Charlotte, NC, Auto Body Shops Booked for Months Due to Constant Collisions
Written by Taylor Young, Queen City News
Published Sept. 5, 2023
If you are looking to get your car fixed anytime soon, you could be waiting weeks, if not months, to get into the shop.
“Very, very steady. Busy, busy,” said Thomas Kazanji, collision consultant at McClure Collision.
The auto body shop is booked out for nearly three months.
This time two years ago, the long wait time would have been due to part delays. Now, Kazanji has a hunch their constant bookings have something to do with an uptick in bad driving habits.
“We all understand that people have phones now. They are being more attentive to their phone than being attentive to the road and where they are driving,” he said.
Since the pandemic, the Department of Transportation has seen an increase in traffic fatalities and wrecks. Unfortunately, North Carolinians rank among the worst drivers in the country.
Last year, national insurance agency Insurify ranked North Carolina as eighth in the nation for most car accidents.
“We have been here for 20 years, and we just have an influx of work. We are extremely busy,” Kazanji said.
On top of shops seeing more drivers coming in for repairs, they are also dealing with a shortage of technicians.
“Everybody that I talk to in my industry is at least one man down if not a man and a half,” said Scott Benavidez, chairman of the Automotive Services Association and owner of a repair shop in New Mexico.
Benavidez said the technician shortage became apparent following the pandemic. He said as the older generation of trained technicians retire, shops are struggling to replace them.
“Across the nation, when we go to collision industry conferences, this is the number one issue that we here is the lack of technicians,” he said. “In fact, we’ve started trying to get back to the high schools to recruit technicians because they are just not coming in like they used to.”
While shops continue to see a never-ending line of customers at their door, the industry is working overtime to keep up.
“We are healthy. We are surviving. We are making money. The unfortunate thing is the time frame and the time element and the length of the repair date, sending them back two, two and a half months. I have a heart. I feel bad for those people,” Kazanji said.