Unless you speak up, the status quo will never change. The Canadian Council of Collision Repairers is ready.
By Darryl Simmons
There’s nothing more exciting than getting a getting together a group of shop owners and managers.
One thing for certain, collision repair shop owners and operators sure are a passionate group. Since we first started talking about the possibility of a national association for shops only, the groundswell has progressed at a rapid pace. It’s obvious; the time for such a movement is now. It never was a wrong time, but its need more now than ever.
A survey conducted by Collision Repair had nearly a hundred responses stating a clear need for some sort of association for collision repairers … and only the owner/operators/managers. No offense to the other key players. Key issues identified were the standard ones that are often bandied about at a plethora of meetings. Professionalism, Industry Relations, Parts & Materials, Attraction & Retention. But underlying was one key point: Profitability.
According to a vast number of responders, shops today are doing more work for less money. There was no one item that produced that outcome, but a plethora of little items. Concerns weren’t just about increased door rates but also increased admin time, missing line items, rising costs, delayed payments and the list goes on. It’s obvious to anyone in the industry that things can’t continue as is. And hence the need for shop owners and managers to have something of their own, somewhere to discuss common issues and hopefully common solutions.
What started as an ember has been fanned into flame. The key now is to keep things moving so it doesn’t get any chance at all to burn out. And this is why your help is needed. This group needs a critical mass of shops to add credibility and brute strength. In a group of a dozen, there is no anonymity. And in that case, there is always a fear of sticking your neck out and being in the spotlight. But in a group of hundreds, the collective overshadows the individual and there is no more fear of retribution for speaking on issues that some may be deem as sensitive. There is also no chance of being ignored by “business partners” or having issues you feel important swept under the rug, or worse, put on hold until they are forgotten all together.
Profitability is not a bad concept. Shops that are profitable buy more products, hire more people, get more training, provide more efficient service etc. Everyone in the supply chain (auto repair economy) benefits.
Right now the group is just trying to get a legitimate critical mass. Once this happens, the voice is not of a particular shop or person, but of the collective. And this is when people can start speaking a lot more freely with fear of retribution.
Next steps will be to include the consumer driving public to be aware of what is needed to conduct safe repairs and who is capable of performing them.
This is a voice of the repairers. Not that insurers, manufacturers, suppliers, network head offices and other ancillary services are less important, but they already have platforms from which they are being serviced. Perhaps in the future there will be a seat at the table for them, but right now owner operators need to crystallize their vision in terms of a concrete mission, a clear message and a target audience.
Collision Repair magazine is the ideal communications vehicle as its mandate is to serve as the informational, education and inspirational platform for repairers. Please help get as many shop owner/operators, regardless of type of shop, to sign on to receiving and filling out our survey so we can deliver on our unrestricted commitment to being the true and uncontested voice of collision repairers across Canada.
CCCR is an group open to all shop owner operators, be it independent, network affiliated or dealer owned.
CCCR is not a group that is anti-anything. It is not against any particular group, it’s just that it is pro-shop. If you are an owner or manager, your opinion matters. And hopefully it will be shared by others so there will be no fear of retribution. Help create a strong message and help ensure that message is heard. Silence means consent. And that should not be the only option.
CCCR’s goal is to promote open and honest communication amongst each other to build a credible voice to speak with external stakeholders. All comments, positive and negative are welcome as members must be able to speak out without fear of rebuke or retribution.
Building trust amongst members is a key first step. And it’s a big one. But a strong tide raises all boats so it is to your advantage to share your opinions, even if your competitor in in the same room. By focussing on general issues in a positive way, change can take place. Change is what is needed and it has to start someplace. So why not let it start with you?