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Thread: Where is the future of ProD?

  1. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Where is the future of ProD?

    The slap-on-the wrist that Mark Cobb received this week from “Collision XXXX” prompted me to take a look again at just what ProD is about. When I purchased ProD from Dennis Howard who started ProD there was no clear reasoning on my part other than provide a much needed program upgrade. ProD, continues to provide a public platform for all sides to present their ideas and experience in dealing with the abnormal business environment which all service providers must endure, keeping alive the proposition of alternatives for individual or industry well being. Less frequently I visit my friends over at the non-public CCRE discussion board, and like ProD volume is steady but the ideas are not necessarily new and individual participation follows a fairly predictably path.

    With the passing of Phil and Carolyn Rack a major provider to the voice of those of independent nature was stilled. Phil and Carolyn were the genesis for trade organizations, an early supporter of Jim Lynas, Diminished Value, and the backbone of free market view. To me the successors “Beyond Parts & Equipment” as well as CRASH, the last public industry workhorse for self determination, have evolved into presenters of news. This is not meant as criticism because I know how Carolyn struggled to keep things afloat with declining advertising and how Sheila Loftus fought to maintain her own independent nature of providing more than the larger ‘print friendly’ news and opinion.

    The for-profit source of news, opinions, both print and internet based have certainly become more mainstream, less diverse, more ‘slick’ reaching out to advertising and either thru lack of participation or avoidance, that voice of independence has become muted. The news and opinions of industry associations have proliferated along the lines of self interest and have become more protective of “membership” than the truth, and those of a more public bent, careful not to roil the water.

    Is this all merely a ‘sign of the times’, where discourse is about what has happened rather than what can be done? Save a couple of hand’s full of dissenters, is this all there is? Are the ideas put forth on ProD and free market enterprise no longer relevant? Is the Great Lie now self perpetuating? I would like to know.

    Roy Smalley porschecarnutt@gmail.com

  2. Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Joplin MOzzuri

    Metaphorically speaking, the industry in general is much like that pot of boiling lobsters, being lulled into demise only to be gobbled up and feasted upon. Few are stepping up for fear of being singled out. That much hasn't changed in ten years. Some waited to speak only until they saw danger approaching them.

    There is a generation of technicians and owners that can not imagine the collision industry without dependence so why would they fight to free themselves from it. Baring a miracle or ephipany of enlightenment the water seems to be coming to a boil for some.

    To dissent from the incestuous relationship of insurers and collision shops, only provokes those that have yet to be harmed to label us as a hate group and name callers from those who are not even engaged with reality. Eventually the pot will be filled for them as well.
    If you can't find the time to do it right, how will you ever find the time to do it over?

  3. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    "Is the Great Lie now self perpetuating?"

    Yes, I think it is. There is nothing like a slowing down of the work coming through the door to get some body shop owners thinking about the great lie and if it really is the truth.

    My business in down to 50% capacity now, and do I blame it on steering? Maybe they do steer against me.
    Do I blame it on my customers being intimidated? Maybe they are being intimidated.
    Do I blame it on not lowering my prices to meet the guy across the street?

    NO, I DO NOT!

    If I did, then I would be believing the great lie!
    The reason that work is so slow in coming through the door is simply the economy!
    There are fewer miles being driven so fewer accidents. Period.
    To lower ones prices to make sure the guy across the street doesn’t get the job is like shooting ones own foot off in bad times, hoping that it will grow back on when the times are better.

    Now is the time that full profit is needed in order to keep going.
    Some people think that a half glass is better than none. I prefer to get a full glass, I may not drink every day, but I get a full glass when I do.

  4. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    As far as the future of Pro D is concerned, I have remained silent about the discussions about politics, health care and some ones sick cat that are not related to the auto body industry simply because that I have not contributed an article for the betterment of the industry myself.
    I have been beating the same drum for years and all I hear is, “Well you are different than us and it won’t work for us”. So I stopped advising others to grow a set, and see how they fit.
    What we need are some success stories on how others have combated the economy and made a profit, and did not do so at the destruction of their future earnings.

