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Jensen's Target Collision

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Jensen's Target Collision

Courtesy Jensen's Target Collision

Jensen’s Target Collision had raked in solid revenue in recent years, but a few elements of the business were operating in fits and starts. Five years ago, owner Richard Howell took the initial step toward retooling his business.

In 2016, Howell purchased an old car wash located next door to his Erie, Pa., shop and added several bays to his facility and more than doubled its office space. “We do about $2 million a year, average, in sales,” Howell notes. “And with the number of customers in and out, and with the old office, we had outgrown it.”

Jensen’s Target Collision (JTC) officially added operations in its second building on June 1, after a nearly five-month expansion process. The new building houses the facility’s collision center and frame division, in addition to office space. The old structure houses JTC’s paint department, mechanical division and an area designated for rust-proofing and bedliner work.

1  The most eye-catching asset in the new building is its lobby/showroom. “We’ve redone it totally,” Howell says. “We actually have two rental companies—our own, which is Target Xpress Rent-A-Car, and then an Enterprise Rent-A-Car office inside our showroom. [Customers] can sit there and Enterprise can get them lined up in a car as they’re filing their claim right from my office, right in the showroom.”

The $50,000 expansion of the lobby also afforded JTC the space at the front of the shop to offer accessories like batteries, wiper blades and floor mats, which have helped sales increase by over 15 percent since June.

2  Another element of JTC’s overhaul that has garnered rave reviews: its improved waiting area in the recently added building, which is 100-percent handicapped accessible. New vinyl wood plank flooring was among that area’s additions.

“The customer, their first impression when they walk into the office is definitely pleasing. And we get a lot of compliments on how comfortable and warm it is,” says Howell, whose business also recently tripled the amount of parking out front and increased exposure to a nearby thoroughfare.

3  An upgraded and expanded office area has allowed Howell to increase the amount of employees who work from the front of his shop. There’s ample room for up to three estimators, a receptionist and a bookkeeper to work up front.

“They love it. It has made their days much easier,” Howell says, referring to his office employees’ current morale. “We were in an area about one-third the size [previously], with three people stumbling into one another on a busy Monday morning when everyone was dropping off their cars.”

That area of the revamped JTC features granite countertops and a simulated stone wall, with one-way glass looking out from a pair of private offices.

4  Howell recently dedicated an area for insurance adjusters, primarily Progressive and Allstate representatives, to use as needed.

5  Eighteen additional bays were created as a result of JTC’s expansion into the new building. The new structure features 13 bays for collision repairs, three for frame work, and two for clean up. That has resulted in less congestion than in the past; divider walls in JTC’s first structure separated departments, creating the occasional bottleneck. Howell says the “wide-open” layout of his new building has helped streamline work.

6  JTC’s enclosed estimating area was a valuable addition in late 2016. Previously, estimating was done in the parking lot—not ideal in Erie, which averages a little more than 100 inches of snow per year. The estimating area currently features an awning, but a pair of garage doors will be added in January 2017. This addition has been a hit with employees, the owner says.

“They’re very happy,” Howell notes, “with the whole transformation of what we’ve done.”

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