Written by Paul Day

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS) – The Denver area’s first winter storm of the season is a sure boost to business for local collision repair shops.

“(I’m) not saying we’re looking forward to the snowstorm but we’re here to help our customers out,” says Brian Greenley, owner-operator of the Maaco bodyshop near C470 and Santa Fe in Littleton.

On Friday, his employees were going over a damaged compact car freshly dropped off by the owner.

“This is typical,” says Gary Valdetero, one of the technicians.

His job is to hunt down crash related problems the customers can’t see.

“There’s definitely some frame damage,” he adds.

With the poor economy, a growing number of Maaco customers are paying more out of pocket for damage repairs. Why? Greenley says they may be carrying large deductibles on their insurance — in some cases as high as $2,000.

In others cases, the customer only has liability insurance.

Repair shops like Maaco try to be helpful.

“Wherever we could (go) with used parts or the option to repair items versus replace them, (we do it) says Greenley.

The owner of a 2001 Honda Odyssey got into a storm-related crash and Maaco estimates the damage repair at nearly $3,700. He has only liability insurance so he appealed to the shop to keep the costs down.

“We look for any area that we can save the customer money because he’s paying for that repair entirely out of his pocket,” says Greenley.

Originally, the owner-operator planned to be closed on Dec. 30. But slippery roads and reports of numerous accidents on Thursday caused him to keep his doors open Friday, and he’s glad he did. By late morning, a dozen damaged cars had either been dropped off or brought in for estimates.


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