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How a New Perspective Could Mean Bigger Profits

—January 07, 2016
How a New Perspective Could Mean Bigger Profits

If there were proven ways to increase your chance for greater profitability, would you take action?

In this article, we’ll examine what FenderBender’s 2015 How I Work Survey reveals about the leadership styles behind the most profitable collision repair shops, and how you can take steps to help your auto body shop join their ranks next year.

How Collision Repair Shop Leadership Affects Profitability

It all begins with how you look at your business; especially when it comes to your role in its daily operations. What do you see as your primary responsibilities, and how do you prioritize accordingly? Do you spend your time shoulder-to-shoulder with your technicians checking their work, or are you attending a 20 group to learn about new business innovations?

With so much responsibility, it can be difficult to know what is most important in any given moment.

However, the best way to positively impact your business is to make impactful decisions.

In fact, FenderBenders survey revealed that collision repair shop owners who take a “visionary” approach to business reap many benefits, including higher profits overall.

According to How I Work, those who apply visionary leadership styles to their collision repair shop tend to:

  • Bring in annual sales of more than $499,999 / yr
  • Have a larger staff
  • Generate more sales from DRPs
  • Work less hours overall
  • Take more vacation time
  • Experience business growth

How to Incorporate a Visionary Approach in Your Business

The demographic for visionary leadership tends to be newer, younger shop owners. While they often hold a higher education, they may have less experience in the industry.

APD RepairCenter DRP Correlation Chart

Yet the steps they’ve taken to improve their businesses have more to do with perspective and tactics than specific skill sets.

Here a few tangible steps you can take now to begin moving towards a “visionary” leadership style: 

Consider working with a business coach or joining a 20 group.  While those who work with a business coach are currently in the minority, they are the “few” who have larger, higher-volume businesses.

Roughly 84% of shops that work with coaches report annual revenues above $1 million, and 54% exceed $2.5 million (Evans 3) 

They also tend to have stronger relationships with direct repair programs (DRPs), and may generate up to 90% of their business from these programs.  Learning how to capitalize on these programs can help to automate lead generation. 

Work on your business, not in it. While those with a hands-on leadership style may find this one difficult, studies show that taking a step back can help you work fewer hours and take more vacation time while still growing your business overall. 

Focus on hiring quality technicians and compensating them well. Cited as one of the most difficult parts of the collision repair industry, quality staff continues to be one of the most critical. Well-trained technicians allow you to focus on the bigger picture and grant them greater independence. Even if this means higher compensation or added benefits like life insurance or bonuses, the return you’ll likely receive in the time you spend on “big-picture” issues will likely pay off in the long run.

If this sounds like unfamiliar territory, you aren't the only one.

For those who come from a family-owned business, or have run a business for 30+ years like a large percentage of shop owners, this may sound at-odds with what you’ve practiced for years. 

After all, aren’t good shop owners supposed to lead by example? Many shop owners who spent years as technicians might naturally focus on the day-to-day service aspect of the business. Yet this is essentially the role of your employees: your role is everything else that makes those operations run smoothly. 

By focusing on the key components listed above, you have the opportunity to create the biggest impact for your bottom line. Smaller details can then be left to those who were hired to accomplish them. 

As we’ve seen in this study, a visionary outlook can have a positive impact on the health of your business, as well as your personal life.

Start making a difference in your business today by looking into products like Mitchells RepairCenter™, designed to help simplify daily tasks and make your business more efficient.

  1. Evans, Bryce. "The 2015 How I Work Survey." FenderBender., December, 2015. Web

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