Wednesday, 16 March 2016 18:47

ABAC's Quarterly Meeting Features Multiple Guest Speakers

The Auto Body Association of Connecticut (ABAC) held its Quarterly Membership Meeting on March 8 at the Country House Restaurant. Gene Tye of Corporate Business Solutions, John Parese of Buckley & Wynne, and Superare Marketing's Tony Lombardozzi and Peter Abdelmaseh spoke at the event.

Attendance hit near record-breaking levels. ABAC President Tony Ferraiolo stated, "Many associations thrive when their members passionately support their organization, and the ABAC is certainly setting the standard for organizational support with the massive showing of current members and members-to-be at our recent meeting. Over 150 attendees came out to see what the ABAC has been offering with its educational and informational seminars. Members and guests certainly weren't disappointed as the speakers offered training, education and solutions to many of today's most challenging problems in the collision repair industry."

Ferraiolo opened the meeting by thanking attendees for supporting the association, and he also expressed gratitude to sponsors. He announced that he and other ABAC members would be attending a hearing on March 9 at the Legislative Office Building to testify that double taxation is not fair.

"I know everyone here knows what I'm talking about with the paint and materials being taxed when you buy them and taxed again when you sell them to the end user. Hopefully, the lobbying that we have been doing for over a year on this issue will be fruitful," he added.

Before introducing the first guest speaker of the evening, Ferraiolo stated, "Tonight is about tools. Everything discussed tonight will be designed to provide you with viable ways to make more money for your business. Please enjoy tonight's speakers. I'm sure that you'll leave with different ideas, better ways to run your business, and solutions to help your bottom line."

First up was Gene Tye of Corporate Business Solutions, and his presentation, "Inside the Red Zone: Exit Strategy Planning for Body Shop Owners," focused on the question of whether you are building a business worth selling, and if so, how to maximize the valuation of your business. Handing out guides for business owners, Tye discussed solutions for addressing owners' common concerns about valuing the worth of their business and maximizing that value.

Next, Bill Romaniello, ABAC's Legislative Director, read the Anti-Trust Disclaimer, encouraging attendees to be attentive to the evening's "dynamic and helpful" presentations. The group then indulged in dinner before Ferraiolo introduced ABAC Legal Counsel John Parese of Buckley & Wynne who was the evening's primary sponsor. Parese began by quipping, "I am here tonight in a different capacity than usual. Tonight, I'm here as a sponsor. Unlike most times when I speak, I'm hoping that you're not all asleep!"

Parese encouraged attendees to call his firm if they, their employees or customers need a personal injury lawyer. He stated, "We are a relatively small boutique injury firm. Every case is handled personally by a partner. We don't just get you in, cycle you to a paralegal, and forget about you - we don't operate like that. We take great pride in providing a high quality of service to every client. That level of quality, I believe, is what's helped foster the great relationship we now enjoy with the ABAC. Much like your shops, we can't succeeed without delivering a quality product."

Parese distributed gift bags to attendees which contained an Insurance Claims Directory and Auto Rights and Responsibilities booklets which can be given to customers to walk them through all they need to know after being involved in an automotive accident. To acquire more booklets or to contact Parese, please email him at jparese@buckleywynne.com or call 800-445-2278.

After his presentation, Parese introduced the evening's main speakers from Superare Marketing in Belmont, MA: co-founders Tony Lombardozzi and Peter Abdelmaseh. Each gentleman has served several decades as industry advocates for independent body shops as well as having owned shops personally and having been involved with their local associations.

Abdelmaseh began with an overview of the evening's presentation which was a combination of two of Superare Marketing's full-day seminars: "Short Pays" and "The True Cost of Labor and the True Cost of Your Labor Hour." He stated, "This is a quote that we have been using in our seminars: The auto body industry in the United States is the only 60-billion-dollar industry that sells its products and services for 30 billion dollars! We believe auto body shops price their products and services for half price; we all know why, but it doesn't have to be that way, and there are people around the country who are realizing this."

Introducing his partner, Abdelmaseh noted, "Tony Lombardozzi was perhaps the best known practitioner of the method that we work with for individual shops to begin to turn this around." Taking the stage, Lombardozzi listed the strategies he would go on to cover. He insists that shops have the right to a profit, profit and owner compensation should be between 25-40% which can be achieved by being in control of your own business, and shops must create an end-to-end strategy and make good decisions to stick with it.

Lombardozzi discussed how to charge the right price and receive the price needed to make a solid profit. Mentioning short pays, he said there may be a difference between what a shop needs to charge and what they are being reimbursed for. He admitted that, until the system changes, the only alternative may be litigation. Lombardozzi encouraged attendees to realize they can set their own prices, and in order to set a realistic retail price, they must know the true cost of everything.

He advised, "Tonight's presentation will introduce you to the main elements of these strategies. Some of you will agree, while some of you will have questions, but these are tried and proven strategies."

According to Ferraiolo, "Lombardozzi went on to command the attention of the room for the next 90 minutes, and for the entire time, you could hear a pin drop."

In the upcoming weeks, Superare Marketing will hold two major seminars at the Best Western Hotel in North Haven, CT. On Saturday, April 23, Abdelmaseh and Lombardozzi will present "Collect Your Short-Pays Successfully," and "Running a More Profitable Body Shop" will be held on Saturday, May 14. Both full-day seminars are scheduled from 8:30AM until 4:30PM, include breakfast and lunch, and cost $249 each with a discounted price of $179 for additional attendees from the same shop. For more information or to register, contact Superare Marketing at 617-993-6901, tony@superaremarketing.com, or peter@superaremarketing.com.

In closing, Ferraiolo again thanked speakers, attendees and sponsors. The evening's sponsors included Buckley & Wynne, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Auto Body Supplies and Paint, and Corporate Business Solutions. Ferraiolo also thanked ABAC's new Diamond Sponsor, the Hoffman Auto Group, represented by Wholesale Parts Director John Musco.

The association will hold its annual meeting in May.  

Ferraiolo stated, "The ABAC will continue to provide quality education and looks forward to keeping this momentum going forward at the May meeting."

To learn more, visit www.abaconn.com 

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