Shop Life Columnists

Zeck: Inside 20 Groups

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Hands clasped together over a desk

There are some stats from the FenderBender Industry Survey that stick out every year. The number of shops that don’t track KPIs, the biggest challenges ahead, the change in leadership styles, and, the number of shops that belong to a 20 Group. This year, that figure rested at just 31 percent. 


In a lot of ways, I get it. It’s time consuming, it can be expensive to travel, it’s hard to take time away from the shop. But not only is the experience of being part of one invaluable for its members, the numerical impact also speaks for itself. Across the board, shops that belong to 20 Groups post better KPIs:


Annual Revenue Above $1 Million: 63%

Cycle Time Below 7 Days: 72%

Touch Time Above 4 Hours: 41%

Overall Gross Profit Margin Above 40%: 72%

Net Profit Margin Above 11%: 45%

Efficiency Above 140%: 51%

Productivity Above 110%: 50%


And it’s not just shops that are bigger, or have more locations, or other reasons that would point to  those higher KPIs. Regardless of size, location, DRP involvement, shops that are part of 20 Groups simply perform better.


If you read our main feature this month, “Support. Ideas. Friendship.” I think you’ll understand why. For the first time ever, FenderBender was granted unprecedented access to a 20 Group meeting, to act as a total fly on the wall and observe just how these meetings run. There’s a reason we called the story, “Support. Ideas. Friendship.” because it so perfectly encapsulates what being a part of a 20 Group is like. Take it from Bob Coleman, the collision director at a dealership body shop in Texas:


“Getting away, being able to just sit around and talk, in our dinners and our bar rendezvous, really helps you to be able to pick up the phone and call somebody and say, ‘I’m struggling. What do you do at your shop?’” 


It’s not all warm and fuzzy, though. At times, those meetings involve delving deeply into the numbers of each member’s shop, or group members holding each other brutally accountable to their goals.


All the members seem to agree, though: They wouldn’t be where they are today in their success if it weren’t for their fellow group members. In this ever-changing industry, it’s easy to feel isolated, like you’re on your own island. If there’s one takeaway from this month’s issue, it’s this: Reach out. You’ll be surprised how much others are willing to help.

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