The more things change, the more they stay the same. French writer and philosopher Voltaire wrote that back in the 18th century, but it sure seems to apply to our industry today. I thought about it as I heard that insurance companies are once again pushing shops to accept reductions of paint times.
A Collision Industry Conference (CIC) committee in which I participated addressed this back in 2006, but it seems to once again be becoming more of an issue. So let’s, once again, go over what that committee’s research found. (You can download the presentation at http://www.abrn/CICpresentation).
First, all of the big three estimating system providers acknowledged that a user can adjust any paint time, up or down. Second, all three also said their blend formulas were NOT intended for use on repaired panels, only for undamaged panels.
“Audatex blend refinish is to be considered for use on adjacent undamaged panels for color match purposes,” that company told our committee in writing, just as Mitchell International and CCC Information Services did.
So the next logical question is: If a change to a refinish labor time on a repaired panel is going to be made (and I’m not saying it ever should be), what magnitude of a change is appropriate? I think we all agree that the thing we’re decreasing is the application of the basecoat and sealer. Motor Information Services, which provides the estimating database used by CCC, told our committee that 19 percent of its basecoat paint time is for basecoat application; another 7 percent of the time is for application of primer/sealer. The rest of the time is for sanding, pre-washing and other preparation of the panel.