Apr 192013

Paint, Body & Equipment Specialists, a segment of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry  Association (AAIA), will host a webinar title “Increased Shop Sales = Increased Jobber Sales.” on Thursday, April 25, 2013.

During this webinar, Frank Terlep, CEO and Lead Sherpa of Summit Software and Marketing Solutions, will show participants how new sales and marketing tools, technologies and techniques that can help their auto body shop customers add $30,000 to $300,000 or more per year in new sales.

Reserve a webinar seat at:

Should be very interesting and informative.

 Posted by at 8:58 AM

Compressors, Water and Ruined Paint Jobs

 2) Spray Booth Maintenance  Comments Off on Compressors, Water and Ruined Paint Jobs
Feb 272013

Using properly fitted and maintained high quality paint booth filters will undoubtedly improve the finishes coming out of your paint booth.  But proper maintenance doesn’t stop with filters.  Other areas of your operation must be continually maintained and monitored.  One often overlooks areas is the quality of your compressed air.  More specifically is your compressed air free of water and water vapor?

One cannot overemphasize the importance of clean, dry compressed air.  When minuscule particles of water find their way from your compressor through your air lines and into the nozzle of your paint gun, blemishes and fish eyes will develop in your paint job.

So what do you need to know to ensure your compressed air is moisture-free?

The first step involves a brief review of how an air compressor operates.  In an air compressor, there are two major parts – a compressing system and a power source.  The compressing mechanism will most likely be either a piston or screw.  Power is supplied by an electric or natural gas motor.  The basic air compressor takes atmospheric (i.e., normal) air and draws it through the compressing mechanism which causes the air’s volume to decrease / compress.  The now compressed air is either used immediately or contained in a vessel to maintain its pressurized state until needed.

Moisture is even more pronounced in compressed air.  Why?  Because you are taking say 5 cubit feet or atmospheric air and compressing it to 1 cubit foot of compressed air; however, the process of compressing the air also compressed the water in the air.  Moreover, as you may recall from basic physics, using energy generates heat and this heat is imparted into the compressed air.  As hot air cools when it moves from your compressor throughout your shop via air lines and hoses, compressed air has a tendency to condensate creating water in your air lines.

So now you know that compressed air will naturally contain moisture.  To eliminate moisture, you must make one of the single most valuable purchase for your shop to ensure the delivery of moisture free compressed air — refrigerated dryers or desiccant air dryers.

  • Refrigerated Air Dryers are the most economical type of dryer.  Warm and saturated air from the air compressor is cooled to a temperature of 35°F to 50°F.  At these temperatures, the water condenses and can be mechanically separated and discharged from the system.  Air, now free of liquid moisture, can be reheated and discharged into the compressed air system.  This air now has a 35°F to 50°F pressure dew point, which means the air temperature has to drop below this temperature before further condensation occurs.
  • Desiccant Air Dryers are dryers are used in applications that require compressed air at dew points as low as -100°F.  Through two identical drying towers, each containing a desiccant bed, air flows alternately.  While one tower is on-stream drying, the other is off-stream being regenerated.  Purge air is used to regenerate the desiccant.  Diameter and length of desiccant beds determine drying efficiency.

Air drying systems (and frequent maintenance thereof) are the single most important factor to achieving moisture-free air.  And when your air is dry, you’ll eliminate many of those paint imperfections, leading to a lower total cost of ownership for your shop combined with raving customer reviews of your work.

 Posted by at 11:41 AM

The Carlyle Group Purchase Service King

 3) Autobody Industry News  Comments Off on The Carlyle Group Purchase Service King
Feb 262013

Service King Collision Repair Centers, the Dallas-based auto body repair chain, is being acquired by global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group.  Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Service King founder Eddie Lennox will retain a significant minority ownership position in the company and CEO Cathy Bonner will become chairman, representing Lennox on the board of directors.

Lennox founded Service King 36 years ago with one location in Dallas.  It has grown to nearly 50 location through a combination of opening new locations organically as well as through the acquisition of complementary locations.

