Accountants are discovering that specialized industry knowledge is necessary for marketing services to niche industries. Accounting firms have discovered that each industry they serve has it’s own unique set of operating systems and procures, and what may be the norm in one industry may not be appropriate for another. In fact, the IRS has identified over 100 different industries and niches with unique operating characteristics.
The business and operational principles of an auto body shop are different from your typical retail or manufacturing business.
Today’s auto body shop and collision repair center require the use of large and complex estimating databases, covering every aspect of estimating complete and accurate labor times and labor notes for the thousands of operations performed on existing and newly introduced vehicle models. The use of these databases is a difficult and ongoing challenge in that only a very small fraction of the labor values within these products are based on actual physical time studies.
All “Database Information Providers” utilize a variety of methodologies to develop the labor values in their products, that can at times result in information that does not accurately reflect the real world labor requirements of a repair operation which in turn can hinder the ability of an average estimator to consistently produce accurate repair estimates or “blueprints” that match the actual repair process.
Knowing how the business and operational principles of an auto body shop are different from your typical retail or manufacturing business enhances an accounting practitioners ability to best serve his or her clients.
There are a variety of resources available to help accountants develop the knowledge needed to market their services to the industry. Among them is the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, SCRS, which was founded in Riverside, Missouri in 1982 to promote, support and encourage exemplary businesses committed to the future of the collision repair industry, provide the visibility and leadership needed to raise the professional image of the industry and advance the business conditions of the industry and are a key resource for accountants.
Another resource is a trade periodical, the Automobile Body Repair News.
Automotive Body Repair News is a monthly trade publication serving the collision repair industry. The editorial content is aimed primarily at the collision repair shop owner and his or her technicians. ABRN primarily provides news, product and technical service information on a variety of collision repair topics.
This technical information takes several forms within the magazine, including features and technical departments such as Tech Tips and Paint Shop. In addition, ABRN offers the reader industry news, environmental news and business management information, and most recently, new technology information. The management information presented stresses practical examples and real-world situations the reader can use to improve his or her business management skills.
No matter which trade magazine you subscribe to, or what association or society you become associated with, this involvement is mandatory to your success in marketing to the niche. Participation in an association or society will also gain you access to the membership lists for marketing, while trade magazines and periodicals will usually make their subscriber lists available for rental. Another good way to target members of the industry.
Along the way, you will want to develop specific marketing tools, specifically describing your expertise in the field, plus you’ll need to develop a library of industry specific statistics and details including the methods used by industry members to manipulate their income. Knowing this industry “insider” information is absolutely critical to developing a strong relationship with prospects in the industry.