It’s Now or Never: A Proposed Code of Ethics for the Collision Repair Industry - BodyShop Business

It’s Now or Never: A Proposed Code of Ethics for the Collision Repair Industry

People are funny. Most of the time, if something bothers them, they just complain about it and do nothing.

We all know why, too: It’s easier to whine than actually do something to address what we’re whining about. Taking action is the rougher road to choose. That’s why there are monuments built and history books written to memorialize those who actually get off their duffs and effect change.

A round of applause is due, then, to those body shop owners and other industry folks who attended an Accountability for Collision Auto Repair meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., in October to review a proposed code of ethics for the collision repair industry. They each could have thought of a million reasons not to go – too many issues at the shop, can’t afford the trip, my kid’s in the school play, etc. But they’re action-takers. And they also have the good sense to know that to improve things for their shops, they need to improve things for the industry as a whole.

The code of ethics was drafted by attorney Erica Eversman, who’s well known throughout the industry as a consumer rights advocate and an expert on legal matters involving body shops and insurance companies. She drafted it with the right mindframe: I’m not a collision repairer, this is just a starting point, feel free to criticize it and/or make changes to it. But the important thing is that she did it. She took action.

Some of the industry people present thought the proposed code of ethics was too complex and should be simplified. Others only felt that the wording needed to be tweaked here and there. Still others felt that there were “too many cooks in the kitchen” and perhaps a smaller group of representatives should be selected to revise it or else the process might drag on too long. While some progress was made, the meeting concluded with everyone deciding to go home and examine the proposed code of ethics more thoroughly with employees and/or members of their local association and then meet again in the spring of 2008 to finalize it.

The thing about the proposed code of ethics is that it, like a lot of things in life, is completely voluntary. Recycling’s voluntary, too, but if you choose not to do it, the planet may suffer. Being nice to people is also your own choice, but chances are if you aren’t you won’t have many friends. The bottom line is that a lot of things come down to a choice, but you must be willing to accept the potential negative consequences of your actions – that will impact you and potentially impact others.

Let’s think about some other choices you, as a body shop owner or manager, are faced with on a daily basis: performing a repair procedure you feel is necessary but the insurance company doesn’t, billing for or not billing for parts you didn’t install on a vehicle, signing on or not signing on to an insurance company’s direct repair program. It’s a free country, but are you willing to take a dent in your shop’s reputation, be prosecuted for fraud or stick to the terms of a DRP contract?

Never before in this industry’s history are we feeling so strongly the negative consequences of our actions. That should give anyone choosing not to follow a code of ethics pause for reconsideration. The time we have left to fix things depends on the person you talk to, but most feel the window of opportunity doesn’t extend past the next two years. There is a sense of immediacy out there, and for good reason.

And what better time to become an action-taker than the new year? Make a promise to yourself to make 2008 a year of actually “doing” and not just “saying.” Follow the example of others in the industry who know the clock is ticking. Some of the decisions you make may be painful, and action you take may put a crimp in your time, but this industry cannot wait any longer.

Jason Stahl, Editor
E-mail comments to [email protected]

You May Also Like

Facebook Interest Groups: Down the Rabbit Hole We Go

I joined a Honda Civic 11th Gen Facebook group and quickly realized I was out of my element.

Shortly after I bought my Honda Civic Sport a year ago, I joined a “Honda Civic 11th Gen” Facebook group, which is “for those who own or are interested in the Honda Civic Sport 11th gen.” And I kind of regret my decision because I feel a little out of place.

Collision Repairers: Take the Oath … Continued

Taking back the industry begins with collision repairers starting to work together for the benefit of both themselves and their customers.

Building Charitable Giving into Your Auto Body Shop’s Business Plan

Planning, thoughtful implementation and thorough tracking of results will deliver a successful philanthropic program that also delivers a return on investment.

Exit Strategies: Personal Vision & Financial Planning

The most critical first step in an exit or transition plan is to develop a financial plan and personal vision of what your life will look like post-business.

Auto Body Shops: Building a Foundation for the New Year

For the new year, it’s important to conduct a thorough audit of your finances to look for areas of opportunity and things to change.

Other Posts

AI and Auto Body

Artificial intelligence is making an impact in the auto body industry, streamlining the estimating process and improving the customer experience.

Collision Repairers: Will You Take the Oath?

Today’s collision repairers are challenged with a new set of concerns, one being the need to follow OEM repair procedures.

Three Generations Keep Trains Running on Time at CARSTAR Jacobus

CARSTAR Jacobus Founder Jerry Jacobus and son Dave share a passion for collision repair and also model railroading.

Auto Body Repair: The Right Way, the Wrong Way and Another Way

In a perfect world, every repairer would make the right decisions in every repair, but we don’t live in a perfect world.