St Louis Area Body Shops: It’s Time to Look at “Cost vs. Price”

There are several key categories that drive profitability in a collision shop. Parts cost, material cost, labor cost, location overhead, etc. It gets even more detailed than that. One of the biggest things we see at Cooper Color when visiting St. Louis area body shops is the amazingly large group that overlooks cost vs. price. 

Remember, Cooper Color and PPG lead the market in educating body shops on how to maximize profits in this constantly changing industry. To begin, we’ll start on the paint and material side. We hear this a lot in the field: “I can’t leave my current supplier, I get a huge discount on paint and supplies.” 

Let’s look at this a little deeper: If you get a huge discount on materials, that is great, but what it is costing you? When the supplier giving you the “un-beatable” discount sends an under-qualified representative to your paint department when you have a color issue two entire days after you call them, then wastes about $900 of YOUR toners doing sprayout after sprayout, what did that cost your shop?

That amazing deal on sandpaper just went bye-bye. And what if that happens several times a month?

I have another favorite: “my paint/parts supplier who went corporate and fired all of their local support staff gives me a great deal on used/aftermarket parts to buy their paint.” Sounds like another “un-beatable” deal for you St. Louis area body shops. Let’s look at this one in detail. 

How about the aftermarket or better-yet “recycled” bumper cover you just pre-painted for Mrs. Smith’s car, you put it in place and it doesn’t fit. It’s 4 pm on Friday and you have to start over on Monday. You buy an OE bumper cover to avoid the chance that a second aftermarket cover doesn’t fit, paint it Monday morning, put it on Mrs. Smith’s car Monday afternoon, and she is on her way. 

As a body shop you just cost your business in about 6 different categories. First, you have a painted bumper you can’t send back to you parts/paint supplier. Second, you have nullified your “un-beatable” parts/paint discount by buying an OE cover. Third, you raised your length of rental and hurt your cycle time. Fourth, you paid for paint and material twice. Fifth, your paint tech is angry because “who is paying me to paint this bumper twice? It wasn’t my fault it didn’t fit…” Sixth, Mrs. Smith isn’t coming back to your shop again because the Prius the rental company gave her that she got stuck with over the weekend didn’t fit all of her friends that she was going to drive to Bingo Saturday night. 

That was the most expensive aftermarket bumper cover that your shop has ever saw, and how many times has this happened with other aftermarket or used bumper covers or sheet metal? 

There are several bottom line things to keep in mind as a St. Louis area body shop. As a body shop you can often negotiate the same deal for parts, whether you buy paint from that supplier or not. Service you receive for paint products shouldn’t suffer because of a “parts deal.” 

YOU can control cost in your body shop by partnering up with a supplier who offers the best product in the marketplace, will support you with the best technical support in the St. Louis Metro area, and offers your collision facility a business development program like PPG’s MVP Business Solutions Training. 

Instead of a paint supplier that costs your shop money, how about one that helps you make money….? Try Cooper Color and PPG in your shop…..