Relationships Matter

When working with vendors, it’s often more about the people than the product.

Currently, we are halfway through 2018. Speaking to many of my colleagues throughout the industry, it seems more and more collision repair facilities are re-evaluating their current vendor situations.

This seems to be especially true when it comes to distributors and paint companies. And why not? Prices for materials are constantly rising, faster than the rate raises we are receiving from our insurance partners. As collision repair shop owners and managers, it is our duty to do what is in our power to maintain a competitive edge in term of discounts, customer service, and product performance. We are all looking to take hold of our market and a professional partner can help get you there.

Approximately five years ago, we at Budds’ Collision, decided to switch both distributors and paint companies.

The people factor

We moved forward with our chosen refinish partner and jobber and have never looked back. Although there were many factors that brought on the change, the main one was the people. We are always looking to build our business and move it to the next level. The particular refinish partner we chose proved to have the resources and the people to help us get where we want to be.

Based on my own experiences, paint is largely just paint. Although I do believe our refinish partner does offer superior products, at the end of the day it is the people who we are vested in. They continue to provide us support, training, and products.

This should be the standard for ALL paint companies. Both paint companies and distributors have more of a vested interest in their customers’ organizations today more than ever.

Just like us that run the shops, they are all looking to gain market share and grow their businesses. It is simple math: The more vehicles we repair, the more paint we buy. This works hand-in-hand with all parties.

Long gone are the days where your paint company’s only responsibility was to work with your distributor to make sure your facility has inventory to process repairs. If your refinish partner is not providing your collision repair facility with additional “value-added services” such as training for your staff, then they are not doing their job.

Distributor’s role

Just as important, if not more, is your distributor or jobber. Having a distributor that you trust and can rely on is vital. It is your jobber who you are purchasing the paint from, and have more “touch time” with. As is the case with a refinish partner, it is a jobber’s responsibility to keep your facilityup-to-date with the latest and greatest technology and what is trending in the industry.

When you are an owner/manager who is deep in the ongoing operations of your business, sometimes, it is hard to see the forest beyond the trees. It is extremely important therefore to have partners provide value to help you continually improveyour business.

If they are not bringing added value and not going above and beyond their traditional role and expectation, then it might be time to make a change.

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