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DRPs, Here We Come?

We’re shooting for a DRP, but that doesn’t mean we’re willing to give up something for nothing. Part 11 of a series.

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For other installments in this 12-part series, click on the corresponding number: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12.

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Before I leave the house, I stop and check myself out in the mirror. It can’t be the blue Polo shirt, because even with a push-up bra the collared shirt leaves a lot to be desired. And, I’m ashamed to say it, but coming to the shop doesn’t inspire me to do a lot with the makeup. And I haven’t worn a skirt worthy of a whistle in years. Still, I must look easy.

At least, that’s what these insurance companies think the way they keep expecting me to put out. They have the arrogant tendency of expecting something for nothing, like when estimators offhandedly make comments like, “We don’t pay for bolts and clips.” Says who? Last time I checked, it was necessary to fasten the part to the vehicle. So, either they expect us to hand the customer a freshly painted bumper with a manual explaining how to mount it or
they expect us to eat the costs. Both options are
unacceptable.

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If I don’t agree to adhere to an insurance company’s rules and regulations, I don’t have to follow their policies. They need to buy the cow if they want to sip on our teats. Therefore, when we’re fixing a claimant’s vehicle, I don’t want to hear about how many rental days they allow. Instead of telling us how much they’ll pony up, they need to concentrate on cutting the supplement check so we can all move on. I find it mind boggling that an insurance company thinks it can dictate what operations it will and will not pay for.

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Collision facilities, especially the “little” guys, must respect their businesses enough to demand something in return before giving something up. In your shop, you make the rules. Our reputations are all we have. We shouldn’t make any concessions, even as small as clips and bolts, without a commitment. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s what a DRP contract is to a body shop – commitment.

There’s no reason why we should follow their rules when we have the right to charge what fits our business model. Deciding to give concessions in exchange for volume or visibility is a choice, not a requirement! If an insurance company isn’t willing to take the plunge, then I’m done doing favors. And you better believe anything that you decide to do for free is
a favor.

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That sounds harsh, but you can’t give a customer his car back with body filler dust coating the panels. It’s not as if you can tell your detail guy the insurance company doesn’t pay for that operation. Someone has to pay for it. We fix cars, we don’t help insurance companies pay their claims. Keep giving it up for free and it’s only a matter of time before you’re all used up. Then you can forget about any kind of commitment.

As business owners, we shouldn’t be afraid to explain our expectations to nine-to-five phone reps or even adjusters. If we fix it, we expect to be paid according to our rates. In what twisted reality can you give someone a bill and they decide, “Um, nope”? And when they try intimidation, making you jump through hoops because “that’s how it’s done” at their company, tell it to them straight, “I don’t work for you.” Expect your due.

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Now this might sound strange for a shop shooting for a DRP, but that’s the point. Without a deal outlining what they’re going to do for us, I don’t want to hear about concessions. And, if they don’t like it, “Well, I’m a bit tight without a commitment but I can be a litter nicer with the right motivation.” Then again, maybe I like the freedom of playing the field. Call me what you want, but don’t call me easy.

Writer Monica Dorsey is a partner at Classic CollisionWorks in Philadelphia, Pa. You can reach her at [email protected].

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