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Management: Taking Charge

Instead of complaining and focusing on what you can’t change, why not focus on the things you can change?


Angelo DiTullio started in the collision business in his father's shop at seven years old. He has been both a shop manager and regional manager for the past 20 years. He has worked for the insurance industry, family-owned body shops, regional MSOs and national body shops. He's currently a district manager for Abra. He can be reached at [email protected]

EXCELLENCEI’m often shocked by the apathy I see in our industry. I can say that because I’ve spent a lifetime in body shops. I’ve been inside them since I was seven years old.

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Start Small

When I go into a shop to help fix a problem, the answers are often easy to see. But somehow, the people in the day-to-day are blind to what’s right in front of their faces and what they’ve created. Instead of complaining and focusing on what you can’t change, like the labor rate (yes, it’s too low), why not focus on the things you can change? Start small and focus on getting one more car out per week or finding a half hour on every estimate. Who couldn’t do that?

The Trifecta

Part of it may be that it’s easier to complain about what you can’t change and change nothing than it is to actually work hard and change something. As an industry, to do the job right, we’re called upon to do the impossible every day. It’s the only way to make it in today’s fast-paced environment – cycle cars fast with quality and get paid for everything. It’s the modern day collision industry trifecta, and in order to make it work, you need all three. And it’s not easy.


Expand Your Mind

Some are up for it and some aren’t. If you want to be successful in this industry, you’re going to have to put yourself in an uncomfortable zone and do things a different way than you’re used to. You need to expand your mind and believe there’s a better and different way of doing things. No one person has all the answers or has a secret recipe.

I’ve tried to pick up good things in different areas of my career, putting them in my knowledge base. I’ve always tried to have an open mind, and I’ve always wanted to know how someone else did something. If I could find a better way to do something, I was interested in seeing it.

I’ve also seen the opposite thought in this business and in life as well. Unfortunately, some think they know everything. I can tell you that in my experience, these folks are not the top performers. I’ve never seen or heard of a top performer saying, “No thanks, I’m good, I know it all.”

Two Steps

Step one is to realize and accept the fact that someone out there may have a better way or idea of how to do something than you. Step two is having the desire to obtain that knowledge. Never before in our industry’s history or in the history of the world is so much information available at our fingertips in so many ways. If you’re reading this article, then you can start on your knowledge journey with BodyShop Business magazine or their website. There are other printed and digital sources of information as well, including hundreds of videos online on YouTube from various sources. There are classes and conferences where you can learn techniques and ways of doing things. At such events, you can meet and talk to different people from different shops and places and get information from them. You can reach out to your paint jobber and paint manufacturer for assistance. You could also seek more knowledge or read books on topics such as Lean or Theory of Constraints.


Start Now

There it is! It’s all out there for you to learn. All you have to do is reach out and get it. I’m extremely thankful and have been privileged that my career has taken me to the places it has and exposed me to lots of information and influential people. The point I’m trying to make is: start somewhere and start now. Educate yourself and your staff and keep going. Stop getting hung up on what’s outside your control. Why not start with what you can right now? Good luck!

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