Q: In Idaho, do you still encounter midnight body shops that are operating under the radar? How do these shady businesses affect your bottom line?
A: We encounter midnight body shops a lot. They don’t affect our bottom line---they weed themselves out. The part that frustrates me the most is redoing the poor work they did on someone’s vehicle.
Q: Are you constantly asked by your insurance partners to incorporate more aftermarket and recycled/remanufactured parts into your repairs? Are some of these parts OK to use, or would you want to use OE parts on every repair if you could?
A: We are the ones recommending aftermarket parts to the insurers and customers. I prefer aftermarket, because I can make them fit better. We can cut and trim the parts and do a little customization to make it fit better than it did originally. Believe it or not, it’s really affordable. If more body shops were to offer custom work, they would see a lot more productivity and more people coming in.
Q: Imagine this industry in 20 years, and share your vision.
A: Twenty years from now it will still be pretty much the same. You’ll still have to fix dents and dings and chips here and there. We also do a lot of custom work, and people will always want to customize their vehicles. There will always be aftermarket parts and accessories and custom paint. And even if cars are all automated, people will still want hot rods and street rods.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: One of the restorations we're doing right now is completely restoring a 1966 Ford Bronco for TKO Clamping Systems called "Norma Jean" to appear at this year's SEMA show for TKO Clamping Systems. We're taking this diamond in the rough and turning her into a big star, and then taking her to Vegas! This is our first SEMA build and we are working with a lot of local artists on this project, so we're really excited.
Q: What would you say to other veterans who are considering a career in the collision repair industry?
A: It’s a good industry to get into. I would highly recommend going the custom way, but the collision industry would be great to get into. There will always be wrecks. You’re always going to have people getting into fender-benders, so you’re always going to have work. You’re always going to be able to put food on the table and it’s honestly not that hard; it’s a fun job to do.