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Guidance on opening ADAS calibration centers shared

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Business Practices | Collision Repair
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The owner of a newly opened advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) calibration center is sharing feedback on how others within the industry can launch their own calibration specialty shops.

Andy Tylka, together with his brother Geoff Beckett, opened Midwest ADAS in Merrillville, Indiana last month with the goal of making it as easy as possible for shops to outsource OEM-compliant calibrations.

Now that his own shop is off the ground, he offered insights to others considering doing the same.

“My advice is [to] not open up a calibration center unless you are 100% committed in creating the environment for calibrations like the OEMs have intended,” Tylka told Repairer Driven News. “This includes a level floor within the proper millimeter tolerance, consistent lighting lumens/amperage, the proper amount of space for each vehicle, and the required color of the floors/walls without the distraction of metal within the ADAS cameras/sensors.”

He added that before investing in a new calibration shop, business owners should do their research to ensure a need exists in the area for such a service. This involves checking with local shops to see whether there’s likely to be a large number of vehicles outsourced for the job, Tylka said.

“Sometimes it doesn’t matter if there are shops in the area, it matters if the shops are going to choose to calibrate their customers’ vehicles per OEM standards,” he said.

Another lesson Tylka said he learned while opening the center was the value of knowing your customers. He said he realized that anyone opening an ADAS center is responsible for educating potential customers on the requirements of ADAS calibration, how to determine whether it’s necessary, and how to make the process as seamless as possible.

Tylka said his center’s approach has been to be prepared to offer potential customers a solution when they name problems that are stopping them from having calibration work outsourced. 

For instance, shops that don’t want the hassle of dropping off and returning the vehicle would learn that Tylka’s center takes care of the transportation aspect. Those worried the process will take too long are told that vehicles are actually returned to the shop on the same, or the following day.

Others might raise concerns about not receiving enough documentation to provide to third-party payers so they can validate the need for calibration. If they do, Tylka said he would explain that when calibrations are complete his center sends picture documentation of the entire process, provides shops with OEM requirements and procedures, and shares line-item invoices with consistent pricing that lays out what was done to the vehicle.

Tylka’s center opened with the support of Car ADAS Solutions, a provider of ADAS technology and services, which he said worked alongside him to ensure all components were properly set up.

He said that while ADAS calibrations were previously neglected within the industry due to a lack of access to specialty centers or knowledge, they’re now recognized as critical safety requirements.

However, Tylka said he remains concerned about mobile calibration companies that are encouraging shops to calibrate vehicles in their own facilities, or even in the parking lot.

He said few shops have the proper tooling and environment to properly complete calibrations while following OEM’s strict requirements.

“If the OEM requirements are not followed, huge liability and lawsuits may result,” he said. “I am shocked shops are willing to take that chance, while not having the correct level floor or environment to calibrate these systems correctly. ADAS [components] are technological features that are designed to increase the safety of driving a vehicle, and when calibrated incorrectly, results in completely the opposite result in safety.”

An upcoming SEMA panel in Las Vegas will offer additional insights on how to overcome the challenges of opening and managing an ADAS calibration business.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Greg Peeters, CEO of Car ADAS Solutions, and feature successful body owners and entrepreneurs from throughout the country who will share their experiences on the topic.

It will include advice on where to locate a business, how to prepare it for customers, the type of equipment and training needed, and more.

The panel is happening Nov. 1 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.


Both images courtesy of Car ADAS Solutions

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