Distributors need to provide resources, value to their shops

Nov. 2, 2015
Become an invaluable resource to your shop customers by helping them get paid for more work. This in turn will lead to a stronger client relationship and increased distributor sales.

LAS VEGAS — Become an invaluable resource to your shop customers by helping them get paid for more work. This in turn will lead to a stronger client relationship and increased distributor sales.

Collision Advice’s Mike Anderson spoke to Car-O-Liner distributors during Industry Week in Las Vegas on Monday, Nov. 2.  “Help your shop get paid more for what they do,” he said. “Then they aren’t beating you up on equipment costs. They are looking to you as a resource that provides value to them. As a jobber/distributor, you hold the keys to helping them get paid.”

Anderson said you need to help your customers answer four vital questions:

  • Is it required to put the vehicle back to pre-accident condition?
  • Is it included in any other labor time?
  • Is there a predetermined time?
  • If not, what is it worth?

If distributors can help their shop customers answer these questions, it will lead to more payments from the insurance companies.

Shops are also being pressured by insurers for repair versus replace, and have seen parts gross profits sink by 3-5 percent in the past five years. So distributors can look at shop data to determine the biggest areas shop are not profitable in. Distributors can then use this as an opportunity to explain how the equipment they have to sell can return more payments and profits to that shop, Anderson says.

“To thrive and survive, you have to be a conduit of information to your shops,” Anderson said.

OEM interest
Anderson also discussed growing interest from the OEMs in the collision repair industry.

The perception is that OEMs are interested because they are looking to sell more parts; however, this is not the reality, Anderson said.

“Sixty percent of all consumers who take their car back to a body shop with a problem will sell or trade that car in one year,” he said. “Of that, 63 percent will change vehicle brands when they sell or trade in their vehicle. So OEMs have a vested interest in where a car goes and how it is repaired.”

This is an opportunity for distributors to help their shop customers improve quality and CSI.

Distributors can also work to help their shops determine which OEM certifications to pursue. Anderson suggested Car-O-Liner and their distributors work together to find and analyze the information available to guide shop customers on OEM certification decisions. 

About the Author

Krista McNamara

Krista McNamara is the former Editorial Director for the Vehicle Repair Group at Endeavor Business Media. She oversaw five brands  — Motor Age, PTEN, Professional Distributor, ABRN and Aftermarket Business World. She worked in the automotive aftermarket industry for more than 15 years. 

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