3 Ways To Grow Your Automotive Collision Repair Business

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the overall economy in 2020 and 2021, impacting consumer spending and driving patterns. How did that affect the automotive collision repair industry? Fewer vehicles on the road caused a reduction in the number of damaged vehicles in need of repairs. I have good news! There are a few ways HONK Technologies, the industry-leading digital roadside assistance and vehicle transport platform company can help. By driving loyalty, increasing customer satisfaction, and optimizing operational efficiency – HONK provides these businesses with the technology and tools they need to grow their business in 2022 .

The background of the collision repair industry

The automotive collision repair industry exceeded $89 billion in 2020, $92 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $100 billion by the year 2025. That may sound great, but in 2019, the industry closed out the year well above $110 billion. Needless to say, we’ve seen a downturn in the industry over the past two years. On a brighter note, we’re starting to see signs of recovery this year, as things across the nation go back to normal as COVID restrictions have eased. Additionally, driving patterns have returned to normal, and new/used vehicle sales have hit a new all-time high.

With over 100,000 individually owned collision repair businesses operating in the United States today, now’s the time for these companies to enter the digital age and utilize innovative new technologies.

#1 – Rely on technology that is designed to make the transporting of vehicles more efficient, more transparent, and easier to manage.

Most auto body repair shops’ revenue comes from partnerships they have with insurance companies – DRPs. When an insurance customer’s vehicle is involved in an accident or needs to be moved to a local repair facility, the insurance company contacts the collision shop directly.

The repair business then bears the responsibility of figuring out how to transport that customer’s vehicle to their shop. The request and management of ordering tow services is done manually and costs the business extra man-hours, resulting in operational inefficiencies that could be solved with the introduction of newer technologies.

HONK offers auto body repair shops the ability to outsource the transportation of vehicles so they don’t have to worry about it. Repair shop personnel simply click one button within their existing CRM system to schedule vehicle transports, eliminating more phone calls or the need to enter data into a new system. An easy-to-use API allows our applications to auto-communicate, transferring required data from their system to HONK. At the scheduled dates and times, vehicles are picked up by HONK’s nationwide, high-performing, insured and background checked network of tow truck professionals and delivers them where they need to be– all of which is done with about 75% less human intervention compared to traditional solutions.

Tracking the progress of vehicle transports is just as easy. Repair shops view data right from their real-time client dashboard for 100% control and oversight of their vehicle transports. This enables repair shops to know exactly when a vehicle has been picked up and when it will be delivered – providing valuable information to help them manage the flow of vehicles into and out of their shops.

With the use of technology, these businesses save money and become more efficient, setting themselves up to handle more volume with the same manpower.

#2 – Deliver white-glove customer experiences to increase satisfaction rates.

Today 89 percent of the overall collision repair revenue is insurance paid. This means that independent collision repair shops rely mainly on the contracts that they have with insurance companies. And in today’s age where insurers value customer experiences more than anything else, it is vital that these businesses are able to offer insurance customers white-glove experiences when their vehicles have been in a wreck and need repairs.

Shop owners will tell you that getting vehicles into and out of their shops as quickly as possible is the cornerstone of running a successful repair business. Without knowing when exactly a vehicle will be dropped off, these businesses operate blindly. Specifically, this lack of transparency once a tow is ordered can cause scheduling and operational bottlenecks further down the line that affect the day-to-day operations of that business.

Operational efficiency is extremely important to DRPs. Insurance carriers expect their customers to receive a certain standard of service, and not meeting those expectations could cause a shop to lose out on a contract with an insurance carrier. Being able to provide a customer with the best experience possible serves the interest of the repair shop. The faster a vehicle is brought into a shop, the quicker it gets repaired, the happier the customer will be.

As the cost to repair a vehicle continues to increase, so does the time it takes to repair – resulting in lower customer satisfaction scores. Take a look at Figure 22 in CCC’s Midyear Crash Course.

Shorter cycle times lead to higher customer satisfaction for collision shops

Image courtesy of CCC’s 2021 Midyear Crash Report

Since repair time is directly tied to customer satisfaction, it is vital that individual repair shops become as efficient as possible. Don’t forget the importance of keeping the customer informed at all times about the progress of their vehicle repair. Setting expectations with the customer is necessary to increase satisfaction rates and drive customer loyalty. HONK helps with all of this.

#3 Provide contact-free vehicle drop-off and pick-up services

In a world where COVID-19 still resonates, it’s important to make customers feel safe. On websites, in emails, on social media, and on phone calls, businesses can assure their customers that safety is their number one priority and live up to that promise.

At HONK, our nationwide tow truck partner network follows strict guidelines for safety; wearing masks and gloves and disinfecting their trucks often, so customers can rest assured the tow truck drivers that arrive to pick-up or drop-off their vehicles take COVID precautions seriously.

Auto body repair shops can also consider taking the following steps:

  • Designate an outside area at your auto body shop for contact-free vehicle drop-off and pick-up.
  • Sanitize ignition switches, steering wheels, door handles, and any other place of contact both before and after driving or working on a vehicle.
  • Maintain the 6-foot distancing requirement and wear eye and face protection as well as gloves when having contact with customer vehicles and customers themselves.

What to know about HONK

HONK Technologies has built a solution that provides auto body repair and collision businesses a flexible and completely digital vehicle transport platform that helps them optimize day-to-day operations. By easily integrating HONK’s technology with any system that a repair shop is using, a shop owner can schedule a tow with the click of a button.

All of the manual work these businesses had to do to find a tow truck, negotiate a price for the service and manage the delivery of the vehicle after it’s been picked up is no longer a problem.

Utilizing HONK’s proprietary dispatching technology, HONK Service Providers arrive on scene 55% faster than trucks who are dispatched through a standard motor club. Shop owners receive accurate real-time updates during each transport service so they will know exactly when the vehicle will be arriving.

By introducing newer technologies and vehicle transport management tools like HONK’s one-click vehicle transports for auto body repair, companies can focus on their core business of repairing vehicles and reducing vehicle repair cycle time – helping them retain and grow their partnerships with insurance companies.

See why top auto body repair businesses are switching to HONK and stop spending countless hours scheduling and managing the pick-up & delivery of vehicles to and from your shop. Learn more now.