  5. Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Southaven, Mississippi

    I agree...

    with Roger. We are in a battle of attrition at the moment with many in our trade about to go down the drain and it is more important now than ever that we maintain as much profitability as possible. My traffic is down about 40%, which is pretty damn good for my market.
    The DRP participants in my area cannot figure out why I will still put a job off my lot if it does not meet my minimum profit criteria and the nitwits will happily take in the jobs I reject never realizing that it has no profit in it. They are simply taking in work to keep their help working, all the while hastening their own demise. I have often asked the question of some of them, "If the traffic in my shop and the traffic in your shop is down the same 40% and my profitability is 16% and yours is 7%, who will last the longest?" Amazingly, they still don't get it. They are so entrenched in the ridiculous idea that doing more work for less profit somehow leads to success, that they are oblivious to what the future holds for them. The fact that there is no volume to support their silly business model escapes them. They are still locked in the trance.
    I made a promise to a State Fraud regional supervisor when I jumped ship from the Select Serve US program. I pointed out that everything about their program was slanted to only their advantage and while they want to refer to us as being "partners", I was expected to be there for them when they were in a jamb, but it was always the same "go piss up a rope" response from them when I wanted something.
    I promised that someday there would be a shift in the balance of power when they succeeded in putting a large number of shops out of business with their repressive tactics, that one day they would have the choice of having long lines of vehicles waiting to be repaired in their "partners'" shops or they would be forced to deal with me and others like me. I told him, "When that day comes, I will break it off in your a#@, just like you have done to me." I intend to be around long enough to keep that promise and working for profit is the only way to accomplish that.
    ProD provides the forum that lets me know I am not alone.

  6. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Speaking of our dear Sheila!

    It was her birthday yesterday. It would be lovely if she received greetings, as she often thinks of all of us very fondly. But I'm sure she doesn't miss this mess of an industry. Who would? Well, except someone like myself.

    She was one of THE last investigative industry journalists, with sources in many related areas of our industry. Everyone who knew her, also respected her. Can I get a witness to that, Advocate?

    These days it appears that no one has enough interest in digging for the truth. But with today's techology, it certainly isn't that hard to find. Look how far Cobb has gotten? But you can imagine if you were to do an indepth story about a certain company or product, and then have your publication receive threats of losing valuable advertising dollars. How long would you be assured of keeping your job as a writer? And what if your spouse happened to be a shop owner, and there was a fear, either real or perceived, of alienating their insurance partners, or worse yet, their entire franchise?

    How deep would you dig for any news story related to our industry?
    "Better to die a hero, than live a coward."
    Charles Woods, father of slain SEAL Ty Woods

  7. Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Springfield IL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    ProD provides the forum that lets me know I am not alone.
    I mean this most respectfully:
    This has become a twelve step group meeting / retreat for recovering body shop owners. Following that model - we will always be recovering body shop owners and will always gain by helping the similarly situated down the path of recovery.

    Our livelihoods as they were - have been bent, broken and finally stolen. In accepting - that we had at least a roles as enablers - finally - we're moving toward "normal" lives and perhaps livelihoods as business people in this or some other industry.

  8. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Twelve step group meeting

    Very well said Wade.

    We all know what that first step is, although many of us still wont admit to their selfs the true problem.

  9. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Pro-D is like...

    The forum known as Pro-D is like Fox news.

    This forum, like Fox has the highest ratings. But, no one who has ever seen the forum and wants to appear as being "politically correct" will admit to watching... or in this case reading or posting comments.

  10. Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Oh, they're reading,

    and would love to post their comments. But fear holds them back. I specifically know of one leader who reads daily. He composed a lengthy response and intended to post it here once, but then thought about is position and how this openess might not be welcomed by his board of directors.

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