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Latest ‘Who Pays for What’ Survey Focuses on Aluminum Repair Labor Rates

The current survey, open for participation through the end of October, focuses on aluminum repair labor rates, as well as about two dozen shop supply items, asking how frequently shops are paid for each by the eight largest auto insurers in the country.

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The final “Who Pays for What?” survey for 2016 is now under way, this time asking shops about their aluminum repair labor rates and which of more than 20 shop supplies they bill for and are paid for by insurers. The survey is open through the end of October, and can be accessed by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7P3PPH9.

The series of surveys is conducted each year by CRASH Network and Collision Advice. Newly-released data from the “Who Pays for What?” frame and mechanical labor survey conducted in July shows that although more than 30 percent of shops surveyed said they are paid “always” or “most of the time” for the labor to protect open fuel or air conditioning lines to prevent contamination, almost two-thirds of shops said they never have included a charge for these “not-included” operations on an invoice when the procedures needed to be done.

“This is something you have to do, something the automakers call for,” said Mike Anderson of Collision Advice. “These numbers make me wonder if shops aren’t protecting these lines when they need to, or if they just aren’t thinking about charging for it. They need to ensure technicians are doing it, even if the shop chooses not to get paid for it, so these systems don’t get contaminated.”

More than 750 shops from around the country participated in the July “Who Pays for What?” survey, and many reported being paid more regularly to perform some of the “not-included” repair operations compared to the same survey a year ago. The 32 percent of shops that reported this year being paid to “protect open air conditioning lines” was a 7.6 percentage point increase from last year.

“Participating in the surveys can be a good reminder of ‘not-included’ operations your shop is performing so you can decide whether to include them as line items on your estimates,” said Anderson.

Each of the four unique surveys explores a different area of shop operations. Previous surveys examined “Who Pays for What?” in terms of body labor, frame/mechanical labor and refinish operations.

The current survey focuses on aluminum repair labor rates, as well as about two dozen shop supply items, asking how frequently shops are paid for each by the eight largest auto insurers in the country.

Survey participants will receive a 60-page report with complete survey findings, broken down by region, insurer and DRP vs. non-DRP, at no charge. The report also includes analysis and resources to help shops better understand and use the information presented.

Anderson said the survey, which will take about 15 to 30 minutes, should be completed by the shop owner, manager or estimator who is most familiar with the shop’s billing practices and the payment practices of the largest national insurers. Each shop’s individual responses are held in the strictest confidence and are not released in any way; only cumulative data is released.

The results of previous surveys are also available online.

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