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BodyShop Business Turns the Big 3-0

As BodyShop Business turns 30, Editor Jason Stahl notes that others in the collision repair industry are also celebrating 30th anniversaries.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

Thirty seems like a popular number in the collision repair industry. I’ll bet some of you have owned your body shop for exactly 30 years. I’ll also bet that some of you have been married for exactly 30 years. I know at least one of you has. A reader wrote me earlier this year to congratulate BodyShop Business on turning 30, and mentioned that she had just celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary. She and her husband gave themselves a gift they would never forget: a 1967 Chevelle SS triple black! And she mentioned that they have used BodyShop Business to “hammer out the dents” ever since they opened their shop seven years ago.

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“That’s the thing I really like about BodyShop Business – you’re always bringing something new to the pages,” she said.

She feels the biggest challenge right now is attracting young talent to the industry. She’s not seeing many young people eagerly eyeing careers in collision, and is wondering how we might find the next generation of body technicians. She also feels people are “yapping” too much about not being paid properly and not getting enough work when they should be working on taking care of the customer, whether you consider it’s the vehicle owner, the insurer or both. Finally, she advised that more shop owners check their work: parts, body work, paint and paperwork. “It has to be checked as you go!” she said.

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All valid points, I believe. Her comments made me wonder what some of the issues were in the collision industry in 1982. The old saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” seems true when you look at the description from our inaugural issue of the biggest problem facing shops:

“The answer most often given was frustrations with the insurance industry. Especially mentioned were control of labor rates without consideration of actual cost of repair, unqualified insurance adjusters and slow payments on completed jobs.”

Also, check out these statistics:

Avg. annual sales
1982: $361,095
2012: $737,715

Avg. frame rate

1982: $27.36
2012: $59.70

Avg. body labor rate

1982: $18.89
2012: $50.00

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Avg. no. of estimates per week
1982: 29.4
2012: 25

I wonder what the next 30 years will hold? I can tell you one thing: we’ll be around to show you.

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