While much of the collision industry is intent on growth through multiple locations, some shops have found that a single, large standalone model also offers plenty of potential. Take Car Crafters, an Albuquerque, New Mexico shop and multiple Top Shop finalist that grabs market share every year with its expansive 70,000 square foot operations. This past year, the shop's 82 employees used 85 bays to repair an average of 135 a week and $14 million in revenue. With one of the industry's most active, unique marketing programs and steady investment in the latest repair technology, the business hopes for an even bigger 2015.
|At A Glance|
|Name of shop|
|600 Montano Rd, Albuquerque, NM|
|Number of locations|
|Number of bays|
|Average vehicles per week|
|Average repair ticket|
Owner Jim Guthrie entered the industry as a teenager, working on his friends' cars in his parents' garage. He took a short detour after finishing college and entering dental school. After realizing his heart wasn't into filling molars, he left that part of his education in 1982 and opened Car Crafters in a small shop where he learned to be a collision repairer and operator. “I learned to do every job in the shop through reading and doing--good old trial and error,” says Guthrie.
Along the way, Guthrie began looking for new ways to improve the management of the shop and its inventory. He ended up pairing up with programmer Curt Jingle to design a piece of management software called SIMS, which PPG later purchased. That software is now known as Mitchell ABS Enterprise, and Guthrie says it's his shop's biggest contribution to the industry, though he has found other ways to give back.
The shop hosts the Skills USA competition every year, with Guthrie and his staff providing assistance with instructions and judging. Veteran technician Carl Peet teaches I-CAR classes held every Tuesday and Thursday at the shop.
Employees are encouraged to attend those classes along with receiving other training. The shop pays for all training and courses that employees wish to attend. It recently covered all the fees for two employees' graduate school degrees. Both graduated this past May with a Masters in Business Administration. Between August 2013 and August 2014, Car Crafters spent over $50,000 on employee training and education.
Those employees have access to a range of new tools and equipment. This year Car Crafters purchased aluminum repair tools such as a welding station, rivet gun and MIG welder that also can be used on steel and silicon bronze. Other purchases included new bench racks, two Car-O-Tronic Vision X3 tools and a Tru-Point Diagnostic System, a camera-based measuring tool that helps locate hidden damage and determines if a repair has returned a vehicle to accurate measurable specs.