Running a collision repair shop can be complicated enough without potential legal issues that could come along if you don’t take the right steps to protect your business’ best interests.
The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) brought members of the automotive industry together on June 15 at the Holiday Inn in Clark, N.J., for an informative session titled “Understanding the Laws and Regulations Governing Auto Repair and Auto Body Shops.”
“When push comes to shove, do you have what you need to protect yourself?” AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee asked the roomful of members and shop owners. “We are not attorneys and we aren’t here to give you legal advice. We are just here to provide you with some examples; what you do with them is completely up to you.”
McNee and AASP/NJ board member Ken Miller walked collision and automotive repair professionals through some of the most important rules and regulations they may not be aware of concerning auto body repair facilities in regard to estimates and repairs, work authorization for repairs and notices that should be on display in all licensed auto body shops in New Jersey.
Not every business will operate the same way, but everyone should be aware of the law and should seek out advice from their respective attorneys. As McNee pointed out, “What I do is different from what Ken does. You have to do what works for you.”
One of the most important forms of documentation in a collision repairer’s toolbox is the contract to perform repairs. The importance of this document (often referred to as a repair authorization form, according to Miller) was discussed, as it serves as an agreement between two parties — in this case, the business and the customer. Attendees were given a lot to think about, with sensitive situations presented — such as being held liable for missing personal items left in a vehicle being repaired — to further the importance of being prepared and better protected.
“Do you want to be responsible for the Christmas presents a customer left in their trunk? You probably don’t,” Miller said.
Miller acknowledged that many in attendance may have only heard of this information for the first time that night. As he detailed, reading the law and understanding it is a priceless investment in a shop’s future.
“It’s your business; if you aren’t willing to invest the time into it, who will do it for you?” he asked.
AASP/NJ is grateful to its meeting sponsors Indasa and Ultra-Poly Corporation. Mark Moschberger of Flemington Auto Body was the winner of a grill that was raffled off courtesy of Ultra-Poly Corporation.
For more information about AASP/NJ and upcoming events, visit aaspnj.org.