Fred Sleman from Five Star Panels in Tullamarine, Melbourne is one of the first Australian independents to invest in his own calibration system.
On a good day, in pre-Covid conditions, Sleman can have up to 150 cars on site and will repair around 45-50 cars per week.
His business specialises in structural repairs.We asked Sleman what led him to become an early adopter and take the plunge to perform his own recalibration.
“It was after attending the Paint & Panel L!VE conference last year. There was a presentation by Bosch on ADAS which really demonstrated how widespread ADAS systems are and the consequences of not recalibrating. There was also a meeting with Suncorp around the same time where they talked about the need for recalibration.
“I thought to myself should I just worry about today or should I be proactive? We had the opportunity to take on another workshop where there was enough space to carry out recalibration. We use this workshop for customer handovers and blueprinting as well as the calibration. I purpose-built the whole recalibration area.”
Sleman sees a number of business opportunities and benefits from offering recalibration as a service. He has set up a separate company, Five Star Calibrations and gone into business with his brother Ronnie.
“As well as the convenience of being able to recalibrate the vehicles Five Star Panels repairs we have already undertaken recalibration for other repairers. This is a new revenue stream for the business. There are also opportunities with government agencies and fleet companies,” he said.
A dealer typically charges between $600-$1000 per calibration, Five Star Calibrations prices start at $400 which will make the service highly attractive to insurance companies and his self-insured fleet customers.
As well as the investment in equipment there was a hefty time investment in training. Fred and Ronnie spent around two full weeks training with Hella. Ronnie says that much of the processes are common sense. Fred has been really impressed with the backup that Hella is providing. “If we run into any problems or have any questions we can arrange a Zoom meeting and they will talk us through it. Every car is different and has their own issues, however the more cars you work on the easier it becomes.
“There is a huge issue of liability around ADAS - many people don’t understand that a unit needing adjustment is not going to let you know by tripping a fault code that can be picked up by a diagnostic unit. We carry out a check on the global sensors and are able to generate a report which details everything we have done and that all of the sensors are properly aligned. This offers security for us, the customer and the insurer with no worry about liability.”