FenderBender Management Conference Day 1: Focus on the Numbers that Matter

Sept. 26, 2023
A look at the opening day of the 2023 FenderBender Management Conference

The 2023 FenderBender Management Conference concluded its successful first day on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Aurora Conference Center in Aurora, Colorado.

The conference opened with a keynote address by Mike Wandrey, coach and consulting manager at Shop Fix Academy. Wandrey spoke about a number of problems facing collision repair shop owners, including the technician shortage.

Shop owners and managers should be constantly recruiting to have a six-month pipeline filled, he advised, especially for apprentices.

"It takes at least two, three, four, or even five months to recruit and bring in a good technician," he said.

Wandrey encouraged attendees to focus on the numbers that matter.

“Over the next couple days, your mind can wander about all the things you should focus on to help improve your business. What you really need to decide is what are the numbers, the trends, the things that happen in my shop every day that matter.”

Recalling the common triangle of three business deliverables of quality, speed, and price, Wandrey noted that generally, a customer can receive only two. So, he advised to focus on quality.

“Quality starts with caring," he said. "Does every person in your organization care about quality? Focus on the internal customer. When they see you’re focused on them, they’ll take care of my external customer. They will have an extraordinary experience and bring in more business.”

"Operating body shops are fundamentally the same, regardless of ownership status," Wandrey says. "Ultimately, the success of an independent or MSO shop comes down to the ownership taken and the way it is executed every day with everyone on the team."

Following Wandrey’s address, shop owners and managers networked, checked out vendor booths, and learned the latest techniques from collision repair management experts in their choice of four of a total of 12 breakout sessions on topics including shop organization, handling insurance pushback, and repair planning.

The day concluded with a happy hour and networking break, followed by a dinner and party at Ace Eat Serve in nearby Denver, where some tried their hands at ping pong and other games.

The conference continues Tuesday with another round of nine breakout sessions and several engaging presentations. Brandon Eckenrode, executive director of the Collision Repair Education Foundation, will speak during lunch, and Mike Jones, of Discover Leadership, will speak on “Change is Inevitable; Growth is Optional” in the afternoon. Mike Anderson, founder of Collision Advice, closes out the day’s activities with his keynote.

About the Author

Jay Sicht | Editor-in-Chief, FenderBender and ABRN

Jay Sicht is editor-in-chief of FenderBender and ABRN. He has worked in the automotive aftermarket for more than 28 years, including in a number of sales and technical roles in paint/parts distribution and service/repair. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Central Missouri with a minor in aviation, and as a writer and editor, he has covered all segments of the automotive aftermarket for more than 20 of those years, including formerly serving as editor-in-chief of Motor Age and Aftermarket Business World. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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