as of model year 2011

Task » The radar sensor’s control unit is the evaluation unit of the short range radar for vehicles with

the following equipment installed: 䡲 Code (233) Distronic Plus 䡲 Code (234) Blind Spot Assist The radar sensor’s control unit also evaluates data from the long range radar for vehicle with the following equipment installed: 䡲 Code (233) Distronic Plus 䡲 Code (239) Adaptive Cruise Control Plus Light To do this, the radar sensor’s control unit fulfills the following tasks: 䡲 Reading in of sensors, pickups and signals 䡲 Evaluation of input factors 䡲 Control of systems 䡲 Output of signals


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»| Tech Tips |« Reading In » The input factors are read in via the following connections: 䡲 Chassis CAN (CAN E) 䡲 Vehicle dynamics CAN (CAN H) 䡲 Sensor CAN (CAN S) Chassis CAN » The radar sensor’s control unit reads in the following information via the chassis CAN:

䡲 Status of the accelerator pedal 䡲 Status of the engine timing 䡲 Drive position status 䡲 Electronic Stability Program (ESP) status 䡲 Yaw rate status 䡲 Wheel speeds and wheel rotation direction 䡲 Status information from the

driver assist or driving safety system 䡲 Parking brake status 䡲 Status of steering angle 䡲 Position data from navigation (for the Western Europe version) 䡲 Driver request via CC [TPM] push button (S40/4) 䡲 Driver request via menu settings in instrument cluster (A1) 䡲 Status of the flasher [for code (234) Blind Spot Assist] 䡲 Status of the trailer [for code (234) Blind Spot Assist and code (550) AHV]

Vehicle Dynamics CAN » The signals from the following components are read in via the vehicle dynamics CAN: 䡲 DTR controller unit (A89) [for code (233) Distronic Plus or code (239) Adaptive Cruise Control Plus Light] 䡲 Long range radar data 䡲 Diagnostic data from long range radar Sensor CAN » The signals of the following components are read in via the sensor CAN: For code (233) Distronic Plus: 䡲 Radar sensor on the inside left, front bumper (A86/1b2) 䡲 Radar sensor on the inside right, front bumper (A86/1b3) 䡲 For code (234) Blind Spot Assist up to 31.8.09: 䡲 Right inner radar sensor, rear bumper (A86/2b2) 䡲 Left inner radar sensor, rear bumper (A86/2b3) For code (234) Blind Spot Assist as of 1.9.09: 䡲Radar sensor on the outside right, rear bumper (A86/2b1) 䡲 Radar sensor on the outside left, rear bumper (A86/2b4) Evaluation of input factors: The input factors are evaluated by the integrated microprocessors and the relevant components are then actuated. Due to the high performance of the radar sensor’s control unit, it is Circle 28 for Reader Service

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»| Tech Tips |« equipped with two microprocessors (clock frequency 40 MHz each). Control of systems 䡲 Variable Speed Limiter function (Speedtronic) [except code (494) USA version] 䡲 Permanent Speed Limiter (winter tires) 䡲 Distronic Plus [for code (233) Distronic Plus] 䡲 Adaptive cruise control [for code (239) Adaptive Cruise Control Plus Light] 䡲 Automatic deactivation of the radar sensor system (for the Western European version) 䡲 Blind Spot Assist [for code (234) Blind Spot Assist]

Chassis CAN » For code (233) DISTRONIC PLUS, the radar sensor’s control unit evaluates all input data and then takes on complete control

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of the vehicle’s longitudinal movements by sending signals for acceleration, deceleration and gear switching via the chassis CAN. Warning tones and display in the IC are also actuated by the radar sensor’s control unit and the PRE-SAFE measures are requested via the chassis CAN. For code (234) Blind Spot Assist, the radar sensor’s control unit actuates the left Blind Spot Assist readiness and warning indicator (M21/ 1e2) and the right Blind Spot Assist readiness and warning indicator (M21/2e2). NOTE: This repair/service information is excerpted from information published by the vehicle manufacturer, and 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 attempt-

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ing any repairs described, refer to the complete article in ALLDATA Collision S3500. It is recommended that these procedures not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.” BSB Dan Espersen is ALLDATA’s senior product marketing manager for collision, holds an AA degree in automotive technology and has 19 years of experience in the collision industry and an additional 17 years in the automotive industry. © 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. Mercedes-Benz is a registered trademark of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz USA. All other marks are the property of their respective holders.


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Track Talk Pit Pro: NASCAR Tech Grad Boasts Two Championships in the Pits The success of a single athlete or sports team is measured by one thing – championships. Just ask NASCAR pit crewman Colin Fambrough, who has already been part of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship teams during his relatively short tenure in the pits. The Tyler, Texas, native is currently employed by Penske Racing as the rear-tire changer on the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion driven by 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski. While Fambrough, 29, has quickly achieved the success some accumulate over the course of a career, he has no plans of slowing down any time soon. In 1992, Fambrough’s journey to the top of one of the nation’s most popular sports began in the living room of his childhood home. He questioned his mother’s taste in television when she flipped over to the NASCAR race that happened to be Richard Petty’s last. Fambrough couldn’t have been less interested, and recalls asking his mother, “Why are you watching this?” She shared that she once had the opportunity to meet Petty, and showed him photos of her and Petty’s legendary No. 43 racecar. “From that point on, I began watching NASCAR,” Fambrough said. “I started going to the local dirt tracks

and watching the races live.” But it wasn’t until 1999 when Fambrough saw the pack hit turn one at Daytona International Speedway that his true passion for the sport was ignited. “It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. It was an amazing experience.” After seeing a commercial about NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) a few years later, he realized this was the avenue he had been searching for to break into the sport. “I realized there was a practical application to attending NASCAR Tech,” he said. “The first portion of the program is focused around automotive technology, where you acquire skills and knowledge that are manufacturer specific. They provide a foundation for a career as a technician regardless of the desire to work for a NASCAR team.” After some discussion, Fambrough’s parents were on board, and he was soon in “Race City, USA” (Mooresville, North Carolina) going to school. To his surprise, he was learning more than just automotive skills. “It was remarkable meeting different people and seeing diverse perspectives of life,” Fambrough said. “I was around people who had the same interests and goals, and that really helped me understand who, and what, I wanted to be. For the first time I was

doing much more than what I needed to do to get by. It was the first thing that really had me interested.” As Fambrough approached graduation, he began the process of looking for a job and turned to his instructors for guidance. Fambrough’s instructor, D.J. Copp, advised him Since graduating from NASCAR Tech, Colin to learn how to pit cars, Fambrough, right-rear tire changer on the continue practicing and No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, has spent begin talking to race much of his NASCAR career in victory lane. teams to get his foot in (Photo credit: Colin Fambrough) the door. “My instructor said opportunity and the next day being a part of a pit crew opens was at the track getting his first another set of doors outside real-life taste of pit road. of being a technician,” When Logano signed with Joe Fambrough said. Gibbs Racing, Fambrough soon Fambrough was now a followed, inking a deal with the NASCAR Tech student by day team as a pit crew member. and training vigorously at night Since then, Fambrough has to hone his pit crew skills. spent much of his career in victoTimes were tough, but ry lane, pitting cars for some of Fambrough knew the hard the sport’s best drivers including work would pay dividends Jimmie Johnson, who down the road. Fambrough pitted for during the Copp helped Fambrough 2010 season when he captured secure an interview with Roush the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Fenway Racing, and after a Champion-ship. series of interviews and tryouts, Fambrough credits drive, he made the team. determination and a great eduAt the same time, cation as the keys to his success. Fambrough befriended a “NASCAR Tech provided me young, developmental driver with an opportunity to begin my coming up the ranks named career, and without them I don’t Joey Logano. By chance, think I would be where I am Logano’s own race team at the today,” he said. “NASCAR Tech time was down a pit crew offered options that provided member. Asking for volunteers, me with a successful career and Fambrough jumped on the that is really hard to beat.” By Josh Reed

Follow NASCAR Performance on Twitter and Facebook www.twitter.com/NASCARauto ■ www.facebook.com/NASCARPerformance


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Shop Owner Profile Of Shop Owners Run A Family-Owned Collision Repair Shop. Average years shop has been open:

31.6

Percentage of shop owners between the ages of 50 and 64: Percentage of shop owners who are male: Average number of shops owned:

97 1

Percentage who own more than one shop:

17

Which Of The Following Best Describes Your Business?

