On Friday, September 15 at the DRIVE EXPO in Las Vegas, Nevada, Cassaundra Croel of DRIVE discussed consolidation, Future of DRP, diversification, and other crucial topics facing independent collision shops. Croel asked the audience to speak freely throughout the presentation about their questions and comments.
“I am excited to present this topic to begin the conversation about the direction the Collision industry is going and how it will impact our shops,” said Croel.
As systems like ADAS advance, shops face the reality of seeing the average number of repairs they’re used to drop.
During the presentation, Croel said shops will need to invest in new equipment to keep up with new technologies such as EVs and ADAS systems.
Croel added that technician certification and continuing educations are also musts.
“What advanced systems training have you provided for your crew?” Croel asked the attendees in the audience. “Who has done the basic OSHA EV training?” Croel continued.
Croel also touched on the fact that shops need to invest in EV charging stations if they’re going to work on EVs.
“I put a charging station in at my shop and it cost me $17,000. The electric company can shut it down anytime they feel it’s using too much juice,” said Dave Rogers of Bluegrass Collision Ctr.
Croel continued by pivoting into discussing consolidation and says consolidation is continuing at a rapid pace.
“If you are a shop that is struggling, it makes sense for these consolidators to offer you money. However, is this the best financial decision for you moving forward?” Croel asked the audience.
If you choose to compete with consolidators, Croel says there are points in place to help.
Points included are:
- Provide a first-class customer experience
- Work for the true customer (the vehicle owner)
- Follow OEM procedures to a T
- Take care of your employees
- Provide a great place for your team that is organize peaceful and pleasant
- Have a long-term exit plan in place
- Educate your customers on proper repairs and consistently get their understanding and buy-in
- Be profitable!
- Achieve amazing Google reviews
- Create grassroot and community marketing campaigns
Croel then discussed AI. Croel says AI is here to stay. “Do you feel comfortable with it when it comes to estimating?” Croel asked the audience. “To succeed in this new world of mobility and smart technologies, repairiers will have to adapt and change at unprecedented speed,” Croel continued.
Attendees and Croel had an open discussion to close out the presentation.
For more coverage of the 2023 DRIVE EXPO, click here.