Texas Auto Body Association Named SCRS Affiliate
Sept. 24, 2014—The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) announced the affiliation of the Auto Body Association of Texas (ABAT), a new association formed with the intent of leveling the playing field for collision repairers across the state.
Currently headquartered in Henderson, Texas, ABAT was formed in June 2014 by a group of collision repair professionals looking for information and seeking to influence positive change for the industry.
“A group of us that were getting tired of being told ‘we were the only one’ making requests to ensure fair compensation on our repairs,” said Burl Richards, president of ABAT. “And we were getting concerned over what we perceived to be insurance overreach through programs like PartsTrader. Most of us were from a rural area and it was becoming obvious we didn't have enough access to information that would help us make informed decisions and take an effective stand against what we thought were unfair practices. We’d visited the Houston Auto Body Association and saw the power of having a bunch of sharp operators in one room. We also understood that there was a need for education on the fundamentals of estimating and other subjects. Thus, we decided to form our own association.”
Forty shops gathered at an educational seminar in Tyler, Texas, given by local paint jobber Chad Neal.
“At first people were hesitant to talk about much, because we didn’t really know what the antitrust laws allowed,” said Richards. “With the help of Barrett Smith, a consultant out of Orlando, Florida, we quickly got up to speed. After a few more meetings things really took off and we were attracting some of the biggest shops in the state which gave us the numbers we needed to be effective as a united voice. Jobbers, suppliers, and local OEM paint reps that joined were given an equal voice.”
The association said it reached out to SCRS in an effort to broaden its reach.
“There are many areas in this country where repairers haven’t had a consistent local voice to support their businesses and the ABAT is an example of an association that developed to meet that need,” said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. "Groups like this strengthen our industry and play an important role in the survival of body shops that continue to experience unrelenting pressures on their profitability.”