The Insurance Company’s Taj Mahal

April 2, 2009 by
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

Today’s Body Shop Business newsletter profiles what is being called the “Bellagio” of body shops in Fremont CA. I Think “Taj Mahal is more fitting and I’ll explain why in a minute. This is a must read for every one of you. More importantly, you must visit their website to believe what I’m about to tell you. I’ll have a link to their site at the end my little rant.

The article says “…Car West CEO Craig Moe says investing $9 million in the 80,000-square-foot facility was anything but a gamble.” Can you say “Fox Redux?”

Fueled by “dozens of DRP’s,” Moe has six other locations. He is so in love with the insurance industry this is posted on his website:

“In an effort to give back to the insurance industry for the support they lend to ours, Magnusen Car West Auto Body sponsors continuing education classes at no cost to the insurance agent.. These classes are held in locations that are convenient and comfortable. Lunch and refreshments are provided”

Poor Moe is quoted, “We’re quite confident, We had the need for another location to relieve some of the pressure off of our shop in Dublin, Calif. We were running that shop almost 24 hours a day, around the clock, to keep up with all the work we had coming in. ”

Why in the world would anyone let themselves get into that situation? Can you imagine the support staff and stress level caused by being that busy? I guess Moe isn’t well versed in capitalism and the theory of supply and demand. If you have that much work you are simply not charging enough. And proof that he is not charging enough is affirmed by his “dozens of DRP’s.”

The average person would look at him and his enterprise and think, “boy this guy is successful. He must really know what he is doing.” But like Todd Fox, his success is a house of cards. With all those DRP’s, most of his work is being steered to him from insurance companies. The only thing he can claim to be doing correctly is appeasing his masters. And to be profiting so much that he can build such a lavish body shop makes me want to move to Kalifornia and open a post repair business in his back yard.

Can you imagine what his insurance “partners” are thinking right about now? “Gee, we must be paying Moe way too much.”

I would love to admire Moe for the enterprise he has built. Unfortunately the relevant recent events in this country that are threatening the financial health of the United States are a perfect analogy to Moe’s success. Enron, Fannie and Freddie, GM, the banking industry, they were all swimming in cash until a little wind of reason blew through and destroyed their houses of cards.

If the article had read a little differently, like “Moe spends 10% of his gross sales on advertisement and consumer education, and is not a puppet of the insurance industry,” I would be leading the cheers for him. But his words of admiration and appreciation for the support that the insurance industry lends to ours just leaves me disgusted. With people like him in our industry who needs a boogey man in the insurance industry?

It should be interesting to see what happens from here, now that every insurance executive is aware of his Taj Mahal. Moe is going to be feeling some pressure from his masters. They will be squeezing him for more concessions. After all, right now is no time to show that you are making money. Obama’s tax cheat in chief, Timothy Geithner, will be wanting to cut Moe’s pay.

I said earlier that the Taj Majal was a more fitting name than “Bellagio” for Moe’s latest store. The Taj is just a grandiose tomb. I think Moe’s new Fremont location will become the same, built by insurance company money to honor his dead enterprise.

Please, be sure to visit Moe’s website and click on the tab in the upper right corner that’s labeled, “Agent Training.”

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One Comment on The Insurance Company’s Taj Mahal

  1. orozmab on Mon, 20th Apr 2009 9:44 pm
  2. Will i can tell Moe is in for the long haul . I can remember when there was a lot of noise and no profit. I hope he can hole out and not give in to more concessions. They rub your back and tell you how good your are then, well you know the rest of the story..
    our business is 70 yr. old been there done that

    Good luck Moe

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