Auto Body Labor Rates: Beat Up and Punch Drunk
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Auto Body Labor Rates: We’re Beat Up and Punch Drunk

With the cost of everything having gone up, from gas to groceries to, in your business, the cost of paint and materials and tech pay, we probably all feel a little bit bruised up and punch drunk.

Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

One of the more tedious parts of my job is finding art. You know, finding photos or illustrations for a particular story. It can take a lot of time and digging to find just the right image that pairs well with the written words in an article. But when I found ol’ Ben Franklin looking like he’d gone a couple rounds with Mike Tyson (see the cover of the August issue), I knew I’d found just the right pic for the August issue’s cover story, “Labor Rates: Getting What You Need.” With the cost of everything having gone up, from gas to groceries to, in your business, the cost of paint and materials and tech pay, we probably all feel a little bit bruised up and punch drunk.

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To be honest, before the story came in from contributor and Consolidation Coach owner Laura Gay, I thought I’d be reading about prevailing competitive prices and insurers saying, according to their own proprietary survey, that body shops in your area charge $XX per hour on average. And I thought Laura would advise shops to do their own survey, emailing their colleagues in the area and asking what they charge. You know, stuff I’ve heard in the past on how to combat labor rate suppression. But surprisingly, Laura offered some of her own thoughts which I had not heard of before: mainly, ask, ask, and ask again … nicely. And justify.

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It’s pretty sad that we have to grovel for a couple bucks extra an hour, but we all know the complex dynamics of getting paid what we need to make an acceptable profit. It sometimes seems that “profit” is a dirty word in the collision repair business, which is ridiculous. 

Anyway, I could go on and on about the travails of labor rate suppression, but I implore you to read Laura’s article if you haven’t already. I think you’ll glean some insights on the current world we live in, inflation, consolidation, managing your finances and getting paid what you need. Happy reading!  

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