The following overview of the auto body industry is courtesy of Babcox Research,
www.babcox.com, a leading
automotive aftermarket business-to-business magazine publisher. Data is taken
from their 2000-2001 industry report.
Body shop owners are generally 35-49 years of age and most (68%)
have some education beyond a high school diploma. The average body
shop owner has been in the industry 23.9 years and most body shops
(77%) are family owned.
The average shop has been in business 19.1 years. Word of mouth/car
dealer referral is the most popular source of business for these
shops.The average shop employs 6.9 employees. Nearly 30%
of shops have sales volumes of more than $750,000. The average for
all shops is $543,424 (56% is attributed to labor and 44% is attributed
According to one study, approximately 60% of shops surveyed used
just one brand of paint, and median monthly paint purchases exceeded
$1,000. Trade magazines and jobbers are the most common sources
of information on new products and quality is the most important
factor influencing overall buying decisions (affecting decisions
much more than price). On average, 35% of shops buying dollars are
spent on crash parts, with paint (18%) second.
Nearly 70% of shops have at least one employee who attended a training
session in 1999. Almost 60% of the shops have at least one ASE-certified
technician. A typical shop spends most of its time, about 42%, on
body work. It spends about 34% of its labor hours on painting; 11%
on mechanical repairs; and 13% on pulling, straightening, and measuring
Environmental and Health Issues
Paints, solvents and cleaners used in the industry emit pollutants that contribute
to the localized formation of ground level smog and air pollution. The production
and use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) content paint is on the rise
due to EPA mandates and manufacturers' response to the needs of auto refinishers.
Common operation wastes including paint booth filters, paint dust, and floor
sweepings may be hazardous depending on the type of paint used. Waste paint
is toxic and ignitable (may also contain heavy metals, petroleum compounds and
organic acids). Most thinners and solvents are toxic and some (like naphtha
and kerosene) are flammable. Worker health issues in auto body operations include
exposure to these products, particulates, noise, and physical safety hazards.