Know Your Enemy

July 28, 2003 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

And despite what you might think, it is NOT the insurance companies. The insurance companies are simply operating under YOUR business model. The collision industry has developed a mindset and a business model that reflects its collective lack of self respect. The most striking example of this poor self image is on many of our estimates. Many of us charge much more for mechanical labor operations than we do for body, paint and frame labor.

We do this because the insurance companies are willing to pay more for mechanical work. They are willing to pay these higher rates because mechanical shops charge much more than body shops. No mechanical shop is going to work for body shop labor rates. If no mechanical shops will work for body shop labor rates, people will not be able to get collision related mechanical work done at all, unless the body shops do it. Thus, the insurance companies? willingness to pay higher rates to body shops for mechanical work.

But what does this say about collision repairers who ask for more money for mechanical repairs than they ask for body repairs? It?s an admission that collision repair is not worth as much as mechanical repair. Is it easier? Does it require a smaller investment in tools? Are your labor costs less than a mechanical shop? Does it require less training? Is the labor pool so overcrowded that you have highly skilled people begging to work for you?

Self deprecation is the problem. Subconsciously we don?t respect ourselves enough to pay ourselves more. That?s right, PAY OURSELVES. Only we can decide how much to charge?how much to pay ourselves. Maybe it?s because we lack the self confidence to think we can make it without our DRP?s. Maybe we are afraid of losing work to another shop. Maybe we lack the confidence to sell ourselves, instead of just writing an estimate and hoping the customer comes back for the repairs.

Sit down, relax and clear your mind. Now think of the service you provide. Think about the work done at your shop. Think about the years of experience you and your staff have. Think about your investment in equipment and training. Think about how important cars are to your customers. Are you satisfied with your shops compensation? Are you satisfied with being a second class citizen performing first class services? Do you now see the enemy?

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3 Comments on Know Your Enemy

  1. Brad Larsen on Wed, 1st Oct 2003 4:17 pm
  2. John, I totally agree with you on the lack of self respect most of us suffer from to one degree or another. Most of it comes from invisible barriers we all possess, from beliefs and concepts which are based on superstition more than truth. I recently reread a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer entitled "You will see it when you believe it." It talks in detail about how we form these opinions and then accept these opinions as gospel, when in fact they are half truths, which bind and hold us down for the better part of our lives. It explains how we all need to re-evaluate are belief system and shed the chains that bind us. Give it a look some time.

  3. Barrett/Fl on Thu, 20th Nov 2003 7:35 am
  4. There’s an old story about the elephant that was raised on a chain staked to the ground. When fully grown the elephant was tethered to this stake with a small rope that could easily be broken if the elephant applied the least pressure.

    Because the elephant hen young learned it could not break the chain, it merely gave up and resigned to the fact as long as there was something tied to its leg…there was no sense in trying to break it and never again attempted to do so and merely succumbed to the small rope.

    The members of the collision industry are in many ways similar to the grown elephant and have succumbed to the world or box if you will as how its been built around them by the insurance industry. “We don’t pay for that”, “you’re the only one who’s ever asked for that”, “I’ve never paid that and I won’t start now, if you continue to ask for that you’ll be sorry!”

    Hear this enough times and not get paid, and after awhile one just quit asking because they know they will never get it! “Better to just get along than to cause problems!”

    time for body shop owners to quit being ‘body men with body shops’ and become businessmen operating viable businesses! These businessmen can begin by thinking outside the box that they allowed to be built around them and have allowed others to convince them to believe that they do not have control over their business and somehow another business does! Become a truly independent business as you originally dreamed! If you don’t stand for something…then you will fall for anything…ask any dismayed DRP shop owner!

    It’s time for collision repair business owners/managers to grow up, be proud, quit defrauding under the premise that its necessary to stay in business, estimate for your services fairly in which will adequately compensate your employees, earn a reasonable profit for your business, reduce your company’s liabilities, provide the best value for your clients and earn a respectable reputation within your community which will aid in elevating the image of our industry in the eyes of consumers.

    If one is not part of the solution…they are a significant part of the problem!


  5. paul bailey on Fri, 12th Dec 2003 6:51 pm
  6. Recently at the NACE expo, Georgina Carson and I discussed the issue of shops that still give away free work on nearly every repair. Georgina said, "Every time you give away something free, you help the insurance industry set a precedent."

    She’s right. Now I’m wondering… Are insurers showing data providers "proof" that those not included items should be included since most shops don’t charge for them anyway.

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