The Enemy Leading the Ignorant

April 10, 2009 by
Filed under: Collision Repair Industry 

A recent story at Autobodyonline is one sad commentary on the state of our industry. Though there is no author listed for the story, it appears to be a press release from the National Auto Body Council. And judging by the content of this press release the NABC is another “industry” organization that has fallen to the lure of insurance money. In fact, the new president of the NABC is none other than Mr. Feather-edge, Prime and Block himself, George Avery from State Farm. I’m curious, does Georgie get paid by State Farm based on how much of our industry he can take over? And who are these ignoramuses who keep electing insurance people to head up our organizations?

The third paragraph of the press release says aptly describes the NABC.

If it seems surprising that an insurance company representative is heading up a group focused on improving collision industry image, it makes fundamental sense from an organizational perspective. “Repairers are the heart of the collision repair industry,” Avery explains, “but the greater collision industry employs all types of folks who are a vital part of the process—insurers, paint suppliers, parts vendors, and others. We all share the same customer as part of the same industry; we have a collective stake in cleaning up our image.”

It’s interesting to see George Avery try to justify his butting into the collision repair industry business, and even more interesting to see the NABC conspire with Georgie and try to convince you that it makes sense and is OK. It’s a steaming load of crap, and anyone in our industry who can’t see the steam rising from the pile is an ignorant fool.

The entire premise of NABC’s (who, by the way, is now owned and operated by State Farm) justification is completely false. Avery wants you to believe that all the moles running the NABC share the same customer with the collision repairers. More steaming crap. We do not share the same customer with insurers.  That’s completely false. We may have a common customer, but we cannot share the responsibility of satisfying that customer if we are innately at odds with one another during the repair process. And if the insurers stuck to what they are supposed to be doing for their customer–indemnifying that person–repairers and insurers would just be two separate businesses who happened to service the same customer at two distinct and separate instances. We would repair the vehicle and then the insurer would reimburse the vehicle owner for the costs of those repairs.

And just how stupid does State Farm think you are when they try to justify vendors sitting on a collision repair industry organization. The vehicle owner is most definitely not your parts supplier’s customer. And your paint supplier hasn’t a clue who owns the vehicle you are painting. More importantly, they don’t care. Who does your jobber visit once a week when trying to sell you paint? When it comes to vendors, you are the customer–the body shop owner. You are the customer those vendors try to keep happy. This horse crap about sharing a customer is nothing more than a smoke screen put up to keep the paying rank and file members from going berserk.

Here’s some more people without your interests at heart who are helping to run the NABC. Stacy Bartnik, the Carstar queen is vice president. If you want to refresh your memory about her, read one of my old posts, but I can pretty well sum it up with this wonderful quote from her:

“Without the other segments, would we have an industry? Without insurers, without the auto manufacturers, without the paint companies, without alternative parts, what kind of industry would we be? We need everyone in the room because that’s how we’re going to accomplish things.”

As treasurer we have Karen Fierst, of KerenOr Consultants. Here’s a link to her website. She is basically responsible for all the Taiwanese parts you so love to install. Thanks Karen! If you visit her website be sure to check out the photos page. She’s mixing it up with those Asians who keep sending us all those counterfeit parts.

As secretary is Janet Chaney of Cave Creek Business Development. I have no idea what she does because she doesn’t have a website. But this I do know, she is not a shop owner.

You could say that these national industry associations can be ignored because they don’t represent the independent collision repairer. But that’s a short sighted attitude. Unfortunately, these associations represent us in the political arena. They are the big mouths. They are the ones heard. They are out there playing golf and drumming up publicity by collecting toys for tots, rebuilding junk cars for poor people giving out awards to people for swapping spit with insurance companies. They are having a great time giving away your independence while you are working your butts off at your shop trying to squeeze out enough money to feed your kids.

If you want things to change, people from our side of the fence are going to have to step up and take over these organizations and throw the insurance people and paint companies out on their asses. If I owned a body shop I’d be the first in line. But I don’t, so I’m not going to waste my time. The people running these organizations are their for their own self serving reasons. Avery is getting paid by State Farm to steer the industry in a direction that serves the insurance industry. Bartnik is a Carstar child and is in love with insurers. Fierst wants to be sure those counterfeit parts keep flowing into your shops so she can collect her consulting fees.

I suppose I could be self serving and get elected so I could push my software to the membership or insurers or whatever. Yeah, like they would have me. But you shop owners have a very large interest being squandered by these people. Some of you have to do something. Or you can continue to sit back and watch your industry deteriorate. You can continue to bitch and moan and complain. Your so called leaders haven’t got a clue about what you want or what is good for your industry so your complaining will get you no where.

You can throw these impostors out on their asses, or you can keep sitting on yours.