20% 9%

36%

Dealership

Multi-shop operation

Graduated l high schoo

1%

9%

Franchised body shop

68% Independent body repair shop

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Highest Education Level Attained Attended ge some colle

20%

2% Other

60

Graduated college

25%

Attended a vocational/technical school

high school 3% Attended but did not complete some 2% Completed post-graduate studies 4% Completed post-graduate studies


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Operations Profile How Many DRPs Do You Have? 20%

Are You On Any DRPs?

19%

20% 15%

15%

15% 12%

62% Yes

10%

11%

9%

5%

No

38%

1

2

3

Average Number Of Jobs Performed Each Week: 13

4

5

6

7 or more

Average Number of Estimates Written and Jobs Performed Per Week

20 14

15

17.5 14

12

14

13

10 12

10

5 2000

2001

Estimates Written:

Jobs Performed:

19

13

22.6 2002

2003

2007

2009

2011

2013

16.1 14.6 8.9

When Making Collision Repairs, What Percentage Of The Time Do You: Replace with aftermarket parts

Repair the damaged parts

25.4% Replace with used (salvage) parts

13.0%

18.5%

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DRP NonDRP

43.1%

Replace with OEM parts 36

DRP NonDRP

Percentage of Estimates Converted to Actual Jobs


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE Âť Operations Profile Ave rag e ti cke t:

$2 ,23 8

Have You Ever Offered To Save A Customer’s Deductible? Average ticket for DRP shops:

Average ticket for non-DRP shops:

$2,358

$2,052

32% Yes

No

68%

What Percentage of Your Estimates Include: What Percentage Of Your Repair Orders Include:

No supplements: 26.6

OEM parts: 64.5 Non-certified aftermarket: 9.3 4 or more: 1 3 supplements: 2.9

1 supplement: 55.2

Certified aftermarket: 32.3

2 supplements: 14.3

Percentage Of Replacement Crash Parts That Provide An Acceptable Fit 93.9

90

Age Of Vehicles For Which A/M Crash Parts Are Being Specified For Insurance Appraisals?

80 70 61.5

60

7%

2 years old or less

6 to 9 years old 3 to 5 years old

50 40

65%

30 27.5 20 10 New OEM 38

Certified Non-certified aftermarket aftermarket

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0%

10 years old or more

28%


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE Âť Operations Profile What Matters Most When Selecting A Parts Vendor?

Are You In Favor Of Insurer-Related Parts Procurement Programs?

(1=very important, 5=least important) 1.4 1.4 2.3 2.6 3.9 1.6

High quality In-stock Low price Relationship with sales rep Offer both recycled and A/M Delivery time

able 4.1 days v i r D

Yes 9%

What Is Your Average Cycle Time?

If Possible, Would You Use Fewer Parts Suppliers?

Non s -drivable 9.8 day

Maybe

23% On Average, How Many Calls Do You Make To Obtain The Parts You Need? 4 or more 3 calls

1 call

18%

No

21%

21%

16%

56%

2 calls

45%

Has An Insurer Ever Asked You To Use Recycled/Used Suspension Parts On A Repair?

84% Yes 40

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Yes

16% No


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Insurer-Repairer Relations Do You Think The Concept Of DRPs Is Good Or Bad For The Industry? Since DRP Affiliation, What Have Your Profit Margins Done?

DRPs

Non-DRPs

52 50% 45%

68%

40%

32%

21%

79%

35%

Percentage Saying Shop’s Better Off Due To DRP Arrangement

30

30%

92 90%

25% 20%

18

85

80%

79

83 76

81

15%

70%

10%

60% Increased

Decreased

72

65

Stayed the Same

2000

2001

2002

2003

2007

2009

2011

2012

Percentage Involved In DRPs, 2000-2012 60% 51

50% 42

40% 30%

58

46

62

44

45

36

20% 10% 2000

42

2001

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2002

2003

2007

2009

2011

2012


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE » Insurer-Repairer Relations Insurers & Labor Rates Do You Believe Insurers’ Surveys Of Labor Rates In A Market Area Are Accurate?

Do Most Insurers In Your Area Pay For OEM Parts If A Customer Objects To Aftermarket Parts?

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

27%

73%

36%

64%

16%

84%

Do You Experience Influence From Insurance Companies To Suppress Your Labor Rates?

44

Do You Feel It Is The Insurer’s Responsibility To Determine What Types Of Parts Are Used In A Repair?

Do You Feel DRPs Hamper Your Ability To Properly Repair The Vehicle?

Yes

No

Yes

No

50%

19%

20%

40%

Sometimes

Sometimes

31%

40%

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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Market Profile What Was Your Shop’s Gross Sales In 2012? Compared To 2011, Did Your 2012 Sales:

30% 25% 20%

21%

19.3%

19.3%

17.6%

15%

Decrease 13.9%

10%

30%

8.9%

Increase

41%

5%

29%

M $2 ore mi tha llio n n

to $1 $2 mi mi llio llio n n

to $7 $1 50 mi ,00 llio 0 n

to $35 $7 0, 49 00 ,99 0 9

to $25 $3 0, 49 00 ,99 0 9

$2

49 Up t ,99 o 9

Stay the same

What Percentage Of Your Sales Is Attributed To Parts And Labor?

Parts

Average 2012 Gross Sales

41% Labor

55% How Do You Market Your Services? Television Radio Yellow Pages Billboards Direct Marketing Community Sponsorship Website Social Media Word-of-mouth

19% 34% 44% 13% 23% 38% 57% 40% 88% 10

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20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE Âť Market Profile How Much Business Is Generated From Each Source? Do You Think Your Business Is Financially Better Off Today Than It Was Five Years Ago? Same as it was five years ago

12%

17% 43.4% 5.8% 21.4% 3.9% 1.6% 4.5%

Advertising DRPs Fleets Insurance Referral Word-of-Mouth Car Dealer Other

Yes

44%

What Shops Spend Annually On Advertising

Average

No

44% Median

What Was Your 2012 Gross Profit Percentage?

(Median: 50% of respondents report figures higher than this and 50% report figures lower)

In the Next Five Years, Do You Think Your Business Will Be More Successful Than It Is Today?

Same as today

What Was Your 2012 Net Profit Percentage?

24% Yes No

18%

50

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58%


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Purchasing

30.9

30%

Three: 4%

Two: 19%

Percentage Of Buying Dollars Spent On:

25% 22.8 20%

21.9% 36.9% 14.7% 8.2% 8.9% 9.5%

Paint Crash parts Refinish materials Tools Capital equipment Mechanical parts

Percentage Of Replacement Crash Parts Returned To Vendor

How Many Estimating Software/Estimating Systems Do You Currently Use?

15% 10% One brand: 77%

5%

4.9

OEM

If You Purchase A/M Crash Parts, Why? 65% Feel pressured by insurance 51% 38% 37% 26%

Certified Non-certified aftermarket aftermarket

Equipment Owned 54 24 25 62 31 67 56 48 50 60

companies To save car from being totaled Customer request Better profit margin All that’s available

How Much Do You Pay In Monthly Estimating Subscription Fees?

