SHOP: Peotter’s Auto Body LOCATION: Summit, N.J. OWNER: Larry and Joanne Peotter
SIZE: 9,000 square feet (3 levels) STAFF: 18 ANNUAL REVENUE: $3 million
Peotter’s Auto Body has been in business for 30 years and moved into its current location 10 years ago. When the lease on the original building was about to run out, there were not many realistic options in the Summitt, N.J., area for a new location. However, motherand-son owners Joanne and Larry Peotter knew that their high-end clientele didn’t want to drive far and wouldn’t follow them to a new area. Faced with the choice of losing their loyal customers or sacrificing much needed space, Peotter’s Auto Body got creative. The Peotters purchased a lot to build their new facility on and made the most of the space by building up.
This three-level facility is spread over 9,000 square feet and uses the space to its full potential by utilizing space-saving techniques and a few outside-the-box ideas to transport vehicles to the different levels of the building
1) The exterior of the building is clean and has a well-maintained lawn. Peotter’s prides itself on not having the “typical auto shop” look. The customers seem to appreciate this. About 60–70 percent of the shop’s customers are returning clientele.
2) The lobby is warm and inviting and shows off Peotter’s certifications in Tesla, Jaguar, Range Rover, BMW, Mercedes, and Volvo. The shop has created a loyal customer following with Tesla and Jaguar owners.
3) Along with becoming more efficient with its space, Peotter’s also has become more energy efficient. The shop uses 137 solar panels on the roof to cut the electric bill in half. The installation cost about $200,000 and the shop saw an ROI in six years.
4) The shop floor is kept very clean and with the limited space, catwalks are used to store all of the paint and materials. Larry’s father, who was always looking for ways to save space and keep the shop floor clean, came up with the idea. The catwalk floors are made of steel grating.
5) The most effective use of the limited space is the elevator. The elevator can transport one vehicle at a time with room for parts to the three different levels of the shop. The basement is where the heavy collision work is done and the main level is where assembly, disassembly and aluminum work take place. Vehicles that need any type of paint work head to the top floor. The elevator can fit a fullsize Sprinter van and requires very little maintenance.
6) Two Global Finishing Solutions paint booths using water-based systems are located on the top floor.
7) Due to the shop’s aluminum certifications for both Tesla and Jaguar, it uses designated tools for aluminum work including special rivet machines. The “blue box” is the designated Tesla tool box where all of the tools needed to repair a Tesla are kept.
8) In accordance with the requirements for aluminum certification, the shop uses a RUVAC, a self-contained explosion proof immersion separator vacuum.