Snap Shop: Jeff's Auto Body Repair
SHOP: Jeff's Auto Body Repair LOCATION: Austin, Texas OWNER: Jeff Sessler SIZE: 18,500 square feet (paint department separate) STAFF: 16 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 100 ANNUAL REVENUE: $4 million
1. Front-Office Refresh
Jeff Sessler, owner of Jeff’s Auto Body Repair located in Austin, Texas, remembers when the shop was a 1,500-square-foot space almost 46 years ago.
As the shop ages, Sessler has looked for ways to update the shop. The front office and customer lounge are getting a refresh. For more than 20 years, the “front office” was actually located in one of the back buildings of the property, but Sessler decided to move it up front. The space where the offices used to be is now a break room.
The 1,600-square-foot front office space will have 6–7 workstations and Sessler is personally working on updating cabinets and other fixtures in the space. The workstations will provide a place for front office staff to complete their work and meet with customers. Attached to the front office is the customer lounge area and that will get updates too. The lounge area will get a new TV, flooring, chairs and other furnishings. The lounge area will be remodeled once the front office remodel is complete. The remodels will take 6–8 weeks, according to Sessler, and the shop will remain open for business.
2. Connecting the Shop
The way the shop is laid out was not entirely up to Sessler. He had to make do with the buildings that were already there when he bought up the old businesses on the property. He didn’t have the resources to tear all those buildings down and build a shop from scratch.
The shop is actually a total of six buildings and each one serves as a different department in the shop. In total, there are 16 people who work at Jeff’s Auto Body Repair, including Jeff’s wife and son.
In 2011, Sessler added an awning to connect the buildings in the back to each other and to help keep the backs of the buildings cool.
3. The Drive-Through Solution
Since the different departments are spread out on the property, Sessler made sure that each of the back buildings have big enough doors with enough space that vehicles can be driven straight through into the next building.
Only one of the six buildings, used as a part of the body repair department, does not have drive-through capabilities. His top technician works in this building and he clocks in 150–160 hours per week. A Car-O-Liner frame alignment rack was built into the floor to maximize space and give the technician more room to work.
When a vehicle is non-drivable, technicians put the car on a two-post lift or use a GoJak dolly to raise the vehicle and fix the suspension so that it will be driveable. To improve this process, Sessler plans on purchasing a forklift with a wheel dolly soon.
The paint department building has double overhead doors that face the busy street. Three cars can be comfortably worked on at a time in the front part of the paint department. Vehicles going from the paint department can drive straight through into the parts department.
4. The Equipment
The shop’s detail area, located in the back of the property, also includes an aluminum clean room. The clean room is located in the far right corner of the building and is three cars wide with two overhead doors that allow technicians to work both inside and outside. They also help vehicles move quickly from one building to the next.
To optimize space, Sessler also added a lift under the awning so that another body man could have a workstation.
The shop is also equipped with Car-O-Liner frame alignment racks, GoJak dollies and various welding tools.