The Devil is in the Details at Dave’s Autobody - BodyShop Business

The Devil is in the Details at Dave’s Autobody

Editor Jason Stahl visited Dave's Autobody in Galesburg, Ill., on Feb. 17 and discovered some unique things the shop is doing to "own" customers.

standing out from the crowd: a palm tree in galesburg, ill.a clean, professional front-desk area tells customers this ain't no ordinary body shop.a neat, organized cart ensures the tech will have everything he or she needs at the ready.a full-time cleaning person ensures that employees will have a healthy, safe environment...and does wonders to dispel the myth that all body shops are dirty.the paint mixing room is as spic-and-span as the rest of the shop.Two detailers on one car provides for more efficient service – important with as many details as Dave's Autobody does.The
first thing you notice when you visit Dave’s Autobody is the life-sized
palm tree out front. This is Galesburg, Ill., for Pete’s sake. But the
more you think about it, the more it makes sense. It sure makes the
business stand out from the street. And what do you think about when
you see palm trees? Ocean breezes, the smell of coconut oil,
relaxation…kind of the perfect thoughts after a nasty collision, right?

With so many collision repairers lamenting about the loss of customers
to insurer steering, Dave’s seems to have the perfect fix. It’s called
Detail For Life, the brainchild of owner Dave Dunn (who also owns Masters School of Autobody Management)
that’s also a registered trademark. If Dave’s repairs a customer’s
collision of $2,000 or greater on a standard passenger vehicle, the
shop will detail the customer’s car as long as he or she owns it, up to
four times per year. It’s no surprise, then, that Dave’s employs five
full-time detailers. That’s right, FIVE full-time detailers.

“Some shops don’t hold detailers to the same standards as technicians
or painters, but to us, they do just as important of a job as anybody,”
says Rob Dunn, son of Dave Dunn and production manager of Dave’s
Autobody. “Also, we screen them in the interview process just as
rigorously as any other person applying for other positions.”

A Detail for Life can also be purchased for a new car for $1,200. For
non-customers looking for a one-time detail, Dave’s offers different
levels at different prices, from a hand wash at $19.95 to a total
detail at $199.

Walking through the shop, you notice how neat and tidy it is. The floor
in the production area is the same as in the front office – tile that
you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have in your own home. And the
production area is startlingly clean – the floors are immaculate, the
smells minimal and no filler dust coating anything. And it’s no wonder
since Dave’s employs a full-time cleaning person!

Most shops’ paint mixing rooms look like Jackson Pollock paintings,
with spills and drops everywhere, but this area at Dave’s was also
spotless. Even the guns were lined up just so on a stainless steel
shelf. Parts carts at each work station kept tools organized and all in
one easy-to-find place.

Also, in a day and age when insurers are winning the game of staying
“top of mind” with consumers, Dave’s is holding its own and then some.
With the average consumer only getting in an accident once every seven
years, it’s easy for them to lose touch with a body shop. But not with
Dave’s. Dunn has employed a variety of innovative tactics to “tattoo”
his shop name on consumers’ brains, including handing out free hot
sauce with the Dave’s Autobody logo on it, putting the logo on hats,
shirts and golf gloves (QUALITY stuff, not junk, Dunn says – “If it’s
junk, people won’t wear it or will just throw it away”), and perhaps
most remarkably holding a local Autobody Idol and Autobody Idol for
Kids competition. The contest was modeled after the insanely popular
“American Idol” TV show and had contestants singing Dave’s advertising
jingle. The winners’ songs are now posted on Dave’s Web site, along
with the original jingle. The original jingle, Dunn says, was so
popular that people he ran into on the street around town would sing it
to him.

At a Glance

Name: Dave’s Autobody
Location: Galesburg, Ill.
Established: 1977
Square Footage: 10,000
Owner: Dave Dunn
No. of Employees: 28
2009 Gross Sales: Nearly $4 million
Repair Volume/Cars Per Month: 350-500, including details
Average Repair Cost: $2,200
DRPs: 2 (Dunn: “We don’t chase any DRPs that involve discounting.”)

You May Also Like

Cruise Postpones Release of Driverless Taxi Service

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019.

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said the company plans to dramatically increase the number of its autonomous test vehicles on the road in San Francisco, but will not be offering rides to regular people this year, according to an article from The Verge.

Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions Partners with Andretti Rallycross

Andretti Rallycross announced that Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions will serve as technical partner on Cabot Bigham’s No. 02 OINK Clothing Beetle for the remainder of the 2019 Americas Rallycross season, showcasing their SP Tools USA brand.

Ford, Volkswagen Expand Collaboration to Include Autonomous, Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG announced they are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles – and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe.

CCAR Updates Website with More OSHA Alliance Resources

CCAR (Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair) has announced the addition of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance content on its main website,

CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine Open in California

Owned by husband-and-wife team James and Mary Davis, CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine are a family business.

Other Posts

CIECA to Offer Webinar on What Businesses Need to Know to Implement CIECA Standards

CIECA will hold its next CIECAst webinar, “Implementing CIECA Standards: Implementation Guide and Appendix C – BMS, Code Lists and Shema Components,” on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 at 11 a.m. CST.

CARSTAR Urges Customers to Stay Winter Ready

Cold weather can create some of the harshest driving conditions of the year. The months between October and February top the list for accidents, vehicle damage and injuries.

CIECA Adds Broadly as Corporate Member

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) announced that Broadly has joined CIECA as a corporate member.

NABR Launches BillableGenie Online Searchable Database of Insurer-Paid Not-Included Procedures

National AutoBody Research (NABR) has announced the launch of its BillableGenie online service, an independent, centralized source of actual data on insurer paid not-included procedures and operations, labor rates, labor rate concessions and other manually entered estimate line items.