Redefining the Auto Body Industry

Best Body Shop Owner, Clay Hoberecht, shares how Innovative Tools helped create his dream shop and is changing the way people view body men and women.

Winner of our $5,000 Dream Shop Giveaway, Clay Hoberecht from Best Body Shop in Wichita, KS

Last year at SEMA 2017, Bryan Johnson, owner of Innovative Tools and Technologies and Charley Hutton, star of American Hot Rod announced Best Body Shop as the winner of the $5,000 Dream Shop Giveaway.

Since then, Clay Hoberecht and his team at Best Body Shop have transformed their shop. Best Body Shop switched from being a traditional body shop where the car moves from each station to having individual stalls for each car, allowing technicians to move to the cars allowing for more flexibility and organization.

Now that Best Body Shop has had 8 months to work with our tools and their new set-up, we decided to call them up and see what they really thought of Innovative Tools and Technologies products!

“The [auto body] industry is changing dramatically and the way we repair cars needs to change as well. Innovative has always been a source to back that change and supply the necessary tools to help [facilitate] that.” – Clay Hoberecht, Owner of Best Body Shop

ITT: You posted something about how you changed your shop around to get ready for Innovative products, and we were just wondering how that changed the atmosphere?

Clay: For us, we actually set up individual stalls and we have the technicians move to the cars instead of the cars move to the technicians. And of course, as you know, everything with Innovative is on wheels. So it makes it extremely easy. Back in the day, you used to have the wet sand and polish cabinet and you’d go over and get your stuff and move it to your work. Now you have a cart that rolls over to your area. There’s a lot more free space around a work area with Innovative because you don’t need everything all at the same time. If you’re doing body work, you bring your body work cart over and you do your body work. When you’re doing polishing, you bring your polish cart, if you’re masking, you bring your masking cart.

By utilizing Innovative Tools and Parts Carts, Best Body Shop has created a better flow and gained more auto body shop efficiency.

I think one of the biggest challenges that we’re going to run into is actually getting the mindset of the technicians that change from, “I’m a dungy, dirty body guy” to “I’m a clean, professional repair technician that’s doing surgery on a vehicle.”

ITT: With that being said, have you noticed a change in attitude within the people you work with?

Clay: One of the biggest challenges that we’re going to run into is actually changing the mindset of the technicians from, “I’m a dungy, dirty body guy” to “I’m a clean, professional repair technician that’s doing surgery on a vehicle.”

What Innovative has done as far as cleanliness—I can speak for myself and I can speak for the majority of my techs—when you’re able to utilize tooling instead of getting dirty and crawling around, of course, your mindset changes! All of a sudden you have more pride, not only in yourself, you have more pride in what you’re doing… you see the quality of the product that you are putting onto a car actually start to increase because you have more pride in yourself and what you’re doing.

The Innovative Material Cart is the industry standard auto body material cart.

ITT: What are some of your favorite products right now that you find in your shop and why?

Clay: I’m a massive fan of the body cart, prep cart, mask cart, like the whole idea of eliminating cabinets and putting it onto a cart that rolls. We utilize Innovative Tabs as well for labeling. It allows us to create a process instead of having four or five different pieces of sandpaper, three or four different kinds of body mud or glue we’re able to know exactly what we need as a team. We’re able to label it, make it, and create a home…everyone understands and knows where things go. Whenever you have a visual cleanliness, it helps. It helps the mentality to follow suit.

[Innovative Tools helps] you have more pride in yourself and what you’re doing.

ITT: I keep going back to how you mentioned that there’s this image that body shop men are messy. What words do you think should be attached to body men? How would you describe yourself?

The Innovative Tools SuperStand in action at Best Body Shop in Wichita, KS.

Clay: Physician, doctor, technician. The dent that I want to make in the industry before I die—which I’m not going to be able to do by myself—it’s going to be with a bunch of people that are thinking the same way. I would like to see a technician be seen for what they really are, a physician for your vehicle. You’re putting your kids lives in their hands. I have a picture in my head that I can’t get out…and that is walking into a shop [that] looks like a hospital with technicians that are dressed extremely well.

I’d like to see that person walk up, shake your hand and say, “Hey, let me show you the process,” not what we have now. [Currently]… you walk back and it’s like this, “oh no, is that a customer? Are we supposed to talk to him? I’m going to look the other way.” And it’s just…embarrassing.

If I gave customers a tour of the old shop, you would see these cabinets in the corner and there was no organization. There was no purpose. Whenever I walk back there now, they [the customers] see nice clean red racks that are in a row and are labeled. We have protocols that whenever we’re working on a car we bring the Innovative racks into the stall. I want it to be when they walk in, visually that they get this picture of, wow, that guy is in the middle of surgery right now on that car and there’s this respect.

“I can’t even put a number on how much we’ve sold because somebody walked into a shop and is sold by the fact that, wow, these guys are who I want to trust!”

ITT: The customer is working with someone they trust because you’re giving them that tour and you’re taking time out of your day. You deserve more attention and respect and for what you do and we have to recreate this vision of who is taking care of our cars.

Clay: Since the day I’ve set my eyes on Innovative tools, I’ve always said I want to be an Innovative shop and what that looks like is what I just described as a picture, but you guys supply almost everything that [technicians] need from bumper racks to dividing the nuts and bolts into a tackle boxes….I’m like yay, Innovative makes one of those! I can’t even put a number on the amount of money that we’ve been able to retain from organization. And, I can’t even put a number on how much we’ve sold because somebody walked into a shop and is sold by the fact that, wow, these guys are who I want to trust!

With help from Innovative Tools, Best Body Shop in Wichita is redefining the auto body mentality. To keep up-to-date with what Clay and his team are doing for the industry, follow Best Body Shop on Facebook, Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube channel!

Already using Innovative products and taking your body shop to the next level? Tag us on Instagram with #GetInnovative or #Iaminnovative. Check out “The Innovative Community” page  to see who is using our hashtags!

If you’re interested in becoming a part of something bigger with Innovative Tools and Clay, click here to join the Innovative Movement.

About Innovative Tools

Innovative Tools and Technologies is dedicated to helping customers be more efficient, productive, and profitable.

Innovative's passions don't end there. With the creation of the Innovative Movement, we are saving shop classes and helping invest in the next generation of auto body technicians!

Learn More