BLOG: Going it alone
JASON EVANS is a workshop controller for Jaguar Land Rover in Brecon, Wales. He’s been in the industry for 40 years and is now planning to set up his own smart repair business. This is his thinking.
‘Having made the decision that to remain in the motoring industry and maintain the quality of work I want, I have to go it alone. I need to set up a new venture and open a new business. Now having failed in this once I have to create a business plan that is future proof. In making my plan I had to decide which part of the motor industry is best for the long term.
I am ruling out the mechanical side of the industry because it has already taken a path I do not want to be part of. The vehicle has become a box of electronic gimmicks of unnecessary technology that only gives a manufacturer the excuse to jack up the price. We are continually told that it is what the customer wants but in my experience it is what the customer does not want – all they want is reliable transport.
A high-end modern vehicle now spends more time in the garage sorting out electronic issues that have nothing to do with transport – and after all that is why we want the vehicle don’t we?
Please don’t think I don’t like electronics and technology or that i don’t have the skills to work on this new technology because I do, I have held master technician status for three manufacturers and I have competed in technician of the year and got into the final six seven years in a row. And don’t get me started on Autonomous Vehicles.
So I have decided that the bodyshop is the future for me. So what part of the bodyshop?
I have recently taken an interest in a local bodyshop in my hometown and was at one point offered the position of estimator with them. After a brief introduction to this position I quickly decided it was not for me, the labour costs and repair times insurance companies and manufacturers allow is unworkable.The training required, the specialist equipment required, the whole thing rang alarm bells if you wanted to remain profitable.
I think this is why there are so many companies being bought out by other companies, they are glad to get rid of the pressure of making it pay, so insurance work is not for me.
This leaves two areas, smart repair and restoration. Smart repair would give me a livable income and would save my customers the cost of full bodyshop fees and give them a shorter time without their vehicle and the restorations would give me long term work flow when the smart repair side isn’t busy.
Now all I have to do is work out the size of the building required allowing for space for restorations, including storage of parts, possibly three bays for smart preparation, an area to house two spraybooths, one for smart repair and one full downdraft booth for the restorations, a glamorous reception and customer waiting area to include a video link for customers to view work in progress, etc. The plan continues…’