New Year, New You

by WMABA President, Steven Krieps

I want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and turn an eye to the future. What a year it was! We met with state insurance commissioners. The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS)’ blend study came out. The DEG overhaul, EV technology expanding, continued claim delays, increased costs, tech shortages continue…the list goes on and on and on. 

It seems like every year we deal with the obstacles of the past, present and future all at the same time. Sadly, a lot of the obstacles seem to simply repeat themselves. Why is that? How is it possible for all of us to work so hard for positive change, yet it seems we keep running in quicksand? For me, it boils down to a simple concept: we are fixers by nature. Face it – what you do from sunup to sundown every day, you fix. This makes it incredibly hard when you are faced with a problem that is right in front of you, but it is not yours, and you cannot fix it. That’s a hard pill to swallow, and there is no shortage of “experts” telling you, selling you and even arguing amongst themselves over what you should do. 

Now, I don’t mean for this to be a “doom and gloom” article. I’m just saying that the old ways – and what you know and think you know – do not and won’t work now. It’s time to take a different approach. If you want to see actual change in your business (and in life), you will need to be uncomfortable, inconvenienced and downright confused at times. What I mean is learn all you can while you can. Do not think at any point you have it down or know what’s going on, because it has and will change…and you will miss it. There are a lot of people out there looking at what to do and how to improve. If you put all of them together, things begin to happen. Yes, there are some of you who have been at this for 30-plus years and just don’t think you have it in you and want to quietly do your thing; that’s ok too. There may only be one correct way to repair a vehicle, but there are numerous ways of running your business and taking care of your customers, the actual owners of the vehicle. Talk to them! 

I came into this industry as a young and motivated individual, and seeing what I have seen has shown me that there is literally an open door for change if someone is only willing to walk through it. I can promise you that, on the other side, there is a crowd of people who will lift, support, share, collaborate, create, institute and push you forward if that is what you want; however, as with everything in life, you must take that first step. Join a 20 group, and participate with your local associations. If you don’t have one, look to join SCRS or maybe work to create one to ensure your state is represented. You are not alone, and the ones I see who show up are the ones moving forward year after year. So, this year, be one who does something about it. Don’t limit yourself to one thing; take some or all these ideas and continue to explore different approaches. I’m going to be cliché now, but I challenge anyone reading this to actually do something this year, expand your knowledge and grow. It has been an honor and privilege to be involved with this industry and all the amazing people I get to work with and meet. I look forward to the future and am good with accepting I don’t always know what that means for me.

Want more? Check out the January 2024 issue of Hammer & Dolly!