Running a Shop Operations Estimating Snap Shop

Selecta Auto Body

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Photo by Selecta Auto Body

SHOP: Selecta Auto Body 
LOCATION:
 San Francisco  
OWNER: J.R. Hubbard
SIZE: 10,000 square feet 
STAFF: 15 (9 technicians, 5 office staff, 1 owner)
MONTHLY CAR COUNT : 65
AVERAGE REPAIR ORDER: $2,500

1) Hubbard installed motion sensors in every room of the shop so the lights would turn off when the room was not in use. In addition, he uncovered the skylights and front windows that had been covered with plywood by the former owner, and installed glass.

2) Before he got into auto body, Hubbard worked at a landscape company and has always had a passion for plants. That’s why the shop features more than 350 pothos plants sitting in structures mounted on the wall. Hubbard says pothos plants are hearty natural air filters with one of the higher carbon dioxide–to-oxygen exchange rates. 

3) The shop’s Global Finishing Solutions downdraft heated spray booth is oversized at 30 feet long, which allows the shop to paint more cars and parts at once. Hubbard says the shop often pulls parts off cars and paints them, rather than waste tape and paper by driving the entire car in. 

“Everything is set up to be able to batch paint and clear things together,” he says. “I can paint four different colors on four different cars at once in my booth. That saves me three extra booth cycles.” 

The system has worked so well that the paint department is often done painting parts before the car is fully apart.

4) The main garage door is the only way to enter the shop, which means every customer sees the shop floor by default. 

“Real common in San Francisco is to not have a parking lot. We have one entrance. So our shop is what you see is what you get,” says Hubbard. 

That’s why he made it a point to have a clean space that wasn’t sterile. Hubbard worked with a designer to create the 

 modern-retro neon shop sign and mimicked the same style with the signage identifying each department. 

“As soon as somebody comes in, they know exactly what we’re doing where,” he says.

5) The shop features two curtained-off areas: A ventilated prep area and a detail area. While the shop doesn’t have enough aluminum work to justify a dedicated aluminum bay, the curtained area was designed with that in mind. Hubbard says that he wanted to make sure that, given the direction in which the industry is moving, he had the space for an aluminum bay when the time was right.

6) The two staircases at the front and back lead to a 5,000-square-foot mezzanine, where Hubbard’s office is located, as well as the employee break room. And parts are stored, organized and matched upstairs to avoid cluttering and taking up space on the shop floor.

7) The shop’s lobby was designed to feel like a tech firm, with industrial metal accents and related artwork. It’s also designed to be green: All desks and benches are made from recycled wood and steel, and portable and rechargeable estimating carts are used to take advantage of charging during off-peak hours. 

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