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Thread: What DOES the future for collision repair look like?

  1. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    What DOES the future for collision repair look like?

    I wonder if collision repairers have a thought about where the demand for collision services will be in 10 years?

    Change will come from technology and societal shifts. Self driving cars. Accident avoidance. Electric cars. More sophistication and simple manufacturing techniques and cheaper materials, despite the off the wall use of some exotic materials now, made possible by computer driven AI, mass computing all driven by the much debated effect on the world climate.

    Perhaps the romance with automobiles will decline overall and not just for the 'old', and mass transit will come more to the front as those methods of transportation reflect new technology.

    The effect on those men and women actually doing the work, or those contemplating entering collision repair? Will collision repair become a 'niche' market?

    If I was in those years when figuring out what I wanted to do, absent just following my nose which I usually did, I would sure give it some serious though.....guarantee you insurance companies already have figured out the probabilities.
    Roy Smalley,
    Texas

  2. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Ma.
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    When I was in the navy, I made up my mind to go into business when I was discharged.
    I was good at mechanical repairs and auto body skills so I had to make a choice.

    The mechanical trade had a flat rate book that pretty much limited your profit to book times.

    The auto body trade had one also, but there was no set time for repair times, where I could use my skill to increase my profit. So it was an auto body shop for me.

    Now, I look at the "suggested" times that are chiselled in stone, (according to the ins. companies) and I see that there is little area for the skill of a body man. The trade has been reduced to parts changers (laborers, not skilled craftsman) at the lowest possible dollar rate.

    When is the last time that anyone wrote $100 to repair a fender and made any money?

    Of course the real problem is people accepting a labor rate that is not controlled by the free market

    Extortion come to mind here!.

    The big box shops may be the only hope for the trade. Once they run all the owner operated shops out of business, they will have an overhead to maintain and the businessman in charge will charge the proper amount in order to satisfy their investment.

    Of course, the mom and pop shops will be long gone. (except those that will benefit from the higher rates being charged.
    Then the cycle starts all over again!
    Last edited by Roger Walling; 11-18-2017 at 11:47 AM. Reason: added last 2 paragraphs

  3. Join Date
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    I probably won't live long enough to see it, but it would be interesting to see what happens when insurance companies have succeeded in shutting down most, if not all, independent shops, funneling all the work to the currently obedient mega shops and consolidators. What happens when the shop options insurance companies have are reduced to single digits and those running the remaining collision repair shops get together behind closed doors and say to each other, "It's now time for the tail to wag the dog"?

  4. Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    1,338

    Bill, I once not too long ago thought the same thing about the aggregation of shops into power centers. Now I am not sure that will ever happen. I think we are approaching a conflux of ideas and realities that will have a profound effect on the need for 'collision' repair, particularly a wide spread need. The past twenty years as the direct control of the repair process has moved from those actually doing the work and making the necessary decisions has gone over to the insurance side, & one thing is fairly certain. Insurers unlike repairers take immediate advantage of ideas that become tools that allow insurers deeper and wider control over the process. Now and whatever the future will bring.

    No doubt insurers have eliminated tens of thousands of repair facilities, beneficial to them. Fewer mouths to feed if you will, costs less. The cost to those gone is like the losses of the mom and pop business that were long ago destroyed by WalMart; no different than what the insurance industry has accomplished...and continuing. No one but the individuals affected care, true in every industry. Walmart is not a real good comparison though; Walmart out competed the competition. Insurers destroyed fundamental individual rights to accomplish their task all behind a veil of righteousness.

    These changes we have seen in 20 years will accelerate exponentially in the next 20, and will favor technology. Repairing cars as we know it, certainly on the scale today or with today's technology, will not exist.

    We are dinosaurs, still engaged in old times. The 'new' generation should be looking forward not at the present. But I fear they are no different than past generations of repairers. No entity to point the way to the future.
    Roy Smalley,
    Texas

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