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Monday, 15 June 2015 00:00

Quality Collision in PA Credits Success to His Employees and a Focus on Good Customer Service

Steve Kaminstein, owner of Quality Collision Inc. in Pennsylvania, started his business out of a small garage in Noxen Township, PA in 1989.  The business owner said he never could have imagined that since then, he has established three successful auto body repair centers, an industrial coatings division and a commercial truck and RV repair center.

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“I never dreamed I would have this growth” said Kaminstein. “I contribute my success to the men, women and co-op students who work with the company. I believe you need to treat people the way you want to be treated.”

He said one strategy he has found to be successful is to put the trust into his 50 employees to get the job done. 

“My philosophy has been hiring people smarter than me, when it comes to the day–to-day operations; credit goes to our managers, technicians, painters, administration, and maintenance personnel to get the job done.”

Looking back, Kaminstein said he recalls always being interested in the auto repair industry. His first job was at a Chrysler Dealership starting in the wash bay department when he was 15 years old.At 25 years of age Kaminstein started that small town garage and within two years opened a garage in Dallas, PA that could house up to eight cars and ran with only one employee. While managing the shop he began painting scooters and jazzies for Pride Mobility, a manufacturer of Jazzy Powers Chairs, Pride Mobility Scooters, Go-Go Travel Mobility, Pride Life Chairs and Pride Lift & Ramps.After finding that to be successful, in 1996 he built a 10,000 square foot facility in Dallas Township. Half of the building housed the industrial division for the scooters and jazzies and he ran his body shop from the other half.

The facility experienced substantial growth and in 1999 Kaminstein moved the industrial division to a separate location and converted the Dallas Township facility to a larger body shop.In the meantime, he focused his efforts to establish relationships with the insurance agents and DRPs, while ensuring he maintained good customer service. 

“I believe this contributed to our growth,” he said. Although he said it can be challenging to work with several different DRPs, overall it has been a very positive experience.

In 2001, he was presented with a business opportunity in Kingston, about 10 miles away from his Dallas facility. The opportunity from a local Chevrolet Dealership came about to lease a building accommodating an auto body repair facility. His second collision shop opened in June 2001.

He said it was a learning experience opening and operating multiple shops. With referrals from the dealerships and the DRPs he had already established in Dallas, he found that business was good.

Two years later in 2003, Kaminstein opened another shop in Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. After negotiating a similar agreement to the Chevrolet Dealership, Kaminstein leased the Twin Hills Dealership owned by Steve Kaiser.

“The obstacles of running a business approximately 50 miles away from our home office in Dallas Township was challenging at times,” said Kaminstein.  A significant change occurred in 2007. A major hail storm struck in Lycoming County, which brought a multitude of customers coming through the door. “Our reputation was increasing,” said Kamintein.  “Since 2007, we’ve been experience at least 12 percent growth. Sometimes it takes a mixture of ingredients to get a great match!”

Within this time period -- early 2006 -- Kaminstein moved his industrial coatings to a larger facility in Courtdale, Pennsylvania approximately 15 miles from home office.  Encouraged by fellow workers, Kaminstein was inspired to venture again into a new area. By end of 2007 Kaminstein opened a commercial truck and RV repair center within this 20,000 square foot facility. The facility now houses the industrial coatings division and commercial truck RV repair Division.

Kaminstein had also purchased a small shop in Weissport, Carbon County, Pennsylvania in 2005. He said the shop started off doing well in the beginning but unfortunately 80 percent of the work came from one insurance company and they discontinued their DRP program in 2010. His advice to other shops is to make sure to do the thorough research.

“If they are purchasing a second I would suggest that they do their research as far as where the business is coming from and how they ran their business,” said Kaminstein.  

Their main competitor in that area has been there for years and Kaminstein said he found it was challenging to stay profitable. 

“It just got to the point where it was a better business decision to just close the shop than to try and keep putting our time and energy into it.” 

He said it was a hard business decision to close the shop in 2013 but they realized they could allocate their time and energy into running their other shops. “It ended up being the right decision, absolutely” said Kaminstein.

It was during this time he decided to build a new facility for his Muncy location.  Kaminstein invested in land nearby and started construction in September 2014. The project took approximately 10 months to complete. The new facility, which is approximately 15,000 square feet, houses offices for insurance adjusters to write their drive-in estimates and also includes designated estimating bays for their staff.

Over the years, Kaminstein said he has tried to incorporate new ideas to continually make his business more successful.

Once a month there is a managers meeting held. By incorporating standard operating procedures across the company,  Kaminstein said they are able to load-level work from shop to shop as well as share employees.

The company also focuses its effort on environmental initiatives such as energy efficient lighting, a recycling program, solar panels and using waterborne basecoat.He has found that PPG’s MVP program and the resources available from Colours Inc. has been very beneficial to his business. 

One of the programs they have found to be helpful is the TEAM approach learned after attending a MVP class sponsored by PPG and the guidance from Colours’s business development staff.

Jeff Magagna, General Manager for Quality Collision, a main influence on the TEAM concept, said, “We are trying to get our processes leaned out, get more production out the door and increase our cycle time.”

As with any changes Magagna said it can become very difficult. However, the original system of writing estimates to parts procedures and disassembly has been improved since they implemented this concept.

By employing this process, he found touch time increased from 2.6 to 3.3.

“The shops that can increase their cycle time by implementing the TEAM concept have a smoother process, which creates a constant flow so that repairs can be completed quicker with the same quality. This results in more work from the public and the insurance companies,” said Kaminstein.

“I credit my success to my faith and I am very thankful, again, to all the men, women and co-op students who continue to strive for Quality,” he added.

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