Become an Industry Advocate
Brett Bailey is associated with seemingly every collision repair industry acronym there is: He’s currently the vice chairman for the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS), and is also involved with the National Auto Body Council (NABC) and the Collision Industry Conference (CIC). And, in the past, he has held various positions with CARSTAR’s advisory board.
He’s a devoted family man, and is motivated to help his Kansas City-area MSO, A&B CARSTAR, continue to grow. But Bailey still carves out time to travel to gatherings like CIC and SEMA because he knows those trips offer an invaluable return on investment. Not only does his involvement with the aforementioned organizations help Bailey stay on top of the latest trends, but it also allows him to do his part to better the collision repair industry.
“You know, it’s real easy to sit back and gripe, but at the same time, if you’re going to gripe, you better have a solution,” says Bailey, whose five-location MSO produces a combined annual revenue of $17 million. “So, knowing that you’re going to be involved with something that will hopefully be a benefit to everybody … I think is a win-win.”
Bailey, who has owned A&B CARSTAR for over a decade, provides suggestions for how his peers can get more involved in the industry―and thus, improve collision repair on a widescale level.
Bailey feels it’s imperative to form a professional bond with industry peers, whether that be with car manufacturers, insurance carriers or fellow shop owners.
“This industry is still very much a relationship industry,” he says. “The relationships that I build being in this industry … there’s a gain by having those. You know, if we have a vehicle in our shop that we struggle to find a repair procedure for, I’ve got contacts where I can go to―to one, help see if there is a repair procedure, or two, maybe work with that individual to develop a repair procedure. Without those relationships, at the shop level you would be kind of stuck.”
In an ever-evolving industry, knowledge is an asset. That’s why Bailey, whose MSO has 87 total employees, embraces the concept of consistent training.
“If you’re going to be involved in this industry from any aspect, training and education are more important today than they ever have been,” Bailey says. “And you’ve got to continue to learn if you’re going to be successful … and to make sure that we do the right thing, at the end of the day, for the customer.”
The occasional professional discourse has its merits, in Bailey’s mind.
“There are times in our industry that you need to stand up, as a shop owner, for what you believe is right,” says Bailey, in regard to situations such as if insurers decline payment for pre- and post-repair scanning. “I think there’s a right way to do it, respectfully, and courteously, so that you get your message across but … we’re not attacking an individual, we’re attacking a process, and making sure that we understand why we do it.”
Find Strength in Numbers.
Above all else, Bailey suggests that his peers find an industry organization that they can learn from and share information. Every element of the industry benefits from that scenario, Bailey says.
“If we didn’t have people involved in finding solutions in the industry, it would be scary, in my opinion, to know what the outcome of repairs would be,” he says. “Being involved in the industry and having associations, and having committees … they steer us in a direction that allows us to know what good repairs are, and try to deliver that to the industry.
“I think that’s the best thing you can do as a shop owner―get involved.”