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Taking Control

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  • Why are shop rates so low compared to other trades?
  • Can I ditch my DRPs and still stay in business?
  • What the heck should I pay my shop manager?

If you’re like most of us, you’ve had questions but no one to answer them.

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That’s why we started this annual Readers Choice issue, now in its fifth year. It gives you a chance to have your questions answered by someone who, at the least, can make an educated guess.

Last year, you had the opportunity to fill out an entry form that ran in BodyShop Business. On the form, one of the many questions we asked was: If an industry expert offered to answer one question for you, what would your question be?

Six lucky BSB readers were picked (through a random drawing) as this year’s winners. Not only did they win 50 bucks, but they get their question answered in this issue by someone who has experience with that particular topic.

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For example, one of our winners, Georgia shop owner Chuck Logan, asked if he could take his shop off the four DRPs it’s on without committing business suicide. To answer his question, I recruited Virginia shop owner Michael Anderson.

Why? Because Anderson’s shop isn’t on any DRPs, yet has had a backlog of work for the past 10 years. And did I mention he doesn’t do any advertising?

“Our goal is to create customers before they have an accident,” says Anderson.

Find out how he does it on pg. 48.

Another winner, Thomas Ferry – a painter in Ketchikan, Alaska – asked why shop rates are so low. To answer his question, I recruited Charlie Barone, who not only has decades of experience, but isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

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“There’s a common understanding, or should I say misconception, in the body shop business today,” says Barone, “that insurers have total control over rates, repairs and the industry in general. I would argue that point.” And he does, on pg. 54.

Many of the questions we received this year had a common theme: control. Repairers wanted to know how to take back control of their businesses. Because this process won’t be easy, the writers I chose for this issue also had something in common: They aren’t afraid to be blunt.

“You get what you tolerate,” says Massachusetts multiple-shop owner Bruce King, who addresses Jeff Delana’s question on pg. 34 about how to get insurers to pay for the complete repair.

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“If you decide to sell out and be a patsy, that’s fine, but no complaining,” says Virginia shop owner Pete Petursson, who answers Brad Wooten’s question on pg. 40 about A/M parts.

On the first page of each of the six articles, you’ll see a photo of the winning reader, along with his question. The article will address that reader’s question.

Thanks to all of you who participated – and for all the kind notes about BSB that you wrote on the bottom of your entry forms.

Also on your entry forms, many of you thanked us for asking what you think, when really it should be the other way around.

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Thank you for telling us.

Georgina K. Carson
[email protected]

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