Average: $618 Median: $500

percentage that own a computerized measuring system percentage that own a squeeze type resistance spot welder percentage that own a mechanical laser system percentage that own a downdraft spraybooth percentage that own a crossdraft spraybooth percentage that own a vehicle lift percentage that own a prep station percentage that own a dedicated bench percentage that own a universal bench percentage that own a scan tool

Percentage Of Shops That Purchase A/M Crash Parts, 1990-2013 100%

94%

97% 92% 86%

90% 80%

76% 73%

71%

93% 82%

73%

84%

70% 69%

58%

60%

69%

53%

50%

52

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2013

2011

2009

2007

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

1992

1991

47%

1990

40%

54% 51%


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Personnel Tech Salaries And Compensation Method (Median means 50% of responses were above this answer and 50% were below)

Average Annual Salary $52,758 $55,466 $49,759

Metal techs: Painters: Mechanics:

DRP $57,944 $61,414 $54,216

Non-DRP $43,422 $44,991 $42,789

Median Annual Salary Office managers: $40,000 Entry-level painters/technicians: $30,000 Senior estimators: $48,500 Hourly wage Flat rate Salary Hourly plus commission Salary plus commission Percentage of shop labor Other

More than once a year: 3%

About once every 2 years: 45%

40 8.8 7 39 45 34

Average age of production personnel: Average number of employees per shop: Median number of employees per shop: Percentage of shops hiring techs from high school vo-tech program: Percentage of shops hiring techs from post-graduate vo-tech program: Percentage of shops with in-house apprentice program:

If You Offer Employee Benefits, Which Ones? 40%

Less than every 2 years: 48%

In The Past 12 Months, Has The Size Of Your Production Workforce Changed?

Decreased 22%

Increased 23%

63% 28% 87% 68% 7% 49% 44% 21% 16% 24% 9% 10

54

About once a year: 4%

54% 42% 28% 13% 12% 9% 6%

People By The Numbers

401(k) Uniforms Dental care Paid vacations Paid training/education Profit sharing Medical coverage Paid sick days Disability Vision care Paid funeral leave Other

How Often Do You Have To Replace A Technician?

20

30

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40

50

60

70

80

90

Stayed the same 55%


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE Âť Personnel

What Are Your Posted Rates Per Hour? Frame Body Paint Mechanical Body Materials Paint Materials

$61.50 $52.10 $51.70 $75.10 $14.40 $31.90

DRP

Non-DRP

$60.20 $51.10 $50.60 $75.40 $10.70 $31.30

$63.70 $53.70 $53.40 $74.60 $21.00 $33.30

How Many Days Has Your Shop Collectively Spent In Training Sessions/Seminars In The Past Year? 40%

34%

30% 20%

27%

19% 14% 6%

10% None

1-5 days

6-10 days

11-15 days

More than 15 days

Type Of Training Your Employees Have Attended In The Past Year 58%

Jobber clinic I-CAR

56%

Trade show seminar

20%

Manufacturer training

34%

Waterborne training

52%

ASE

33%

10 56

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20

30

40

50

60


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2013 INDUSTRY PROFILE

Multi-Shop Operations Average Gross Sales

%

of

ers wn p O

Sho

17 of shop owners

own

more than

one

shop

What Are Your Posted Rates Per Hour? $59.10 $48.30 $48.10 $74.70 $17.80 $30.40

Frame Body Paint Mechanical Body Materials Paint Materials

$69,257 Average annual salary of metal techs $71,862 Average annual salary of painters $60,150 Average annual salary of mechanics

Are You On Any DRPs?

79%

21%

Have You Switched To Waterborne/Low-VOC paint?

58

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Yes

No

Planning to

58%

37%

5%


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TECHNICAL

Against Grain All sandpaper might look alike, but you would be surprised at all the different components that go into it. By Mark Clark ow much difference could there possibly be in sandpaper? Some sand, some paper, some glue. How hard could it be, right? Well, it turns out there are some significant differences. How hard was the “sand” used on your paper? The harder the mineral, the longer it lasts. The longer it lasts, the more productive the painter. Labor time is always the most expensive cost in collision repair, or almost any business. If the painter uses sandpaper with really durable minerals, he’ll get more done each day.

H

How Hard? » Rating how hard or scratch-resistant a particular mineral 60

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was inspired by a German geologist in 1812. Friedrich Mohs developed a method of comparing hardness by seeing which minerals would scratch others. Diamonds are at the top of the Moh’s Scale and are rated (10), and talc (hard clay) rated (1) is at the bottom; the higher the number, the harder the mineral. The harder the mineral, the longer it lasts. The same relative hardness issue also concerned Thomas Turner, a British professor of metallurgy in 1896. He, too, invented a method to measure the scratch hardness of materials. The Turner-sclerometer test consists of “microscopically measuring the width of a scratch made by a diamond under a fixed load,

and drawn across the face of the specimen under fixed conditions,” says the scientific community. Turner’s numbers also had talc rated (1) as the softest, and diamonds rated hardest (1600) on his “absolute hardness” scale. And you thought your job was dull! How hard could it be? It could be really hard but brittle or sort-of hard and less prone to fracture. With diamonds as the hardest, sharpest possible mineral, everything else is some combination of “durable enough” and “pointy enough” to leave lots of consistently deep scratches.

Auto Refinishing » Auto refinishing sandpapers are manufactured to


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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain

Every sanding operation goes faster if you can employ a machine to help rub the abrasive around.

create some combination of the ideal mineral life, the most appropriate backing material, the exact glues to hold it together and the cash outlay

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for the shop. In researching this story, I spoke to abrasive manufacturers who all had some pretty cool solutions to build their best performing products at their most competitive prices. Inexpensive sandpaper is built using the cheapest solution to the three coated abrasive building blocks: the mineral, the backing and the adhesive. The end result of the cheapest product is perfectly functional sandpaper. The paint comes off, the body filler is shaped, the clear is scuffed and life goes on. But…if you built a sandpaper that lasted longer, feathered better, and clogged less by using better minerals, backings and adhesives, you could offer a more productive product and sell it for more cash – a productive product because the shop increases the amount of collision repair work that gets delivered each week. Every-

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one makes more money, and life goes on – only better.

Two Types » Silicon carbide abrasive is a very hard 9.5 on the Moh’s Scale but toward the bottom side of hardness on the 1-1600 Turner Scale. That means it cuts quickly with a sharp edge but breaks away rapidly. Best suited for fine grit sanding operations, this mineral’s cost is low and will wear away quickly enough to use lightweight (cheaper) backing paper. Aluminum oxide minerals are all around 9.0 on the Moh’s Scale and include unique blends of aluminum with other minerals and super hot bake temperatures to get the durability/sharpness mix ideal for each use. A very high oven temperature and a mix of the best aluminum oxide blends yields the top-performing ceramic abrasives used in the


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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain longest-lasting refinish sandpapers. They require heavier backing papers to match their longer life.

Uniform Size » Now with the perfect “price-value” abrasive identified for our ideal range of product offerings, we need to separate the abrasive particles by uniform size.

How deep do you want the scratch to go? There are three scales to measure the depth of the scratch and the size of the “rock.” The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) created a system to size the mineral particles from low numbers to high. Big particles are low numbers and coarse like 16 grit

ANSI grinding discs, and tiny particles are high numbers and leave shallow scratches like 600 grit ANSI wet/dry paper. In Europe, the common measuring scale is the Federation of European Producers of Abrasives (FEPA) rating methods. Similar in the low-to-high sizing idea but sifted through a tighter sieve, their grit number is preceded by the letter “P” as in a P320 6-inch by NH (no hole) random orbit sander paper. In many parts of the world, the common abrasive particle measuring scale is the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS). This rating system also follows the same “low number = coarse and high number = finer particles” model and uses a tight sieve for very uniform sizes. However, the higher grits will be numbered differently from the ANSI numbers. For example, an 800 ANSI-sized rock is the same size as a 1200 JIS rock. There is one common grit size that all three measuring methods call exactly the same size: a P-180 FEPA rock, a 180 JIS rock and a 180 ANSI rock.

