Dump the Flintstones Mentality

by Jerry McNee, AASP/NJ President

I used to love the Pep Boys commercials where a guy watched two monkeys beating on his car. The message was “let the professionals handle it,” but some collision repairers act like they’re still repairing Fred Flintstone’s car.

They act like we’re still in the days when we could buy a frame machine and use it for the rest of our career, when we could invest in a welder and have no more worries. That’s just not going to cut it these days! Repairs are more complicated than they used to be, and there are many more things that need to be considered…Are you using the right welder with the right amperage with the right wire in it? Did you use corrosion protection? Did you follow the repair procedures and do everything you were supposed to do? Because let’s be honest – a lot of shops are not!

Many just don’t know what the right thing is because they never take the time to get outside their four walls. We’ve all got to work ON our businesses, instead of IN our businesses sometimes. We have to invest the time and energy into establishing a corporate-run structure, but to do that, we need to know how, and that begins by attending association meetings and events, joining a performance group and getting involved with other industry organizations. 

Can you leave your facility for three or four days to learn a new system, to learn something new from other industry professionals that you can bring home to benefit your shop? 

When shops don’t know what the right thing is, it’s hard to DO the right thing. The game has changed, and more shop owners need to truly pay attention to what’s happening within their facilities. Not long ago, a corrective repair came into my shop, and I recommended that the original shop owner buy back the car. Who can afford to do that all the time? We have to run our shops like professionals, and that means investing in ourselves. 

Maybe you feel like you can’t afford to take time away from the shop. You’re just too busy; you need to get those repairs done and out the door. Maybe repairing 1,000 cars this year isn’t the answer; instead, maybe doing 800 cars and getting paid correctly to fix them is the key to your success. But you won’t know how to do that properly unless you take that time away.

It’s troubling that so many guys feel like they just can’t step foot outside their business because they have too much to do. I hear it all the time, but at the end of the day, they’re mainly hurting themselves. But they’re also doing an injustice to the industry and holding a lot of other people back instead of embracing an opportunity to improve and get better. 

You have to get out there and pay attention. You need to take a step back and look at your facility from a 1,000-foot view, but in order to do that, you have to get out of your facility, get away from the mundane because you’re so caught up in the same grind that you can’t see what’s right in front of your face. A quarter of shops are carrying the torch for the other 75 percent, but they can’t change FOR you. You have to be willing to make the effort. You have to show up to the classes and the seminars. Were you at AASP/NJ’s meeting in September? Have you signed up for our annual meeting that’s happening at the end of this month? 

The Stone Age is long gone, and you can’t bury your head and keep pretending that things are the same. It’s time to pay attention and get involved!

Want more? Check out the October 2023 issue of New Jersey Automotive!