Popular collision industry speaker Mike Anderson of Collision Advice spoke at the recent Southeast Collision Conference in a presentation titled, “Grow Your Team, Grow Your People, and Change the Way You Compete”.
“How many of you have a backlog right now?” asked Anderson.
After the majority of collision repair professionals packing the early morning class raised their hands, Anderson continued, “Everyone has work. Today, it’s not about who can get the work; it’s about who can get the people to fix the car. Whoever learns how to grow their people and their team will absolutely grow their business.”
The industry needs more technicians. Anderson cited a statistic from the TechForce Foundation that indicated that nearly 80,000 new collision technicians are expected to be needed between 2020 and 2024. However, body shops often compete for employees with organizations that offer higher pay for less stressful work.
“We don’t have a staffing problem; we have a don’t-pay-enough problem. And we can’t pay our people what they’re worth unless we collect the right amount,” Anderson stressed as he dove into the importance of proper research, safety inspections and leveraging a shop’s certifications.
“We are absolutely facing a global pandemic right now in our industry … and I am not talking about COVID. I’m talking about people who are uneducated about what it takes to properly repair a vehicle and write estimates.”
After offering tips for accurately capturing labor hours and materials used on an estimate, Anderson emphasized the value of educating the customer up front and providing superior customer service throughout the repair process.
Whether a shop wants to attract more customers, increase profitability or hire a new employee, it all comes down to culture.
“Our industry washes out a lot of good people because we don’t have the structure or career paths for them to follow,” Anderson said. “Every business needs standard operating procedures to run well and to indoctrinate new hires. We need a better onboarding process if we want to hire the best and the brightest.
“Military veterans and women are an untapped resource for collision shops. As we look to grow our team and our business, we’ve got to figure out how to create a better working environment for women coming into our industry.”
Anderson offered some creative and innovative suggestions for attracting new hires. “Not everyone is motivated by money. We have to learn how to make people feel appreciated.”
Acknowledging that efficiencies in repair shops are changing as more components need to be replaced instead of repaired, Anderson urged shop owners to embrace technology instead of fighting it as a way to help employees.
“If you want to disrupt the status quo and change the way you compete, figure out how to give your people more time back. They’ll be less stressed, and they’ll do a better job. We need to start investing in our young people because something’s got to change.”
Throughout his presentation, Anderson shared personal anecdotes and provided an abundance of useful resources to help shops break out of the status quo and truly change the way they compete.
The 2022 Southeast Collision Conference offered three days of education, networking and exhibitions, hosted by the Carolinas Collision Association (CCA), Tennessee Collision Repairers Association (TCRA) and Gulf States Collision Association (GSCA). Stay tuned for details about the 2023 Southeast Collision Conference as they become available here. For more information, contact Josh Kent at [email protected] or (704) 998-8553.