Sticky Situation » How to fasten the ideal abrasive, in the perfect size rocks, onto the appropriate backing is the next opportunity to save money or improve product performance. From a cost standpoint, the cheapest sandpaper glue is often animal-hide glue, which comes from boiling slaughtered animal carcasses. (And you thought counting minerals was a bad job!) Better performing and more expensive adhesives are blended to suit the stickiness required to keep the abrasive standing on the backing long enough. Fast fracturing silicon carbide particles wear out quickly and only need enough glue to hold them upright for a short time. Applied in two coats, the first application of glue to the backing is called the size coat and hopefully has the ideal mix of rigidity (keeps the abrasive upright) and flexibility (allows the abrasive to sway slightly Circle 64 for Reader Service

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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain under pressure) to keep the sharpest edges pointed down where they do the most good. Special sandpapers require special adhesives. Wet or dry papers need waterproof glue; ceramic abrasives last so long you need extra high quality glue to hold them in place for the lengthy sanding times, plus to withstand the high heat generated. Friction from power sanding generates heat, which wants to melt the adhesive holding the abrasive in place. High speed grinding discs that spin at 5,000 to 6,000 RPM generate so much heat and centrifugal force that special resin-bond adhesives are required to keep that 7-by-7/8-inch 36 grit disc sharp, clog free, durable and in one piece. The second coat of adhesive, called the make coat, is used to ensure the mineral particles are stuck securely and pointed out. In addition to the ability to hold on, longer lasting papers add a soap-like lubricant called zinc stearate to the second coat of adhesive, which helps keep the paper from clogging with the melted paint or body filler. More expensive and longer lasting papers are made with premium blends of adhesives and lubricants. You can tell the manufacturer thinks their version of no-load papers is extra special when they have made them every color of the rainbow. They’re not more expensive than the cheapest sandpapers because they’re colored; they’re more expensive because they’re longer lasting and more productive. But even the ideal mineral in the ideal size with the ideal glue needs something to stick to.

Paper Backings » Sandpaper’s paper backings are measured primarily by their thickness; thicker paper lasts longer, runs cooler and costs more. Based on the weight in pounds of a ream of paper, the different thicknesses are assigned a letter grade. “A” weight paper is thin, and 480 sheets don’t weigh very much. “E” weight paper is much thicker, and 480 sheets weigh many pounds. Use the heavy paper on the most durable minerals; use the thin paper on the finest grits. Ideal backing requirements also measure flexibility of the material. A 60 ANSI grit machine shop grinding belt would be rated “X” for stiff or “J” for flexible depending on the work they perform. Auto refinish backings also include plastic film. Film backing lends itself well to several pad-attachment methods. Attachment » With the ideal-for-the-price sandpaper now assembled, it needs to be attached to the power sander’s pad. Some tools still use spring clips at each end of the rectangular pad; it works if the pad has straight edges. On other tools, center bolts hold the round abrasives to the pad. In collision repair, spring clips and center nuts gave way first to tubes of sanding disc glue, then spray cans of disc adhesive, Circle 66 for Reader Service

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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain Sanding Best Practices Clean Surface Whether you’re sanding to remove the finish, level the finish, feather the finish or polish the finish, pre-cleaning makes for the best adhesion. And that’s why we’re doing most of the sanding, isn’t it? To get the new finish to adhere to the old, quickly and invisibly? Trite as it seems, one of the most reliable ways to get great adhesion is to simply wash the panel with soap and water. From past experience, I know many shops always wipe with wax and grease remover but never wash with water. However you get the panel clean, test it by tossing some tap water against the repair. Water sheeting off indicates a clean panel, water beading up indicates a not-soclean panel. Better to find out now than later, when you’ll have to repaint the repair. Proper Backing Pads Matching the backing pad to the refinish task is key. Foam pads, rubber blocks, idiot sticks and dozens of power tools all serve to keep the most abrasive possible pressed on the surface all the time. The most productive technicians

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have every conceivable configuration to suit the concave, convex and flat panels on today’s bodies. Rubbing the surface with a sheet of paper and your fingertips leaves tracks and takes forever. Big flat blocks and power tools make the jobs go way quicker. Using an inner liner pad between the mounting pad and the sheet of coated abrasive offers a great advantage in coverage, quality and speed. Plus, the sandpaper will run cooler and last longer when the air circulates under the abrasive. Power Tools Straight-line, random orbit, oscillating or revolving, every sanding operation goes faster if you can employ a machine to help rub the abrasive around. Find the combination of pad size and motion that does the task the best way for you and get more done every day with the right power sanders. Guide Coats Speckling the surface with contrasting color powder or light overspray is a good trick. A guide coat allows the painter to know exactly when the sanding is complete. As

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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain soon as the easily visible highs and lows are scraped flat, it’s time to move on. My experience is that painters either like guide coating a bunch or can never ever see the need. As a heads-up, I’ve seen some mighty quick paint shops use them successfully. Level and Polish Clears Cushioned foam sanding pads minimize the deepest scratches. Foam polishing pads serve to quickly restore the gloss. Holding a firm but forgiving foam pad flat to the surface and employing the right abrasive or polishing compound will deliver the invisible repair fastest – with a nice margin for error that rigid pads don’t offer.

then pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA), then to hook-and-loop fasteners. Generally, faster attachment systems make for more productive painters. Whatever time the technician spends changing grits or worn out sandpaper for fresh ones takes away from working productively on the repair.

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Scuff Pads and Stripper Wheels Impregnating abrasive particles in an open mesh plastic web produces a product that does a great job. Scuff pads that distribute the hand sanding compression and conform well to irregular surfaces get any substrate ready for refinishing like nothing else does. How deeply the surface is scratched by any particular color of scuff pad is a function of how hard you push. Harder compression produces a coarser scratch. Paint is quickly and cleanly stripped off down to the substrate when using the hard spun-glass pads impregnated with long-lasting aluminum oxide abrasives. They’re resistant to loading and easy on the substrate – a win-win. Your mother says to wear eye protection!

The Ultimate Sandpaper » What might the ultimate sandpaper look like? At least one abrasive manufacturer has refinish sandpaper that uses industrial grade diamonds as their abrasive mineral. That’s right, a 10.0 on the Moh’s Scale and a 1600 on the Turner makes for the ultimate in uniform scratches and

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durability. On really scratch-resistant surfaces like today’s clearcoats, gel coats and primers, they predict the diamond particles will last 10 times longer than the best ceramic abrasives. Attached to the tool using a special foam backing and attached to the backing using their best mix of adhesives, they argue that it’s


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TECHNICAL » Against the Grain productive and economical to be able to sand all of the next four repairs with the same disc. Other productive features and benefits of sandpaper construction include adhesive bonding systems that enable the specially-fracturing minerals to sway and produce a finer scratch than their competitors’ versions. Desirable finishing papers would cut quickly but polish easily. Among the variables include how slick the size coat’s lubricant and how rigid the make coat’s hold on the particles is. Each coated abrasive manufacturer believes they have the best combination of price and value at every level of sandpaper quality and shop cost.

Price and Performance » Good

ings is recovered in four seconds of labor time at $45 per hour door rate. I stand by the long ago time study that calculated that techs in an average paint shop spent onethird of their time sanding something every week. Longer lasting, smoother cutting and niftier construction methods all combine to make the perfect coated abrasive choice for many shops. Americans choose their vendors on a personal combination of competitive price and superior performance. How much difference can there possibly be in sandpaper? Considerable, as it turns out, and it might work to your advantage to try something new, more expensive yet more productive in your shop this week. BSB

stuff costs money to build…and money to buy. A nickel a sheet sav-

Mark R. Clark is the owner of Profes-

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Big, flat blocks also help to speed along the sanding process.

sional PBE Systems in Waterloo, Iowa; he is a well-known industry speaker and consultant. He is celebrating his 25th year as a contributing editor to BodyShop Business.

