How Are Collision Repairers Going to Get Paid for Aluminum?
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How Are We Going to Get Paid for Aluminum Repair?

Collision repairers in the BodyShop Business LinkedIn Readers Group are discussing right now how they plan to recoup their investment in aluminum repair equipment.

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ford-f-150Have you been participating in the latest discussion on the BodyShop Business LinkedIn Readers Group? Editor Jason Stahl posed the question, “How are you going to get paid for aluminum repairs?” It’s a very popular question being asked throughout the industry right now due to Ford introducing the 2015 F-150 and other automakers discussing plans for using aluminum bodies in future vehicles.

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So far, a few collision repairers have expressed their thoughts on the subject:

“We have a higher posted rate, and we hold to it. If the insurer declines, we give the customer the opportunity to cover the shortage,” said Jim Sowle, body shop director at Sewell Automotive Companies.

Said Bill Fowler, president of Bill Fowler’s Bodyworks Inc., “I have decided to stand down for now. The MSOs in my market are dedicating one shop to perform aluminum repairs, and it appears they will do the work at the same rate as steel vehicles. I cannot justify the investment required to take on aluminum repairs if I see no reasonable return on the investment. Until I see myself turning away significant numbers of vehicles, I will keep my money in my pocket for now and see where this goes. As of now, it appears every other shop in my market, except the two large MSOs, have adopted the same strategy.”

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Editor Jason Stahl confirmed Fowler’s comment by saying, “One repairer told me he’s playing ‘wait-and-see’ to see if the price of the necessary equipment will come down. Right now, he can’t justify the investment.”

Fowler responded, “I am hearing more and more people saying the same thing. I am also hearing regret from some shops that have made the investment and aren’t seeing enough aluminum repair work, if any, to recover the expense.”

Jim Patrick, collision repair shop manager at Joseph Chevrolet, added, “I think for most of us it’s a wait-and-see to where the aluminum repair rates will end up. Most of us charge a little more for our frame labor to help cover the investment ($40,000 to $70,000) for the frame rack. But we charge no more for paint labor, and the investment is a lot more ($70,000 to $200,000.) So where will the aluminum repair rate end up? And how will we recover the investment? As you can see, I have more question than answers.”

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Why don’t you join the discussion? Join the BodyShop Business LinkedIn Readers Group and chime in with your thoughts today!

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