 Posted by at 1:24 PM
Feb 262013

With the recent flurry of activity in the collision repair industry, many shop owners are wondering if now is the time to sell.  It is certainly better to be a seller when there are multiple buyers in the market, but simply trying to capture greater value for your business by selling at the right time will not prove to be a winning strategy.  Here are a few tips for consideration if you’re currently contemplating a sale of your business

  • Be Organized and Prepared.  If you happen to get approached by a potential buyer, how ready would you be to provide the necessary information to enable the prospective buyer to evaluate your business and propose a purchase price.  Do you have at your disposal historical financial statements and tax returns for 3 to 5 years?  If your business is operated to minimize taxes (and don’t we all want to pay less taxes), do such activities reflect negatively on your financial performance?  If so, have you tried to recast your financial results to eliminate these tax deferral strategies?  Do you have a schedule of assets with both depreciated values and current market values?  Remember, if you own your land the value may have increased significantly.  Do you have a complete set of all contacts, leases and other material obligations?  The key take-away is that the more you are prepared, the more confidence any buyer will have with your organization, which in turn should not only translate into a higher value for you, but also a quicker and less risky period from proposition to final sale.
  • Is Your Valuation Realistic.  It is human nature for you to believe that your business is better than all the rest.  If you didn’t have such a belief, you’d have sold out long ago.  So how can you objectively determine a fair value for your business?  The answer is to look for certain quantifiable and comparable metrics between your business and other recently sold businesses.  For example, another collision repair facility across town sold for $1 million.  It had sales of $2 million and operating profit of $500,000.  So in other words, the buyer paid 0.5x for revenue and 4.0x for operating profit.  Takes those metrics and apply them to your financial statements.  How much different is your expected value compared to this comparable transaction value?  If you’re low, then maybe your underestimating yourself.  If you’re high, you better start outlining why your business should command a higher price.  Remember, it is very likely that the buyer is going to have the same information about the sale across town, so be prepared to address your differences and why they make your business more valuable.
  • Resist Selling Without Multiple Buyers.  It goes without saying that a buyer likes to purchase a business without other buyers in the process.  So if at all possible, when you are looking to sell your business, undertake a process where you will have the chance to receive multiple bids — or at least make it appear to your most likely buyer that you have alternative offers / buyers .  This also means that you should probably try to consider selling your business not when you have to but when you want to.  We like to sale that the appropriate time to sell is when you have a BATAS — Best Alternative To A Sale.  In the end, you do not want to be pressured to accept a sale but rather be excited to have reach an agreement to sell.
  • Consider Help.  You know how to operate a collision repair facility but you’ll probably only sell a business once in your life, so consider hiring a person with experience selling a business.  Hiring a professional comes with a cost and you should consider the value added, but in general a good professional can manage a process to maximize value for the client.  Any professional should be capable of providing you with data from comparable transactions to properly value your business (and drive value higher when a buyer looks to low-ball), create a dynamic process with multiple buyers, and take the lead in negotiating with the potential buyer.  A true professional will keep a sale on track when the inevitable questions and concerns come about from both you and from the buyer.  Plus a professional will be willing to set a fee based in part upon the value realized for you.  True professionals structure their compensation with only a modest fee if a deal closes, but they will earn more-and-more the higher-and-higher the sale price goes.  This compensation arrangement is important to align your interests with your representative.

One person once said that you should approach the sale of your business just as you would approach the sale of your house.  Get your home prepared for the sale, hire a real estate agent, establish a price that is fair to you but also reflects recent home sales in your neighborhood and conduct at least one open house to gauge the prospective interest in your property.  Then when you have a buyer identified, work quickly to reach the finish line.

Clearly a hot market puts the wind in your sails for success, but only with proper preparation complemented by an orderly and professional process can you cross the finish line at record pace!

 Posted by at 1:06 PM

Do You Believe in Spontaneous Filter Combustion?

 2) Spray Booth Maintenance  Comments Off on Do You Believe in Spontaneous Filter Combustion?
Feb 252013

You work in a collision repair facility. You clean up and go home, but when you return the next morning, you find a storage drum smoldering.  Did you know used paint booth filters can spontaneously combust?  Some folks have even observed used filters catching fire right after being removed from their paint booth.

In an effort to find an answer, several organizations have conducted research to identify the cause of spontaneous combustion in filters.  The research generated several recommendations as noted below.

  • Do not dispose of used filters in a dumpster where the filters can be smashed / compressed
  • Do not store used filters in trash bags

  • Use a leak-proof, tightly sealed metal drum to store

    the used filters because this cuts off oxygen

  • Do not store with other trash or hazardous materials

  • Keep the storage containers with the used filters in a

    cool environment

  • Dry used filters before disposal and storage

Simply put, the key to preventing combustion of paint booth filters is to prevent them from being compressed or stored with other waste where heat and oxygen is present.  Storing and compressing filters results in spontaneous combustion because there is enough oxygen to permit oxidation at a steady rate.  For example, just think about the heat that gets generated from a compost pile.

