Office and Office Employees
Pleasant working conditions are just as important for your office staff as they are for your production employees. A properly designed office promotes efficiency and boosts morale. These are the people that talk to your customers; you want to keep them happy. At least 48 square feet of floor space should be allocated for each person working in the office.
Many shops provide a dedicated office for insurance adjustors who visit their shop. Locate sales / adjustor’s offices as close to the inspection / estimating area as possible.
Again, don’t overlook the customer waiting area: it should be comfortable, attractive and clean. Items to consider:
- Storage for books, files, paper and other office supplies.
- Customer restrooms.
- Employee lunchrooms doing dual-duty as space for employee conferences, training and meetings.
- Furniture / fixtures for employees.
- Comfortable, attractive, clean customer waiting area.
Stock and Parts Room
Like every shop, yours will need space for storing supplies, new and used parts, and the parts removed from jobs in process. To reduce cycle times and maximize productivity, repairs should not begin until all the required parts are received and checked for accuracy. This requires an inventory system to easily track what parts are on hand and what is still required for each job. One of the simplest methods of handling your parts inventory is to store all parts related to a specific job on a “parts cart” made for this task. The parts can be easily moved from the parts room to the proper vehicle. If you chose this system, you’ll need floor space to store all of your carts.
A stock area is required to store sandpaper, masking paper, plastic repair materials, etc. in a secure area. Some collision shops use the space above the office to store these bulky items. If that’s what you want to do, make sure your architect designs a way to get to that area safely and easily.
A parts department/stockroom should be located near the production manager’s office to allow him easy access to see what items are on hand and the items required for a particular job. The size of this department will depend on your business. Some high production collision shops have their parts delivered once the supplier has all the parts and the vehicle is scheduled. This is an excellent way to reduce the size of the parts storage area. No matter what size your shop is, plan on an outside parts delivery door. That way, parts do not need to be brought through your office or shop when they are delivered. Again, this area should be kept clean and clutter-free.
You’ll have to plan on storing paint, solvents, strippers, body plastics and any other flammable supplies in the way your local authorities want you to. Local codes usually won’t let you store large quantities of paint in your mix room. A separate room is usually built to store paint inventory.