Owners of independent mechanical and collision repair shops are busy — they are typically hands on owner-operators who are heavily involved in day-to-day operations. However, because they spend a good part of their day working on cars, they often aren’t as focused as they should be on the “business” side of operating their business.
That’s a situation that a new association in New York City hopes to remedy. The New York City Auto Repair Association (NYCARA), which launched at the beginning of the year, is a non-profit group that wants to create a community of repair professionals, while also providing educational resources to help owners run their businesses better.
The group was formed by Paul Stern, owner of auto equipment distributor LIFTNOW, and Paul Stern, Jr., head of marketing and business development at the company.
The association grew out of conversations that LIFTNOW had with its customers in the region. “Especially in the independent repair world, we’re seeing a gap between the increasing complexity of vehicles and the increasingly competitive landscape as dealerships beef up their service offerings, and the need for knowledge and education among independent repairers,” Stern Jr. says.
“Independent shops want to catch up to the rest of the world and remain competitive so they can service these new vehicles and bring in new customers,” Stern Jr. added.
Stern, Jr. says that the group hope to bring together professionals from every segment of the independent repair market, including professionals, students, and technicians. The primary focus of the group will be mechanical shops, but they are also targeting collision shops for membership as well.
“As insurance companies begin to pay for different repair services, and as new procedures are established that weren’t there a few years ago, the line between mechanical and collision continues to get blurred,” Stern Jr. says. “We are mechanical first, though. The collision shops are well served by the collision associations in our area, but there isn’t an association for the independent and mechanical world that is auto-repair first.”