(WKBN) – Local autobody shops are busier than ever, and it’s not just the weather that’s leading to an increase in business.
“Probably started in the middle of November, people getting out with the pandemic and stuff, and everybody wanting to get out and drive and with all the holidays and stuff,” said Ron Latone, co-owner of Superior Auto Body.
“Last fall, like last fall. It’s just been nonstop and can’t really tell you why,” said Douglas Fenstermaker, owner of King Collision.
One of the biggest reasons that it has been busy is that parts aren’t coming in on time, causing a delay in getting everything fixed.
“Delivery people, the whole trucking business, everything’s kind of gone awry a little bit with this whole pandemic,” Latone said.
Fenstermaker said they wait until they get all the parts for the car before they bring it in so they can get the car done as quickly as possible.
“There’s just a lot of challenges today, and I don’t foresee this easing up this year. I think this whole year is going to be just like this,” he said.
Latone said they also had issues getting paint for a while.
Over in Boardman, Fenstermaker said they’ve seen some cars brought in from accidents caused by the weather. Latone said he thinks they will start piling into their shop soon.
“Being the body shop, we usually see the cars two to three days after the accident, after they’re towed, so I’m sure we’ll be getting some phone calls on the stuff that’s already happened, but right now, they’re dealing with their insurance companies, and they’ll deal with us last,” he said.
With all of these cars, employees and shops are working around the clock, so it seems like there aren’t ever enough workers.
“We tell people we’re trying, we’re doing the best that we can. Not only that, we have technician shortages, too. I could hire three more technicians, but they’re just not there, so it’s a combination of everything,” Fenstermaker said.
First News reached out to multiple shop owners, some of whom didn’t want to meet because they were so busy and putting their name out there might attract more business.
Latone and Fenstermaker ask that customers be patient because the delays on parts are making it harder for the workers.