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Inside a Drive-in Estimating Bay

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Photo by Mario Barkley

SHOP: Car Struction Collision Center  LOCATION: Chesapeake, Va.  OWNER: Herbert Winslow SIZE: 6,300 square feet


1) Four years ago, Car Struction Collision Center owner Herbert Winslow built a new customer service and estimating center to rival the dealership experience. Within that center is a drive-in estimating bay, which has four lanes of traffic that can fit up to 12 cars at a time, two lifts and a toolbox for small teardowns. “You just pull up to the door, the door opens automatically and you pull on in and step right into the office,” Winslow says.

2) The estimating bay is designed in a U-shape with the offices and reception area in the middle. The shape allows for a smooth flow of traffic. Winslow says the cars usually come in one direction in the morning and go back out the other direction in the afternoon for deliveries and pickups. The shape also makes it easy for a car to be taken out of the flow. “I put a road behind my building,” he says. “We can take the car out of the back, take a right and it will take you all the way back to the storage lot or straight to the shop floor.”

3) Two sides of the building are all glass, including the office walls. Winslow wanted the building to look inviting, and says the glass also reinforces his brand. “We’re trying to be as transparent as possible when it comes to repairs,” he says. “We’re trying to educate the public on what it requires to repair your car to pre-accident condition.” Winslow says the transparency attracts a better clientele, which has made him less dependent on DRP programs.

4) According to Winslow, the indoor bays are also convenient for the estimators. Rather than having to walk to and from the car with their notes to enter into the computer, the estimators are only a few steps away from the cars. “The whole objective of this facility was to produce a better initial estimate,” he says. “It speeds up the repairs so you have a smaller supplement when you go into production.”

5) Winslow selected bright fluorescent lighting for the estimating bay because “it shows everything,” he says. Winslow says he wanted to reinforce the quality of the product to the customer by not hiding any potential mistakes. “You can thoroughly inspect your car and you won’t be surprised by something when you get home,” he says.

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