I’m starting to think that PartsTrader is the best thing that ever happened to the collision repair industry. Before you go gather your pitchforks, rope and knives, please hear me out.
One needs to look only at all the new associations that have been formed since State Farm unveiled PartsTrader to the industry. For the first time ever, collision repairers in Utah formed their own association, holding their first meeting on Jan. 12. Word is more than 100 people showed up, despite a blinding snowstorm. In case you think it was just coincidence that a bunch of collision repairers decided to come together in the Beehive State and sing “Kumbaya,” think again.
And then there’s Alabama. The Alabama Collision Repair Association disbanded roughly six years ago, but now another one has been born: the Alabama Automotive Repair Industry Society of Excellence (ALARISE). If you recall, Alabama received national attention last year when the PartsTrader pilot was launched in the Birmingham market and 17 shops quit Select Service in protest. Even though there are some repairers who are upset that ALARISE was formed by an ex-State Farm employee, it’s up and running.
Let’s not forget about the Idaho Autobody Craftsmen Association. Dormant for nearly a decade, repairers in the Gem State decided last summer to reunite.
These three new associations also decided to become affiliate associations of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). While there are many good reasons for doing this, the overriding one is the belief that many united are better than one.
In 2012, the Texas Independent Automotive Association and the Northern Michigan Body Shop Association also became SCRS affiliates.
All this activity points to repairers saying, “Enough is enough.” Many repairers believe insurers subscribe to the “divide and conquer” mentality, but it seems PartsTrader has done just the opposite: it has united repairers.