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Tip 9. How to grow Bodyshop revenues by providing vehicle undercarriage protection ?

I have to admit that these tips series for Etalon Refinish Blog is my favorite. I am happy with idea that a bodyshop somewhere could earn extra buck by offering profitable and beneficial to customers services. The key is to identify untapped demand for additional services, other than common auto body refinishing jobs. In this post I suggest yet another potential earner – application of anticorrosive and sound-deadening coatings.

Who needs undercarriage protection?

In fact, most of the car owners need this service, depending on the climate, vehicle age and road conditions in the area. I would identify the following vehicles as potential market for underbody treatment:

– All vehicles in areas with harsh winters.

Snowy weather

If your bodyshop is located in the climate zone with heavy snowfalls and low temperatures, most certainly the roads in the region will be treated with special snow-melting agents or salt. Those agents and salt virtually ruin underbody surfaces exposing them to air-induced corrosion.

– All vehicles in the areas close to the sea.

In the regions close to the sea or ocean, the air is very humid and enriched with salty water, which corrode even well-protected new vehicles within a few months.

– Vehicles, which are driven in the rural areas and regions with poor road conditions. Most common problem in such areas is rust starting from stone chips.

– Older vehicles (five years and older) with high mileage usually incur rust spots on undercarriage surfaces

– Vehicles for resale. It is a well-known fact that a potential buyer most probably would like to check the vehicle’s underbody condition. Rust will be a big turn off, and, therefore, the value of the vehicle will be significantly lower.

– Old-timers. Vintage vehicles are subject of pride for its owners. However, those cars are in need of frequent inspection for corrosion, and underbody protection is necessary for those vehicles.

 Salt on the road

What about OEM anti-corrosion warranty?

The common misconception about the newly acquired vehicles is that they are fully protected and covered by anti-corrosion warranty. Unfortunately, most of the car owners do not pay attention to the warranty exemptions and terms. In fact, most of the OEMs refer to anti-perforation warranty, which covers in reality only, holes caused from corrosion inside out the part, and strictly under the condition that a yearly anti-corrosion inspection is performed by authorized repairer. The cost of the inspection will be chargeable to the vehicle owner.  So, if you forgot to take your car for such an inspection, forget about warranty. In addition, the rust caused by outside parameters like salt or stone chips will not be covered. Below you can find a typical exclusion case from a big car brand:

“The exhaust system, petrol tank, mechanical components or corrosion on or originating from exterior surfaces, including seam corrosion or damage caused by stone chipping, scratches, abrasion or paint failure. Exterior paintwork damage is readily visible and should immediately be rectified by the user”

 

What type of materials to choose?

I would distinguish to main categories of underbody coatings: stone chip protection and sound-deadening.

ETUC-1000BSound-deadening Etalon

Stone chip protective coatings could be water-based or solvent-based. These coatings are usually sprayed with UBC gun, but you can also find them in aerosol sprays. Typically black, grey and white colours are available.

Sound-deadening coatings are of higher viscosity. Usually this coating is applied by brush or roll in thicker layers to achieve better sound-deadening properties. Also, if diluted, sound-deadener can be sprayed.

What is very important in every type of underbody jobs – proper surface cleaning. It is strongly recommended to follow the material’s technical data sheets for proper application techniques.

 underbody coating

How to market your offering?

First of all, you need to identify the target market. Owners of the relatively new vehicles are less inclined to pay for extra protection of their vehicles. It would be wise to prepare a short informative leaflet explaining all the pitfalls of OEM anti-corrosion warranty.

Secondly, if the you have the vehicle for a body repair paint job, take time to examine the vehicles places prone to be affected by rust. In case you spot rust or paint bubbles, take pictures. Nothing will be the better argument than a visual proof of the undercarriage poor condition.

Third, ask a customer if he is happy with his vehicle’s sound proof condition? Apparently, there are many vehicles, especially in smaller categories, which have very poor soundproofing.

Finally, have some photos or even better videos of the application process and treated surfaces conditions before and after underbody coating has been applied.

 

Tip 8. How to increase bodyshops revenue? Spray…anything.

 

It has been some time since I have posted the last tip in this series. So, here I am with a new nonsense ideas. But before I want to say that collision repair shops in many countries pass through the rough times at the moment. Greek, Russian and Serbian painters face increasing competition, aggressive consolidation tendencies fueled by big groups, while insurance companies open their own facilities, and all these inevitably lead to less work for small and medium independent bodyshops. Some of smaller workshops give up, while some other are keen to sell their business, yet many are willing to fight for survival. So, for those brave ones is this little article.

For many of you, who have read my previous tips, it is clear that by innovation and creativity a bodyshop can stay afloat and prosper. Sometimes the answer for the hard question, where to find extra revenue, is quite obvious – use your key competence, spray … whatever a customer would be willing to refurbish. Actually, a car body sprayer is an expert of surface preparation and re-coating, no matter what this surface might be. Below I bring to your attention a few ideas how you could keep your shop up and running.

