Snap Shop: Waconia 1Collision

Dec. 21, 2020
Get inside this $2.1 million purpose-built body shop just outside Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

Shop: Waconia 1Collision Owner: Chad Bijou Location: Waconia, Minn. Staff Size: 7 Shop Size: 10,000 square feet Number of Lifts: 5 Average Monthly Car Count: 38 ARO: $3,700 Annual Revenue: $1.7 million

Opening for business July 21, 2020, Waconia 1Colliison occupies a former furniture store in a town southwest of the Twin Cities. Owner Chad Bijou says the $2.1 million buildout of the new shop was extensive. Area builder Krause Anderson, which he notes usually does larger projects along the lines of skyscrapers and stadiums, took on the work, which completely remade the building.

“All we really used was the four walls and roof,” Bijou says.

Bijou says the build included new concrete, holes cut in the walls for garage doors, offices, floor drains, the paint booth, wiring for welding, aluminum work areas, and more. The work also included a new HVAC system, meaning the entire building—shop and offices both—can be heated and cooled.

“I’m telling you, in July and August , it was nice to be able to turn it on and cool down in here,” Bijou says. “It made for happy employees.”

Complete with automotive repair capabilities in order to keep any possible work a vehicle needs under one roof, Waconia 1Collision “is virtually wireless throughout the whole facility,” Bijou says. He has no in-shop server and data resides in the cloud. Wireless monitors, in the 50-inch range, populate the shop, aiding with blueprinting and more. The shop’s drive-in estimation bay contains a 60-inch monitor, on which customers can watch their estimate come together.

“We can not only write the estimate and show it on the screen, but also explain it to them as we write it,” Bijou says. “It’s just better communication.”

Bijou, who for 13 years worked for the local Morrie’s Automotive Group and in 2004 opened for it a 32,000-square-foot body shop, says he handpicked the staff at Waconia 1Collision.

“I was very selective of who I brought in here,” he says, noting he would max out the space at 9 staffers.

With just three offices in the building, for accounting, his manager, and his own, Bijou says his workspace doubles as the conference room, where the shop’s morning meetings are held.

“I don’t like to have a closed office,” he says, “I like mine open.”

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