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BUSINESS

Keys to Winning Negotiations Negotiation is an everyday part of life, and by adhering to these six concepts, you’ll win more times than you’ll lose when you face off with insurance adjusters. By Hank Nunn

“In business as in life, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate!” — Dr. Chester Karrass

e see negotiations every day in every collision repair facility. Frequently, they go something like this: “Bill, you’ve got six hours on that quarter panel. I can’t pay more than three.” “Howard, three is nuts! I won’t take less than five-and-a-half.” “Bill, I said three. Take it or leave it.” “Howard, I said five-and-a-half. If you can’t do that, take the car.” That negotiation process is referred to as “positional” negotiation. Each side defines their position, and they’ll defend that position even if the end result is not in anyone’s best interest. But there’s a much better way!

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Lifelong Return » Everyone is involved in negotiations. We negotiate with everyone about everything, every day. From dinner choices to how much we pay for a car or house, negotiation is a cradleto-grave activity. In the collision repair industry, negotiations occur constantly. We negotiate with adjusters, suppliers, 74

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employees, bankers and landlords. Since we’re constantly involved in negotiations, improving negotiation skills provides an immediate and lifelong return. Negotiation skills can be learned and improved. Learning improved negotiation skills allows us to use those skills everywhere, every day. The same skills used to improve negotiations with an adjuster will also work when negotiating a DRP contract, employee compensation, buying a car or even where you plan to have dinner!

A “Real” Negotiation » To illustrate winning negotiation concepts, we’ll be visiting Bill’s Auto Body. Bill is negotiating for repairs to a customer’s six-yearold Honda with Howard, the insurance adjuster, in a “conventional” insurance situation. Howard has found a used door for the damaged Honda. We’ll sit in as Bill and Howard negotiate the used door. The concepts illustrated in this fictional setting are negotiation basics that can be used anywhere, anytime, with anyone! The negotiation techniques used by Bill are called “principled” negotiations. As opposed to “positional” negotiations, Bill will try to separate the people from the negotiation, focus on interests instead of positions, search for multiple options and use objective criteria to resolve differences.

Concept #1: Be Prepared » Great negotiators don’t just walk into a negotiation – they prepare for it.


BUSINESS » Negotiations First, Bill generated his own damage evaluation, even though he knows Howard will probably write his own. Bill’s damage evaluation is complete, listing every operation, part, nut, bolt, clip and all materials required to properly repair the damaged vehicle. Since Bill knows he’ll be negotiating

the repairs to an older Honda, used parts will probably factor into the negotiation. He has reviewed the appropriate P-pages, I-CAR and OEM repair techniques, and has pulled copies of included and not included operations when used parts are installed. He has completely reviewed his damage evaluation and can im-

mediately provide documentation to support each line.

Concept #2: Practice » To prepare for his negotiation with Howard, Bill practiced the negotiation with Mike, his lead estimator. They role played the negotiation with Mike playing the adjuster. This eliminates any surprises in the real negotiation and provides Bill with different negotiation strategies that may be used during actual negotiations. Great negotiators know the value of practice! Practice negotiations whenever possible. To improve estimators’ negotiation skills, conduct regular practice sessions using different scenarios. Sports teams practice before games, and so should we! Concept #3: Negotiate the Negotiation » We join Bill and Howard as they begin to discuss the repairs to the Honda. Bill says, “Howard, before we go over this, let’s agree to some ground rules. Let’s agree that we’re going to repair this vehicle using industry-approved techniques. When we look at individual operations, we’ll ask, ‘Is this operation required to properly repair the vehicle?’ If the answer is yes, then we’ll ask, ‘Is this operation included in the P-pages that we’re using?’ If the answer is no, then we’ll negotiate appropriate compensation for those non-included but required operations and materials.” Howard nods in agreement: “Yes, Bill. That’s fair.” Bill continues, “If we have a disagreement, we agree to use industryaccepted resources to arrive at an agreement. So we’ll follow OEM and I-CAR procedures and we’ll use the P-pages to determine if an operation is or is not included. We can use the DEG website to referee any remaining issues. Fair enough?” “Sure, Bill. I’m good with it. Let’s go.” Setting the ground rules is frequently a good idea. This avoids conflict later on by establishing a process to

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BUSINESS » Negotiations resolve any differences before entering the primary negotiation. Howard reviewed Bill’s damage evaluation as he inspected the damaged Honda. We join Bill and Howard as they begin to discuss the necessary replacement of the door: “Bill, my estimating system located a used door at Perfect Part

Auto Recyclers for $300. I’m going to mark that up 20 percent and include it on my estimate for $360. Okay with you?” “Howard, I want to do everything I can to give you what you want here, but I can’t lose money doing it. I really don’t mind installing recycleable* parts, as long as the parts are

good and I don’t lose money. There are a few things we need to discuss. *The idea of calling the used part a “recycleable” part came from an old Canadian friend of mine, Neil Anderson. He explained the logic: “We recycle the part, so call it recycleable instead of used and list every operation that’s required to recycle it. Then negotiate those items line by line.” The idea works. Sadly, Neil passed away a few years ago, but his teachings live on. Bill continues: “First, there is that 20 percent markup. Markup and discount are not the same thing. If we do the math [(sale cost) / sale x 100 = GP %)], your 20 percent markup gives me a 17 percent gross profit. That’s like getting a 17 percent discount on an OEM part. The OEM door has a list of $500. I get a 25 percent discount on the part, so I pay $375 for the door and make $125. If I go with your recycleable door, I make a $60 profit. So if we do this your way, it’s costing me $65 right off the top. Do you see my problem?”

Concept #4: Focus on Interests, Not a Position, and Look for Multiple Options » In a positional negotiation, both sides would now focus on their positions and the argument would begin. Instead, Bill is not going to “draw a line in the sand.” He’s going to suggest options and ask for Howard’s input. “Howard, like I said, I will do everything I can to give you what you want, but I can’t lose money. I don’t have a problem with the used door, especially on a six-year-old car. But I can’t lose money doing it. So, we have a couple of options. Could you simply add the $125 I would make on the new door to the price of the used door? Instead of putting it on the estimate for $360, let’s put it down for $425. You’re still $75 better off than OEM.” “Bill, I just can’t do that. I have to follow guidelines. Our company policy is to mark these parts up 20 percent.” “Howard, I understand that you Circle 78 for Reader Service

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BUSINESS » Negotiations have to work within the guidelines. How about marking the used door up 33 percent? At least I will make a 25 percent profit on it. Let’s sell it for $399. Can you meet me in the middle?” “No way, Bill.” “Howard, is it the money? What is your real interest? I want to work with you. Can you suggest a solution? One that doesn’t include my eating $65!” “Bill, if I pay a 33 percent markup on a used part, the markup will show up in audit and I’ll get grief. It’s not the money. I just can’t deal with the grief. Tell you what I can do. Let’s list the door for $400. I’ll do what I have to do on my end to justify that and avoid getting caught in an audit.” “Thanks, Howard, I can go along with the price. Let me make the changes on my estimate and we’ll look that over.”

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Howard voiced his true interest as avoiding getting caught in an audit, not the money for the part, and offered an acceptable solution that satisfied his interest in avoiding audit issues and Bill’s need for an acceptable profit on the door.

Concept #5: Don’t Get Emotional » So Bill went back into his estimating system and changed the door to a used door with a list price of $400. He also added the non-included Ppage operations required to properly install the used door. He hands the updated estimate to Howard, who is not happy! “Bill, what’s this? What is a ‘recycleable’ door? And look at all of these little operations? What do you mean ‘transfer’ this and that? Repair panel to OEM standard? Feather, fill and block? Man, you’re nickel and diming me to death! Bill, I worked

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with you on the price of the door, but this stuff is pure crap! I should just call the customer and pull this job! You’re the only one trying to do this to me!” “Howard, let’s take a break. Remember that we agreed to repair the car by industry standards and use the P-pages when we have questions? Let’s have a cup of coffee, and then we can come back to this. I’m sure we can work through all of it, line by line. It won’t take long.” Some call this technique “going to the balcony” or “hitting the pause button.” When things get emotional, it’s time to take a break. Some negotiators use anger as a tool and actually try to get the other side mad because the emotional negotiator usually makes bad decisions. That’s considered an abusive technique. It’s best to take a break, calm down and then return to the negotiation.


