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Family-run businesses still dominate the market, while the Mom and Pops running them are becoming better educated.
Despite all the rumors – and exaggerations
– in the past year that independent "Mom and Pop" operations
would see their demise and consolidators would take over the collision
repair world, the makeup of the industry didn’t change all that
much in 1997.
About 75 percent of the respondents for BodyShop
Business’ 1998 Industry Profile own independent collision repair
shops (down slightly from 76.3 percent in 1996), 16.2 percent
own new-car dealerships (down from 19.4 percent), 4.6 percent
own used-car dealerships (up from .2 percent), 2.3 percent own
body repair franchises (up minutely from 2.2 percent) and 2 percent
own other types of businesses.
Of this group, 23.2 percent own shops making
up to $124,999 annually; 19.6 percent $125,000 to $249,999; 11.1
percent $250,000 to $349,999; 21.5 percent $350,000 to $749,999;
11.9 percent $750,000 to $1 million; and 12.8 percent more than
About 77 percent of our respondents still
run family-owned businesses (down slightly from 80.6 percent in
1996). Only 3.8 percent own more than one shop (down a bit from
8.4 percent in 1996).
The average shop has been in business 22 years
(up from 20.9 years in 1996), and the average shop owner is 46.6
years old and has 24.3 years of industry experience.
About 36.5 percent of shop owners are high
school graduates (up slightly from 35.5 in 1996), while 3.4 percent
didn’t graduate from high school (down from 7.1 percent), 18.1
percent attended a vocational/technical school (down from 19.8
percent), 22.6 percent attended some college (up from 19.8 percent),
14.8 percent graduated from college (up from 12.7 percent) and
5.2 percent completed some post-grad studies (up from 4 percent).
It’s interesting to note that more shop owners
have now attended some college than attended a vo-tech school.
Also, shop owners who didn’t graduate from high school continue
to drop while shop owners who graduated from college continue
The 1998 BodyShop Business Industry Profile
was conducted by Babcox Research, a division of Babcox Publications
and executed via a nationwide mail program to 6,000 body shops.
The survey consisted of six two-page questionnaires, and each
questionnaire was sent to a subsample of 1,000 BodyShop Business
readers. Readers were chosen through a systematic sampling procedure
in which every "nth" name was selected from a BodyShop
Business subscription list. The sample was adjusted to provide
geographic representation. Surveys were mailed on March 19, 1998,
and Babcox Research received 1,237 completed questionnaires for
an effective return rate of 21.2 percent.