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Consolidation has been a hot topic in collision repair in recent years. At FenderBender, we’ve received countless press release_notess about the latest shop acquisitions and franchise expansions. The resulting news stories have proven to be some of our most viewed online. “Who is buying who” is a topic that routinely garners interest, and deservedly so.  

I don’t think anyone is under the impression that the industry is going to stop shrinking in the near future. If you are, a look at the chart accompanying one of this month’s feature stories, “How to Grow in Today’s Challenging Industry,” should serve as a wake-up call. And associate editor Bryce Evans’ interviews with Maaco President Jose Costa and ABRA Executive Vice President Tim Adelmann make it pretty clear that their feet are on the gas.

“Consolidation is the name of the game in today’s industry,” Costa says.

As an independent shop trying to get by, you might scoff and roll your eyes at that comment, thinking you have nothing in common with this guy. You might think your values don’t align. How can he eat up the mom-and-pop shops that have provided quality repairs and exceptional service to generations of American motorists, you might ask.

But Costa’s goal is actually one you likely have in common. Is his company acquiring shops at an alarming rate? Yes, “but that doesn’t just mean gobbling up other businesses and going for straight quantity,” he says. “Our goal is to become the best, most profitable collision company in the country.”  

That’s a goal anyone in this industry can respect. Both Costa and Adelmann lifted the lid on some of their strategies for achieving further growth. From their standpoint, it’s clear that success is there for those willing to step up and grab it.

The real question is what is your shop doing to stand out and compete?

Dan Stander, the director of the Automotive Service Association’s collision division, provides a few pointers in the aforementioned feature, based on what he’s seen as a shop owner.

“The shops that sit back and refuse to adapt are the ones that will go away; I’ve seen it in my market,” he says. “Independents used to rule the Denver market. Now, it’s saturated with successful MSOs.”

Columnist Jon Parker, who has been in collision repair shops across the globe, offers his own take on the opportunities that lie ahead for the repairers who are ambitious enough to seize them.

You can also find inspirational industry professionals in this issue who are making their own success. Folks like Hawaiian shop manager Spencer Nash in “Advancing Technician Training in Hawaii,”  who is developing a technician training center for the betterment of shops throughout his region. In Shop Talk, painter Mike Hamilton, who performs at efficiency levels between 250 and 300 percent, shares how other shops can maximize throughput in the paint department.

The industry is shrinking, yes, but there’s still room for those who aim high and are willing to step up to challenges and find solutions.      

Jake Weyer, Editor

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