While wild winter weather has been a bane to drivers, it has been a boon for local auto body shops. Business is so good this winter, it has gone a long way to recoup for last year’s mild season.
“Winter for body shop industries is insane,” said Ryan Hall, an estimator for Everest Collision Repair in Tooele. We’ve actually had a lot more business this winter. Last winter didn’t really snow too much.”
Hall said he estimates the shop gets about 50 to 60 percent more business during winter months than during warmer times because of weather- related damage, such as crunched bumpers from slide-offs or crashes.
Denny Hudson, an employee at Cs & T Body and Paint in Tooele, likened winter to the Christmas retail season for auto body businesses. Snow and ice are crucial for the industry.
“Retail stores like Walmart and Shopko, and some of your Mom and Pop stores, depend on Christmas sales,” he said. “Body shops oftentimes depend on winter to survive because if there’s no snow on the road, there’s no business. We can make a living during the winter if there’s winter. If there’s no winter, it’s tough.”
If the weather is more mild like the 2011-2012 winter, it means fewer snowstorms to tangle with traffic. The timing of storms is important for the industry, too, Hudson said. Poorly timed storms can make a dry winter worse.
“Last winter we didn’t have a winter. We didn’t have any work, either. The only storms we had were on the weekend and were very few, and if it’s not during a drive time there are no accidents,” Hudson said.
Rick Hall, of Rick Hall Auto Body in Tooele, said he has noticed other factors that contribute to business besides the timing and quantity of snowstorms. “Slow times tend to be tax time and back-to-school time,” he said. “Those you can bank on being slow.”
Hall said while those times are typically slow, the opposite does not always hold true, even though there do tend to be more crashes — and more repair work — in the winter.
“Typically winters are a little more busy because of winterrelated stuff, but I didn’t really notice it this year as much as other years,” he said. “But once it started to warm up a little bit I noticed an increase immediately. Typically January, February are the busiest months of the year. But you never know. Once you start to plan on it and bank on it, of course, it doesn’t go that way.”