Consolidation Coach guides body shop owners through life-changing decisions

If you own an independent body shop, you’ve probably been approached by a large MSO to possibly sell your business.

Maybe you’re nearing retirement and want to fish and golf in your golden years. Maybe you have kids who aren’t interested in working in the collision repair industry.

Laura Gayowner of Consolidation Coachstarted its activity after selling its shop to a large MSO.

Her story began when she landed a job at an auto dealership which eventually led to an opportunity to work in the company’s collision center. Gay excelled in the collision center, and within just a year she was running the shop, doubling her income.

Subsequently, she was recruited to work for Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, Progressive insurance and USAA in appraisal, bodily injury, salvage, arbitration and management.

In 2006, a store owner approached Gay and her ex-husband about buying a financially troubled store. Gay brokered the transaction by purchasing the boutique’s account assets and real estate. In its first 18 months, it tripled its annual sales from $1 million to $3 million. The store’s revenue reached $5.5 million in sales in less than three years.

Five years later, Gay bought a second failing collision center to replicate his success, growing it from $750,000 to $3 million in the first year.

In 2015, she sold the two boutiques to Caliber Collisionafter learning as much as possible about consolidators.

Afterwards, she started helping some of her friends and associates sell their stores, and in 2017 she founded the Consolidation Coach. She saw a definite need for a company that can help smaller, independent stores when that phone call from an MSO comes in.

Today, the Consolidation Coach specializes in assisting body shop owners in sales to MSOs nationwide. With a mantra of “been there, done that”, Gay has received countless accolades from clients for his negotiation skills, knowledge and experience.

She also now has Florida Collision Boarda separate consultancy business that provides store valuations, marketing and operational advice.

Laura now lives in Georgetown, South Carolina with her high school sweetheart and three dogs. She is an avid golfer, loves anything related to any type of racing, and is a member of several car clubs and women’s golf leagues.

Who normally benefits the most when an MSO acquires an independent?

It’s never that easy. Consolidation is changing the landscape of the industry, and in many ways it mirrors changes in society. If you own a body shop, you know that…

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