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Refinishing, Collision Repair, and Paint Booth Trends to Follow This Year

It’s that time of year when the experts at Accudraft evaluate the up-and-coming paint booth trends. As our market continues to show an expected growth of 4.8% until 2031, we fully intend to grow with the changes. As leading paint booth manufacturers, we’re always looking ahead of the curve to provide the best products, service, and technology for our customers—ahead of the industry.

Here are our top three trends every shop owner should follow in 2024.

#1: The Growing Need for Digital Metrics

The biggest trend of 2024 is the growing need for digital metrics within the finishing industry. While there are outside factors that may affect business growth (like the environment, economy, and societal effects mentioned above), the biggest changes should come from within a shop. However, many businesses have lacked the knowledge of their shops performance due to limited technological capabilities. Accudraft saw this gap within the industries we serve and created a cloud-based software for our customers, called LIVE. It provides real data in real time, including how much gas, run time, and electricity a booth uses. By utilizing these metrics, businesses can monitor and track efficiency between different paint booths, employees, and locations—all in one, mobile-friendly platform.

Knowing which paint booth, painter, or shop location is over or under performing can help managers make informed business decisions when it comes to upgrades and expansion opportunities. Let’s look at a real-life example.

Imagine a collision repair shop owns two locations. Location A has one booth while location B has two. At location B, they have been turning out only a handful of more jobs per day than location A, despite having a second paint booth. With LIVE, the manager can now look through each location’s performance data to determine where bottleneck issues are occurring. They see that specifically the first paint booth at location B is taking nearly double the time for a heat cycle than the second booth. Because of this information, they replaced the booth’s heat reclaim system and are now turning out more than double the jobs at location B than A.

#2: The Social Impact on The Finishing Industry

Being that many body shops use a direct-to-consumer business model, owners should be mindful of current societal and cultural trends that may impact their industry. Especially within automotive, vehicle standards are changing all the time and shops must always be in the know. For example, reading up on consumer reports of the most popular vehicle models in their area can help business owners ensure their shop can accommodate their customers. Location plays a huge role in what types of vehicles shops can expect to service. Body shops in more urban and suburban areas will likely have more sedans and compact to mid-sized SUVS, whereas more rural areas tend to have more large SUVs and trucks. By knowing your typical vehicle mix, shops can anticipate what type of paint booth they will need (standard, compact, extra-tall, or custom).

“Van Life” Takes Off During Covid-19

It’s no surprise now that Covid-19 had a huge economic and societal impact. One of the positive trends that emerged from the pandemic is the huge increase in “van life;” That is, living, travelling, and working out of a renovated van. As Covid-19 forced many to stay home and work remotely, some took it as an opportunity to pack up their homebody life and travel. Van and RV sales saw a huge uptick during 2020-2022, and unfortunately many body shops were not able to accommodate this new clientele.

Rather than losing out on potential business and customers, some shops were quick to adapt to this emerging market by either retrofitting their current booth or installing a new one. While shops adjusted their vehicle mix, booth manufacturers had to cater to this new trend as well. For example, Accudraft offers the flagship Italia model in an Alto version, which has an increased interior cabin height.

A Push for Public Transportation Across America

Many cities are facing a push for public transportation, for two main reasons. First, public transport (such as buses, trains, and subways) can help reduce emissions by using sustainable vehicle models and decrease the number of gas-powered cars on the road. Second, citizens of major cities want to rely on public transportation to get around, either because they don’t own a car or for convenience.

With a surge of buses and trains taking over major cities, transit authorities must either have their own finishing system or rely on a trusted body shop to accommodate their vehicles. At Accudraft, we’re experienced in designing paint booths ideal for these large sized vehicles. In fact, we’ve worked with the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to completely remake their finishing system and address their key concerns.

Their current setup couldn’t accommodate the 60-foot articulated buses recently purchased by UTA. Additionally, the old system was not energy-inefficient, as it featured an outdated, inadequate filtration system and had a sealing problem. Together, we created the ideal system for UTA: A TX paint booth with a large cabin and shadowless interior design, engineered specifically to address all UTA’s concerns. Read the full case study here.

#3: An Increasing Environmental Awareness

In today’s climate, it’s important for business owners to be conscious of current environmental concerns. Not only of the ones they should abide by, but how they can alter their business models to be more environmentally friendly; This includes how they conduct business, what services or products they provide, and what services or products they use. One of the factors that auto body shops should look at is their finishing system.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has overseen the paint booth industry for decades, updating their regulations throughout the years to be mindful of current environmental concerns. While a paint booth itself doesn’t necessarily require any environmental regulations, everything that happens inside and around it does. From the toxins that are emitted during spraying to the chemicals exhausted while baking, it’s crucial that finishing facilities abide by EPA rules.

However, there are still things paint booth manufacturers can do to help lower the booth’s environmental impact. For example, Accudraft uses EnergySmart™ technology to save shops time and up to 50% on energy costs. All our models come standard with this EnergySmart™ VFD package for the ultimate in electrical energy savings.

How to Stay in the Know with Paint Booth Trends

At Accudraft, our experts are hands-on in their field and are always ahead of emerging industry trends. The best way to stay in the know with any changes is to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive monthly insights. If your shop is interested in adding our LIVE technology to a booth, contact us online.