Having spent many years as a trainer and consultant for paint companies, many shops in the industry connect me most with refinish-related topics. In fact, I’ve had several readers who know me express surprise that in my first year writing this column for ABRN, I’ve barely touched on anything related to the paint shop.
Part of that is now as an independent consultant, I’m assisting shops with so many different aspects of their business: estimating, scheduling, motivating employees and the other topics I’ve touched on in my columns this past year.
But I do now want to return to the topic of paint shop productivity, because it remains such a critical profit center for collision repair businesses, and because it’s an area where I’ve often seen the most need for improvement.
Let’s start by looking at some KPIs for the paint shop, numbers you should be measuring to gauge your performance. Take paint shop proficiency, the number of paint labor hours produced divided by the number of clock hours the paint shop is open. You should be hitting 175 to 200 percent. So in an 8-hour day, your painter should be producing 14 or 16 paint labor hours.
Listening To Your Painters
Being profitable in the paint shop starts with listening to your painters. See how real shops changed things in their paint areas and saw fast results in this whitepaper.
How about you paint materials costs per refinish labor hour? Add up your materials costs for a given month and divide it by the number of paint labor hours you produced in that month. The industry average is about $17.20. But top performers have paint material costs per refinish labor hour in the $12 to $13.50 range.
Your paint materials gross profit should be in the 45 to 55 percent range. Some shops are beating even that.
What’s your “booth cycle time,” the number of jobs you move through the booth each day, or the length of time each job is occupying your booth? For top performers, booth cycle time is between an hour and 90 minutes. Those shops are typically producing 7 to 9 units in an 8-hour day. The average shop across the industry is doing only 3 to 4 units per day. So the top shops are doing twice that. If you’re running an average repair order of $3,000, think about the difference that pushing three or more additional jobs per day through your booth would make.