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BUSINESS » Negotiations Concept #6: Focus on Areas of Agreement; Work on the Remaining Issues of Contention » Howard and Bill have calmed down and returned to discussing the used door. “Howard, let’s look at the damage evaluation and highlight everything we agree on. As you can see, we agree on everything, except these operations I’ve added so that we can recycle the door. That’s why I call the door ‘recycleable.’ We have to recycle it, and I have to add in the non-included labor just as I have to on an OEM door. You wouldn’t be upset if I had to add for electric locks on an OE door, would you?” “Bill, you’re right. I never thought of it that way. Let’s take a look at this, line by line. If you can justify it and document it, I can pay for it.” “Howard, let’s pull out the P-pages. Here is a document from ASA listing all of the additional required operations for refinishing a used part compared to an OE part. “There are some parts that we will have to take off of the old door and install on the used door. Basically, we have to remove the part from the used door, remove the part from the customer’s door and install the part on the used door. That’s really RR&I instead of R&I. So, I have to charge 1.5 times the R&I time. I’ve found that most adjusters have an easier time justifying ‘transfer’ rather than ‘RR&I,’ so that’s what I call it. Let’s go through it, line by line, with the P-pages.” “Okay, Bill, but man…when you add all of this up, we’re probably better off going new.” “Howard, I can go back to OEM with a few keystrokes!” Bill kept reverting back to the original agreement on the negotiation process. He brought the focus back to the items that he and Howard agreed on, and then focused in on the used door. In the end, he got the OEM door, which is probably what he wanted anyway. Both sides won!

Summary » Okay, I can read the email before you send it: “That scenario is imaginary! I tried that and they just said NO!” And you’re right – I’ve done it and lost, too. But I’ve won far more times than I’ve lost. In the worst cases, shops that use improved negotiation techniques at least get more time than they started with. Keep negotiating! No one is going to become a great negotiator by only reading a trade magazine article. This is meant to simply illustrate some key negotiation techniques. Obtain negotiation training! The return will be immediate and last forever. BSB

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Hank Nunn, AAM, has worn virtually every hat available in the collision repair industry. From collision shop owner, journey-level technician, seminar facilitator, jobber store owner and regional director, he has done it all. He has been a collision industry speaker and consultant since 1989. He has developed and facilitated seminars for many industry groups and suppliers frequently speaking at NACE and many other trade association meetings. He has a proven record of providing entertaining and informative management training programs delivered from someone who has really “been there.” He may be reached at h_nunn@msn.com or www.hanknunn.com.


»| Industry Update |« I-CAR Responds to Letter from Collision Industry Associations -CAR has issued a response to a recent letter from industry organizations that questioned its stance on OEM standards. In a letter dated April 12, 2013, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Assured Performance Network (APN) asked I-CAR if the association recognizes OEM repair procedures as the industry’s standard of repair. If it does not, the organizations asked if I-CAR is “prepared to publicly assume the liability associated with the use and recognition of…non-OEM technical repair procedures.” Below is I-CAR’s response:

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In its recent response to the November 2011 request submitted jointly to I-CAR by ASA, AASP, SCRS

and APN, I-CAR attempted to be clear and succinct. This brevity appears to have resulted in certain assumptions and conclusions that are not consistent with what I-CAR intended to communicate. I-CAR thanks SCRS, AASP and APN for your letter dated April 12, and the opportunity it provided to further clarify ICAR’s position and intentions. I-CAR firmly believes that OEM collision repair procedures are the industry standard for complete and safe repairs. For the past 30 years, OEM collision repair procedures have been referred to by I-CAR in its training and advisory services to the industry, and I-CAR utilizes these procedures where they exist as the foundation for developing course curriculum. This remains I-CAR’s intent going forward.

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As expressed in the original request received by I-CAR, I-CAR also recognizes there are opportunities to address gaps and enhance both OEM procedures and related collision repair best practices that work together to support complete and safe repairs. The good news is that today, there exists more OEM collision repair information than ever before. Unfortunately, not all OEMs offer collision repair procedures in the U.S. market, nor do all OEMs offer consistent levels of collision repair information. When no collision repair procedures exist, collision repair professionals must use their available knowledge to make a complete, safe and minimally intrusive repair. I-CAR is committed to helping the industry close these

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»| Industry Update |« gaps by working closely with the industry and the OEMs to research, develop and deliver collision repair procedures where none exist, and to work towards standardization of the information provided. Furthermore, except when contributing as a Subject Matter Expert under contract by an OEM, I-CAR will not develop vehiclespecific collision repair procedures. There also exists a need for collision repair best practices that directly complement, support and supplement vehicle OEM repair procedures. In many cases, OEM repair procedures provide recommendations for, say, spot weld locations or recommended attachment methods, as examples. But additional processes are required to complete the repair in accordance with the OEM recommendation that may not be adequately covered by the OEM procedure. As examples: What are the most efficient/effective ways to remove spot welds? When GMA (MIG) welding, which techniques should be used to best control heat, and how should welds be dressed following welding? I-CAR can contribute to this body of information and knowledge by working with OEMs on repair procedure enhancements and through documentation of collision repair best practices in a manner similar to the I-CAR UPCRs and certain I-CAR Advantage articles, and by incorporating this information into future I-CAR curriculum. Additionally, across the industry, there exists varying perspectives on repair practices and an expressed need for balance amongst collision repairers, insurers, suppliers and OEMs. Ongoing work to improve collaboration and consensus in these areas must be performed from a perspective of neutrality with an uncompromising priority on complete and safe repairs for the consumer. I-CAR is well placed and equipped to contribute to the breadth of this work. I-CAR’s inter-industry and Circle 84 for Reader Service

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neutral charter provides the unbiased perspective required. Additionally, I-CAR will contribute: 1) through its broad access to industry ‘Voice of the Customer’ feedback and data; 2) by coordinating topic-specific Inter- Industry advisory councils of Subject Matter Experts to assess, define and recommend repair best practices; 3) by increasing the work I-CAR already does as a technical liaison with OEMs, and 4) by providing increased accessibility to the information the industry requires to perform complete and safe repairs. All of this work was integral to I-CAR’s final proposed solution, and is work the I-CAR Board believes is valuable to the collision repair interindustry. We trust this clarifies I-CAR’s position and intentions.

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»| Industry Update |«

Corporate Executive Interview:

David Brunori, Matrix System Automotive Refinishes By Jason Stahl atrix System Automotive Refinishes is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. To mark the occasion, BodyShop Business interviewed David Brunori, division president of Quest Automotive Products, to find out the secret to Matrix’s success, what their plans are for the future, and how they’re helping the industry to thrive outside of their own building.

