A number of factors contribute to the success of the accident repair center. First of all, the company already owned the land on which the center was built, which is a great advantage considering the real estate costs.

Then there' the facility itself, which features 20 collision repair bays, two heated downdraft paint booths, two heated paint stations, and four costing and delivery bays. The spacious facility is designed for maximum efficiency, Diehl said.

Technicians are to work on virtually all makes of car, including a dual certification from electric vehicle startup Rivian to work on both electric cars and electric fleet transporters. The collision center is the only dual-certified Rivian facility in western Pennsylvania, Diehl said.

“OEM certification of technicians is expensive, and some brands are expensive than others,” Diehl said. “But it's worth it to be able to look after more customers.”

Other circumstances have also led to growth.

The new car shortage, for example, has supported Geese sales because consumers are choosing to repair their vehicles rather than buy new ones, Diehl said.

“Part of the reason we've been successful is because we do quality work, we have the right team in place, and the Diehl brand is well known in the Pittsburgh area,” she said. “We've built a very good reputation.”

Competitive prices have also contributed to the success.

“We do a lot of price buying to make sure we're competitive in the market,” Diehl said. “We monitor this constantly and do the same in our service departments.”

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The collision centers offer a five-year warranty on repairs, which differentiates them in the market, she said.

Despite the center's success, it wasn't all seashells and balloons in the beginning. After the pandemic began, auto insurance collision claims fell as business closures dramatically reduced the number of vehicles on the roads.

“It was a scary time,” Diehl said. “We took a lot more fleet repair work to get through this. We've reached out to anyone and everyone for business – have done whatever it takes to pull cars through the doors – and reduced our prices.

“But it worked,” she said. “Car dealers are very good at survival.”

The continuing shortage of parts makes it difficult to operate a collision center. Some vehicles have been stranded in Diehl's plants for up to three or four months. Rental vehicles are also difficult to obtain, said Diehl.

Communicating regularly with customers helps reduce their frustrations, she added.

By Rebecca French

Rebecca French writes books about Technology and smartwatches. Her books have received starred reviews in Technology Shout, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller...