Don’t Be A Jackass.

September 9, 2004 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

I?m going to catch hell for this column. Roughly half of you will be infuriated. I?m hoping at least half of you will either agree with me or give it some thought, otherwise this industry is screwed. Just like this country is sharply divided politically, this industry is also. Unless you?re some spineless politician trying to buy votes by pleasing everyone, you?re going to piss off the opposition. So I might as well have fun doing it.

We all know an election is coming soon. No matter what you do, you can?t avoid getting involved in it somehow. The constant political advertising is numbing. Unfortunately, not enough to anesthetize the pain.

This coming election is arguably the most important election in modern history. As much as the media and the left whine and throw tantrums, Islamic terrorism is a real and an immediate threat to everyone in this country. The next president will have the power to save our country from economic ruin, or worse, due to terrorism. Or he can leave us slaves to our fear and to the blood thirsty Islamic murderers.

You are reading Body Shop Solutions. Chances are you are the owner or manager of a body shop. There are several discussion boards on the internet directed at the same group of people, collision repair shop owners and managers. One would think that these business people would be pro business wouldn?t you? You would think most of these business people would be Republicans. These are independent small business people. They are entrepreneurs. They are risk takers. As small business owners, they belong to a group of people who employ most of the people in this country. They are the archetype for the American Dream.

I am constantly trying to figure out just how our industry got where it is today. You know, under-paid, under-appreciated, the reputation of the fat, disgusting rip-off artist with a stinky cigar hanging out of his mouth and a mile of butt-crack hanging out of his pants. How did this industry become a slave to the insurance industry, doing its dirty work for a few pennies and the privilege to serve them? Recently, a hint to these answers was revealed to me on what is currently the most popular collision repair discussion board.

When Ronald Reagan died some mean, inhumane Republican had the nerve to post some nice words about him on this discussion board. Holy crap, you?d think Dick Cheney posted some nice comments about George Bush on an Al Qaeda discussion board. Reagan was attacked, the poster was attacked, and that brought on an avalanche of criticism against the current Republican administration and all this other baloney about an unjust war, the mean rich, Haliburton, blah blah blah?

Alright, what does this have anything to do with anything that concerns me and the collision industry, you ask? Look, you don?t have to be the inventor of the internet to understand that political philosophies will influence the way you run your business. And there are huge differences between the political left and right. Just in case you are a graduate of our government school system, I?ll outline the differences for you.

The left believes everyone should be equal. If certain people don?t feel equal, government should take things from those who have more and give it to those unfortunate people with less. Lefties believe in moral relativism. There is no defined line of right and wrong. If you can convince people that robbing and beating an old lady to death is absolutely necessary to fill your crack pipe, which you need to smoke because your great, great, great, grandfather was a slave, then you get to delete that line of right and wrong. Left wingers believe nothing is their fault. All their ills are directly related to actions of others and have nothing to do with their own actions or the choices they?ve made during their lives. They are poor because the rich are rich. Liberals who have somehow managed to be successful, and are comfortable financially, believe it is their duty to help the ?less fortunate? by relieving middle class and wealthy conservatives of their hard earned money. You will never find wealthy liberals getting together and donating large portions of their own fortunes to the ?less fortunate.? Wealthy liberals have one purpose, and that is to convince poor liberals that their needs can only be met by voting wealthy liberals into office to ensure government takes care of all the ?less fortunate.?

The evil Republicans, however, have that nasty habit of believing in clear moral choices. They leave no room for judgment based on what our dead ancestors went through more than 100 years ago. They believe that everyone is responsible for their own actions. Mean conservatives believe that equal opportunity is due everyone. If they don?t want to work, they shouldn?t have to work. But (and get this) they hate paying taxes to support people who don?t want to work. They respect the right of citizens to work just forty hours per week so they can have plenty of time to watch television, play video games, surf the internet and protest the war. But the mean bastards don?t believe the greedy folks who work 50, 60, and 70 hours per week should help the leisurely types pay for their cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, big screen televisions, abortions, demonstration signs and ?Celebrate Diversity? bumper stickers. Can you believe that right wingers even complain about giving up 50% of every dollar they make, just so the government can pay for everything the left wingers believe should be guaranteed them just for being an American citizen? Wealthy conservatives run the evil corporations and the small businesses that employ tens of millions of ?less fortunate? liberals. Poor conservatives quietly go about their business working hard to raise their families, attending church (gasp!) and paying their taxes. But you can?t get the damn fools to gather in large groups and protest the government.

Is any of this making any sense to anyone? Or is your anger at me right now so bad you?re head?s about to explode? The major complaint everyone has about our industry is the influence the insurance industry has on us. Too many of us complain, and whine, yet do nothing to help ourselves. Those damn evil insurance companies. Those greedy corporations. It?s all their fault!

No, it?s your fault! This left wing defeatist attitude is the reason the insurance industry rules your business (if that?s how you feel). Truth is, no one can rule over you unless you let them. Just like liberals have been calling for negotiations with the terrorists, many in this industry want to work with the insurance companies. Unfortunately, you can?t work with a group who wants to dominate or destroy you. Liberals still haven?t learned that peace and freedom through strength is the only way to ensure peace and freedom.

Insurance companies are businesses, not non-profit, charitable foundations organized for your benefit. Unless you are a shareholder, you are either a customer or an adversary. The insurance industry violates anti-trust laws as often as Bill Clinton violates his marriage vows. They break the law daily in every part of this country by steering, lying and conniving, not because the want to, but because they can. Because we let them. They are the terrorists that our industry must conquer. Negotiating with them is not an option. Simply complaining will do nothing. Boo hoo, they are greedy. Boo hoo, they steered my customer to a DRP shop. Boo hoo, they won?t pay my labor rate. Boo hoo, they are building a shop next door. Quit whining! What the hell are you going to do about it?

Stop feeling sorry for yourself like every other bleeding heart loser in this country. If you want to gain control of your industry, you?re going to have to fight for it. You?re going to have to compete for it. You?re going to have to take action. The government is not going to help you, no matter who is in control, Republicans or Democrats. You?re afraid of angering the insurance companies, just like the Democrats were afraid of angering the Soviets, just like they are now afraid of angering a bunch of cave dwelling terrorists. If we piss them off they will not send us any work, they will bad mouth us, they will ruin our business. If we piss off the terrorists they will kill more Americans, they will attack our country. Grow up! The insurance industry is ruining your business now, and you are playing all nice, nice. The terrorists will kill Americans and try to attack us no matter what we do, save for the entire American population breaking five times a day to face Mecca and pray to Ala. Wouldn?t that be great for national productivity?

Appeasement will never get you anywhere in life. Respect is the key to peace. If our industry wants peace with the insurance companies, if we want a relationship based on equality and fairness, strength is the only way to reach this goal. Strength will earn this industry respect from the insurance companies. Appeasement will not. Respect will put our industry on equal ground with the insurance industry. The government cannot.

For those of you who still don?t see the connection between your political philosophies and your future in this industry, I cannot help you. You are beyond help. Vote for John Kerry, and the rest of the rich Democrats pandering to your helpless feelings. Continue to whine and complain about your circumstances. Watch as the world passes you by. Live with resentment as the insurance companies reap the fruits of your self loathing. If your political philosophies are on par with the half of the American population that is satisfied with mediocrity, the half that believes self determination is a fair cost for government guaranteed happiness, then go ahead and vote for the rich Democrats. They are more than willing to yield to your every need as long as you keep them in power.

But please, sell your body shop to a Republican so we can, once and for all, take control of our industry.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tell a Friend

Comments

14 Comments on Don’t Be A Jackass.

  1. John @ Hilltop Autobody on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 10:04 am
  2. Wow! your fired up dude,pritty fancy talk for a 63 year old eh?About the content in this article,as far a dems vs. gop’s they are somewhat different BUT are on the same team.Remember "new world order"?Don’t hear that any more.I have been banging fenders since they were real metal and chrome,1958.Way too long.Allstate the grandaddy of DRP’s kicked it up one giant notch with the entry of insurance owned shops.I remember Travelers tried that in the late 60’s,and failed,largely (I think because of poor cooperation from the bodyMEN enployees.Anyway back to a possible solution to the problem.The only way to beat any large organization is to become one yourself.That would take someone with "money" to kick it off,It would have to be absoluty credible,and above all would have to channel to non DRP shops.I have tried drp in my shop,it left me with more bad feeling at the end of the day than I had without them.I now am DRP free.I see big money shops being built most likely on DRP expectations.All I say is to them is ask the guys that were in bed with Allstate before Sterling came in.My own experence trying to get something done through the government was a waist of time,I wrote to the governer,the insurance commisioner,the atty. general,and the state rep.The only response I received was a reluntant one emailed from the Ins comm.saying he was told to answer,with no help whatsoever.If the independant does not organize LARGE it will surely get worse."Old body men never die,they just bang away"

  3. Well said!! on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 10:12 am
  4. Per your initial comments, I braced myself to get angry w/you. Thanks for speaking up, Well said!!

