Body Shop Invests in Future Through OEM Training
March 5, 2020—In 2017, Tim Cook's body shop operated completely different than it does today.
Cook, owner of "A" Auto Body in Midlothian, Va., decided that 2017 was the year his shop was going to focus on gaining OE certifications. He knew it meant a large investment but he also knew that it was one of the only ways his team could stay on top of future car repairs. He was right, in 2017, Cook invested almost $250,000 since that year to start obtaining OEM certifications.
As Cook's facility gained certifications after 2017, including ProFirst Honda, Nissan, Ford, General Motors, and Assured Performance recognized, he realized he needed to hire technicians for ADAS-specific repairs.
In 2018, Cook hired a technician solely to perform scans on vehicles with asTech equipment. All of the shop's pre and post scanning is done with the asTech equipment. He also dedicated one technician to be the shop's certified estimator. When a car comes into the facility, the certified estimator works with another technician to disassemble the car, write the blueprint and do the research. This certified estimator is not involved in the actual repair process.
And, everyone on Cook's team works on iPads and smartphones around the shop floor to stay wirelessly connected at all times. The technicians are doing their own research to make sure they're performing the repair correctly and putting one-time use clips, one-time use trim panels on supplements, for example. Cook's team spends about two hours more on every repair ensuring the procedures are followed and the vehicle is properly scanned.
Sales have doubled over the years, he says. Right now, the shop's annual revenue is $3.2 million and the shop's average monthly car count is 160 cars.
"Right now, I have my team follow all OE procedures with or without approval of the insurance company because I need peace of mind that the car is being repaired correctly," Cook says.
Following repair procedures means that the team is also less likely to miss important steps in the repair when it comes to repairing advanced technology. After all, Cook emphasizes that if a mirror is taken off to repaint the mirror and it's not installed correctly when it's put back on the car, the sensors in the car could be affected.