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Load leveling drives success at Performance Auto Body

Friday, September 16, 2016 - 07:00
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One of the key benefits of being a multi-shop operator (MSO) is the ability to perform load leveling between locations. With locations in different communities, an MSO can take whatever work comes through the door without worrying overscheduling. If you run out of capacity at one store, you can shift it (within the limits of your customer and insurance agreements) to another store with idle resources.

For Performance Auto Body, with operations in Parsons and Morgantown, W.V., load leveling isn’t just a nice benefit, it’s a critical part of the company’s success. Owner Warren Judy’s two shops are a study in contrasts: a very large shop in a very small town, and smaller shop in a much bigger city. The symbiotic relationship between the two shops has been key to the profitability of both.

At a Glance:
Performance Auto Body
Parsons, West Virginia
Headquarters location
Warren Judy
No. of locations
No. of states reached
Years in business
Paint Supplier
$3 million
Annual gross revenue
No. of employees

Judy’s transition from a single shop to an MSO was driven by very practical considerations – his first shop was a very big fish in a very small pond, and relying on local business in Parsons was not going to be sustainable. Fortunately, through a combination of luck and some smart decisions, Judy’s two Performance Auto Body locations complement each other through regular load leveling, ensuring a dependable stream of business at both stores.

Judy first started working on cars as a teenager with his father, and bought and restored his first car before he even had a driver’s license. He began working as a body shop technician as soon as he graduated, in addition to restoring other cars at his father’s private shop. For several years, he worked at a car dealership in Morgantown.

In 2005, itching to start his own business, he was able to purchase a massive facility in Parsons that had already been converted to a body shop by a local Chevrolet dealership. The Parsons location is a 36,000-square-foot converted warehouse that includes a body shop, paint shop, sand blasting shop, offices, and 10,000-square-feet of indoor parking.

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“The dealership had done a beautiful job of converting it and it had brand new equipment and two big booths,” Judy says. “Unfortunately, one of the partners in the dealership passed away and the other partner opted to go in a different direction with the body shop and the business. The owner got a hold of me, and I fell in love with the place. They made me an offer, and the owner helped me work through some of the financing issues to help me purchase the first building.”

Unfortunately, Judy soon ran up against a supply and demand problem. Parsons, nestled in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, only has a population of around 1,500 people, not enough to sustain a facility with that much capacity. Judy needed a way to bring in more vehicles, so he looked 60 miles to the North to Morgantown.

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