Old-timers and vintage vehicles are a gold mine for extra cash for striving bodyshop. I’ve meat a very successful auto body repair facilities, which even made the restoration of antiques their primary income source. Not only these workshops undertake renovation of old vehicles, but they also get involved in trade, ripping the profits in the very lucrative niche market. Note: what is important though to bear in mind that the owners of rarities are extremely demanding customers, so quality and customers satisfaction are key to success here.

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Motorcycles and scooters often are in need for fresh coat too. Most common problems are numerous scratches these two-wheelers get while driving through the maze of urban jungle. Note: it is essential to get acquainted with spraying of various types of plastic parts, which are widely used especially on scooters.

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Bicycles came over to stay as healthy and ecological transport mean in many big and small cities around the globe. The whole industry has been born around cycling enthusiasts, and … they want their bikes nice, shiny and catchy. This is where an automotive painter could offer his or her services. Note: be ready to offer candy colors and various special effect coatings. Have some appealing painted samples to facilitate a prospective client in choosing fancy appearance for the beloved bicycle.

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Helmets for bikers, ski lovers and other sports enthusiasts are not only necessary safety equipment, but also a matter of pride and distinction. If a painter has a good taste and certain skills of aerography, spraying customized helmets could be both profitable and fun.

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Recreational vehicles, like caravans and motorhomes, are another potential revenue source for a bodyshop. Any car sprayer can refresh the look of RV, give it a good polish or fix some dents and scratches. Note: find a nearby caravans parking and offer your services. You will be surprised how many RV owners would be delighted to give their “second homes” a facelift.

caravan

Small motor boats, sailing yachts and jet skis could be a good opportunity to earn an extra buck, if you are privileged to live near the sea or a big lake. Just like with RVs, amateur sailers are in need of some coating repairs and protection. Moreover, it is a trend nowadays to paint yachts with metallic colors, breaking the monotony of white shades. Note: do not get involved into too big projects. Finishing a large boat is a completely different business, and usually requires a very skillful team, special equipment and dedicated materials. Re-spraying of a big yacht could turn to be a financial disaster, not to mention angry owners with an army of lawyers behind.

Boat 2

– Refinishing jobs on furniture are quite common for some collision repair workshops already. Minor scratches and damages occur all too often during the relocation from one place to another, not to mention children and pets, who just love to scratch glossy surfaces. Note: have in mind that in certain cases you will need to use dedicated furniture lacquers to achieve the desired film thickness.

Furniture IMG_2243

Musical organs, like pianos and guitars often need a fresh coating of clearcoat. Musicians, both amateur and professional, are willing to pay good money in order to regain the shine of their favorite instrument. Note: do some free work for some of your friends, and word-of-mouth will spread at a lights speed through social networks like Facebook and Instagram.

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Good luck with your new projects! Spraying job might be really exciting and rewarding if you keep your eyes open for the new opportunities.

 

Tip 7. How to increase your bodyshop revenue by repairing alloy wheels?

Alloy wheel before and after

It has been a while since I wrote my last post about bodyshop's revenue growth ideas. So, here you are. We all know that vehicles in a modern city are prone to scratch or bump their wheels. High pavement borders and parking bumpers are one of the most common objects damaging alloy wheels and compromising the overall appearance of the vehicle. These ugly scratches and curb scrapes are highly visible and impossible to hide. This is why offering alloy wheel refinishing could be very profitable service every bodyshop could offer. Average cost per repair maybe something between 30 to 80 Euro per wheel.

Buckled wheel

What you can repair without investing in expensive equipment?

Note that not all alloy wheel repairs can be done without investment in expensive equipment. I would recommend avoiding repairing cracked or buckled wheels. These kind of repairs require special equipment like diamond cutting lathe or wheel balancing and alignment machines.

Kerbed wheel

What type of repairs you should include in your services portfolio?

The majority of alloy wheels have minor scratches, peeled off clear coat and curbs. These damages can be repaired either by abrasive polishing or by refinishing. Also, you can offer colour change as additional service.

Painting alloy wheels

What is needed to perform wheel repairs?

You don’t need something extraordinary in order to proceed with cosmetic repairs of alloy wheels. In case of polishing, you need a compound suitable for metal or aluminium. If the wheel is coated by clear coat, a normal automotive polishing compound will do the job. Polishing balls would be also very useful in order to polish a difficult to reach areas of the rim.

If scratches are too deep, you will need to prepare the wheel’s surface just as you would do with a car body. Use polyester putty with aluminum particles to fill up the scratches. This kind of filler has very high mechanical strength, and in addition, it withstands higher temperature to which a wheel may be exposed to. Mini spray gun, like Devilbiss SRI PRO is also very good solution for base coat and clearcoat application. Make a final touch with tire cleaner and restorer ensuring that your customer’s wheels look like new.

Cleaned tire

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