Preparing for 2022: Reviewing and Recharging Your Auto Body Shop
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Preparing for 2022: Reviewing and Recharging

As the year ends, I have to remind myself to stop and take stock of the past 12 months and what lies ahead.

Tom Martin is the owner of three CARSTAR locations in Ohio – CARSTAR Sidney, CARSTAR Troy and CARSTAR Piqua. He started working in a collision repair shop at 15, then went on to purchase the business. He joined CARSTAR in 2003 with his first location. He opened his second CARSTAR location in 2014 and a third in 2019. He has long been a champion of advanced technology and also training for his team. He also donates his time to a variety of volunteer organizations, veterans in need, the homeless and youth sports. He can be reached at [email protected]

As the year ends, I have to remind myself to stop and take stock of the past 12 months and what lies ahead. This is always the busiest time of the year for our collision repair facilities, so it’s not always easy to find time to reflect. But it is important.

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Reviewing the Year

Getting recharged for the new year means reviewing all the successes and challenges of the past 12 months — evaluating what worked well, where we fell short and what we learned from it. It also means spending time thinking about the year ahead — what we want to accomplish and how we get there. Not only do I do this with my team for our business, but I also do this personally.

With three CARSTAR locations in Sidney, Troy and Piqua, Ohio, there is a tremendous amount of review we do for the year-end closing. Working with our team, we review our staffing, processes, equipment, facilities and results. Then, we create an action plan to address our needs.

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Being involved in the planning process gets everyone excited for the year ahead and helps them be vested in the changes we make.


That sets the stage for our 2022 vision and planning. We engage the entire team in brainstorming how we can be better, whether that involves new ways to serve our customers, advanced training, operational improvements or how to keep up with a changing industry. We also leverage the management tools and resources from CARSTAR, which helps us set benchmarks and learn best practices. Involving all of our employees in the planning process gets them excited for the year ahead and helps them feel vested in the changes we make.

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Team Members

We work with each team member individually to create their goals and plans for the year. Do they want to learn new skills? Work in different roles or locations? Or, do they want to map their paths to becoming managers or owners? Spending this time with them helps ensure they remain committed to the business and know that we’re committed to their success.

Speaking of our team members, we hold a variety of events throughout the holidays that help build camaraderie and spread the spirit of the season. We host food, toy and clothing drives in our lobbies, share potluck lunches, and there’s always the Secret Santa contest — where they get to laugh at the boss dressed as Santa.

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Recharging Your Battery

Just like for our business, I try to spend time evaluating the past year and the opportunities ahead for me personally.

To keep myself balanced, I have my day broken down into segments. I have six hours available: two hours for fitness/personal time; 10 hours for work, board service and community functions; and four hours for my wife, kids and grandkids. It’s not always perfect, but I try to stay with this balance, because too much of anything isn’t good for you. And the more well-rounded you are, the better you’re going to be for everyone.

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Those two hours at the gym are critical to recharging my batteries, and time on the treadmill is perfect for contemplation, as it allows me to think without phone calls and interruptions. I keep a workout log and also a notebook of thoughts and ideas along with it.

Another way I recharge is through giving back to our community. I’m proud that our locations are able to help so many families in need each holiday season. Seeing their happy faces really lifts your spirit and inspires you to do more.

Finally, there is the joy of celebrating the holidays with my family, kids and grandchildren. We all work so hard throughout the year, but experiencing the magic of the season through their eyes makes it all worth it.

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Then, with the 2022 plans in place for my CARSTAR locations and my personal goals mapped out for the year, I’m charged up and ready to ring in the new year and get to work.

Note: This is my last column for BodyShop Business, and I would like thank everyone who read my articles, “liked” them on social media or followed up for more information. It has been a pleasure being part of the BodyShop Business team each month, and I hope some of the perspective I’ve shared has helped you in your business.

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