Shop Life

Opportunities in Community

Order Reprints
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In late September I had the privilege of attending our FenderBender Management Conference. If you weren’t able to join us—well, first I hope you join us in Denver next year—this annual event brings shop leaders together from around the country for a few days of education, networking and a little bit of fun as well. Attendees had the privilege of learning from peers and other industry professionals through speaker sessions that ran most of the day. These topics ranged from the niche to subjects that could apply to all body shops.

On the first day of the conference, I was in line for coffee with a shop owner. As we both reached for the half & half, I deferred and said to go ahead, that we’re all friends here. That was true, this shop owner replied, that there was a community effect wherever this many shop owners were gathered. If one owner were to discuss a problem he or she has had, then odds were almost certain that another shop owner had experienced that exact same problem. There was power in that, we agreed.

The lessons owners could learn from the speakers at the conference were invaluable. But so too were those networking opportunities where owners could learn from each other. Even thinking beyond the confines of a conference, there are opportunities each day for owners to help each other out, whether that’s a 20 Group, a regional association or simply staying in touch with the shops in your area fighting the same battles. 

I like to think of FenderBender as a place where you can read about those other perspectives, whether similar or different to yours. In this month’s feature story we bring you three different operators to discuss the ways they lead their shops in 2022. Hopefully you find something in there to think about, or confirm something you’re already doing. In the rest of the issue you’ll find other perspectives, such as how to market OEM certifications, if you have them. And in something that affects all shops, there’s a guide to understanding shop liability. Thanks for doing what you can to work together to raise up this industry.


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