GEORGE’S AUTO BODY OWNER: George Meyer LOCATION: Brainerd, Minn. SIZE: 7,800 square feet STAFF: 5 (2 technicians, 1 owner, 1 manager, 1 helper) AVERAGE ANNUAL REVENUE: $750,000 AVERAGE MONTHLY CAR COUNT: 40
George Meyer’s talent for building business relationships paid serious dividends back in 1997. That year, a friend of the Minnesota shop owner was doing some stone work and offered Meyer excess material for his fledgling facility. Later, a colleague with a concrete and masonry background inspired Meyer to finish adding stone work to much of the exterior of George’s Auto Body. And, because Meyer had forged solid business relationships with multiple leaders of masonry companies, he was able to access the stones at a discount and for traded work.
“We get a lot of compliments about how nice the place looks,” says the Minnesota shop owner.
Meyer has raced in the NHRA Super Gas class for the better part of three decades now, visiting tracks from Colorado to Chicago. And, the relationships he has formed on that hot rod circuit have proven beneficial to his daily business, leading to work painting competitors’ vehicles when Meyer’s back home in central Minnesota.
“I’ve painted a number of race cars, and that’s nice little advertising,” explains Meyer, who’s shop boasts a CSI score of nearly 95.
Sticking with the racing theme, George’s Auto Body also features assorted racing trophies, and the facility’s walls are even adorned with parts removed from various race cars over the years.
Many body shops shy away from RV repairs due, in part, to the amount of space those oversized vehicles can take up on a shop floor. But Meyer says his staff, which repairs nearly 50 RVs per year, welcomes the work because it’s usually not too labor intensive.
“We do quite a bit of RV work for dealerships,” he says. “The nice part is, [because] it takes up twice the stall, insurance companies are okay to pay double the automotive rate working on RVs.”
To accommodate RV repair work, a while back Meyer put a 60-by-64-foot addition on the back his shop that features a 16-foot high ceiling.
Another way in which George’s Auto Body strays from convention: The Minnesota facility typically does about 10 restoration jobs per year. Most of the restoration work is done in a new part of the facility that features a hoist and an auto rotisserie that can rotate a vehicle body a full 360 degrees. It’s not uncommon for Meyer’s staff to take on a passion project like restoring a 1967 Mustang, because Meyer appreciates the fact that restoration projects can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000.
And, that type of repair work offers an exciting change of pace for employees.
“Most shops don’t want anything to do with the restoration stuff,” Meyer notes, “because it does take a lot of time. But we just try to be up front” with customers.