  5. FOREST on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 10:19 am
  6. THANK GOD!, I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO FELT THIS WAY, ITS GOOD TO HEAR SOMEONE ELSE SAY IT. I AM A DRP FOR 10 INSURANCE COMPANYS. MAY OF LAST YEAR I SENT A NOTICE TO ALL OF THEM SAYING WHAT MY RATES WERE AND NO MORE DISCOUNTS, IF THEY HAD ANY PROBLEMS TO GIVE ME A CALL. I GOT ONE CALL FROM ONE COMPANY. THEY SAID THEY WOULD HAVE TO GET BACK WITH ME, THEY NEVER DID, WE ARE STILL THEIR DRP SHOP AND THEY PAY THE RATES WE CHARGE. THIS WAS EASIER FOR US THAN IT WOULD BE FOR MOST BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE MUCH COMPETITION IN OUR AREA, ONLY 5 OTHER SHOPS WITHIN 50 MILES. BUT WE DO QUALITY WORK AND HAVE A STRONG CUSTOMER BASE. WITHIN A FEW MONTHS ALL THE OTHER SHOPS STARTED CHARGING THE SAME RATES. S.F. WAS ONCE OUR FAVORITE DRP COMPANY, THEN THEY SWITCHED US TO A DIFFERANT ZONE AND THEY BECAME OUR WORSE, THEY TRIED TO RUN OUR BUISNESS NOT WORK TOGETHER LIKE THE OTHERS. THEY EVEN TOLD ONE OF THE OTHER SHOPS ESTIMATOR "AS FAR AS YOUR CONCERNED I’M GOD". WELL WE KEPT ON DOING THINGS THE WAY WE FELT WAS BEST NOT THEIR WAY, SO THEY TOOK US OFF THEIR LIST, WHICH WAS FINE WITH ME. WE STILL GET JUST AS MUCH OF THEIR WORK NOW AS WE DID THEN.
    ITS GOT TO START WITH SOMEONE NO MATTER WHAT STATE OR WHAT BIG CITY YOU ARE IN WITH 50 OTHER SHOPS, IF YOUR DOING QUALITY WORK THEN CHARGE WHAT YOU DESERVE AND CAN FINALLY MAKE SOMEWHAT OF A PROFIT. IF YOU DON’T GIVE IN THE OTHER GOOD SHOPS WILL SOON FOLLOW LEAVING ONLY THE POOR QUALITY SHOPS WILLING TO DO WHATEVER THE INSURANCE COMPANY TELLS THEM TO DO, WHICH WILL LEAD TO THEM REFERING THEIR CUSTOMERS TO SOMEONE WHO IS PROBABLY NOT GOING TO SATISFY THE PICKY PEOPLE WHO OWN CARS TODAY! AFTER THEY LOSE ENOUGH INSUREDS THEY’LL BE BACK.
    AND DON’T FORGET TO VOTE FOR BUSH!!

  7. MIKE @ BEN'S AUTO BODY on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 11:47 am
  8. GREAT COLUMN IT MAKES ME SICK TO SEE SO MANY SHOPS IN MY AREA BOWING DOWN TO THE ALMIGHTY INS CO’S. DRP SHOPS IN THIS INDUSTRY ARE RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US. MY FAMILY RUNS AN INDEPENDENT SHOP & WE HAVE MORE GROSS SALES THAN ANY OF OUR COMPETITORS, THE SHOPS AROUND US ARE LIKE SHEEP BEING LED TO THE SLAUGHTER. W ALL THE WAY!!!

  9. Scott Tofte on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 3:29 pm
  10. Yes guys, I’m sure a vote for George W. will fix everything for us, after all look how far we’ve advanced in the last four years under his administration. I’m confident that we’ll soon be released from bowing-down to the "Petroleum God", insurers will release their grip, and innocent Americans won’t die for Middle East oil.
    You know, I was thinking, if George could pull his head out of his ass, maybe he could effect a change in this country. Maybe if he wasn’t "owned" by big money and oil like all the others in Washington he’d see things differently. Hey, maybe he could have directed $200 billion towards alternate fuel research. Think about it…. eliminate the need for foriegn oil (Towel Heads can now drink the stuff), American companies can profit, the environment can improve, the government can do less subsidising, taxes can be kept in check, etc.
    Here’s a simple thought….the next time you fill up your car with gas, imagine lowering your dependence on the oil companies by 85% at the pump. It’s called E-85 ethanol and all the technology is available. So why doesn’t George mandate the use of it in all 50 states? Why doesn’t he appropriate funds to develop production facilities around the country? Because he doesn’t hold his own balls in his own hand.
    I agree with you guys on the issue of control by the insurance companies. We do need to organize ourselves and take a stand. I differ on the fact that a politician of either party, (Kerry included) will do squat for us. It’s simply the same rhetoric as always, elected officials paying favors back to the money that got them in office.

