Survey: More repairers bringing glass, mechanical work in-house

The majority of our respondents who perform mechanical work in-house have been at it a long time. However, a small but significant portion have added this service in the last year.

By Mike Davey

Hamilton, Ontario — May 9, 2017 — The typical car accident often results in damage that isn’t part of traditional collision repair, specifically mechanical repair and glass work. Traditionally, these have been handled by subcontractors. However, our most recent survey seems to show that more repairers are bringing these operations in-house.

There are at least two reasons a repairer might choose to do this, and they’re both fairly obvious. First, having an operation entirely under your control should lead to decreased cycle time. Second, why pay subcontractors when the business could instead bring in more revenue?

Collision Repair magazine runs a new survey every week. The next survey focuses on I-CAR Gold Class recognition and third-party accreditation programs. You can participate in that survey at this link.

First, survey respondents were asked to indicate the role they play in the automotive claims economy. About 56 percent of survey respondents in this case were owners or managers of independent repair facilities. The remaining 44 percent were owners or managers of chain or network repair facilities. In other words, nearly half of the responses to this survey came from banner shops, rather than independents.

This is much higher than the actual percentage of network and chain locations currently operating in Canada. Our best estimates place the total number of banner shops no higher than 25 percent of the total number of shops. Please bear this mind when we break down the responses to this survey.

We asked our survey respondents to tell us if their facility offered mechanical service and repair. In the case of multi-shop operators (MSOs), they were asked to answer “Yes” if at least one facility offered this service.

The majority of survey respondents (64 percent) offered at least some mechanical service in-house. The remaining 36 percent of respondents do not. We also received a few comments on this question. All of the comments were very similar, boiling down to “only if it relates to the collision.” In other words, they have the capacity to perform the work, but do not engage in run-of-the-mill mechanical repairs or services.

Respondents who indicated they did mechanical work were asked how long they’ve offered this in-house. This part is really interesting. The majority (48 percent) say they’ve always offered mechanical repair. The next largest group (34 percent) says they’ve been doing it for 10 years or more. The remaining respondents, however, have been doing it for less than a year (17 percent). There were other answers available, but no respondents chose them. In the case of our survey respondents, there are really only two groups. There are those who have been offering it for a long time, and those who have just started.

Glass work shows more variance. Subcontractors are still in the lead among our survey respondents (47 percent), but not by much. A total of 42 percent of our survey respondents have brought glass work in-house. The remaining 11 percent of respondents are currently subcontracting, but considering bringing the glass operation into the business.

Glass work is still most commonly performed by subcontractors, but a sizeable percentage of surveyed shops perform the work in-house, and others are considering it.  

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In the case of the shops that do their own glass work, the largest group is again “We’ve always done this” at about 40 percent of respondents. However, there is a clearly more spread in how quickly shops are adopting this practice as opposed to those bringing in mechanical repair. The second largest group of survey respondents (20 percent) have only been doing their own glass for between one and three years.

From there, the numbers dip slightly as we go further into the past, with 15 percent of respondents indicating they eliminated glass subcontracting between three and seven years ago, an additional 13 percent indicating they’ve been doing glass work for somewhere between seven and 10 years, and 12 percent indicating they’ve been doing glass for more than 10 years.

Judging by the results of our survey, repairers have been slowly but surely bringing glass work in-house.  
Judging by the results of our survey, repairers have been slowly but surely bringing {source}<br/>{/source}glass work in-house.  


Collision Repair magazine’s next survey puts the spotlight on I-CAR Gold Class and third-party accreditation programs. The survey consists of just a few multiple-choice questions and should take less than two minutes to fill out. You can access that survey here, and watch for results next week on collisionrepairmag.com!


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