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The drum of consolidation has been beating incessantly for several years now. If you’ve grown numb to it or chosen to tune it out, I can’t blame you. But if you’re still reading this, you understand the importance of knowing where this trend is heading and where you might fit in, especially if you’re an independent shop.

Whatever your perceptions about the Big 4 consolidators and other large MSOs might be, consider this: On average, they processed $3.3 million in collision work per shop in 2014, according to data from The Romans Group. The rest of the industry averaged $964,000. It’s a safe bet that the disparity is even greater now, more than a year later.

Those stats, from this month’s cover story, “Inside the Big 4,” on page 44, should be a wake-up call for shops that have carried out business as usual, hoping to rely on the often-recited mantra of “quality” or “good customer service.” Those things are expected of all shops; they are the starting point, not the recipe for success today.

As consolidation continues (the Big 4 gained $1.5 billion in collision repair work through acquisitions during the last two years) their appeal to insurers and to an extent, consumers, will continue to increase for reasons beyond quality and good customer service. It’s how they achieve those things—how they measure and sustain them—that matters more. They have created standardized systems and processes across all facets of business that ensure repeatable success and peace of mind.

This month’s story takes you into the world of some of the key MSO players to give you a better understanding of how their shops run, their driving philosophies, and how they’ve been able to grow at such a clip. There are takeaways for shops of any size. This isn’t a doom-and-gloom story for independents. It’s a look into a model that’s working, and in many ways can be replicated for your success. 


Jake Weyer, editor

jweyer@fenderbender.com

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