Toronto, Ontario — March 22, 2019 — In my time covering the collision industry, I have begun to take vicarious pride in the accomplishments of the professionals who work in it, and concerned about the challenges the industry faces.
I’ve also become a bit sensitive to the sort of off-hand complaints friends make about the repairers they use. When friends, venting about repair bills, conclude that a facility had no reason to do work on anything beyond what they view as the visible damage, I launch into a bit of a lecture. I explain how interconnected vehicles are, and how pointless and risky such a fraud would be for a business.
One friend, however, is a particularly bad driver. While he couldn’t really disagree with my logic, he still had a grudge against the industry. “Whatever. They make money on our misfortune.”
That turned a switch in my head.
Would he say that veterinarians like euthanizing animals? No. Of course not—on the whole, the profession is filled with people committed to animal well-being. Nor, for that matter, do I think he would accuse funeral directors of looking forward to the next big whooping cough outbreak.
Like collision repairers, those professionals provide vital services during difficult times.
Industry professionals know that being in a collision can be traumatizing, no matter how mild. Without access to their car, their sense of normal is thrown out the window. Every time clients see unfamiliar courtesy cars in their driveways, they are reminded of the incident that landed them with it. Until a sense of normalcy is returned, it is difficult for them to feel anything but anxious on the road.
Perhaps that’s why I always get similar answers to a question I ask all too frequently—“what is the most satisfying part of being in this industry?”
Almost universally, the answer is something like this: “It is the moment clients see their vehicle for the first time. A week of anxiety is suddenly replaced with relief.”
I said as much to my friend. He was somewhat taken aback by my fervor but acknowledged that he was in the wrong.
I forgave him—he was, after all, under quite a bit of stress. Not only had he been in a collision, but he was also studying for his LSATs.
I didn’t want to add any more stress as he prepared to take a shot at his dream—to be a divorce lawyer.