“Sometimes you’ve got to be honest with yourself and say, ‘Do I really have anything to lose here in the situation that I have?’” Juniper says. “Because I think all industries have things like this happen; it’s not unique to the collision business.”
Juniper’s authentic message won people over.
“All I’m doing is telling the truth. Now, the truth is ugly, but it is the truth. Then the customers have the opportunity to make their own decision,” he says. “By no means do I think it was a stroke of genius, it was anger combined with truth that really made it happen.”
Three-C still advertises a lot and it has a strong brand. Strong enough, in fact, that it’s able to support a satellite office in Worthington. The storefront location is a drop-off point and a place for estimates, but the main location in southwest Columbus does the repair work.
A new ballgame
Today, the collision industry is swinging the other way. Vehicles are high-tech with as many as 14 sensors; it’s almost like driving a computer. That requires a high level of quality and accuracy for repairs.
Juniper says insurance companies, just in the last year, started shutting down those original preferred shop programs.
Manufacturers want shops to become certified, but the training and equipment can be as much as $250,000 per manufacturer, which is why some shops specialize and only certify in a few brands. Preferred shops can’t charge as much for repairs. They haven’t set money aside for development and now many can’t afford the certification process.
Three-C is already certified in about a dozen brands, and work is being sent to the certified shops by the manufacturers.
“The old paradigm now is shifting to a whole new ballgame,” Juniper says.
As more shops certify, business may thin out a bit. But many manufacturers only want to certify a limited number of shops, he says. For example, Honda expects to certify 900 shops in an industry that has 70,000 body shops across the country.
“We’re potentially becoming hooked on the workflow from the manufacturers and we don’t know what that holds for the future,” Juniper says.
But if Juniper faces a similar situation to what he did in the 1990s, he knows what to do.