A Road Map For an Independent Operator - BodyShop Business

A Road Map For an Independent Operator

When you’re an independent collision repair center, the road ahead is full of speed bumps.

Sponsored by CARSTAR

When you’re an independent collision repair center, the road ahead is full of speed bumps. Whether you have one facility or 10, or have a network of collision repair facilities at dealership locations, the complexities of today’s collision repair industry require new levels of training, technology and resources to succeed.

The biggest hurdles are staying abreast of the evolving repair standards for today’s advanced vehicles, maintaining the KPI and NPS metrics needed to participate in DRP programs, and managing the operations of the business for profitability and success.

As an independent operator, there are some resources to turn to, like 20 Groups or vendor partners like your paint company. But that isn’t enough to compete today.

Over the past year, two independent collision repair companies, one with 11 locations and one with three, looked beyond their local resources for more support in their growing businesses.  Their goal – retain their independent ownership and generations of family involvement but complement their current platform with new opportunities for growth.

“We needed to be able to compete on a scale with the consolidators while still maintaining our presence in our community,” said Jon Davidson, who operates three CARSTAR Davidson locations at his family’s auto dealerships in upstate New York. “We had a stable, good operation with three collision repair facilities, but we knew we needed more resources. With multiple locations, the metrics become complicated, and we needed more transparency and analytics to understand and improve our performance. We also needed to take our insurance relationships to a new level, and solid metrics are essential to that.”

Davidson chose CARSTAR as his path to success after learning about the company from his paint partner.

“Being a franchise partner with a company like CARSTAR keeps this business in our family and provides the operational expertise we need to continue to succeed for the next generation,” noted Davidson. “As the industry evolves, we couldn’t keep running the collision repair business like we had been for decades. It required an innovative new approach that allows us to take our operations to new levels, succeed with our DRP relationships and continue providing the excellent customer service that has been a hallmark of our family’s business.”

Industry leader Mike Chilton, long known for his multi-store operations in Northern California, also saw the need for expanded support and resources as his business grew.

“Operating 11 stores requires that you have a great system in place to consistently deliver the highest quality repairs on the wide range of vehicles you find in the Bay Area,” said Chilton, owner of CARSTAR Chilton Auto Body. “With all the rapid changes in repair processes and technology, we needed to expand our resources to be able to keep up. By partnering with CARSTAR, I was able to keep the business the family has been operating since 1969. At the same time, we can take advantage of the advanced tools, technology and training, along with a well-known brand, purchasing efficiencies, national insurance relationships and more.”

As you begin planning for 2020 and considering your growth strategies and options for success, it’s important to remember there are more than just the options to go it alone or sell out to a consolidator. If you’re interested in retaining your independence and the business you and your family built over the generations, a partnership with a franchise operation is worth exploring. It’s an opportunity that allows an independent operator to have the best of both worlds – independence and the support of an entire North American network.

This article was sponsored by CARSTAR. For more information, visit carstar.com

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