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By Joe Marconi
I have learned that the better we manage our shops, the more successful we are. When I worked in the bays, under the hood or under a car, I was too deep in the trenches to see what was happening to my business.
When I began to truly manage the shop and understand Automotive Management, things began to get better. It does not mean I am not involved, it means that in order to grow the business, my role as owner is different, unlike the techs or even service advisors.
This is one of the reasons AutoShopOwer.com was founded, to offer an online Automotive Management Network that we all learn from, and share ideas and opinions.
What experiences have you had that has helped you understand that managing your shop is crucial for your success?
By Gary A
I have a potential job from a local body shop that I do business with. Car was hit in the front, body shop replaced bumper, rad, hood etc. When he got done, no heat. Looks like it may need a head gasket. I already flushed the system with new coolant, it was nasty looking and smelled. I'm just wondering if it's even worth getting involved with the insurance company paying. I just read through other posts of dealing with the insurance companies. I will try some of the things that I read.
By Joe Marconi
We are not a body shop, but do a fair amount of insurance work. Customers with minor fender benders or run off the road will often bring us their car to handle the repair and also to handle the insurance process. All too often our estimate and the insurance adjuster’s estimate do not match. And no, the adjuster’s estimate is never higher than ours.
I understand that the insurance company has an obligation to keeping repair costs down, but shops also have the obligation to remain profitable. I also understand that there will always be shops that will accept the adjuster’s price. But this is my customer we are talking about.
We are pretty successful through the negotiation process, especially when I remind the adjuster, that this person brought me the car, this person is my customer. They may have purchased your insurance, but we have been chosen to repair the car. The person trusts me and in order to be here in the future for this customer and other customers, I need to be profitable.
Now being a mechanical shop, the rate insurance companies’ pay is higher than body rate. The area of concern is when the price the insurance company wants to pay and the price the shop needs is to too far apart. Both parties hate to get the customer involved, but the customer needs to know.
There needs to be a balance and fair monetary agreement between the insurance company and the repair shop or body shop. Insurance companies go through great lengths to insure they are profitable. They do not loose and will adjust their prices upward to insure their profit each year. We in the repair industry need that same consideration and respect.
By Joe Marconi
A regular customer ran his Honda off the road and did damage to the front bumper cover, radiator support, A/C condensor, front tires and now the air bag light is on. We inspected the car and diagnosed the air bag problem at the owner’s request and got his authorization. Now comes the fun part: Dealing with the insurance company.
We are not a body shop, but do work with insurance companies often. Our estimate and what the insurance company wants to pay are on different planets. I told the adjuster I could not work for that price. Plus he told me to eat the analysis, because we should consider ourselves lucky we are getting the job. Lucky? Was he here at my shop the past 30 years working side by side building my business? Lucky?
I told him to write whatever he wants and I will call the customer to get the rest of the money. He told me that’ not allowed. Not allowed? Who is he, my boss? Well after a heated discussion he made some concessions and we finally came to an agreement.
I have to tell you, I don’t know how you auto body shop owners deal with these guys on a daily basis.