DKI: How does the type of equipment and resin you use impact your success?
LY: Our equipment and supplies from Delta Kits have proven lasting and reliable. If equipment or supplies fail, generally it will always be attributable to someone not taking care to clean, store or secure the items properly. We have tested other equipment, but comparing Delta Kits equipment based on ease of use, cost of equipment, and time delays due to equipment setup, we cannot find a better solution than Delta Kits.
Likewise the resins we have purchased form Delta Kits are critical. With few exceptions, we provide a lifetime warranty on our repairs. (Some competitors don’t) We do have some repairs, but not many, that need warranty work. When we are busy and moving cars through the shop, the last thing that neither we nor the customer needs is a repeat repair because of a failure. We want to get it right the first time and make sure that first time repair is the last time repair. The right resin and the right tools from Delta Kits is what makes this happen.
DKI: On your best day, how many repairs did you complete?
LY: On my personal best day, which remains a company record, I had 42 repair tickets (28 the previous day) and the speed, size, and light weight of the equipment is what allowed me to often manage 5-6 cars (or more) at a time throughout each of those 2 days. None of those 70 customers noted above had a repair or warranty issue.
DKI: What trends have you noticed?
LY: We have seen trends over the years and some are evolving now. For example, you can see the effects of different insurance company’s results of advertising, pricing, and customer service as you track the number of cars by insurance company over the years.
Also you can notice which companies might be doing a better job of notifying their customers about “Free Windshield Repair”.
DKI: What have you learned about your competitors over the years?
LY: Over the years you can see different business strategies of competitors and what affect that may have on your business and your customers. We often hear about "the guy" somewhere across town doing a repair for some ridiculous low price. That guy rarely seems to stay in business -- whoever he may have been. We don't compete with that guy, and still you may hear that "you get what you pay for" and besides, if you explain it properly to the customer, then what price is cheaper than "FREE"? Our business model goal is for 100% "Free insurance repair" customers whenever possible.
The insurance companies have done a pretty good job of determining what a fair price for a repair should be so that you can use quality tools, resins and training to stay in business, make a living, and provide a good service to your customers. Why would anybody stray too far from that research?
Other times we have seen one or more different competitors "pop-up" here and there from time to time for a week or so to promote and then operate a repair business before they move on. It is important to listen to your own customers concerns when they provide you with feedback of their experiences with other shops. Our customers tell us that knowing we are always there, virtually every day, every week, is one reason they continue to use our services along with our ratings which they will check online.
So it seems that there are two distinct lines of operation. Either the one man one shop method which seems to be tried and true. You get to know your customers and you know what is going on with all the operations.
A corporate multi-store operation seems to work as well. This method requires a tremendous amount of time and resources. You must have back office support and processes in place that are reliable and supported. All of these are far too numerous to begin to outline herein.
Either method has unique challenges and rewards. Over the years we are seeing some new barriers for entry into this market. I encourage each person considering this business to do their "homework" and get all of the facts from seasoned professionals and to have a solid business plan before you open for Day 1.
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