There is a Fair Flat Rate System

December 29, 2003 by · 10 Comments
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This article appeared in the February 2002 issue of Bodyshop Business

It seems not a week goes by without me reading about some shop owner paying his painter an astronomical salary. I read it on the discussion boards, in the trade magazines and hear about it through the auto body grapevine. At first I thought it was just some urban legend cooked up by underpaid techs trying to justify their woes. But some of the sources are getting more and more credible.

Just stop and think a minute about this. The painter, who may be very skilled, has a limited number of needed skills to do his job well. On the other hand, think about all the skills your metal techs need to do their jobs well. I?m in no way trying to lessen the value or the importance of our painters. They are just as vital to our success as anyone else in our shops. I am trying, however, to put things into perspective. For those of you shop owners and managers who are paying your painters more than your metal techs or worse yet, yourselves, this is a merely a wakeup call. You may need to consider a more equitable method of distributing your labor dollars.
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The Big Lie

December 11, 2003 by · 1 Comment
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Sometimes the truth is so painful we just can?t speak it. Sometimes the truth is so obvious we just don?t see it. Sometimes the truth is so inflammatory that it becomes painfully obvious, thus it must be hidden. And every now and then someone like myself comes along who relishes the truth, especially when it causes much anguish to those whose heads are buried deeply in a litter box. Sorry folks, but I?m going to tell it like it is.
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Playing with Parts Prices Pays

November 19, 2003 by · 1 Comment
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Say that three times fast. Those of us who work on high end vehicles have been punished for years. Order some Mercedes parts, or BMW parts and take a close look at the discount you get. It?s a fraction of the discount you get on GM and Ford parts. Why should you be punished for working on high end vehicles?
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Rethinking Jury Duty

November 13, 2003 by · 1 Comment
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Every now and all the bits and pieces of information subconsciously gathered by a person?s mind and soul during his life settle in just the right formation, and something amazing happens. He suddenly gets it. He has an epiphany, an understanding, a sudden realization that makes him wonder why he never put it together before.
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How Our Ignorance Stifles Technology

October 22, 2003 by · 2 Comments
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Imagine this: An insurance appraiser calls you and says he?s just finished writing an estimate on a vehicle. The customer said she wanted the car fixed at your shop so he?s just giving you a heads-up to check your email because he?s sent the estimate to you.
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Those Prevailing Rates

October 10, 2003 by · 4 Comments
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This article appeared in the February 2003 issue of BodyShop Business.

Like the prevailing winds blowing over one of our local dairy farms, the term conjures up images of decomposing and festering crap.
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Update to the Allstate Saga

October 1, 2003 by · 3 Comments
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Here?s a quick follow up to article about Allstate that appeared in Septembers issue of Body Shop Business.

First let me say that I?ve definitely struck a nerve in the auto body industry. I received calls and emails from people around the country. Some of the calls were from people wanting to share similar experiences, others from people just wanting to thank me for speaking out. I even received calls from insurance people in my area, some with positive comments and others who just wanted to let me know that they read the article (I guess they are now keeping their eyes on me). Apparently most of the insurance companies receive BSB.
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A Look at Allstate

September 12, 2003 by · 13 Comments
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This article appeared in the September 2003 issue of BodyShop Business.

Allstate. Just say the word and you hear moans and groans. Just think the word and you?re bound to give someone nearby a cramp or shooting pain, like it?s some black magic voodoo chant.

?Who?s your insurance company??

?I have Allstate.?

?Uuuuuhhhh?..? You feel the knife rotating in your gut.

?What?s wrong with Allstate?? your customer asks.

You all know the rest of the conversation. Unless, of course, you are one of their Pro shops. And, apparently, there are plenty of you out there who are, because they continue get away with their tactics by using their Pro shops effectively to create a market within a market.
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CCC’S Disappointing Pathways Update

August 22, 2003 by · 13 Comments
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Pathways Upgrade to 4.0

As a high tech redneck I just love to get new software. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve while waiting for an announced update to find its way to my desk. And as a software developer myself I tend to be more critical than the average user. I know exactly what goes into creating software that successfully does everything it?s intended to do.

CCC has been distributing its new version of Pathways for a few months now. They are releasing the update to 4.0 slowly because, well, body shop owners are not the most computer savvy group of Americans, and the tech support calls during an update become overwhelming. I, myself, had to call three times to get everything working properly. The tech support I received was excellent, as it always is.
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The Truth About Towing

August 4, 2003 by · 7 Comments
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A wrecker arrives at your shop carrying a fresh wreck. The customer requested the vehicle be brought to your shop. The wrecker driver walks into your office and wants to know where to drop the car. You drop whatever you are in the middle of, and walk outside to search your lot for a suitable space to store this immovable vehicle until you are ready to work on it. After getting the car unloaded the wrecker driver returns to your office looking for a check. If your shop is in a dealership you spend the next fifteen minutes getting the check written and searching for two people to sign it. You get back to your office, give the driver the check and begin the search for information on the vehicles owner, because no one bothered to call you to say their car was on the way to your shop. You finally track down the owner and generate a repair order, write an estimate and begin the wait for the insurance company to come out to look at the car. The appraiser shows up 3 days later and cuts your estimate by two thirds. On your estimate he notices that you marked up the towing. He tells you his company doesn?t pay markups on towing charges. You shrug your shoulders submissively and say, ?Yeah, well I thought you?d say that.?
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