We all know that  filter maintenance is important, but how you dispose of your filters is also significant.  And you should also concern yourself with whether or not a used filter is considered hazardous waste. There are only two ways of knowing this.

  • Written documentation showing that the paint used contained non-toxic materials / metals.  A current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), will assist in this determination.  Remember, while the filter is not considered hazardous waste, it can become hazardous once is contains hazardous materials.
  • Conducts a Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), effectively a third-party / independent test.  If the filters come back hazardous, you must manage them as you do other hazardous waste in your shop.

A paint booth is a critical tool for a shop, and when used properly, it can help create a beautiful paint finish.  However, a shop that does not follow industry standards in maintaining its spray booth is placing its workers and its business at great risk. OSHA and EPA fines can be financially devastating . Importantly, the steps to maintaining a safe spray booths are straightforward and easily achievable without significant cost or disruption to a shop’s operation.


 Posted by at 5:32 PM

Should I Invest in a Prep Station?

 Prep Station Information  Comments Off on Should I Invest in a Prep Station?
Feb 252013

You’ve probably heard that prep stations are essential.  Of course those comments invariably come from  individuals already using a prep station (or those individuals looking to sell a prep station).  So how do you objectively determine if a prep station is right for you?

The single most important consideration is how busy are you?  If your main paint booth is backed-up, then a prep station is an investment well worth making.  Prep stations allow for small paint jobs to be done outside of your main paint booth, freeing-up your main paint booth for those larger, more profitable projects.  Additionally, a prep station also provides an environment where sanding and other similar activities can be undertaken such that the resulting particles are filtered out of the shop environment.  End result — you’re trapping those paint / finish damaging particles before they are let loose into the work environment.  And a cleaner work environment lessens costly rework.  Nothing is more costly than tying up your main paint booth with non value-creating activities like rework.

For those concerned with cost, a wall-unit prep station is ideal.  Air is moved by a powerful fan through through first stage filters positioned in the front  and lower forward sections of the prep station.  A second set of filters is then placed after the first set of filters to prevent particles from reaching the mechanical  components (i.e., the fan).  This second set of filters is critical to extend the life of the fan as well as reduce time-consuming maintenance / cleaning.

While a basic wall-unit prep station is good, for a modest additional investment a prep station can add an overhead devise known as a plenum — almost creating an open down draft paint booth.  The plenum directs air from above through ceiling filters down into the work area.  Venting can occur either at one end of the prep station (semi downdraft configuration) or through a pit in the floor (downdraft configuration).  Ideally, the source of air should be from outside the work environment to lessen contamination, but at a minimum, the air should be prefiltered prior to passing through the plenum.

Regardless of the prep station design chosen, we here at recommend the addition of floor to ceiling curtains.  Curtains ensure the sanding and/or paint overspray remains in a confined area.  Moreover, where painting is involved, curtains help comply with certain regulation that require painting activities to be conducted in an enclosed area.

A prep station is frequently a worthwhile investment, but each individual owner / operator must consider their specific needs before making the investment.

 Posted by at 4:47 PM
Oct 242012

Over the past couple of months, we’ve gotten request after request for sets of those small rubber tips — you know the ones that are placed on the metal ends of  filter grids allowing the filter grid to be held into place within the holding frame.  These are small, little parts but without the exhaust side of you booth is rendered unusable.

We now offer these rubber tips at!  They come in sets of 48 and can be purchased for 11 gauge wire (RT-SM-48) and 9 gauge wire (RT-LG-48).  Another simply way we at are responding to the needs of our customers and keeping paint booths across the nation running.

 Posted by at 1:22 PM
Oct 032012

The U.S. paints and coatings market is massive.  Paints and coatings are used in a wide range of applications and industries, including architectural, automobile, marine and aerospace, to name just a few.  So what is the state of the industry?

SBI, a leading industrial market research company focusing on energy, materials and chemicals, estimates that the U.S. paints and coatings market is currently valued at $22.1 billion.  SBI noted that growth from 2007 to 2011 was anemic at best, but the organization projects the market will benefit from a number of factors in the coming years to reach $30 billion in 2021 (an annual growth rate of just above 3%).

Factors for growth include a resumption of construction projects and increased consumer spending; however, growth is tempered by more stringent environmental regulations and higher prices of raw material inputs.

In 2011, SBI believed that solvent-based paints and coatings claimed nearly 80% of the market, but by 2021 SBI projects this segment will have lost share to water-based paints, as Americans seek ways to reduce air pollutants and look out for their own health.

