Embrace Paperless Filing Systems
Jason Meehan is constantly swamped. As the manager of BodyCraft Collision Center in Rancho Cordova, Calif.—an 11,000 square foot shop with 12 employees and $2.4 million in annual sales—he is immersed in the daily tasks of running a business. “You’re trying to fix cars, and that alone can be so consuming and stressful that all the other things needed to run a business can be overwhelming,” he says. That includes keeping track of the regulatory rules and certifications a shop must follow.
But thanks to ReComply, an electronic filing system developed by GRC-Pirk Management—a registered environmental assessment company—Meehan doesn’t have to worry. The Web-based program helps shops ensure their compliance with mandatory federal, state and local certifications and regulations.
Plus, since the filing system is paperless, it reduces expenses such as paper, ink and waste disposal—not to mention trips back and forth to the printer—which saves shops time, money and resources. Meehan, who describes himself as “completely consumed by running a shop,” has found the benefits of ReComply invaluable. His peace of mind knowing all of the shop’s regulatory files are taken care of is priceless. “I can spend more time running my shop and making sure cars are repaired properly. [I can] focus on profits, not permit renewals,” he says.
—Jason Meehan, manager, BodyCraft Collision Center
Steven Schillinger, president of GRC-Pirk, says shops often struggle to stay on top of the many rules and regulations. “You’d be surprised how many late penalties they’re paying,” he says. Many shops are responsible for 20 to 50 permit renewals per year—each of which can result in a several-hundred-dollar fine for tardiness.
Making time to deal with the myriad files and certifications can be a hassle. Schillinger says a study conducted by the Automotive Service Association (ASA)—and later supported by a subsequent study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—found that shops with 20 or fewer employees spend between 20 and 30 hours a year on regulatory filing-related tasks. With a service like ReComply, however, that time drops to between two and five hours. “All they have to do is sign,” Schillinger says.
The paperless filing system, available in all 50 states and Canada, currently services 3,000 body shops, Schillinger says. The program launched in 2006 when digital certification and electronic signatures became possible. Instead of physically signing documents, shop owners and managers could file permits and sign regulatory paperwork electronically.
ReComply encompasses the rules and certifications of 108 agencies, including several factions of the EPA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Among those factions covered are Water Quality, Air Resource, the Department of Health Safety, the Fish and Game Department and the Department of Transportation.
The program also ensures a shop’s compliance with the rules of its local fire department and city police. “We research the local requirements. Once we do that, we enter that into our database so we know their regulations,” Schillinger explains. “We also work with local utility companies so they can keep up with their waste regulations.”
Meehan says BodyCraft pays between $100 and $150 per month to use ReComply—but the price is worth it. “To file all the appropriate stuff can be so crazy,” he says. Storing all of his regulatory paperwork electronically has eased the process. “Shops would have 20 binders full of [files]. A program like ReComply is so convenient. Anything that helps free up your time to better manage profit margins is beneficial.”
He’s also found its reminder notifications to be a huge benefit. An alert notifies a shop when a particular regulator deadline is approaching. Meehan’s reminders usually concern permit renewals—he has six—and state-mandated safety training.
While ReComply keeps track of mandatory regulations and certifications for a shop, Meehan says an owner or manager is ultimately responsible for knowing what needs to be tracked and when. Once that information is shared with GRC-Pirk, they keep it on file and send out deadline reminders accordingly.
For Meehan, the biggest benefit of filing electronically is the opportunity to focus all of his efforts on managing his business. “If I can’t focus on that, I’m just not going to make as much money,” he says. “It’s important I spend as little time as possible doing the non-profit stuff. Permits are not profitable—they’re the price of doing business.”
Knowing everything is competently handled is invaluable for him. “I am able to run my business and not worry about my permits and records,” Meehan says. “That’s peace of mind.”