Nylund’s Collision owners invest $2.5 million in relocation
Englewood, Colo.—Most mornings the smell of bacon and pancakes permeate the customer greeting area of Nylund’s Collision Center. Preparing breakfast for customers, and shop personnel, is one of the many ways owners Rob and Carol Grieve say they’re able to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The Grieves relocated their 10-year-old shop from Dartmouth Avenue to South Santa Fe Drive on Jan. 1, allowing them to double in size.
Unlike most collision repair shops, Nylund’s does not participate in insurance companies’ DRP programs. Instead, the Grieves employ a customer-centric business model, catering exclusively to the customers’ interests, wants, and needs.
“Ten years ago, this business model would not have been possible,” said Rob Grieve, who relies heavily on social media to promote his shop. To date, the shop’s Facebook page has more than 1,200 likes, nearly as many followers, and a 4.9-star rating.
Grieve also maintains a presence on LinkedIn and Twitter, with posts that center on information about the collision repair and the insurance process, including post-repair inspections and diminished value claims. When motorists are educated, they tend to trust the source and want to do business with you, he added.
The results speak for themselves, he said, pointing out that even with the new 16,000-sqaure-foot facility, they have a three-month wait on drivable repairs. The majority of the work is on Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Subaru vehicles.
Vehicle owners who have affection for their cars and want them repaired accurately usually find their way to Nylund’s, regardless of their insurance carrier.
“Everything here centers on the guest experience,” he said. “When they leave, they’ll talk about us, either positively or negatively. I want to make sure they have something nice to say.” For that reason, the “customer experience” is at the heart of the shop’s new layout and design.
First impressions, efficiency
The facility that now houses Nylund’s was once an oil and gas distributor. Even though that meant extra cleanup on the 1.5-acre property, which involved removing underground tanks and some soil indemnification to remove contamination, Grieve said he was able to set up the customer waiting area and production space for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
The building’s façade was outfitted with the business name in large red letters and the customer waiting area was painted and remodeled. No walls were erected to give the interior space an open feeling, he said, which non-verbally signals to visiting guests that the business has nothing to hide.
“People feel more comfortable when they see you working on the same brand of car they own,” he said, adding that he frequently invites customers into the shop’s production area.
The scent of breakfast or cookies emanating from the kitchen and the open customer reception area activates guests’ sense of smell, he said. “It takes the sting off why they came here in the first place.”
Guests are also welcome to overlook the shop’s production area from the second story above the office space. To add to the effect, Grieve hung a larger-than-life U.S. flag on the rear wall, and above the spray booth and prep station, Garmat and PPG Envirobase banners.
Paint booth upgrade
When it came to deciding what type of paint booth to install in the new shop, Grieve said the choice was simple one, Garmat, since he wanted to buy an American-made unit. And since Garmat is made in Colorado, he said that was even better.
John Baker, owner of John Baker Sales, Colorado’s Garmat sales and service provider, was “wonderful to work with,” Grieve said. “He made the recommendations, then I signed the contract.
“I learned so much from the process,” Grieve said, referring to the paint booth planning and installation. The Garmat 3000 Series downdraft booth is equipped with a three-foot pit, which increases the airflow over the car when painted. “This volume of airflow sucks down overspray,” he said, pointing out that the booth stays much cleaner than the old one, which only had a one-foot pit.
Baker also installed a heated Garmat Tier 1 prep deck, which basically can function as a paint booth for jamming and bumper jobs. “Having both is absolutely more efficient,” Grieve said. Baker also outfitted the shop with aluminum DanAm Air quick-fitting airlines.
In between the prep-station and paint booth is a paint bank filled with PPG Envirobase, supplied by Single Source, which has been supplying Nylund’s with paint for more than 10 years.
Two Car-O-Liner benches, coupled with a Car-O-Tronic measuring system, get most vehicles straightened out, Grieve said, adding that they also use a Car-O-Liner spot welder.
Customers’ interests first
Grieve is unabashedly a consumer advocate when it comes to repairing collision-damaged cars safely and accurately. “It’s not that I’m ‘anti-insurance,’ but that I’m ‘pro-consumer.’”
It’s important for shop owners and insurance companies to remember their roles in the repair process, he said. “My job is to fix the car properly and your job is to fund the repair. Let’s not get our roles confused here. I know how to fix the car and ultimately I’m responsible for the repair.”
For that reason, he insists on only installing OE parts, and proudly asserts that he hasn’t purchased an aftermarket one in more than three years. A major go-to parts supplier is Kuni Lexus, he added.
Fixing cars accurately requires access to manufacturer repair data, OEM-level scan tools, and ongoing training, he said. A great online training source, he said, is Collision Hub’s Repair University, hosted by Kristen Felder. For a single modest monthly fee, the shop’s 18 employees can view instructional videos on the latest repair techniques, such as MIG brazing and more.
About seven months ago, Grieve said he began having his techs perform a pre- and post-repair scans of vehicles, even though some insurance companies do not want to pay for it.
Something as simple as replacing a side mirror with lane-departure technology could potentially malfunction if out of calibration, he warned, causing a driver who usually relies on it to get in an accident when it doesn’t function in regular driving conditions. “Just think of the liability if we didn’t do a post-scan. A shop’s responsibility to fix a collision-damaged car now extends into the electronic realm.”