So if the paint and coatings market is projected to grow in the US, the industries involved in the application of paints and coatings will also see growth.  Given the current challenging economic environment, both in the US and around the world, this appears to be a bold prediction.  Only time will tell for sure.

 Posted by at 1:39 PM

What to do While at NACE in New Orleans!

 3) Autobody Industry News  Comments Off on What to do While at NACE in New Orleans!
Sep 272012

Are you heading to NACE in New Orleans, LA?  Well we have decided to post a few of our favorite food spots — those a bit off the map, but absolutely 100% New Orleans.

  • Acme Oyster House:  As the name suggests, this place is known for its oysters.  And if you are really adventurous, try the Oyster Challenge.  If you can consume 15 dozen oysters in one hour, you’ll get your name on their Oyster Hall of Fame.  To be the all-time bivalve champion, you’ll to get through 43 dozen.  And don’t forget to try the fries – they are a New Orleans institution.
  • Cafe du Monde:  If you want a cup of coffee before heading off to the conference, stop off at this New Orleans landmark.  Cafe Du Monde Coffee was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market. The Cafe is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It closes only on Christmas Day and on the day an occasional Hurricane passes too close to New Orleans.  Besides coffe, the are famous for their beignets — a square piece of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar.  Go to the original in the French Quarter.
  • Antoine’s Restaurant:  Since 1840, world-renowned Antoine’s Restaurant has set the standard that made New Orleans one of the greatest dining centers of the world.  It is the birthplace of such culinary classics as Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou and Pommes de Terre Souffles.  Be prepared to spend some money, or better yet get your paint company to foot the bill.
  • Commander’s Palace:  A New Orleans institution in the Garden District. Behind the turquoise and white shades, the Haute Creole cuisine has been evolving since opening in 1880.  Plus look into a break for lunch where you can get a great meal and indulge in the 25 cent martini — schedule your lunch so you do not need to return to the convention!
  • Domilise’s:  In a city where it seems there are as many po’boy joints as people, Domilise’s stands apart. The cottony French bread is from Leidenheimer, the iconic local bakery; the catfish, shrimp, and oysters are freshly fried; and the proprietors are adept practitioners of New Orleans–style gruff love. There’s even a strange ritual that involves standing in line to obtain a number that grants you the privilege of standing in another line to order. This is how things are done in New Orleans, but after biting into a sandwich at this ramshackle corner restaurant, you won’t be inclined to question it.
  • The Galley:  A New Orleans–style neighborhood restaurant given over almost entirely to the bounty of the local brackish waters. The menu features boiled shrimp, crawfish, and crabs as well as fried seafood po’boys, shellfish pasta, and simply prepared entrées of fresh finfish. Owners Dennis and Vicky Patania have been serving their famous fried soft-shell crab po’boy at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 35 years.
  • Cochon:  A revelation, not for its ability to make Cajun food seem as au courant as Mediterranean, but because it does so without dressing the cuisine infancy clothes. Meals begin with small plates of fried rabbit livers on pepper jelly toasts and wood oven–roasted oysters, and continue with country-style charcuterie such as headcheese and boudin; the procession of courses peaks with exceptional main dishes like brothy rabbit and dumplings served in a cast-iron skillet, or ham hocks and grits in brown gravy (imagine osso buco with a drawl). All pay loving tribute to the region’s rural cuisine while suggesting there’s more to it than one might have assumed.  Bring the checkbook!!!
  • Pat O’Briens:  The Hurricane became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in 1940’s New Orleans, apparently debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair and was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses the first drinks were served in. It’s said that O’Brien created the heavily rummed drink as a means to get rid of the large stock of rum his Southern distributors forced him to buy.  We suggest you stop here because after a few of these, you’ll be stumbling back to your hotel.

Enjoy NACE and enjoy New Orleans!!!

 Posted by at 8:41 AM
Sep 272012

We at would like to acknowledge the winners of the 2012 AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings (“A&AC”) Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry.

Current and past honorees are leaders in the collision repair industry and their communities, in addition to the tremendous contributions they have made to their respective businesses.  Below are the 2012 honorees.

  • Kim Parson:  President of Automotive Collision Technologies, Inc. in Randallstown, MD
  • Catherine Mills:  Executive Director of the Florida Autobody Collision Alliance in Orange Park, FL
  • Kim Roberts:  Manager of Fix Auto in Barrie, Ontario
 Posted by at 8:33 AM