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THE TIPPING POINT

It’s time we put our heads together— for the greater good of the industry

I recently made a heated argument against some restaurant service staff making a case they deserve larger tips due to a decrease in wages spurred by COVID. Pardon me? Did I just hear that right? Did they really think everyone else was immune to shrinking profits?

My point was a simple one: people should be paid a decent wage for performing what is a fairly standard service. Regardless, you see tip jars on counters everywhere. It seems like any establishment offering food or beverage is basically begging for money to help them and their staff make it through these rough times.

What poppycock and nonsense! Seriously—have you not been affected by a pandemic that basically removed cars from the road for nearly two years? Add insult to injury with a glance at parts and material prices, which are moving upwards faster than the speed of an ultra-fast hardener.

There was a time, it seems so long ago now, when repairers used to get together and share their concerns. When the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) first started, it was a revolutionary concept. Insurers, suppliers and repairers all in the same meeting…and repairers were actually listened to!

In those days there were breakout sessions where action items were not only discussed but spelled out and results were expected! At the next meeting there would be reports on each session, and woe and behold the session leader who didn’t produce some sort of results.

But, as time marched on and the consolidators and networks became more influential, the voice of the individual repairer—network or independent—has become as soft as a church mouse. Let me reiterate that you, as a repairer, should be fairly compensated for your service without the need to keep asking for more money to perform safe repairs.

The point of my little rant is to pose the question: Is it time to bring back some type of national action group, with benchmarks and expected results? A perfect example of this is the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers (SAAR). Man, under the watch and guidance of Tom Bissonnette, they seem to be getting things done. Working with their insurers—public out there in God’s country, don’t you know!—suppliers and trainers. It seems a week doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something from Tom’s weekly email to his members. And his members sure do appreciate it.

I believe something along these lines, county-wide, is needed. Send me an email publisher@collisionrepairmag.com or give me a call if you agree and we can start getting the wheels in motion. Or I guess the other option is you can put a tip jar on the counter.

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5 Responses

  1. Agree wholeheartedly with your opinion Darryl, it is TIme to Stand Up for what’s right! Gone are the days of PARTNERING! In come the days of LEVERAGING! This is not right! This way of doing business is none other than BULLYING! Where has the fairness gone, we are all to blame, we let it slip away, it is now time to STAND UP for what is fair!

  2. Darryl, I called Andrew shepherd from AIA and asked him they would host a Collision Repair Action group – he told me that they already have one! I asked “Which shops are part of this group?” and he told me that they were all of the networks! So I explained to him that these “networks” were getting whatever concessions needed to get the work from the private insurance companies then going to your other industry members (paint companies, aftermarket parts, body shop material suppliers) and beating them up for extra discounts in order to eke out some kind of profit from this nonsense! Meanwhile the independent shops don’t have the wherewithal to demand those discounts yet they are pressured to give concessions to the insurance companies! The only winner in this mess is the insurance companies and they are totally heartless. Keep banging the drum, there are independents out there that are sick and tired of this situation and they will rise up!

    1. Right on Tom we have been an independent in the industry for 40 years. The reality of situation is if all the “networks “ / banners would stand up and stop dropping their pants to the insurance companies we could all charge properly per hour and repair the cars they way they are supposed be. Only in our trade do you tell a trades man how he or she is going to repair something how long it will take and what parts and materials they will use to do the job. We wonder why no one is getting into this mess and you cannot find workers. Great post buddy

  3. I could rant here for a lengthy amount, however I will condense it to a s simple a line as possible.
    Shops repair vehicles, customers drive the vehicles, insurers insure risk and mitigate loss. Nowhere are the payees a “partner” in anyone’s business. Until that ideology is put out to pasture you will be held hostage on this roller-coaster indefinitely.
    A safe and equitable repair is not debated or negotiated in effort to benefit the self interest of the payee. A “partner” does not operate in this manner. The automotive advancements of todays vehicles (and yesterdays for that matter) do not warrant this type of behavior. Dammit… you got me started.

  4. The original purpose of CCIF was to bring industry stakeholders together in order to identify strategic issues of mutual interest and jointly develop solutions for them. This activity would also help the respective stakeholder groups better understand the position of the others. An important side benefit of CCIF was the networking opportunities in a neutral setting that would foster the strengthening of relationships.

    The consolidation of all stakeholder groups in the industry and the corporatization of CCIF has evolved CCIF into what appears to be an information and networking forum, attended, as it has been for many years, by people from the consolidators who appreciate the information and networking, but maybe don’t feel the need for CCIF to be an activist and influencer. It’s a pity, because with the power of AIA behind it, it certainly could be. Although I haven’t been active in the industry for several years, I suspect that the same strategic issues (plus some new ones) are still needing to be addressed both at the macro level and also the micro level, i.e. where CCIF participants can implement ideas picked up at the Forum in their own business. Would it not be possible to include discussion of strategic issues in an action-oriented way through whole group or breakout group sessions?

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