Get Off Your Island and Get Involved!

by Burl Richards

When you own or work in a collision repair facility, it’s easy to feel like you’re out there on an island all by yourself.

You are not communicating with other shops in your area, and why should you – after all, they’re the competition! But you wouldn’t know how to get in touch with them even if you wanted to.

Too often, collision repairers put their heads down and do their own thing, leaving them in a position where they have absolutely no clue what’s going on in the industry around them. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, the industry is changing, and shops that aren’t keeping up with those changes are going to get left out in the cold.

“No one’s asking for that, you’re the only one.” Sound familiar? Our self-imposed isolation puts us in the perfect position to be manipulated by insurance companies. We’re not comfortable reaching out to other shops in our markets (or outside our markets) to ask if they’re performing, charging and being compensated for the procedures that are necessary to safely return the customer’s vehicle to the road.

It’s imperative that shops have access to an avenue by which they can communicate with other shop owners and repairers. Our industry needs more transparency, and the only way we’ll be able to achieve that is by talking with other industry professionals.

ABAT serves as a great sounding board and facilitator of these types of relationships. We want to serve as a conduit between your shop and other shops in your area to help you understand your local market and its specific challenges.

Associations are a great place to get to know your peers in the industry, and we’re always looking for new members, but there’s a difference between being a member of ABAT and actually being involved with the association.

ABAT is already preparing for the next legislative session, scheduling upcoming training sessions, planning the 2022 Texas Auto Body Trade Show and collecting complaints as we continue our battle against insurer interference in our businesses.

Shops can support these initiatives by contacting their local legislators, by helping their customers file complaint forms with the Texas Department of Insurance (or sending the completed forms to ABAT to file on your behalf) and by attending classes to learn what’s really going on and stay up to date on the latest collision repair technology.

Help us fight to ensure consumers are properly indemnified by updating your shop’s rates at, and don’t forget to complete insurers’ rate surveys with your retail Labor Rates, NOT your negotiated contract rates. (The State Farm survey can be completed by visiting

Maya Angelou once said, “When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.”

This is OUR industry! I refuse to feel overwhelmed or powerless, and I encourage all of you to shake off those bonds and get involved with ABAT as we work to improve the industry for all of us. Let’s make things better together!


Want more? Check out the February issue of Texas Automotive!