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Get to Know: Todd Bonecutter, Vice President of the Indiana Auto Body Association

In an interview with BodyShop Business, Todd Bonecutter talks about his daily Facebook videos and shares some of his thoughts on the collision repair industry.

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Josh Cable has 17 years of experience as a writer and editor for newspapers, B2B publications and marketing organizations. His areas of expertise include U.S. manufacturing, lean/Six Sigma and workplace safety and health.

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For the past year or so, a small but loyal contingent of Facebook followers have started their day with a smile, thanks to jokes like these from Todd Bonecutter:

  • “I used to work in an orange juice factory, but I got canned because I couldn’t concentrate.”
  • “I recently got a photo in the mail from one of those red-light cameras, but I sent it back because it was way too expensive and the quality was terrible.”
  • “Why do chicken coops have two doors? Because if they had four doors, they’d be chicken sedans.”

Bonecutter, who is general manager of Glenbrook Collision Center in Fort Wayne, Ind., and vice president of the Indiana Auto Body Association, ends each video post with this uplifting message: “Go out and make it a great day.”

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In an interview with BodyShop Business, Bonecutter talked about his Facebook videos and shared some of his thoughts on the collision repair industry.

BSB: What inspired you to start making these videos?

TB: It was just one of those things. I like to go to conferences, and I talk to other shop owners and managers, and one of the things that seemed to be common was everybody’s lack of motivation in this business lately. Everything is becoming harder, and everybody is just fighting the fight. A lot of my friends who are in this business have sold out to consolidators and retired, just because they got tired of it.

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Just to keep myself out of that rut, I like to start the day with something inspiring or something uplifting. If I’m going to read that kind of stuff to uplift myself, I figured why not share it with people I know.

So my goal is to help somebody start their day off on a positive note, because there’s so much negative in the world right now. Even though it’s small and corny, I get a lot of feedback and a lot of response. If I miss a day, I get text messages or Facebook messages saying, “Hey, you missed us this morning. What’s going on?”

BSB: Where do you get the material for your jokes?

TB: A lot of the jokes I get are from friends and people who follow me. They’ll send me one on Facebook Messenger and say, “Hey, try this one sometime.” Then when I use one of their jokes, I usually give them a shoutout, like, “Hey, this is a shoutout to Aaron, thank you for the joke.” A lot of times I’ll look them up online, or I might hear one in passing with somebody. I get them everywhere.

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I’ve recently started posting inspirational quotes from people before the video, and I get those online. I’ve always had a weekly quote written on my office window, for people to see when they walk by. Now I do it at the beginning of the Facebook posts.

BSB: Do you ever have to do multiple takes?

TB: Yep. A lot of times if I forget the punch line of a joke, I have to redo it.

BSB: Shifting gears, how did you get into the collision repair business?

TB: I was in restaurant management for the first 18 years of my life and got tired of missing family events, because in restaurant management it’s mostly evenings and weekends, so I never got to see my family. One day I decided I wasn’t going to do it anymore. I left restaurant management to go into car sales, because my next-door neighbor had an in, and he could get me into his car dealership selling cars. I did that for about four months and didn’t like it – it wasn’t me. But an opportunity came up in their body shop for an assistant manager. They knew I had an extensive management background, and I knew really nothing about cars, but they decided to offer me the job anyway. I did that at a local dealership in my hometown for nine years, and I got the opportunity to come to Fort Wayne to this bigger auto group as the manager, and I’ve been here just under 10 years.

BSB: What do you like most about collision repair?

TB: The diverse group of people you meet, from the business side and from the customer standpoint. You meet all kinds of different people, and I’m kind of a people person. I like to meet new people and make new friends, and that’s the thing I like most.

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BSB: What do you like the least?

TB: Fighting with insurance companies. Trying to get paid for what we know is the right way to do stuff and trying to get the insurance companies to pay you for doing what’s right.

BSB: What are some of the big issues in Indiana right now?

TB: I think the most talked-about thing is the amount of consolidation going on throughout the state. Some of these big companies are coming in and buying up some of these little shops, and it’s a movement that we haven’t seen in many, many years. In our chapter meetings, we talk a lot about the [John Eagle] lawsuit down in Texas. That’s a big topic across the country.

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[The Indiana Auto Body Association] recently lost our executive director, so the board has been trying to hold the organization together, although we’ve actually grown in membership this year. Recruiting is a big thing for the current members. We’re out there trying to get new members and add new shops to our list.

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