A funny thing happened 13 years ago when Craig Moe was looking for a good retirement investment. He became a shop owner. Moe was an employee for a large dealership group that decided to break off its collision repair operation as separate business. Moe invested in the shop and eventually bought it out.
Those inauspicious beginnings set the groundwork for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Car West Auto Body, a growing six location MSO (with six satellite estimating sites) that caters to dealerships and that could well be on the cusp of a trend that could eventually dictate how every shop performs repairs.
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Banking on trends is what this Top Shop is all about. Moe notes that his business model provides dealers and customers with conveniences that make his business attractive. First off, his shops employ techs who must maintain at least an I-CAR Gold status with emphasis on obtaining a Platinum rating. The shops also utilize lean systems to ensure work is performed as efficiently as possible. Employees take part in a bonus plan that rewards efficiency utilizing a formula that compares the cost of the repair versus the time taken to complete it.
Dealers can feel confident that their customers are being offered top-notch repairs as part of a system that promises to return their vehicles as soon as possible. Car West also offers customers other perks, including five-day free vehicle rentals and drop off and pick up of work.
The shop features clean, well-ordered facilities.
"We know our customers are busy so we make it possible to get work done without ever having to visit the shop," says Moe. If there's a problem with a repair, Car West will send a tech to a customer's home, if necessary, to address the issue.
Additionally, customers can use Car West's website to upload photographs of damage, receive an estimate and schedule service. In an effort to control expenses and assure customers they're protecting the environment, the company has begun installing solar panels on buildings it owns.
A vehicle is prepped for painting. Employees receive bonuses based on work efficiency.