Body Shops and Insurance Companies
Several years ago, a group of private equity investors discovered they can make money from 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 since not a day goes by without a car accident.
These investment firms struck a deal with three large body shops that had a footprint in multiple states, and then 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 automotive repair industry, this is referred to as consolidation.
Just last year in 2018, two of the biggest consolidators merged forming one giant body shop chain. This particular chain has over 1,000 locations across the nation and is probably one you already know without us having to tell you. There’s a certain buying power that came from this, which is why it caught the attention of insurance companies. Various insurance companies viewed this as a way to save money on repairs and send more vehicles to these chain shops without fulling realizing the fine print to automotive repair. To them, it was a win-win for the consolidators and the insurance companies, but not for the customers, and few body shops like to talk about it.
The reality is your Insurance company wants the fastest and cheapest repair for your vehicle allowable under insurance law in this state because they want to keep the length of time you are in a rental car to a minimum which is a big line item expense to insurance companies. But speed and size come at a great cost to you the customer. The increased complexity of cars built today doesn’t allow for the same speed as car repair of yesterday and often 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.
One of the biggest problems you’ll see in literally every single one of the chain body shops is that they are low-quality and fail to perform a proper repair. These are where the negative reviews come in, stating how the repair looks sloppy and poorly done. What is the reason for this? Well, these shops perform 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. This happens a lot, but very quietly.
When an auto body repair shop cuts corners on repairs, this means that they are also risking the safety of you and your car. 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. These chain body shops view parts as parts, but we know there is a big difference. Let alone, aftermarket parts 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 Pennsylvania Can I Take My Car To Be Repaired The Right Way?
We at 3D Collision Centers have set the highest standard when it comes to collision repair. All of our technicians are Gold I-CAR class certified, which is the highest level of certification that auto repair technicians can receive. We work with ALL insurance companies and will work with YOU on ensuring your repair is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
We have 7 different locations across Chester, Montgomery, and Delaware counties. Feel free to give us a call for any of our collision or towing services at any one of our locations. Our number is (877)-692-7776. Or, if you’d like the direct number to any of our 7 locations, click here.
We look forward to hearing from you and showing why we are the best Pennsylvania has to offer!