Shop Insider: Country Parkway Repairs
Chris Cole is leading his local Westbury, NY community of repairers with ADAS calibration service.
“I wanted to be the first in this area to have the tools to perform calibrations,” he says.
In January of this year, Cole began calibrating vehicles with driver assist systems in his shop, Country Parkway Repairs. He first noticed the business opportunity in 2019, when he saw an increase of vehicles come in that he didn’t have the means to completely repair.
“My repair shop is surrounded by body shops. So anything that they can't repair, they usually send to me,” he explains. “When I started getting in a couple of these vehicles I couldn't fix—because I didn't have the right equipment on hand—I started doing research.”
This research led Cole to purchase the new Autel MA600 calibration frame. Ever since, his shop has been performing repairs, replacing windshields and completing calibrations for surrounding shops and dealers—helping increase his profits far more than expected.
Plan for needed shop space.
Calibrations take space, and before investing in the frame, Cole measured his shop to ensure the space could handle it. Country Parkway Repairs is 4,000 square feet, with four bays. He says the frame is a good fit for his New York shop because he has the 15-foot wide by 30-foot long space needed to calibrate any vehicle. Beyond just the space for the tool, other factors of the shop needed to be accounted for.
“You're going to need a level floor, enough room so there's nothing interfering in the calibration area and no external light sources like windows,” Cole says.
Autel offers both a standard frame and a portable MA600 frame—both of which provide more than camera-based calibrations to complete any vehicle that comes his way. Cole opted for the portable MA600 frame to account for shop size and convenience. The portable frame can store and set up easily anywhere to complete the calibration quickly. The MA600 also cost less, so he was able to use his existing Autel MaxiSYS tablet to provide the calibration software, rather than buying a new tablet.
Take advantage of free training.
Cole says that prior to investing in the frame, he had little knowledge of how to use calibration tools. Throughout the process of learning, Autel provided both person-to-person and video class training assistance with his purchase.
One of the best resources for Cole has been the Autel Training Academy video library.
“When you go into it blind, the videos are definitely helpful,” he says.
As the owner, Cole wanted to be the first person in his shop to figure everything out regarding the frame positioning and completion of calibrations. He has since been able to teach his employees and keep his shop well informed.
“Whenever I see something useful or knowledgeable about ADAS calibration, I will discuss it with the team,” he says.
After utilizing the training Autel offers, Cole began completing calibrations shortly after setup in his shop. As quickly as they replace a windshield, they are now completing the vehicle calibrations and getting projects billed.
Rely on tech support options.
The main reason Cole chose Autel for his calibration partner is because of the support he experienced with his previous Autel MaxiSYS diagnostic tools.
“I think their support is great, they are easy to reach and the price point was perfect,” he explains. “I have several Autel scanners in my shop and I've had a lot of luck with them.”
When Cole first purchased the frame, he would call the Autel tech support team whenever he had questions. They were able to help walk him through any issue he ran into—mechanical or software-based—so he could then complete the calibration easily.
Autel can also remotely log into his scan tool and take a closer look at any issue, Cole says.
“They can dial into my scanner and see exactly what I'm seeing when a vehicle is hooked up, which I think is huge,” he says.
This helps answer questions faster and complete projects easily.
Spread the word to other locals.
In order to show surrounding businesses that Country Parkway Repairs performs calibrations, Cole began an aggressive marketing campaign. He created and mailed out ADAS promotional pieces to his surrounding shops and dealerships to demonstrate his capabilities and take on new projects.
“Every morning, I go to Google Maps and search for auto body shops in surrounding towns,” he says. “Then I grab their addresses and I put them into a word document; from there, I just mail the pieces out every two weeks.”
Cole solely markets to businesses, considering customers rarely understand what ADAS calibration is. The industry is experiencing an increase of these new vehicle systems, so Cole has planned well in advance of the service requirements.