Dingman's Collision Center
An Interview with Boyd Dingman, Owner of Dingman’s Collision Center
By Chad Schatz and Scott Higley, Creighton University MBA students
In a business where it is easy to cut corners to make a buck, we had the privilege of interviewing an individual who not only believes this attitude to be wrong, but lives his life the opposite Boyd Dingman, owner of Dingman’s collision repair. Boyd began his car repair career when he was a boy painting cars in his father’s shop. He is now the proud owner of two auto body shops in Omaha and has earned a reputation of excellence because of his commitment to honesty and integrity in the business and in his life.
Boyd has a simple message, “We would rather be the best than apologize for anything less.” This is not only a motto, but a way of life for Boyd and his family. And Omaha agrees with him. In 2006 Dingman won the Small Business of the Year award from the Omaha Chamber of Commerce and the Integrity Award from the Better Business Bureau in2008. This shows the respect Dingman has earned in the business community. Better still, Dingman’s was awarded the “Best of Omaha” First place award in 2008 which is the fourth year in a row.
When we talked, Boyd shared his philosophy of running a business. “Ethics begin at the dinner table,” he told us. Boyd was helping us understand that if you want to be ethical in business, you must be ethical in life. When sitting around the table with the family you can more effectively teach children to do the right thing. Then when they come to work they can see it in practice, and in general this will help breed a culture of honesty and integrity or as Dingman put it, “an ethical business starts from the top”.
As a small business this isn’t always easy. Boyd explained that dealing with insurance companies and consumers means that you often run into a conflict of interest. Insurers want costs kept down while consumers want the highest quality repairs. “Do the right thing,” Boyd told us. “I always follow the manufacturer’s specifications in repairing a car.” No cutting corners at Dingman’s Collision Center. Dingman’s has also produced documents for his customers that explain what to do when you get into an accident and how to protect the value of your car after an accident
When we asked him how he always kept to his standards he gave a reply that surprised me. He said, “You are forced to be ethical when you hold others to a high standard.” Boyd went on to explain that when an individual or company approaches and asks for a discount, favor, or other advantage he simply explains the truth and respects his ethical decision. What is that truth? When you give discounts, cut corners, or do favors, “you are robbing Peter to pay Paul and in the end someone else ends up paying for the repair or shortcut that was taken.” As Boyd explained, that isn’t fair or ethical and therefore does not happen at Dingman’s. “So how does not cutting corners for others help keep you ethical,” we asked. Simply stated, Boyd said if you will not cut corners or cheat for an individual they watch you carefully to see if you screw up, so they can hold you accountable. This makes being ethical easier because others are always watching.
We asked Boyd what he would say if we said, “Look, I will give you my business if you will give me a discount, or at least drop part of my deductible.” Boyd looked at us and explained that if he were to break the rules for us, then he wouldn’t be able to give us the high quality that he demands, and worse, we would know he was not trustworthy and therefore couldn’t trust him to take care of us because he might make the same deal with the insurer on the other side.
Running a trustworthy business is important to Boyd. He wants you to know, that you can trust Dingman’s to do the right thing on both sides, for the insurer and the insured. Boyd believes in this philosophy enough that he has even published articles discussing the importance of keeping the playing field level and the value of ethics in society. “The path to failure is making the playing field uneven and unfair,” he states in his article. And he works very hard to prevent that from happening. “Do the right thing” Boyd told us over and over. It is easier if you just do the right thing. People can always come up with self-justifications he explained, but that is just an excuse for doing the wrong thing and trying to feel good about it.