A Picture of the Service and Repair Industry
With 2008 coming to a close, the Automotive Service Association has found that there has been no growth in the collision industry from 2007 to 2008 in the number of shops, which total an estimated 36,805. ASA is also estimating a slight increase in employees from 227,178 in 2007 to 227,300 in 2008. These collision specialists are responsible for fixing the estimated 45 million vehicles involved in collisions in 2008 that result in repairs.
ASA is estimating annual sales for the independent side of the collision industry to be a conservative $27 billion. This figure is based on the actual annual sales listed by the U.S. Census Bureau for 2006. These figures do not include the approximately 7,613 franchised dealerships with body shops generating an estimated $6 billion in 2007, according to the National Automobile Dealership Association.
The number of service bays and the size of the average facility are similar to 2007, with current results showing 18 bays and approximately 12,628 total square feet. Square footage averages include 1,485 of office space, 11,133 of shop space, and the remaining space is used for parts and storage.
The independent collision repair business continues to be family owned (87 percent), with 49 percent of businesses being in operation more than 25 years. Seven percent have been in operation one to five years. Sixteen percent have been in operation six to 10 years; 5 percent have been in business 11 to 15 years; and 10 percent have been in operation 16 to 20 years. Twelve percent of shops have been in business 21 to 25 years. Seventeen percent have operated 26 to 30 years; 6 percent have operated for 31 to 35 years; 7 percent have been in business for 36-40 years and 20 percent have operated their business for 41 or more years.
There are various levels of frame or body technicians employed at collision shops. For example, the apprentice technician has two years or less of experience, the entry-level technician has two to four years of experience and the most common employee is the experienced technician with five or more years of experience. Ninety-nine percent of ASA collision shops employ four experienced technicians, each earning nearly $57,000 annually.
In 2008, 43 percent of collision shops said they experienced an average 13 percent increase in sales. Thirty-eight percent of shops cited an average 16 percent decrease in sales compared to last year. When comparing profits in 2007 to profits in 2008, 32 percent saw an increase while 55 percent saw a decrease and 13 percent saw no change.
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