Parr Auto Body— A Leading Collision Repair Shop That Focuses on Top-Line Procedures and Equipment
Certified Collision Care recently had the opportunity to connect with Chelsea Stebner, CEO and Managing Partner of Parr Auto Body in Saskatoon, SK. We wanted to find out more about Parr Auto Body’s positive impact on their community through “world-class” collision repair. How is their shop retaining their elevated role, utilizing BodyShop Booster tools like non-contact estimating, and navigating COVID-19 related industry changes? What we learned may inspire your shop to explore new management tools. Not only was Parr Auto Body one of the first shops to excel at best business practices during the pandemic, they also use their certifications to benefit their interactions with insurance companies and follow “The Great Game of Business” tips or open book management. While this transparent financial concept may be an anomaly to many, this technique has been a game changer that has raised their net profits from single to double digits!
History of Parr Auto Body:
Parr Auto Body first opened its doors in 1952. Back then, a man named Ken Scissors owned the shop and named it after a nearby golf course. His family continued ownership before selling it to Tom Bissonnette in 1999. In 2014, a succession buyout occurred with Tom and his wife retaining a minority ownership, Chelsea Stebner as 30% shareholder and the balance of shares being divided evenly amongst 4 Parr employees (Brayden Neufeld, Don Pogoda, Shane Desrosiers, David Sather). Tom wanted to keep the shop’s personalized, family-oriented tradition, instead of selling his business to a consolidator. This philosophy was important to Tom and continued the shop’s focus on honesty, integrity, safety, craftsmanship and community. These values sustain their business in Saskatoon, SK— a city of just under 300,000 people on a geographically sparse province where over 1 million people live on 651,900 square km’s. Parr Auto Body is certified by Certified Collision Care, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Acura ProFirst, Kia, Nissan, INFINITI and I-CAR Gold Class and Aluminum. They are also SGI Elite Accredited.
Approximately 125 vehicles are serviced monthly at Parr Auto Body and the shop normally employs around 20 people. This close-knit team has made Parr Auto Body a customer favorite. Parr Auto Body has the distinction of a majority of customer traffic coming through positive word of mouth, referral, and repeat customers. This loyalty is unsurprising- not only do their customers receive the highest caliber of service available but they also leave with a gift of home-baked cookies. These personalized touches meet customer demand, lead to great online reviews, and keep the shop busy and successful. Parr is currently relying on 10 core employees and their investment in tools, automated technology, equipment, training, and certifications through Certified Collision Care to guide them through the current pandemic.
How the Shop Became a COVID-19 Management Leader:
Chelsea explains, “Our time is precious and invested in so many way. To be good ‘business people’, you must be good ‘community people’.” Practicing what they preach, Parr Auto Body donates to multiple local charities, local sports and car racing, and the Ronald McDonald House. The COVID-19 crisis was handled with this same community minded spirit and holistic attention. As Parr Auto Body had been using A.I.-driven tools through BodyShop Booster since the fall of 2019, they were one of the first shops to use this technology within the current market. “We were immediately able to adapt to non-contact estimating. Using BodyShop Booster, a new customer is automatically phoned and we send out the link to capture customer images and begin an estimate for the insurance companies.”
Calling the process of using these automated tools “excellent”, Chelsea says that Parr Auto Body began practicing non-contact drop-offs, pick-ups, and even pick-up and delivery of customer vehicles early on. Customers responded well to the changes, knowing that the company was looking out for them with an easy and convenient process. “We (currently) sanitize incoming and outgoing vehicles and even manage vendors and parts the same way— all non-contact. We even have a schedule for complete daily disinfecting of our shop and office.”
When it comes to internal business practices that differentiate them from the competition, Chelsea mentions 3 key points, “First, we chose a path to ‘grow our own’ technicians. Our industry is continually facing a shortage of skilled workers and we made the decision to grow journeymen technicians. We currently have 5 apprentices on our team and 3 of our shareholders are a positive result of that original plan to ‘grow’ our own technicians.”
According to Chelsea, they also recognize that there is sometimes a great disruption between what OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) repair procedures instruct and what insurance companies will reimburse each shop. Despite that discrepancy, Parr has chosen to walk the path of always doing the right thing, instead of what is convenient. Acknowledging that this can create friction in an ever-changing industry, Parr Auto Body’s shared vision and values guide them to do what is right ALL of the time. “We have clearly stated procedures when building repair plans for vehicles in our care. Following the proper repair procedure is the way to our mutual customer’s vehicles.”
Chelsea calls her shop’s ongoing certification and recertification an “easy and thorough process” where Certified Collision Care team members were friendly and helpful. “To be OE (Original Equipment) Certified for a manufacturer that provides a certification often requires many tools and/or equipment. These tools might only be used on a specific make or model of vehicle. OE certifications may require a piece of frame equipment, upwards of a $100,000 investment, to sometimes sit idle. Dedication to moving forward in collision repair is not inexpensive. However, we have aligned ourselves with a nationally recognized certification program, Certified Collision Care, an independent program that many brands choose to also align themselves with for the sake of our customer’s comfort and safety.”
Delighted by the increase in profits since Parr Auto Body decided to take the route of open book management, Chelsea details that the lessons from the book, “The Great Game of Business” have created an environment of “transparency and accountability” amongst their team members. Each staff member can “open the books and see the true costs of running a business and the risks we take -as business owners – every single day.” Employees also have the chance to impact the community with discussions and decisions over dollars and time sent back into their community. She furthers that, since the “Great Game” was implemented, the open profit and loss sharing has created owners out of a team, “This lets the team budget and plan for their own lives and future success.”
“Certification is a huge help with our accreditation with our insurance company. It’s a great way for shops to follow a streamlined process.”
Chelsea Stebner, Managing Partner of Parr Auto Body, sits on the Steering Committee with the CCIF (national forum). She is a contributing writer for Collision Repair Magazine. Chelsea has been involved with Saskatoon Auto Body Association creating a long term scholarship for upcoming collision repair apprentices, sits on a committee with the NSBA and is a member of the local Chamber of Commerce. She is also dedicated to mentorship and leadership in her community through several organizations. Chelsea is the driving force behind Parr’s dedication to community charities and creating volunteer opportunities for her team.