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Last Page: How’s Business?

“Let us be of good cheer, remember that misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come.” – James Russell Lowell


NASDAQ is rebounding. No, it still hasn’t hit bottom yet. Wait, it’s up 1 percent. The Dow is spiraling and even blue chip stocks are suffering. That was two days ago. Now it’s up 300 points Oh, it’s closing even today.

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The talking heads tell us we’re headed for a recession, that we’re already in a recession and also that the bull is safe and there will be no recession.

Is the sky falling, as some would have us believe? Or is this just a blip, blown out of proportion by media hysteria?

How strong or unstable is our economy? What really is the current business climate?

BodyShop Business decided to bypass the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Peter Jennings and go right to the source to see what the current state of the collision repair industry is – we asked collision repair shop owners.


In an e-mail survey conducted the first week of April, 42.5 percent of body shops surveyed told us their business increased during the first quarter of 2001 over the same time period in 2000. The average increase was 21 percent. Another 25 percent of the shops told us their business had remained the same for the first quarter of 2001. That means 77.5 percent of collision repair shops are doing the same or better for the first quarter of 2001.

That’s certainly not a situation in need of a Chicken Little.

When asked to predict business conditions for the second quarter, 45 percent said they expected the second quarter of 2001 to be better than the first. Another 30 percent said they expected their second quarter to be the same as their first quarter.


That translates into 75 percent of the body shops surveyed being optimistic about the second quarter of 2001.

It also looks like body shop owners are tending to their own businesses and not letting what they’re hearing and what they’re reading in the national media affect their views. When asked if the current state of the economy was causing them to worry about their 2001 sales, 60 percent said no. In short, a vast majority of collision repair owners are confident about their businesses and their futures.

Now, those are some economic indicators worth noting.

During my tenure observing this industry, I’ve learned to have confidence in you. I’ve found you to be a resourceful and resilient lot. You have the ingredients necessary to prosper: a strong commitment, involvement and a love of your business.


It’s been said, “Those who fear the future are likely to fumble the present.” That outcome seems unlikely for those collision repair shop owners who have their hand tightly on the ball and their eyes on the future.

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