It's 2022 — Is the Sky Falling?
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It’s 2022 — Is the Sky Falling?

It’s 2022 — are we scared of the challenges that lie ahead?

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.

It’s 2022 — are we scared? Hopefully not. Our recent video outlining the challenges 2022 will present — parts sourcing, finding qualified technicians, increasing vehicle sophistication, increasing costs — might have spooked you, but let’s face it: The collision industry has always had its challenges.

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It seems that there has always been a reason to yell that the sky is falling, but we always seem to make it through to the other side — a little dinged up but still kickin’. Because we’re tough. What would be the fun if it were easy? I’m convinced our industry is full of competitors who want to win and like a challenge; when things are tough, it’s that much more rewarding to come out the other side having survived.

COVID is raging again, and this time it’s omicron (sounds like the name of one of the Transformers, the human-like robots from the movie series). This time feels different, though. Even though it’s more contagious, a lot of people are vaccinated, and booster shots are available. This will allow life to move on and not come to a grinding halt like in early 2020.

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Accidents are happening, and the work is out there, although I read recently that the nationwide shortage of technicians translates to $2 to $3 billion of annual unprocessed repair work. That’s a problem. Hopefully you’re pursuing nontraditional methods of finding help and looking outside the collision industry for people who may want a career change.

Collision claims have rebounded, although they’re not back to 2019 levels yet. Severity is up, however. As I’ve been back on the road, every day I see near-misses from COVID driving (people still driving fast and loose like the roads are empty), road rage and distracted driving.

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Are you ready for 2022? Did you meet with your team in late 2021 to establish goals, plans, expectations and career advancement? Do you have contingency plans in case things don’t go as expected? This should be an annual exercise at your facility in case Chicken Little is right.

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