Snap Shop: Hopkins Auto Body 1
SHOP STATS: Hopkins Auto Body Location: Hopkins, Minn. Operator: Jerald Stiele Average Monthly Car Count: 150 Staff Size: 18 Shop Size: 26,000 sq ft; Annual Revenue;$3.9 million
1. A New Name
Hopkins Auto Body and five other Minnesota shops joined the 1Collision Network in 2017. In order to join the network, Hopkins Auto Body had to rebrand into a new name.
The new name, Hopkins Auto Body 1, and the new logo look more streamlined and corporate for the business, despite the business remaining an independently owned shop.
The decision to join a larger network that includes about 35 shops across the U.S. stemmed from the shops wanting more access to insurance companies and buying programs, says Jerald Stiele, owner of Hopkins Auto Body 1.
2. A Quality Impression
Along with the rebrand, the entire front office was remodeled. Stiele told the local design company to remodel the office to be calm, clean and demonstrate quality.
The new office is now painted a light blue to make customers feel relaxed. Stiele plans to further update the lighting from the current halogen bulbs to brighter LED light bulbs.
3. A Segmented Shop
The shop floor and offices are segmented, with no windows connecting the two spaces. Stiele and his team moved expanded their space in 1999. They converted an office building at the back of the the business into a body shop floor.
Stiele and his office manager have offices located in the very corner of the building. Stiele’s office and those of his manager and estimators are tucked away from view of the customer. The offices are located along the small shop floor next to the customer waiting room. The floor only holds three cars that go through the estimating bays before the repair process.
“I don’t spend a lot of time in the office because I’m usually very mobile and going from the shop floor to working on sales with insurance agents,” Stiele says.
4. An Efficient Paint Process
The 10,000-square-foot body work area is separated from the paint area. Five technicians work in the repair area as a team with two painters and a detailer working in a back paint room.
The shop has two spray booths to help the painter switch between paint jobs. The waterborne paint that the facility uses takes longer to dry and with two paint booths, the painters are able to complete jobs faster and waste less time, Stiele says.
5. A Step Ahead With Blueprinting
The shop has added a blueprinting space and designated blueprinting manager to the shop floor. The blueprinting manager encourages customers to drop off vehicles now without an estimate written. The shop has improved touch time and cycle time by 25 percent from last year.