Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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High-end customer-centric shop embraces nonstop training classes

Friday, October 6, 2017 - 06:00
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For Amber Alley, general manager at Barsotti’s Body & Fender, the road to achieving standout collision repair results has been made much smoother through her association with associations.

“There are a lot of amazing people in this industry; I wish everyone would get involved,” says Alley, the recently elected treasurer of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

At a Glance:
Barsotti’s Body and Fender Service
San Rafael, Calif.
No. of shops
Tom Price
Years in business
No. of employees
No. of DRPs
Square footage of shop
No. of bays
Average repair order
9-10 days
Average cycle time
Average vehicles per week
$8 million
Annual gross revenue
Spies Hecker
Paint Supplier
Frame machine used
CCC, Mitchell, Audatex
Estimating systems used

“It’s so positive for the industry. The networking and resources are beyond words,” according to Alley, who also belongs to the California Autobody Association (CAA). “It puts a new perspective on things” that can be applied to your business operations.

“Everyone should get involved, even if it’s just on the local level in your own communities,” she says. Staying on top of regulatory concerns can be especially useful. “Some people fall asleep when you talk about legislation, but it’s important,” she says. “There are a lot of people out there doing a lot of training. There’s really a place for everyone” depending on your particular interests, challenges and goals.

In conjunction with the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), Alley has been chairing the SCRS Career Center Committee as it unveils an additional online feature for the membership. “It’s like a job board,” she explains, matching owners with new hires and employees with new opportunities.

“We’re going to be rolling out some other new innovations,” says Alley, such career fairs and other events. “People need to know it’s there for this to work.”

Working for the customer

Based in San Rafael, Calif. – boasting a robust annual family median income of $96,660 compared to the nationwide level of $65,443 – Barsotti’s has been serving Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area since 1947. The original name has been retained throughout several ownership changes. “At one point we were a dealer body shop, and now we’re independently owned,” she says, referring to a corporate structure headed by President Tom Price.

Two direct repair program (DRP) affiliations are maintained with a pair of smaller insurance carriers; additional DRPs are not being sought because of the shop’s policy of exclusively utilizing OEM parts. “The DRP model doesn’t fit into our business model,” says Alley. A focus on high-end vehicles tends to resist rapid cycle times and price-based parts purchasing. “A lot of the cars we repair are European, and parts sometimes take time” to arrive.

“Over here, experience is our most valuable asset. Combined with intensive and regular training, a state-of-the-art facility and the latest technology available, we provide the highest quality repair available.”

Customers “just want the same” components affixed to their prized vehicles, placing aftermarket parts outside of the desired standards. “That’s always been a key part of the business. We’re very quality-oriented,” Alley says. “We work for the customer, and that’s very clear here.”

Besides, she continues, “we’re starting to see more insurance companies going to ‘open shops,’” especially when you consider that Barsotti’s is the go-to collision repair destination for numerous dealerships throughout the region. Word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers are frequent.

“We get a lot of referral business. We have a very good reputation and we have a lot of attention to detail.”

Jaguar, Land Rover, Tesla, McLaren, Aston Martin, Volvo, Infiniti, Nissan, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Toyota, and Honda are among the officially approved nameplates repaired at the high-volume shop. “For us the certification is like building brand loyalty,” says Alley, emphasizing the importance of ongoing workforce education and a commitment to executing exquisitely flawless repair results.

“I don’t send technicians all over the country for training to have them come back and not want to do it right,” Alley insists, “and the customer feels that.”

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