The Aspiring ‘Uber’ of Collision Repair
April 8, 2021—As a startup, Uber changed the way people think about getting places.
A dozen years after it launched, its smartphone interface as a ride-hailing app is all too familiar, and similar models have been applied to everything from getting takeout to shopping at Target.
Now, an entrepreneur with roots in the auto body world is trying to bring the Uber model to collision repair.
Real Auto Body launched in March in the Los Angeles area, making a splash by offering early adopters a $500 Visa gift card, which could be used towards customers’ insurance deductibles, a press release says.
Following a collision, users of the service can input their vehicle and insurance claim information into the Real Auto Body website to schedule their vehicle to be picked up from their home or work, the press release says. Real Auto Body works with OEM-certified shops and repair costs are negotiated directly with the insurer. The company updates clients about their repairs via email, and their vehicles are returned to them once the repairs are complete.
Founder Nick Czuczko says he came up with the idea for Real Auto Body two years ago, starting with a simple premise: “What would it be like to have an on-demand body shop just to make it super simple for people?”
All Real Parts
Making collision repair easier, Czuczko says, involves taking the intimidation out of finding a shop. He notes the well-known statistic that folks only need auto body work about every seven years.
Czuczko is also a firm proponent of using only real, OEM parts—hence his company’s name—always steering clear of used or aftermarket parts.
Czuczko says his and his company’s commitment to OEM parts comes from his background in the industry, working in his father’s auto body shop as a kid and later as an adult and an ASE-certified estimator and master technician.
Circumstances in the industry around a decade ago, he says, made it clear to him and his father that OEM parts were the way to go.
“[Non-OEM parts are] not good for the client, technicians hate using them,” he says, “[they’re] really not a long-term business model for having repair clients come back to you.”
Real Auto Body is so committed to OEM parts that Czuczko says the company will pay to make sure customers get them, should an insurance company not cover OEM parts as part of a repair.
“We come up with the difference,” he says. “That’s just our program, we want to do right by the client.”
Real Auto Body,, available via the web and soon through an app this summer, has a footprint that covers Los Angeles County, Orange County, and the Inland Empire, according to the press release. At its launch, the service was working with shops that hold Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Tesla certifications.
The use of certified shops, Czuczko says, aligns with his company ethos in that those shops have “already made the commitment to the tools, to only use OEM parts, [they’ve] made a commitment to train [their] technicians.”
Czuczko says he’s currently working with a network of shops and will expand that network based on need.
“I wanted to do something meaningful with fewer shops,” he says, noting there are tangible reasons for providing proper repairs.
“It’s protecting real people, it’s just caring,” Czuczko says. “They expect you to look out for them. You’re their advocate in the repair.”