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Zeck: Recognizing Reality

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I’ve been staring at my blank word document for weeks now, trying to figure out what to write this month—the last of the year. It feels like I should have something insightful to share, wrapping up the year. But if I’m honest, in many ways, it feels like I’m limping toward the finish line. I’m leaving this year with a short-staffed team, uncertainty about what next year will be like, and feeling overall wary and downright tired. Anyone else relate? 

In this industry, between the parts shortage, supply chain issues, The Great Resignation, the crazy real estate market, and ever-increasing friction with insurers and OEMs alike, it’s no wonder you’re on edge.

And honestly, I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it: It’s hard.

It’s hard spending hours every day trying to hunt down parts that used to be easily available.

It’s hard worrying and thinking about how to make your team feel appreciated, and then have them leave anyway. 

It’s hard having to waste time fighting with insurance companies about getting paid for things required to fix a vehicle properly.

It’s hard not knowing if next year will be better, worse, or more of the same.

Those are day-to-day realities, and their relentlessness is exhausting.

So in this Editor’s Letter, I just want to say: I see you. 

I see you trying any means possible to get parts in quickly so that your customers aren’t stuck without their vehicles for an extended period of time.

I see you working hard to recruit and then retain top talent, be it through culture-building initiatives, extensive training opportunities, or simply trying to be a good boss.

I see you trying—sometimes in vain!—to be an advocate for the customer and their safety while negotiating with the insurance company.

And I see you continuing to successfully do all of the above even in the face of the adversity and uncertainty you have faced. 

While I sincerely hope that next year brings more stability, I know this industry is well-equipped to deal with any challenges that arise.

And if you need any inspiration, I highly recommend making sure you read our four columnists—Kevin Rains, Ryan Cropper, Steve Morris, and Jason Boggs. From their industry wishlists to the challenges of selling to the marks of a great leader, they remain not only our eyes and ears in the industry, but give a voice to shop owners everywhere, as well.

That, ultimately, remains our goal here at FenderBender and I hope helps soften the burden of dealing with the issues we’ve mentioned: to unite the industry by giving a voice to the individuals therein. 

Happy holidays and see you next year!

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