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BSB: Thirty years is something to be proud of. How is Matrix celebrating this, and what does 30 years mean to you? Brunori: Thirty years is a long time to be in this industry and is an important milestone for Matrix. We have been doing this for awhile, and I have been fortunate to have been with the company for most of that time, 19 years. It is a true testament to the acceptance of our company in the collision repair industry. Not many companies are in the 30-plus club. We will be having a celebration during the summer months. Matrix System has come a long way since we first

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»| Industry Update |« purchased our manufacturing site in 1993. Today, we have three sites located in Walled Lake, Mich., with more than 120 employees. I am most proud of Matrix System’s contribution to the industry by pioneering alternative brand products. In the beginning, we had a hard time finding vendors that would sell us materials, and most questioned the purpose of our products. Today, I am glad to see that our strategy was right on course. BSB: What is your take on consolidation and other trends going on in the industry? Brunori: We are in the beginning stages of the consolidation movement and anticipate it will continue for years to come. I embrace it; it’s necessary. Our industry has been stagnant for many years, and

David Brunori

it’s time for a radical shift from the status quo. That’s kind of how we run our organization – to challenge our business processes and strategies regularly, because eventually they are going to have to evolve. Market disruption forces change, and business leaders will have to think outside the box and challenge legacy philosophies or else be left behind. Consolidation is at a pace we have never seen before and is

touching every part of the PBE market. Changes in distribution strategies, the creation of new product platforms, price point adjustments, warehouse repositioning, and jobber and shop consolidations are all part of the PBE industry reinvention that is underway today. Our organization is positioned with two primary brands: the namesake Matrix System line of high performance basecoats and clearcoats, and our Refinish Solutions line, which targets the specific price sensitive market. We have always had the products the market is begging for. Major paint companies are forcefeeding waterborne coatings. Some are taking equity interests in jobber stores and body shops, and others have been through acquisition activities over the last 12 months. This creates anxiety in the market, which in turn creates opportunities for companies like Matrix System. The market is nervous, and that’s where our business has grown. We have great products that are equivalent to the performance of any paint company, and price point is right on target. Our business model has driven our growth for many years; there really is no need to change course. It has been validated by the launch of value lines from the major paint companies, which they use to defend market share against companies like ours. The market is demanding a better product at a lower price compared to what collision repairers were paying 10 years ago. BSB: With consolidation, we’ve seen a lot of shops closing. Has that hurt you? Brunori: Our traditional market segment has always been C- and D-level shops, and we will always participate here because this is where we started our business. There has been some shrinking in

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»| Industry Update |« that segment, but frankly, Matrix System comprises a small percentage of the total PBE market, so consolidation hasn’t affected us like it has some of our competitors. Although the market and distribution dynamics are evolving, we are confident there is a ton of upside opportunity in the A/B market segment for our company. The A- and B-level shops have become more interesting to us today partly because of shop consolidation and mostly because we can compete in this segment. Matrix System has great brand equity, excellent credibility and product quality equivalent to any paint company in the industry. BSB: Where does Matrix stand today with its VOC-compliant coatings? Brunori: This is one of my favorite topics because it really de-

scribes the personality of our company: entrepreneurial, flexible, innovative and “do what others won’t or can’t do.” Almost all major paint companies, including Matrix System, focused on waterborne technology to meet SCAQMD VOC requirements, but the market wasn’t ready for it. Within six months of launching our waterborne basecoat Aqualution, we received feedback that customers were pushing back on this new technology and demanded a VOC-compliant solvent basecoat. Matrix Systems’ development team created MSB-LV, which was the first solvent compliant intermix system in the market. It was launched in three months! Today, our second generation platform, MPB-LV Premium Basecoat, is our flagship low-VOC solventborne platform. Most

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»| Industry Update |« major paint companies have responded by launching their own solventborne low-VOC “converted” systems to protect market share, but they simply cannot compete with MPB-LV. Technical weaknesses in our competitors’ solvent-based compliant basecoats include color accuracy issues, minimal field support, few variant formulas, poor coverage, and – when using zero-VOC solvents – dry spray and blending issues are evident. MPB-LV Premium Basecoat simply addresses all of these concerns. MPB-LV low-VOC technology was formulated right into the can – it’s not a conversion system. It can be reduced with traditional or zero-VOC urethane reducers, depending on the VOC requirements in your region. Either way, both reduction techniques yield a product that sprays exactly like traditional solventborne basecoats that have been sprayed for many years. We have a team of chemists and regulatory people who monitor regulatory activity around North America, and we’re prepared to ensure our customers have the best compliant products in the market. BSB: What are Matrix’s plans for the future in regard to growth, expansion and market presence both in the U.S. and overseas?

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Brunori: North America will remain our primary market since it presents the biggest opportunity for growth. The international market is intriguing as well, and we currently sell into South and Central America and the Caribbean Islands. There are other regions we are currently cultivating as well. Further expansion into international markets remains opportunistic, but the interest for Matrix System products is very strong. We have distribution partners working with our commercial team for future expansion. BSB: Talk about your charitable efforts as they relate to training the technicians of tomorrow. Brunori: The PBE market is facing a severe decline of qualified technicians entering into our industry. In fact, more than 60.4 percent of industry professionals are 36 to 65 years old; the decline is far exceeding new technicians entering into the industry. Within the next 10 years, we’re going to lose a large percentage of our qualified technicians to retirement. The Collision Repair Education Foundation provides secondary and post-secondary students an opportunity to apply for scholarships, grants and tools. Collision instructors can apply for a $50,000 school makeover. The disheartening part of the story is that very

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»| Industry Update |« few schools and students apply for these opportunities. This is a big problem for me to get my head around. The PBE industry as a whole must address this issue very quickly because it is going to affect us all. One of the biggest challenges I see is to change the perception that career-based learning (technical schools) is not as prestigious as attending a traditional school. This is simply not the case, as we all know; you can make a good living in the collision repair industry. Since 2008, the Collision Repair Education Foundation has gifted more than $10 million to schools and students, and $0.91 of every dollar has gone toward helping students and instructors. It is our industry’s responsibility to help the foundation through financial and in-kind gift giving. You can

get involved by adopting a local school or student, providing mentorship or intern opportunities, or joining an advisory committee. This is a big deal to me, so don’t hang up when I call looking for help! In addition to sitting as a trustee for the Collision Repair Education Foundation and the Oakland Schools Education Foundation, Matrix System has also sponsored a local technical campus where we provided a mixing room makeover and as much free paint as they can spray. Come visit the Matrix booth at SEMA 2013. We will be hosting a silent auction where all proceeds will be donated to the Collision Repair Education Foundation. Airbrush and pinstripe artists will be customizing one-of-a-kind items for auction. Artist biographies, pictures of items for auction and other

information will be available at www.Artists4Education.org. Bid until it hurts! BSB: What is your company doing to make sure your customers are getting the training they need? Brunori: If you looked at our staff just a year ago, Matrix System had two technical reps who worked with more than 22 sales managers and took a reactive stance to problem solving. Today, we have seven technical reps strategically placed around the market and a technical manager/trainer located in Walled Lake. Their primary role is to stay on top of repair techniques and the new materials coming out from a composite perspective and act as liaisons with our RD staff to identify missing products from our lineup. But, more importantly, we’re also

Become part of the BodyShop Business Readers group and participate in lively conversations with industry professionals on hot topics in the collision repair industry! Visit: http://linkd.in/18aL71K

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»| Industry Update |« using more social media by putting training snippets on YouTube and our Matrix System website. Our training programs are getting a makeover, and our entire field staff will be trained to new standards.

BSB: What makes Matrix System different than other paint companies? Brunori: I like to tell everyone that ‘we are just a bunch of guys trying to sell paint,’ and that is the truth. Because of my back-

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ground in formulating and operations, I bring a different perspective to the organization that our competitors do not have. We can translate what our customer is asking for backwards through the organization and make it happen very quickly. I have a strong team of support staff and a seasoned sales team that keep me out of trouble, but more importantly, they believe in the capabilities our company has. The management team takes a hands-on approach with the business, and we really don’t understand what ‘red tape’ is. It slows things down! Matrix System products are comparable to the Tier 1 main line labels, and we formulate with the same raw materials the major paint companies use. Our vendor partners work diligently with our development staff to ensure product performance meets or exceeds the performance of the products that we are positioning against. Yes, it is true that Matrix System started many years ago as a replacement hardener company, but today we manufacture stand-alone product platforms. Our strong distribution network is only preceded by our commitment to service our customers in the field. Matrix sales and technical representatives spend more than 60 percent of their time visiting body shops. It is the only way we get real-time feedback on the market. The game plan for the future is simple: we’re going to continue what we have done for many years. That is, stay in touch with advances in technology, lean out our systems to be more efficient and listen to our customers. We are proud to manufacture all Matrix System products in Michigan, USA, and maintain full control over product quality and manufacturing to ensure our customers get the best products on the market.


