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Total Auto Body

Photo courtesy Total Auto Body

SHOP: Total Auto Body  LOCATION: Grafton, Wis.  OWNER: Bob Gibson

SIZE: 14,000 Sq ft. STAFF: 10 (6 technicians and 4 office workers) 


1) In mid-2013, Total Auto Body began a renovation to create a more modern facility that would eliminate the restrictions of the shop’s previous space. Shop owner Bob Gibson worked with an architecture firm to  update the exterior with ground-face masonry units, install a drive-through estimating lane near the front and create a more inviting lobby entry that would be easier for customers to spot.

A glass overhead door and extensive skylights were also added to create more natural light in the previously dark space. 

?2) Gibson says the large green signs above workstations in the shop help departmentalize the facility, giving a sense of order in what can be a hectic workspace. 

“A lot of people come in and say this is how a repair garage should look,” Gibson says. “And I actually couldn’t disagree with them more. It’s clean and there aren’t parts piled up everywhere.”

The signage also helps streamline one job to another in the garage. 

“Everything has a flow in the shop that sort of moves from one direction dictated by the signs,” says Gibson. “By making designated areas for certain things, it helps everyone visually. If a painter sees something sitting in a ‘refinish’ spot, that eliminates them needing to ask someone if something is ready.”

?3) More than anything, Gibson says he wants his shop to be different than the others in the area. Unique to his shop, Gibson offers a  drive-through estimating lane. Customers drive directly into the lane, walk around their vehicle with an estimator, go over estimates in the adjacent sales lounges, and eventually drop their car off for repairs. 

“We have branded our repair system to differentiate ourselves from the competition and use it as a sales tool,” Gibson says. ?

?4) The shop also utilizes 16 cameras that are on constant surveillance throughout the building and parking lot. The camera feeds transmit to a computer monitor behind the front desk, or are uploaded at a later date. Gibson says the cameras are mostly for security purposes, but they can also settle disputes among his technicians over who-did-what to a customer’s vehicle. In one instance, the cameras helped him get out of paying a hefty fee to a customer. 

“We had a customer come in one day with a completely totaled car. We didn’t even touch it,” Gibson says. “The next day she came in and accused us of opening her hood and messing around with it, because later in the day after she came in, the hood went up and smashed her windshield. She blamed us. We showed her the tape that nobody in our shop even touched her car and that was that.” 

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