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AASP/NJ Members Learn About Labor Rates, Estimate Audit Tools

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) learned about tools and resources designed to help collision repairers get paid more for the work they do at labor rates they deserve at their recent virtual meeting.

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AASP/NJ welcomed Richard and Sam Valenzuela of National AutoBody Research (NABR) – the creators of the Variable Rate System (now known as LaborRateHero.com) – who gave attendees the latest information regarding their New Jersey labor rate survey results, advancements to their BillableGenie program and how their most recent endeavor, LaborRateHero.com, can be used to shops’ advantage to get properly reimbursed.

“The punchline here is that this tool enables shops to get paid for more of their work at better rates,” Sam said.

To date, about 220 shops in the Garden State have responded to the survey. Sam encouraged attendees to either participate in the process for the first time or take it again if they haven’t done so in the past year to ensure that NABR has the most current data in its system. Results collected to date have shown that New Jersey shops’ posted door rate for body labor has indeed increased over time. Attendees also learned what the average posted rates in the state were in comparison with the average posted rates across the U.S. However, the cost of living in the Garden State is 23% higher than the U.S. average, yet New Jersey posted rates do not reflect this higher amount.

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With the newly launched LaborRateHero.com, anyone from consumers to body shops and even insurers can view what the posted door rates are at body shops in any area of the U.S. This data can be used as ammunition to show insurers they do in fact pay for work at higher rates.

“Do [insurance companies] ever show you the list of body shops to show you how they come up with the rate [they pay]? No, they don’t,” Sam said. “In a free market economy like we are supposed to have – and especially in this industry – it’s a fight. It’s very important to have pricing be transparent so everyone can see it […] If you can’t see what the prices are, then all kinds of shenanigans go on. I think you guys have experienced that.

“There’s no reason to accept anything an insurance company tells you about labor rates if they can’t prove it. If they want to prove what prices are in a market – and I’m not talking about discounted prices, I’m talking about the market rate – there’s no reason for you to believe what they tell you if they can’t back it up and show you. Now, [this] is here for you to use.”

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NABR’s BillableGenie subscription service utilizes repair data from approved and paid estimates and makes the data searchable and available to users to show exactly what insurers are paying for jobs all around the country.

“BillableGenie comes in by telling you what you are actually getting paid,” Richard said. “It’s about what your shop is getting paid by not only the insurance company but also by customers. Knowledge is power, and New Jersey shops have an opportunity.”

The system currently holds 8,700 records nationwide, with roughly 518 coming from New Jersey.

“The more records we have, the more data we have and the more powerful it is for you to collect [on],” Richard said.

AASP/NJ also welcomed Deric Krist of Kri-Tech Solutions, LLC, who discussed the benefits of a new tool known as the “Estimate Audit Tool.” The objective of the product is to eliminate the back-and-forth process of sending in a repair plan and receiving an estimate back from an insurer that doesn’t accurately reflect the work that is needed.

AASP/NJ President Jerry McNee urged attendees to take advantage of the services presented at the meeting.

“These tools can be put to work,” said McNee. “It’s crystal clear to me that you can say, ‘If you are paying somebody [that], then you can certainly pay me because I am not the only one.’”

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For more information on AASP/NJ, visit aaspnj.org.

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