How to Prepare for ADAS Repairs

April 30, 2020
One California shop owner branched into the body shop market by tackling calibrations and is seeing a significant ROI.

Shop: Superior Replacement Owner: Jack Perea Location: Riverside, Calif. Staff Size: 15 Shop Size: 19,000 square feet Average Monthly Car Count: 500 Annual Revenue: $2.1 million 

Four years ago, Jack Perea had five people working in his facility. Today, he has 15 employees.

Perea first started investing in ADAS repairs at his facility in 2016. While he currently runs a facility that produces over $2 million in annual revenue, Perea says that the journey to get to an ADAS repair facility isn’t always going to be like hitting ‘an easy button.’

Like many body shop owners, Perea isn’t a fan of having to sublet calibrations to dealerships. When he first started his own journey in the repair business, Perea realized he didn’t like having to sublet calibrations to a dealership. 

“I want to start a job and complete a job and stand behind it 100 percent,” he says. 

Perea owns Superior Replacement in Riverside, Calif.,  a separate facility dedicated solely to ADAS calibrations for body shops. 

As of May 2020, Perea had only been in his ADAS collision repair facility for nearly 1 year and already repaired nearly 500 cars each month. 

He’s a forward thinker and wants to keep his team moving forward.

“I try to be proactive and not reactive to the automotive industry market,” he says.

Perea strived for an “easy” path but definitely hit road bumps along the way to success. 

The Backstory 

Since the outset of his career, Perea has been intrigued by new technologies. He hired a few team members who were “tinkerers” and liked new challenges when it came to repairing vehicles.

    In 2016, he began putting money toward teaching his staff new repair technologies. For example, one of his first investments was on Honda and Toyota software because those were two of the brands the shop saw frequently. 

Those first investments allowed him to invest even more into training for Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) repairs. According to automakers like Volvo and AutoZone, an SRS uses more components than just air bags: modules, crash sensors, position sensors and seat belt switches, warning lights and more. 

    Perea scoured the web for news on the latest technologies in the industry. He made it a priority to attend industry events where he could see technology and repairs being debuted. He attended NACE and SEMA shows. And, the industry veteran called his peers at other repair shops to pick their brains on what was out there.

The Problem

Perea from the outset did not like subletting work to dealerships. So, he started performing ADAS repair work in his original facility in 2017.  That first space was a time-waste, as Perea recalls.

    The first building he started doing ADAS repairs in only had about 2,300 square-feet of space to perform the operations. His older facility, by and large, created waste. His team wasted a large part of every day simply moving cars around. 

He decided the best solution would be to continue performing ADAS repairs in- house and looking toward opening a second ADAS-repair only facility. 

The Solution

Perea waited a few months for the location he was seeking to be completely rebuilt, then moved ADAS repairs to a facility that had multiple garage doors and a large, wide open space. While he was able to hire about four new technicians, all of the shop’s previous SOPs and technician roles stayed the same.

    “We were already a fine-tuned machine and now just had the additional room,” he says.

    The second location provided Perea with an additional 12,000 square feet of space. In March 2020, Perea purchased the building next door to increase space even further with the additional 4,000 square feet.

    The first fact to remember when building an ADAS repair facility, Perea says, is that every OEM has different guidelines on the amount of space for their car repairs and the tools used to perform the repair.

“You need multiple points of entry and exit to keep a nice workflow,” Perea says.

Then, Perea needed to focus on aligning each vehicle properly. 

He already had Hunter alignment machines, but Perea had to chalk off space specifically for wheel and tire alignments with an area inflation system.

    When a car comes to Perea’s shop, it drives into the facility to an alignment bay.  There are two ADAS stalls that are about 30 feet by 40 feet. In the additional 4,000 square-foot building, there are four stalls, with one dedicated to repairing new air conditioning systems. Then the car is test-driven by a team member who performed the alignment. The car is then driven into one of the team’s two calibration stalls; if both stalls are being used, the team will take the car to an “on deck” area where the car is completely torn down to diagnose damage. 

    Once calibrations are performed, Perea’s technician takes the car on another test drive. The shop owner recommends using Mitchell software in the shop because it helps the technicians access wiring diagrams for cars rather easily.

    In the back-end of the shop, the two technicians handle alignment, air pressure and ride height, five technicians do calibrations and resets on ADAS and there is one production manager. Two technicians handle mechanical repairs. 

    Perea’s team performs some collision repair work out of this location  as well, including  air bag replacements, dashboard and interior replacements, and pigtails repairs. 

The Aftermath

Perea’s ADAS repair facility is producing a little more than $60,000 a month. He’s not surprised the facility is a viable investment, Perea says. 

    “I don’t lose and I have an A-1 team surrounding me,” Perea says. In fact, he was so confident from his past research on industry trends that when he was starting the investment, the only financial advisor he had was his bank account, he says. 

    Perea has built a strong team to work in the facility as well, he says. When he began the endeavor, he put out the word that he was working on the location and then potential candidates started to come to him. In fact, most of his employees today were ones that sought him out because they wanted to try their hand at a new way to repair vehicles.

    “Anyone that was willing to come to me and go out of their way to talk to me or call me, I opened the door for them,” Perea says. 

The Takeaway

The key to his successful journey was the team, Perea says. 

    “If you don’t have the right crew and the right teammates with the proper training and ability, it won’t work,” he says.

    At the end of the process, he attributes the results to his team that is driven to follow-through on repairs every day and keeps their motivation to learn about new repair skills.

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