BMW April 2022

As a shop owner, there’s a fine line to walk between deciding whether to complete all repair orders in-house or use a mobile repair service to assist you in high-volume repairs such as dent repair or window replacement. On one hand, many shop owners are hesitant to partner with another business that will typically pocket between around 25%-50% of the revenue for repairs being completed. On the other hand, some shop owners will argue that any revenue is better than losing a customer to an outside vendor.

So, is there a formula shops should follow when it comes to picking up the phone to call in extra help? The short answer is no, and factors like location, competition from other shops, and finding a reputable vendor to partner with, all weigh into a complicated equation.

The Pros of cultivating vendor relationships

An overwhelming number of shop owners (88%) say less than 10% of their business is through outside vendors.  What that number doesn’t tell you, however, is when those shops are taking advantage of outside help.

In the event of severe hail storms, a shop may receive hundreds, if not thousands, of inquiries from potential customers looking to repair dent damage. In situations like those, it’s important to vet who you choose to work with, since many “pop-up” businesses will sometimes offer a shop a 40% or more of the revenue share, but as the saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Popular collision estimating software. By using that the body shop simply needs to take the estimate and download it onto their system, which frees up their staff  to focus on other jobs.  “We do all the estimates, do all the imagery, take all the pictures, and try to make the process as simple as possible for the shop,” he says.  He adds that reputable companies will also ensure they stay within the guidelines of a shop’s guidelines, and that they have an in-depth knowledge of what each insurance company allows as far as payments, etc. Partnering with a vendor that doesn’t stay within that perimeter puts a shop at risk of being red-flagged by the insurance company.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a dent repair company, glass repair, whatever,” he says. “If they aren’t doing things the right way, it’s going to immediately make you hesitate about partnering with an outside vendor in the future, and if the job isn’t done to the standards you hold for your shop, your reputation will take a hit. If a customer is happy with the work you’ve done they might tell three or four people, but if the job was done in a shoddy or unsafe fashion you can be sure they’ll let 10 times as many know about it.”

Should you invest in adding services?

Bringing traditional mobile services in-house, can increase a shop’s revenue.  Sometimes you are spending a lot more with outsourced services, so in the end it just makes sense to add someone who could focus on bringing that money back to the shop.”

By bringing these services inhouse you can perform the work to your shops standards as well as not having to wait for an outside vendor to attend to your customer’s car.

A new glass repair area gets roughly 50 jobs per month. In addition to the physical, non-moving location, your shop could also have two mobile glass repair vans so they could work for other businesses outside the area, like other collision repair shops not considered competition,  and capture more fleet work.

Finding the right partner to fit your needs

The bottom line when it comes to mobile repair is deciding whether the extra revenue source is worth the potential pitfalls that can come with pairing yourself with an outside vendor. By doing your research by searching for mobile services being offered in your area, checking the Internet for customer reviews, and deciding exactly how you want the partnership to work before coming to any agreement.

Remember if you want to bring an extra service in-house, make sure you’re considering more than just your bottom line. “In the end it’s about giving the customer the best repair experience possible.