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Adapting to Your Shop's Market

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The Pivot Your Shop Needs
How two shop owners adjusted their business models to stand out.

When attempting to navigate through the massive wave of activity flooding the collision repair industry—from the ongoing struggle between insurers and shops, to market consolidation, to the constant influx of vehicle technology—a fundamental truth is often overlooked: individual shop operators are just doing their best to stay afloat in their regional markets’ waters.

Finding a way to stand out in your environment requires a commitment not every shop is ready for—which is why Tom Adams and his company, Certified Collision Group, felt compelled to help.

“We realized there were a number of regional operators interested in assistance because of the chaos of consolidation,” he says. “The Big 4, large dealer groups, they have significant resources to not only engage insurance companies, but also the industry at large. Smaller shops need that connectivity.”

Formed by regional MSOs trying to compete in the busy California market, Certified Collision Group (CCG) takes in aspiring body shops to be part of its growing network (now comprised of more than 200 shops). And as senior vice president of CCG, Adams—who has studied the industry through several of his past employers, including CCC Information Services and OEConnection—identifies the steps a shop must take to remain in step. It requires you to do your research, to find an opportunity, and to come up with a game plan.

To put a single word to it: it requires adaptation.

As Gary Wano Jr. found out, sometimes the market doesn’t cater to your initial vision for your shop. And as Maria Carrillo discovered, your shop’s foundation can been swallowed up by the competition. But if you can adapt? If you can adjust your approach just a little bit? You won’t just find a new avenue, says Adams—you’ll build a new road and create your own market.

Here’s how Carrillo and Wano adapted to their environments—the first by marketing to insurance companies, and the latter by partnering with OEMs and dealers—and how Adams says you can adopt those approaches in your region.

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