Michigan body shops need more bodies in their shops amid supply shortage

Local body shops need more bodies in their shops amid supply shortage
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 5:26 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Body shops across America are experiencing severe supply chain shortages including right here in mid-Michigan. On top of supply shortages, many body shops have a lack of bodies in the shop.

Some that have been in the business for decades say they’ve never seen anything like this.

Jack Carter started working in his dad’s body shop when he was just 16. He recalls a time when his dad gave a local news station an interview almost exactly like the one he’s giving News 10.

“They interviewed him because about thirty years ago we were in kind of the same predicament. Labor was hard to get and parts and everything. So he went into the used car business and started a lot and did pretty well,” said Carter.

A lot has happened in his 45-year career, including starting his body shop, Jack’s Body Shop in Jackson.

However, what hasn’t seemed to change is supply chain issues. Jack says he feels they’re getting worse. Supply shortages have forced some shops to start simply turning down business.

“I’ve pretty much stopped doing insurance work just because of the parts problem. My garage is so small I can’t afford to have cars sitting around here for five and six weeks,” said Carter.

That wait time is once the car is already in the shop. Jack says in many cases the wait time just to get in the shop is one to two months.

To lessen that time, Jackson body shops have been working together. Sometimes shops have resorted to referring their customers to other local garages that have a vacancy.

“All the dealerships from Extreme, to Art Moehn’s to Huffs... they’ve helped me, they’ve stuck by me and always give me plenty of work. So I can’t complain I’m always busy so they’re helping the little guy,” said Carter.

Other times, shops have the room but they don’t have the employees. The supply chain is only half the issue. The industry’s loss of growth and lack of newcomers is what worries Jack the most.

“I used to get calls about every week, somebody wanting a job. I haven’t had that happen in three or four months and normally I’d get them every week,” said Carter. “I think that with the labor force people just don’t want to do hard labor anymore, especially the young kids.”

He says he feels that when it comes to both supply and worker shortages, there’s only one solution.

“I think we have to get rid of COVID. We’ve got to get people so they’re not afraid to be out there and everything and we have got to get the chips,” said Carter.

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