I read this article and found it interesting. Robert was kind enough to allow me to share it with you. Enjoy!
by Robert P. Winfrey Jr. www.apcr.biz
I know that right now, we are all feeling the crunch: low claims counts, rising costs of everything involved in our business ventures, customers cashing in instead of repairing their cars. The list goes on…
I am going to help with a few tricks I use to control costs at my facility. I am not going to use any particular order but here are a few.
To help lower energy costs at the shop, I have lowered the thermostat in the shop to 60 degree’s during the day and to 50 degree’s at night. An electronic programmable thermostat runs about $140.00. When we are not working we also set it at 50 degree’s. These units can be programmed for seven days and four to six different time zones for each day. Some will even start warming or cooling an hour before the start time to meet the setting a little at a time instead of all at once. We only heat from November to April and I have cut my heating bill in half. I switched to cold weather hardeners and reducer’s for all products that I can for the winter months (all 60 degree range).
I purchased several infra red portable electric heaters for the rush jobs, seam sealers and other products that need the heat to cure to keep from slowing production in the shop.
There are many good clears and undercoats that air dry quickly at lower temperatures. You can cut your bake time to 10 to 25 minutes with the proper clear and lower you spray temperatures with winter low temp reducers and products. I never use slow reducers unless it’s 100 degrees plus. This helps keep flash time between base coats and clear coats quick as possible. You can cheat the hardeners by 5 degrees if it is not too humid outside.
I have a mixing station provided by my paint supplier. I keep a set of aftermarket binders, primers, sealers and clear’s for the older cars and vehicles out of warranty. This saves me about 30% on material costs without sacrificing color match and all my products still have a lifetime warranty.
I also have a paint invoicing program to bill for my materials. This has boosted my profits on paint and materials and now kept me from loosing money during this recession. Try the demo www.paintex.com.
This program is very simple to set up and the ability to cover every product you use in the shop from razor blades to clear coats. Bob Klem is a great mind and has used his years with Mitchell and KLM to build us a great program.
I use Web Est and set my own thresholds for clear coats, overlap, two tones, tri stages and I never write included on any item on an estimate. Everything takes time and should not be included in some other operations, regardless of what insurers tell you.
I successfully bill for all operations necessary to repair that vehicle. I charge to mask jambs, buff, dispose of damaged parts, test fit panels, block and prime, cover car twice, sand and buff, nuts bolts clips, weld thru primer and even to clean up and deliver. I mark up anything I write a check for including tow bills and alignments. I don’t do my own glass work and I mark that up also. I make my money using my money.
I use the estimating systems as “Guides to replace parts on undamaged vehicles” as they were intended.
I pitted five vendors against each other and buy the products that work best for me at the lowest possible price and check pricing every 60 days or so. My money goes a little farther that way.
I pay my guys salary plus an incentive if they turn over there worked hours in labor. It gives them an incentive to go that extra mile for the customer and themselves.
I use the Oem web sites for a two or three day pass to get repair information and charge for the research time and log on marked up.
My margins are true accounting mark up not an add on percentage, quite a difference (almost 10%) on the same percentage.
I always shop for the best price on a salvage part and charge to repair damage and transfer components. I charge more to skin a door than a new door shell costs. We don’t waist time skinning too many doors.
We charge for disassembly, towing with mark up, a damage analysis and storage on total losses. Sometimes I make more if they total.
Do I collect from every cut throat company 100%, 100% of the time? No but would you believe 98%, 100% of the time?
If you do not try or have given up, you are not understanding the system.Most companies I deal with have a job to do and that is control costs. My job is to make a profit.
Think out of the box, charge for items that we have been giving away for years.
Here is a short list:
Disposal of damaged parts $5.00
Clean for delivery $20.00
Mask jambs .6 per opening (in the p-pages)
Sand and buff to match factory texture 60% of refinish time
Paint mixing cups
Self etching primer
Two part epoxies
Block and re prime 20% of body labor at refinish labor rate
Mark up on ALL sublets including alignments and glass work
Admin time to schedule alignments, provide rental updates, etc.
Damage analysis $150.00 (not prepare estimate)
Disassemble to prepare damage analysis (not tear down)
Test fit panels
Remove adhesive from trim R
Oil. Trans fluid, PS Fluid, Brake fluid
Nuts, Bolts, Clips, Wire ties, Electrical tape, Solder, Butt connectors etc.
Remove wheel or wheels
Set up on Frame rack 2.0 hrs at Frame rate, Truck Tie downs 4.0 hrs at Frame rate
Check for wind noise
Check for water leak
Fax Fee $5.00
Copy parts documents $40.00
Steering is a tough issue to work around but signed repair contracts at the time of estimate are tough to steer away.
E-mail me I have done this for over thirty years, if I do not have an answer I may know someone that does! [email protected]
Robert P. Winfrey Jr. www.apcr.biz
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Lead Collision Instructor
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