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Hammer & Dolly: Shop owners offer perspective on selling to, competing amid consolidators

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Associations | Business Practices | Education | Market Trends

Hammer & Dolly, a joint production of Thomas Greco Publishing and the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association, has graciously allowed us to reprint excerpts of some of its past few months’ articles speaking to some of the hottest issues in collision repair.

Among the must-reads for shops considering selling to a consolidator — or going it on their own against one — is the January 2017 coverage recounting the experiences and thoughts of two shop owners who did sell. Here’s an excerpt:

Maryland industry mainstay Bill Denny never intended to sell his business to a consolidator. However, a family illness prompted him to reevaluate the future of his long-running shop, Bill Denny’s Automotive, Inc. (Havre de Grace). In November 2015, he sold his popular facility to Caliber Collision. These are just two examples of the growing presence of consolidators in the WMABA community – a trend that is forcing even the most successful independent shop owners to reconsider their standing in the industry. But if you believe that the sky is about to fall for independent repair businesses, take a deep breath.

Although Denny is confident that the decision was the best one for his family under their circumstances, he believes that independent shops still have great chances for success in this new age of consolidation.

“If they’re a small operation probably doing $1 million to $1.5 million, they can probably survive if they have a good customer base. But they have to be extremely good with customer service and CSI.” …

But if you decide that handing this power over to someone else is in your best interest, do so very carefully and with your eyes open.

“Anyone considering selling to them definitely needs to have a good attorney and a good accountant, because their contracts are totally one-sided,” cautions Denny. “You need to go into it knowing that. They can walk away from that deal at any time within a 90-day period, for anything.”

Don’t miss the rest of the cover story, which begins on Page 38 of the January 2017 issue. Read it here.

More information:

“Shop Consolidation: Where Do We Go from Here?”

Hammer & Dolly, January 2017

Featured image: Consolidation is represented here. You try indicating a metaphor without using cheesy business clip art. (phodo/iStock/Thinkstock)