    REPLY FROM AUTHOR:
    Scott, I appreciate your reply, however I don’t think you got the meaning of the column. It had nothing to do with electing Bush or Kerry. And it had nothing to do with oil, gasoline and tree hugging. It had everything to do with developing the correct attitude toward running a collision repair business–or any business for that matter. Simply put, the same leftist mentality that is ruining our country is destroying the collision repair industry. Oh, by the way, if there was any profit potential right now in alternative fuels, the greedy corporations, the devils Bush, Cheney and Halliburton would be on them like liberals on government handouts. The corporate greed emotional hysteria just doesn’t hold up to logical thought.

  11. John Opeka on Thu, 9th Sep 2004 4:19 pm
  12. WOW! You sure are in my corner. We have more JACK ASSES in our industry. In NACE 1992 Don Randall told the so called PROFESSIONALS to Organize. I tried through the late 50s, 60s. and 70s then gave up. Remember the Consent Decree of 63. Talk to Lennie and He can tell you what He was told in the court house hallway immediately after the Decree was handed down. Keep pounding. If you hit the JACK ASSES over the head hard enough you may get their attention. Good Luck.

  13. Scott Tofte on Fri, 10th Sep 2004 6:41 am
  14. Thanks for the reply and keep banging out the columns. You’re absolutely correct on the shops vs insurance co. issue. We do need to unite and organize both on the State and Federal levels before it’s too late…..

  15. FYI - Kerry contributor on Fri, 10th Sep 2004 7:21 am
  16. We heard on the news a couple of weeks ago that one of Kerry’s top 3 contributors is PROGRESSIVE Insurance…what does that say to all of us?

  17. who does the insurance industry like? on Mon, 13th Sep 2004 4:59 am
  18. Previous comment referred to large contribution by Progressive to Kerry campaign. But overall, guess who gets the most insurance company $$?
    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=F09

  19. george on Wed, 15th Sep 2004 8:28 am
  20. in the60’s empire mutual had shops in new york city. No one has gone into the legal library tro research "the state of new york vs empire mutual "
    empire mutual lost and had to sell off there shops. conflict of interest. but allstgate is getting away with it . it does’t make sense

