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Gerber Collision and Glass

Order Reprints

Photo by Jeff Garland

SHOP: Gerber Collision and Glass (formerly Collex Collision)  LOCATION: Clinton Township, Mich.  OWNER: John Gagliano

SIZE: 37,000 square feet STAFF: 30 ANNUAL REVENUE: $2.3 million

1) When a customer arrives at Collex Collision, he or she immediately pulls up their vehicle to the drive-in estimating lane, where the estimator greets the customer and walks around the vehicle with them.

2) Each of the four spots in the estimating lane is numbered and labeled with a sign attached to a road cone. As soon as an assignment comes through the shop, an estimator is assigned to the job and the vehicle is pulled up to that estimator’s lane designation.

3) Nick Booras, vice president of sales and marketing, says that the shop chose to house the station inside due to the inclement weather in Michigan. He notes that it also provides better and more consistent lighting. To deal with snow or wet conditions, the shop put down epoxy flooring and a French drain that runs the length of the lane to drain snow or water that is wiped off the car.

4) The tools available to the estimator are purposely pared down and simple. Each estimator has a tablet computer, which integrates with the shop’s management system, allowing for more efficient information gathering. Booras notes that the lanes are specifically meant for customer engagement, which is why there are few other tools.

“It’s very simple so that we’re engaged with the customer in the lane. If you get into too much tool, it tends to become shop talk,” he says. “We we want to make sure the sympathy and empathy are there, and understand exactly what happened in the accident.”

5) A door in between stations 4 and 5 opens directly into the shop floor. After the estimator is done with the vehicle, it immediately enters the shop and begins the lean process. Booras says that the vehicle typically does not leave the inside of the shop again until the very end of the repair process.

6) Glass windows looking into the shop floor and the lobby promote transparency with the customers. Booras says that estimators spend time with every customer explaining the repair process.

“Our goal is to be as efficient as possible and make sure the customer is aware of everything we’re doing,” he says. “They can see everything that we’re doing, and we  can talk about our lean process by showing them.”

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