Opinion | Commentary - Collision Repair

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Making time to grow your business

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 13:08
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Having the opportunity to visit and work directly with several collision repair facilities each week, I see a few common themes in the industry. If any of these are occurring in your business, it is time for you to make a change.

If we look back to the good old days, most shops didn’t have to do much work to get the cars needed to pay the bills. Cars just arrived and everything was good. There are many shop owners who are still in that mode of waiting for the cars to arrive. The difference is that the cars aren’t coming in the way they used to, and the owner is now wondering what happened in his shop, which is doing half the volume that it was doing in the past.

I also see shops that have very little diversity in where the work they are getting is coming from. Compare this to your investment strategies. If you invest all your money in one stock and that stock tanks, what are you left with? Your financial advisor will tell you to have some diversity in your investments to minimize the risks. But when you compare this to many shops today, they rely on one insurance program to provide the volume of cars and quickly find themselves in trouble if they see a decrease in volume or are no longer part of that program.

Lastly, I see many owners who, when they purchased the business, had the dream of making a ton of money and also the time to spend with their family and friends. The reality is that they find themselves working from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; they are painting cars, picking up and dropping off cars and parts and performing other similar tasks. The owner doesn’t have time to see their kids or take a vacation. Most often, this is due to lack of leadership and a failure to plan. Some owners focus more on getting the cars they have out the door than they do on the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to support the business this year and next.

As a shop owner, you are the CEO of your business. However, if you expect to survive, you need to plan. You need to commit the time to plan. I’d bet that if you looked at what you did yesterday, you could have had an hour or more (somewhere) to focus on your business. You just chose to do something else with the time. So, what could change if you devoted an hour five days a week to focus on your business? Below is a breakdown that should help you make more money, grow the business and give you more time to spend time with family.

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