  21. Mike at Economy Auto Repair, Paint & Body Shop on Sat, 18th Sep 2004 1:12 pm
  22. hey this is for the ones who say it cant be done without being a drp shop. Just over 11 months ago I bought a shop with one old painter and a helper and three bays up front for mechanical work. The paint shop had been doing 10-12 thousand per month for years, getting only the minor bangs and scratches to survive on and losing money for years. The front mechanical had been doing about the same with the complaint from the previous owner that since we could not get approved by the big insurance compainies, we could never do much business. I did not know any better, so I believed them. You know who "them" are. I had friends in the business and was told that I was in for a rude awakening, and that I had better convert the whole place to just mechanical business like I had experience in. The current labor rate was $29.00 per hour so I jsut raised it to $34.00 to get someething started , because I had not figured out what the rates should be. My lack of knowledge made me just do some basic math. I took my fixed overhead,(rent,utilites, and tool payments, uniforms, insurance,) and divided that by 21 days per month. I then took what the painter and other people said that they needed to make a living. Then I took a look at the paint and material bills and came up with an average for the types of work that we had been doing. By adding these daily cost together it was soon obvious that a billable rate of $34.00 per hour was barely breaking even or losing money for every job we did. A minimum rate for a $12.50 per hour man( our guraentee rate) would have to be $38.00. So I raised our rates and we did not hear a peep. I hired another man as the business began to pick up and found that I had not yet doubled the business but the minumum salary of $12.50 had doubled so I went to $41.86 per hour. NOT A PEEP from a single customer. We went from adding 15% on paint and materials like they had been and went to 35% and still not a peep. We started adding on for pinstriping, shop shopplies and hazmat, and never gt a complaint. I got a changeable letter sign out front and put "body shop is open, no insurance" and we started getting more work than ever. We found that we were getting the small jobs in and out so fast that we were getting a reputation for being a small job specialist. We found that the sign gave the impression that we did not take insurance and people who did not want to claim their small bumper dings and scratches were bringing them to us. We now were booked up 2 plus weeks in advance and had 4 people working. I was making 12-15 hundred a week net profit off the body shop with little stress and was amazed. I had people telling me that they always knew the small jobs was where the money was but were afraid to not take on the big ones because they would lose the insurance work. We had started getting some insurance work anyway, and I had a hard and fast policy, The insurance company could pay what they wanted, I would charge the rest to the customer, no negotiation. I explained this to the customers, and let the customers raise hell with the insurance company. My greatest tool during this time was a labor rate survey that I found on this web site, and I had more than one company calling me to complain, threaten to take the cars out of my shop, etc… Bottom line.. with copies of the laws that I found concerning steering and price fixing(again from this website) I was able to stop all this mess and one by one they all agreed to pay me $39. and change for my labor rate. but no more…. Its not all perfect in this world though, I was getting too much work for me to manage so I hired a very experienced body shop manager to help me keep things going. Within a month, big jobs, wrecks, restorations, ect had my shopyard bursting at the seams. Now we had 7 people and could not get anything out ontime any more. The big jobs and the insurance BS was choking the life and profit out of what I had started just six months before. He convinced me to spend over $10 grand in more equipment to do work that we were not making the right kind of money on. I was getting real frustrated with the way the shop was going and I had thought I would bring in all this experience and all I got was a $30,000.00 loss over the next four months. I will end this long rambling with this; I fired the experienced Idiot and went back to how we had been doing it. I took me 6 weeks after he was gone to get all the crap out of the yard and get started over with the work we could make money on. Point blank, this is not a hobby for me. Its simply business. I bet it is a business for everyone else too. S run it like one…Do your own math, and make the changes that are necessary to get back to a profitable situation NOW!!!! Dont take another job in without a minimum of 50% profit, parts and labor, and then make sure you can beat the clock. We have gone to a flat rate with a guarentee and that helps a lot. We are back to 40 grand a month in profitable type of paint jobs and have the confidence to let the other jobs just go down the street. Again… this is not a hobby. We survive just fine in a small town in Fla getting 20% to 30% higher labor rate than the insurance companies post for this area. And we do it on work that we can beat the clock on more often than not. Do your OWN math and fix your business now. Go back for a year and see how much you left on the table at 20% less labor. It will floor you. Try it for a week and see how many people even notice. We have to protect our business, our family and our country, because nobody else is going to do it for you… God Bless …. Mike Norvell Sr

  23. Allen A/B on Sun, 19th Sep 2004 11:42 pm
  24. Did ANYONE besides me take a previous comment-writer’s advice and check out where the insurance companies’ money is going in political campaign contributions????

    Check out:
    http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=F09

    The Republicans get a WHOPPING 67% of the Millions donated by insurance companies to political campaigns, while the Democrats get only 33%. Who’s in bed together??–The Republicans and the insurance companies are communicating very well.

  25. pothead on Tue, 28th Sep 2004 12:33 pm
  26. Who is surprised that Progessive supports John Kerry. There CEO is a dope smoking drug addict. Didn’t he get busted on his yacht a few years back with a boat load of pot?

  27. you're right on target, John on Thu, 21st Oct 2004 4:50 pm
  28. RIGHT on the button, John! You said what I wish I’d said. I sent a note to Georgina at BSB voicing this. Keep writing.

    Dick Strom

Tell me what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!





  • Recent Comments

    Daniel R Jendrowski: Interested in your dv software...
    ?????: Good way of telling, and pleasant article to get i...
    venlamonster.Tumblr.com: Whats up very cool blog!! Guy .. Excellent .. Wond...
    MICHAEL D ROSE: I HAVE BEEN THE MANAGER OF A DPR SHOP HERE IN ABIL...
    Rude69.com: Hi there, this weekend is pleasant in favor of me,...
    volvo auto: Why people still use to read news papers when in t...
    voyance privée par téléphone: www.styl-voyance.com propose un cabinet de voyance...
    Tj90: I'm fighting with farmers now. I'm being told they...
    Bob Isham: Jessica, use you own insurance to repair the truck...
    Jessica: I was rear-ended by a guy not paying attention in ...
  • Archives

    • [+]2019 (2)
    • [+]2011 (3)
    • [+]2010 (3)
    • [+]2009 (8)
    • [+]2008 (11)
    • [+]2007 (20)
    • [+]2006 (14)
    • [+]2005 (14)
    • [+]2004 (22)
    • [+]2003 (12)