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Saving your Bottom Line in 2011

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Elections? Done. New year? Right around the corner. Miracles to help the collision industry drive sales? Highly unlikely. So what can be done to save the bottom line?

It’s a little reactionary to plan for 2011 now, but better late than never. Look at what variables have affected your long-term plan and determine what adjustments must be made. Three things that come to mind: 1) health care and the federal mandates; 2) NESHAP/6H EPA rules; and 3) energy costs.

Health care. Keep your health care agent on speed dial as the federal program rolls out. Even if repealed, it could have short-term impact on your bottom line. Seek advice from your agent and share it with your employees, especially details about company-sponsored health benefits and tax implications.

NESHAP/6H EPA issues. You should be nearing compliance at this point, given the Jan. 10 deadline. All paperwork is due to your EPA regional office by March 11. Take a moment to review your obligations for compliance, and make sure all your information is organized and available for possible inspection.

Energy costs. Prepare yourself for additional costs in the coming years. Review your estimating processes, your line-item assessments and the coding provided for these labor operations to ensure that materials are being reimbursed appropriately. Do an assessment of your refinish operation and review the requirements within the new EPA ruling. Will your booth and prep station usage increase? How will this affect your electrical and gas costs, and what changes do you need to make for proper reimbursement? Remember, the use of this equipment is directly affected by how much paint work you do, or don’t do.

Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.

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