About eight to ten years ago, a group of private equity investors discovered that there is money to be made by investing in auto body repair shops. The reason is repairs are generally paid for by insurance companies and that eliminates cash flow issues. Auto Body repair is also largely recession-proof as accidents happen every single day.
These investment firms struck a deal with three large body shops who already had a presence in a few different states. From there, they went on a buying spree. They approached body shop owners who had built smaller regional multi-shop operations who were looking to retire or exit the business. As their footprint grew, so did their buying power and they continued to acquire shops. In the industry, this is called consolidation.
In 2018, two of the biggest consolidators joined forces and together, they formed one huge body shop chain with over 1,000 locations across the United States. This footprint and this buying power caught the attention of insurance companies. They saw the opportunity to save money on repairs by sending more cars to these chain auto body shops, eliminating the personalized attention that comes from taking it to an independent shop. For the consolidators and the insurance companies, it was a win-win. For the consumers, it was anything but.
The reality is your Insurance company wants the fastest and cheapest repair for your vehicle allowable under insurance law in North Carolina because they want to keep the length of time you are in a rental car to a minimum. The cost of a rental is a big line item expense to insurance companies, so they want to spend as little money as possible (despite having quite a successful business). But speed and size come at a great cost to you the customer. The increased complexity of cars built today with their advanced safety features does not allow for the same quick speed that car repair was years ago. Because of this, corners get cut in the name of cycle time at these large chain high production auto body shops.
No More Personalized Attention
When you take your car to be repaired at a high production body shop, you may experience a lack of personalized attention that you are likely to receive at an independent auto body shop. Each time you call the national chain shops, you get transferred to an 800 number where you end up talking to someone who isn’t even at the shop. You’re no longer a customer, but merely a number. Are the days of someone caring about your car repair a thing of a past? The answer is no. They’re not. It’s all about where you take it to be repaired that makes all the difference.
Aside from not having the personalized attention that you should have when taking your car to be repaired, these national chain body shops are notorious for lacking in quality and correctness of repairs. You’ll often see complaints stating how the repair looks sloppy and poorly done. This is because these shops do the exact same type of repair for your car, often cutting corners in the process to speed up the turnaround time. After all, these chain body shops work on the philosophy of the faster the repair = more money from the Insurance companies. What you don’t see is how often these high production shops have to buy back cars because the repairs were so poorly done that the vehicle is rendered an economic total loss. This happens when the cost to fix the car again the right way exceeds the value of the car. You’d be surprised just how often this happens (it’s more than we feel comfortable with).
When an auto body repair shop cuts corners on repairs, this means that they are also risking your safety. Your car’s manufacturer releases statements known as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Repair Procedures. These are guidelines set out by the manufacturer ensuring your vehicle is repaired precisely the way it’s meant to. Not only is this the highest quality of repair for your car, but it’s also the safest. Anything less and technicians can damage or potentially ruin the structural integrity of your car. Thus, making you that much more susceptible to being in an accident.
Typically at these chain body shops, you’ll see repairs done with a more affordable option known as “aftermarket parts.” Aftermarket parts are a knock-off, imitation parts that have not been tested for safety or accuracy. Let alone, and they haven’t been approved by the OEM manufacturer of your car. Anything less than OEM parts can reduce the value in your car. Also, it can cause the advanced safety features your vehicle is built with to no longer work properly.
Where In North Carolina Can I Take My Car To Be Repaired The Right Way?
We at Statesville Collision Center knows what it means to provide you with the highest quality of repair and personalized attention that you deserve in an auto body repair shop. Just because these high production body shops have 1000s of locations does not mean they know how to perform repairs the same way one independent body shop does. We do, and we’re here to help.
We’re here to help you in North Carolina with any of your auto repair needs. We are in 10% of auto repair shops to achieve I-CAR Gold Class status. This means that our technicians have received the highest level of training and know what it means to repair your car the right way. We are always checking OEM repair procedures and know what it takes to give you the best possible repair out there!
We like to say, “we may not be related, but you’ll feel like we’re family!
We look forward to hearing from you!