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Business Coaching and Today's Auto Body Shop Operator

—January 07, 2016
Business Coaching and Today's Auto Body Shop Operator

In 2013, FenderBender debuted its initial “How I Work” survey. The reason? To get under the hood of our challenging industry, and really take a closer look at all the aspects that help auto body shop operators succeed today. From educational backgrounds to experiences to leadership philosophies, business practices and more, the survey shed some much-needed light on what exactly allowed successful collision repair industry leaders to thrive.

In 2015, FenderBender has once again released a detailed and informative “How I Work” survey – this one sponsored by PPG Automotive Refinish. As the comprehensive 63-page report authored by Bryce Evans details, the challenges facing the collision repair industry today aren’t any less imposing than they were in 2013 – and neither is the resolve and creativity of the business operators who are working to meet those challenges head-on.

The 2015 version of the survey was completed by nearly 400 collision repair shop operators from all around the U.S. The “average” survey respondent was a male owner of a large, independent, single-location collision repair facility, between the ages of 50 and 59. The average annual revenue of their auto body shop ranged from $1 million to $2.49 million, and their average number of employees exceeded 11 (Evans 2).

While many illuminating insights emerged from this study, one of the more fascinating findings involved the utilization of “business coaching” – and the impact this particular practice seemed to have on industry success.

Coaching Produces Winners

The survey revealed that the number of auto body shop operators working with business coaches or consultants has remained nearly identical to the figures found in the initial 2013 “How I Work” survey. But while just 21 percent of survey respondents admitted to working with a business coach or consultant, those who did seemed to fit squarely into a certain demographic.

And this demographic is one that all collision repair facilities would proudly claim as their own:


Per the survey’s findings, around 84 percent of the auto body shops whose owners work with business coaches or consultants reported annual revenues above $1 million. What’s more, a full 54 percent of those being “coached” exceeded $2.5 million in annual revenues.

Among collision repair shops who did not employ business coaches or consultants, those figures are just 46 percent and 18 percent, respectively (Evans 3).

Seeing the Big Picture

An additional profile of the auto body facilities that thrived due in part to business coaching also emerged from the survey:

They tended to be big-picture thinkers. Who choose not to employ a heavy-handed leadership style.

Some 38 percent of auto body shop operators who worked with a coach or consultant described themselves as a “visionary” leader, while just 19 percent of them claimed to have a “direct involvement” leadership style. Amongst auto body shop operators who did not work with coaches or consultants, just 20 percent described themselves as “visionary”, while a full 50 percent of them boasted of a “direct involvement” style of leadership.

That lack of “direct involvement” also extended to hands-on manual labor practices. Among survey respondents who worked with a coach or consultant, only six percent claimed to work on vehicles “every day” – compared to 33 percent (or one out of every three) of auto body shop operators who did not work with business coaches.

There was also a very high rate of insurance direct repair program (DRP) correlation among collision repair shop owners who worked with business coaches or consultants. The survey revealed that DRPs served as highly significant business segments for many of the auto body shops surveyed – and even more so for those shops whose principals worked directly with a business coach or consultant. Among collision repair shops who derived 60 to 89 percent of their sales from DRPs, 35 percent of shop owners indicated they had worked with business coaches or consultants (Evans 3).

Mitchell RepairCenter: Strong Auto Body Coaching

The FenderBender “How I Work” survey makes it clear that outside coaching and consultation can help ensure that your collision repair business races ahead of the pack. And emerges in the winner’s circle.

Here at Mitchell, we help your business simplify and accelerate claims management and collision repair processes through the broadest range of partners, networks, and technology solutions in the industry. 

Chief amongst those solutions is the powerful and versatile Mitchell RepairCenter. Mitchell RepairCenter was custom designed to accelerate your profitability and growth – all while simplifying your auto body shop operations. At RepairCenter, you’ll get invaluable access to tools that empower you to take control of your repairs and your business – and ramp up customer satisfaction to whole new levels.

No matter the size or shape of your collision repair shop, Mitchell RepairCenter can help you achieve the kind of success you’re looking for – both now and well into the future.


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