Mystery of the SEMA Show Sticker Man Solved!

Mystery of the SEMA Show Sticker Man Solved!

Meet Mickey Kahl, owner of Kahl’s Body Shop who's been fighting insurers in his town a lot lately.

Back in January, I talked about a mystery person who left a roll of stickers at the BodyShop Business booth at the SEMA Show last year that said, “Collision Repair Equal To Mechanical Repair Rates: Why Not?” Well, the mystery has been solved! 

Meet Mickey Kahl, owner of Kahl’s Body Shop in New Albany, Ind. Kahl has been fighting insurers in his town a lot lately, which compelled him to make the stickers. He was preparing for his trip to SEMA and decided he would wear a shirt with the stickers covering the back of it and hand them out to as many people as he could at the show. 

“We’ve always felt that you can take the best mechanic out there and ask him to straighten a dent on a car, paint a car or weld a quarter panel and he’s lost. He doesn’t know how to do that,” said Kahl. “But there is no part of their job that collision repairers can’t do, yet they make three times as much. And we know why that is.”

At the show, Kahl estimates he handed out 1,000 stickers. He stopped and explained what it meant to a lot of people, and some agreed and some disagreed. 

Kahl asked one of his sons to help design the sticker on a computer, and a friend of his who owns a sign shop was able to print them. 

“I wanted people to ask me what I was saying, and if you put it out there and said, ‘Body shops deserve as much as mechanics,’ people would nod their head and go on. With the ‘why not’ thing, people stopped and asked me what I was trying to do.”

As far as his battles with insurers go, Kahl says insurers short-pay him all the time. “That’s because we charge for things that a lot of competitors don’t charge for, but that’s not my fault.”

Kahl does charge mechanical rates for mechanical procedures, but there are certain insurance companies that say, “‘Well, if the same technician is doing it, we’re not going to pay them.’ We have that fight all the time. I always charge … if it’s got an ‘M’ code out beside it in the book, it’s mechanical.”

Kudos to Kahl for standing up for what he (and a lot of the rest of the collision industry) believes in and having the gumption to let the world know at the SEMA Show.

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