»| Industry Update |«

Cutting the ribbon are (left to right) Johan Wallenthin, international business development manager; Orazio Spanesi, founder; Cristina Spanesi, international marketing director; Mariella Salvatori, attaché for economic and scientific affairs for the Consulate General Italy-Chicago; Simone Spanesi, president; and Timothy Morgan, managing director, Spanesi Americas, Inc.

Spanesi Hosts Company Founder at U.S. Grand Opening Spanesi SpA, an Italy-based manufacturer of automotive repair equipment, hosted company founder Orazio Spanesi for the company’s U.S. grand opening in Naperville, Ill. From the time he repaired his first car at the age of 14, Spanesi knew he wanted to be a collision repair technician. In 1969, he opened his first repair center based on a passion for the craft and customer. That same commitment to collision repair and its technicians is what led to the creation of Spanesi SpA 20 years later. “My passion for this work has never changed,” said Spanesi. “We are dedicated to finding new solutions and new technologies to make collision repair faster and safer for the technician.” Leaders from the various segments of the industry and government joined in the day’s events. Attendees were given tours of the new facility and demonstrations of the product lines while enjoying live music and an assortment of catered foods. “Today is an exciting day for not only myself, but the industry as a whole,” said Timothy Morgan, managing director. “Not only does Spanesi offer the best products for our industry, but a commitment to family business and business practices that mirror those of the repairers in the U.S.” Spanesi SpA’s U.S. subsidiary, Spanesi Americas, includes corporate offices, a training center and product showroom. The company’s product lines include straightening benches, mini-benches, touch electronic measuring systems, vacuum systems, welding machines, infrared lamps, vehicle lifts, painting tools, spraybooth equipment, pneumatic tools, electric tools and hydraulic tools.

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»| Industry Update |« Mattei Compressors Sponsors NASCAR Camping World Truck Series After a successful run in & Equipment (PBE) February at the market, a primary focus NASCAR Camping for Mattei compresWorld Truck Series Race sors," said Jay R. at Daytona International Hedges, general manSpeedway, Mattei Comager of Mattei Compressors Inc. has once pressors. “Hundreds of again teamed up with body shops around the ThorSport Racing to U.S. use our AC Series sponsor a truck at the Cabinet. This is ideal NASCAR Camping because Mattei proWorld Truck Series vides clean, dry air North Carolina Educacritical to our PBE tion Lottery 200 Race. customers.” The race will take place Once again, NASCAR Mattei Compressors’ No. 13 Toyota Tundra truck. Friday, May 17 at Charfavorite and two-time lotte Motor Speedway. Daytona Champion “Our experience at Daytona proved to us that Todd Bodine will be piloting Mattei Compressor’s No. sponsoring a race to promote the benefits of Mattei 13 Toyota Tundra truck to the finish line. The race can Air Compressors not only allowed us to promote be followed live on the SPEED channel with driver inand add excitement to our brand to thousands of troductions and NASCAR Camping World Truck Serace enthusiasts, but also to reach the Paint, Body ries setup beginning at 7 p.m.

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Product

Showcase

Strong Contact Pads ToughPads fit later year BendPak two-post lifts and offer the grip of natural rubber with the tear resistance of polyurethane. The durable, wear-resistant polymer compound extends the life of the contact pads, increasing workplace safety and reducing operating costs. BendPak www.bendpak.com Circle 150 for Reader Service

Portable and Versatile Work Station The Flowmaster Mobile Work Station is a portable, clean air recirculating unit that can be used for sanding, priming, spot painting or as a clean air solution for the whole shop. It comes with either 110V for universal applications or 220V, and features up to 10,000 cfm. A basic unit is finished in galvanized steel with an option of powder coating and includes a 50-foot electrical cord.

Quick Drying DTM Primer Surfacer Matrix System’s MP-200 DTM Primer Surfacer is a premium direct to metal (DTM) primer surfacer. This product is high-build, fast drying and easy to sand. It was formulated to provide excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance and can be used directly on almost any substrate. Matrix System www.matrixsystem.com Circle 154 for Reader Service

Creative Metal Manufacturing www.creativemetalmfg.com Circle 151 for Reader Service

One-Step Buffing Compound With the ability to quickly eliminate 1,200-grit sanding marks and leave a high gloss finish in one step, Fast Gloss compound offers efficiency, performance and labor savings. Compatible with all paint systems, it works with rotary and DA polishers using foam or wool pads and is dust-free. Menzerna USA www.menzernausa.com Circle 152 for Reader Service

Compact Leveling Rod Dual Purpose Sander/Buffer The new 3-inch diameter combination Sander/Buffer allows dual-purpose random orbital sanding and rotary polishing. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, the 12,000-RPM tool is ideal for the repair and sanding of scratches on a variety of surfaces and also repairing dust nibs and blemishes on paints and clearcoats. It’s designed for use with 3inch diameter terry cloth, wool or foam buff pads.

The Pocket Rod is a 6.5-foot leveling and grading rod featuring a compact design for user convenience. Features include a built-in target on two sides, moisture-proof nylon coating, a non-glare surface, a convenient surveyor’s pole and a heavy-duty end hook. It’s available in PR618 (standard feet and inches), PR2M (metric) and PR610 (engineer’s).

Dynabrade, Inc. www.dynabrade.com Circle 153 for Reader Service

Keson Industries www.keson.com Circle 155 for Reader Service

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»| Classifieds |«

USED BIG TRUCK PARTS Dismantling Medium & Heavy Trucks. Large stock of Cabs, Hoods, Doors, Fuel Tanks, Farings, Front & Rear Axles, Engines, Repairables

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The

Shop Wiesje Baskerville Owner Auto Hound 䡲 Freeland, Wash.

How did you come up with the name, “Auto Hound?” Our last name is Baskerville, so it was a play off the Sherlock Holmes story, “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Some people get it and some people don’t. The people who get it are typically well read and familiar with the story and movie and think it’s really fun. So we like to say we’re the “Sherlock Holmes” of auto body.

So you and your husband are dog lovers? Yes, we have two of our own that we bring to the office every day, and we also let our employees bring their dogs to work. Dogs are big in the Queen Anne and Magnolia areas of Seattle. Amazon recently moved into the area and they’re also doing similar things to promote dog-friendly environments. A lot of retail outlets in the area have water dishes for dogs. There are two dog daycares nearby because Seattle is really growing and the number of condominiums and apartments is increasing.

Isn’t it dangerous for dogs to be roaming around a body shop? Every employee is responsible for their own dog. Our techs keep them in their specific area so they’re not roaming about. There are dedicated areas where work tasks get done, and the dogs aren’t in those areas. They typically hang out in their beds, and then our employees can take them for walks on their breaks. We keep our two dogs in our offices so they’re secured behind a gate or half door and they can’t bite anybody or clash with an aggres-

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sive dog that comes in. We figure if you really care about your dog, you’ll watch out for it.

Do customers like the fact that you’re a dog-friendly shop? It’s amazing how they kind of chill when they see the dogs. The kicker is if they’re a dog lover, and I would probably say 95 percent are. We’ve never really had negative comments or responses, maybe one or two in five years because of allergies or something. The dogs are almost like service dogs because you’re trying to bring a different kind of light to the whole negative situation of having an accident or needing repairs on your car. We just try to constantly lighten that up a little bit and have fun.

So customers bring in their dogs, too? Yes. We have water dishes for them and dog treats. It’s really fun. We have a very relaxed, family-type atmosphere.

Are all the dogs at your shop buddies? Yes. All the dogs at the shop get along with each other. We let them run around after hours in our 25,000-square-foot yard before we all go home.

Do you have pictures of your dogs on your business card? No, but our logo is a paw, so when you become one of our customers, you’ve been branded in a sense for life. BSB


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BodyShop Business