Accountable Estimating News

Don’t Ignore Your Photos

We do not instinctively realize that what we see in person is not what is accurately captured in a photo just by pointing and clicking a camera. When you are the one taking the photo, your brain has already processed this 3D image, and when you glance at the photo you just took, your brain fills in any gaps that may be missing, leading you to think that you captured a photo that includes all the damage you saw in person.

Documentation Equals Evidence

Building a complete and thorough repair file requires forethought, planning and time. There is no easy solution as each shop operates a bit differently. Many shops have never even thought about their front office operations as doing anything more than greeting customers, writing estimates and collecting payments. In fact, the office operation controls their entire business. Think about how your health is documented...

Redefining Damage Assessment for Safe Repairs

Why are we redefining damage assessment? The automobile has seen many advancements since the mass production of the Model T. Hydraulic brakes, laminated windshields, seat belts, air bags and many convenience improvements just to name a few. However, the advancements we have experienced since 2010 dwarf the previous 50 or more years combined. Up until the mid-2000’s most collision and body repair work was done using opinion guided by experience. We were looking to achieve a good fit and finish. The vehicle had to look good and drive straight, that was pretty much it. Today’s vehicles still require a good fit and finish, however a far more important aspect must be considered, SAFETY!

Pre and Post Measuring Collision Damage

I am sure you have seen the commercials where the latest model vehicle will parallel park, brake, keep you in the correct lane or even put your boat in the water all by itself. While all the new technology is great, the collision industry is missing an important correlation between Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and structural alignment. In fact, we can confidently say the majority of collision repairers are missing about 40% of structural misalignment. To put it another way, approximately 4 out of 10 vehicles you write estimates on have structural misalignment and there are no visual indicators such as, misaligned panel gaps.

Structure vs. Frame

As we provide training to collision repairers across the USA and Canada, we find there is a considerable gap in understanding how to write structural repair. Estimators have been convinced that a structural repair is different than a frame repair. We have also seen structural repairs written at the body repair labor rate. When asked why they write that way, we always get this answer, “the insurance company said that’s how to write it.” Let’s break this down so everyone can understand it.

Why do you take photos of Collision Repair?

When asked, “Why do you take photos of collision damage?” many will answer, “because the insurance company requires it.” That may be one aspect of “why,” but do you even consider if your shop should require photos for your own documentation and protection? Forget about insurance company requirements for a moment and think about what photos your business should require.