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Comments

9 Comments on The Enemy Leading the Ignorant

  1. Lonnie B on Fri, 10th Apr 2009 7:26 pm
  2. I would truly love to be the one who throws these people out on there asses…….but other then physical violence…what can I do?(I actually have thrown some of there “collegues”on there asses…smile)

  3. Wreak Havoc on Sat, 11th Apr 2009 7:07 am
  4. I am a body man that has been in the business for 43 yrs. I have seen the industry change from a customer coming to get their car fixed to a customer dropping their car off at the insurer’s office and driving away in the rental car. Essentially this is leaving the “Body Shop” out of the picture. All of you who have experienced the ” Geico Express” plan of attack know what I am saying. Somewhere there is supposed to be a law saying something about insurers not directing collision repair traffic, but I don’ t see that here. It is obvious the insurance companies run the repair industries from setting prices to directing traffic and informing the customers what to look for in a repair (the rolling ball bearing in the seam of a Lexus) but now they have decided that is not enough. They want it all. I am not wise enough to know what to do about the path this is taking but I am wise enough to know it is wrong for our industry. I am not the smartest guy in the world but I think I smell a skunk behind the woodshed. Hopefully someone with more brains and talent than I will step up and be our “Kinght”, someone we can get behind and get our indusrty back.

  5. R. D. Greenwood on Sun, 12th Apr 2009 8:33 am
  6. It’s wrong, and we all know it’s wrong. Everything you said, and you said it well. The Insurance Companies run the show in my state (MA). They write the laws, they tell the repairers how much they can pay their workers, what parts they are to use, and how to install them. How to repair, what procedures to use to bring a vehicle back to pre-accident condition all dictated by the insurance companies. And all these decisions by them are made with one result intended – the increase of the insurance companies bottom line at the expense of the vehicle owner and the repairer.

  7. Scot Strong on Mon, 13th Apr 2009 6:15 am
  8. John:

    There is one instance in which I care who the customer / owner of the vehicle is: When the deadbeat DRP shop hasn’t paid for the parts they used to repair the vehicle and we have to threaten legal action. When we have the VIN, the potential exists to place a lien against the title of the vehicle. Shop owners get very nervous about their “customer” finding out they are driving a vehicle containing unpaid for parts and usually manage to scrape up the funds to pay their arrears.

  9. Rocco J. Avellini on Tue, 14th Apr 2009 9:57 am
  10. Well said, I tried telling the collision that having outsider head collision associations is insane. I am a lifer in the collision industry taking several years to work in the insurance industry to see how the system works and never noticed that a collision shop owner was invited to an internal insurance meeting never mind be asked to head an insurance association or commitee.

    The collision industry need to understand that they are free independent business owners and are allowed to create a fair profit and operate their businesses with out the fear of being black balled by an industry that has no standing in the repair process.

    Rocco J. Avellini
    Wreck Check Car Scan Centers

  11. frengland on Fri, 17th Apr 2009 6:10 am
  12. SO true1 Next the Ins company will be taking over your suppliers, Telling you what paint to buy, What sandpaper to buy, Where to buy, All vendors will climb aboard trying to get in on the Insurance money if they can. Price cutting so they can drive down the price of material on the paint work. OR they will become a wal/mart supplying the material used on every job YOU DO. You will be down to labor only at a discounted price and out of business, AMEN

  13. frengland on Fri, 17th Apr 2009 6:30 am
  14. Today’s customer is ignorant and lazy .to the facts of collision repair, The Ins co,s heavy advertisement ,hoopla is very well excepted by a dumbed down America. Cosmetic repairs are all they see, If the paint half ass matches , they think they have a good job.. We will have to go into the belly of the complete repair progress (IN DETAIL) with a pro production DVD or video, Then hand deliver it to all intelligent… over $60.000 a year . customers…In a 30 miles radius of our shops (free) Advertise… FREE WRECKER SERVICE (small print in side bar) “” unless ins co dont pay)”” ONE STOP SERVICE, Play Progressives game. . OR start a USA union of body shops and let the Government take us over, and pay our bill,s with a bail out,

  15. frengland on Fri, 17th Apr 2009 6:44 am
  16. Loyalty among dumb, is dumb thinking. Repeat business wont keep you alive.. People move on .. taking your business with them. Customers listen to their Ins, co ..In fear of high rates. The worlds worst body shop is going to work on some one,s car today. Just hope it,s not yours, OR .. get informed and make sure it dont happen to you.. I hate the bitch on Progressives M commercial What a bunch of shit, You got to be a dumb ass to beleive this line of bull shit. BUT IT must work,,, they keep running it ,,,, and we did get Obama ,,I rest my case,

  17. J Armstead on Thu, 15th Jul 2010 2:31 pm
  18. John… been reading you topics for the last few slow days and I would concur with everything you say. My real question is; “how do you keep your job (I assume you are working for a dealership of some kind) when you speak so much truth? Whenever I raised these types of issues for dealership clients, the insurers always snuck around the back to the owner of the dealership trying to intimidate with suttle remarks about “steering customers.” Either your owner is a stand-up guy/gal or you are so efficient and profitable that his/her loyalty is in place.

    The insurers won’t be happy until they completely brainwash the few remaining DRP shops that haven’t completely swallowed all their Kool-Aid. It is disgusting to realize that there are so few remaining in the collision and glass industries who have the moral courage to tell it like it is.

    I have to give a shout to some of your readers who are old and good friends…. Rocco, Bob Isham, Tony L., etc… Happy anniversary to big dog Roy from ProD.

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