Shop Profile - Collision Repair

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Pride in quality, adherence to repair efficiencies drives sales growth at Colorado shops

Friday, October 5, 2018 - 06:00
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Maintaining a “sense of urgency” is a recurring theme throughout Gary Boesel’s two Colorado CARSTAR outlets.

“One of the things we take pride in is a sense of urgency with pride in quality,” he points out. “The success of the company is built on our efficiencies, and if you don’t have that sense of urgency in this business you’re going to get left behind.”

CARSTAR Alpine Auto Body

This focus on efficiencies is greatly enhanced through the shops’ affiliation with a major collision repair organization. “The CARSTAR processes have allowed me to grow my business,” says Gary, generating income in a manner that “I wouldn’t be able to do as an independent business. The networking opportunities have allowed me to be a part of a larger operation while still retaining independent ownership.”

CARSTAR Jordan Road Collision
At a Glance:
CARSTAR Alpine Auto Body, CARSTAR Jordan Road Collision
Aurora, Colo.
Main location
Gary Boesel
No. of shops
Years in business
Total no. of employees
Alpine: 14;
Jordan Road: 7

No. of DRPs
Alpine: 18,000; Jordan Road: 16,500
Square footage of shops
Average repair order
9.2 days; 3.2 days
Average cycle time
Vehicles per week
Average weekly volume
$10 million
Annual gross revenue
Paint supplier
CCC Audatex
Estimating system

In business for 37-plus years, Gary began to realize real success 26 years ago upon joining the CARSTAR ranks.

“By the late 1980s I had taken over the building next door and added another 1,500 square feet, and was quickly realizing I could fix cars – but I was lacking in the ‘business’ side of things,” he recounts. “In late 1991 a man named Lirel Holt walked into my store, and that became a pivotal moment of my professional career.”

Holt, CARSTAR’s founder, “talked to me about the benefits of joining a relatively new concept of bringing stores together for networking and common systems, processes and training to better the industry. I knew that could help me run my business, and I joined in March 1992. I still speak with Lirel on occasion today and consider him my first true mentor. From that time forward I worked to improve my office systems and the company began to grow quickly.”

CARSTAR’s Margaret Ray, who is retired but still offers consulting advice, has been another important influence. “She taught me about the value of running the business by the numbers and about making business decisions based on real numbers. As Margaret would say, ‘Numbers are your friend!’”

Ed Gapsch, who has retired from owning a CARSTAR store in St. Louis, was another source of support and wisdom, having connected with Gary at the chain’s Financial Focus Group meetings. “Ed and I became very good friends over the years, and he taught me many things about running a successful business.”

Owner Gary Boesel

Gary says his shops are “customer-focused, but insurance-friendly.” “My staff knows my philosophy that our top priority is to service our customers at a high level, so we have to maintain positive insurance relationships as working with the insurers is part of the path to customer satisfaction.”

He notes that “we have all the same challenges in working in the insurance environment today that other stores have, but we work hard at open communication mixed with knowledge and documentation. As a whole we pride ourselves on our reputation as a shop that any insurance representative can walk into and be treated respectfully while knowing that we represent our customers fairly while balancing insurance company or policyholder guidelines.”

Cooperating with suppliers is another priority. “We have worked with many of our vendors for many years, so our service expectations of them – and them of us – create smoother interactions. Having good systems in place to provide accurate orders with good information has helped strengthen our parts relationships over the years as well. We have utilized Finishmaster for over 25 years to supply our paint and materials, so our relationship there is very strong.”

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