Eric’s Auto Body
📍 Marinette, Wisconsin
Eric Gutknecht has worked on cars since he was a teenager. Two years ago, he took the plunge and opened his own body shop, Eric’s Auto Body. Lacking the top-of-the-line equipment needed to make a dent in his competition, Eric invested in new Global Finishing Solutions (GFS) equipment to set his shop up for success.
Please introduce your business and tell us your story:
“I started working on cars when I was in high school, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I worked at an independent body shop for two or three years when I got out of tech school, then I worked at a Chevy dealership for 16 years. I worked on cars at my house, and I was always doing stuff on the side for people. I got to the point where I decided to do this for myself full-time. I bought a building about two years ago and remodeled it, and Eric’s Auto Body was born. The transition wasn’t easy, but I’m proud of how far this business has come.”
What services do you offer and what kinds of jobs do you usually perform?
“We are an independent body shop that performs traditional collision repair. We also do minor repair work — dings and dents — for a few used car dealerships in town.”
What GFS equipment did you purchase and how has it benefited your business?
“Installation was completed on an Ultra XS Paint Booth and Ultra XS Mix Room from GFS in June 2020. Our new equipment has been tremendous. We are getting cleaner paint jobs because the airflow in the paint booth is better. The booth heater has also been a huge benefit, as my old paint booth didn’t have heat. I spray waterborne paint, and the heat helps get the humidity out of the booth. I love that we can walk right from the mix room into the paint booth. We don’t have to go outside into the shop.”
How did you decide on GFS equipment?
“GFS equipment is made in Wisconsin. I went to the Center for Excellence training facility in Osseo, Wisconsin, and saw what GFS had to offer. It looked like they were a top-notch company. Plus, being in Wisconsin, if anything goes wrong, GFS is across the state, not across the country.”
What is your plan for the future of your business?
“We are finishing a 2,400-square-foot addition on the shop. That will bring our total square footage to 6,000. We’ll have two more stalls. One side will be for body work, and the other side will be for paint and assembly. We’ll probably hire one more person to wash cars, and I have two veteran technicians who have been doing this for a long time. You’ve got to sacrifice a lot to make it happen. I’ve got kids, and it’s not easy when you’re at the shop every weekend. It’s not for everybody, but it’s rewarding.”