NORTHEAST Panel Tackles How to Collect What You're Worth

NORTHEAST Panel Tackles How to Collect What You’re Worth

Veteran industry journalist Joel Gausten moderated as panelists delved into the reasons for labor rate suppression and how shops can circumvent insurer interference.

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP-NJ) announced that industry leaders tackled the subject of labor rates at the NORTHEAST 2022 Automotive Services Show this past March in a featured panel titled, “Labor Rate 2022 & Beyond: How to Get What You’re Worth.”

Repairers filled the room to listen to panelists discuss “Labor Rate 2022 & Beyond: How to Get What You’re Worth” during the 2022 NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show.

Veteran industry journalist Joel Gausten moderated as panelists Jerry McNee (AASP/NJ), Lucky Papageorg (AASP/MA), Burl Richards (ABAT), Barrett Smith (Auto Damage Experts, Inc.) and Sam Valenzuela (National AutoBody Research) delved into the reasons for labor rate suppression and how shops can circumvent insurer interference.

“All shops are not created equally, yet we’re treated that way,” said McNee. “The ‘prevailing rate’ isn’t what the insurers claim it is, yet we accept it. Nothing will ever change until we stop crying and do something about it — and it’s what you do in your own facility that will make the biggest impact. Do you even know your break-even point? We’re trading time for money, and I’m not here to make a deal; I’m here to run a business, so I’m going to charge my posted rates based on my costs.”

“Collision shops can’t continue playing insurers’ games by their rules,” Valenzuela noted, referencing the value of shops participating in NABR’s surveys as a way of creating “transparency, which allows other shops to make better decisions. “We have to start thinking in terms of market-based labor rates, which is why it’s so important to have a posted rate based on business costs and what the customer will pay. Shops need to use data to make those decisions; without data, you’re just guessing.”

Unfortunately, many shops don’t truly know how to properly establish their labor rates.

“Everything starts with education, but then you have to actually go out there and apply what you learn or nothing changes,” said Richards. “If you took time to come here and learn something from your industry peers, you need to do something about it when you get home.”

Smith recommended following OEM procedures and showing customers how their vehicle manufacturers want their cars to be repaired.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism, earn trust and build that relationship,” Smith said. “Shop owners often started their career as bodymen, but they need to become better businessmen. You’re the problem, but you’re also the solution.”

Plans are underway for NORTHEAST 2023 March 17-19 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, N.J. For more information, visit For more information on AASP/NJ, visit

You May Also Like

Videos of the Week

Video spotlight for the week of March 13.

Lexus and Toyota Camera Calibration

Joe Keene, automotive content video producer at Babcox Media, discusses how to calibrate the camera on a 2021 Lexus UX where the camera was removed and reinstalled.

Watch here.

Body Bangin': Growing Your Shop in Every Way with Steve Olson

Association News

The latest association news on

Top 5 Stories of the Week

A recap of the top five stories on during the week of March 13.

VIVE Collision Promotes Brian Walker to Chief Financial Officer

Walker has over 10 years of financial leadership experience, including seven-plus years of private equity portfolio company experience. 

Auto Glass Now Spotlight Women Leaders

As March celebrates Women’s History Month, Auto Glass Now is cheering on the women who keep the future bright.

Other Posts

Dave Luehr Presents 4th Annual Positivity Summit

Dave Luehr and Ryan Taylor will be joined by over 25 body shop owners and managers, industry leaders and thought leaders from around the world to discuss the hot topics concerning the industry.

I-CAR Achieves National Recognition as Top Workplace

I-CAR has earned a 2023 Top Workplaces USA award, which recognizes and celebrates organizations across the country that have built exceptional, people-centric workplace cultures.

NABC Gifts Recycled Ride to Deserving Phoenix Mom

The NABC, Allstate, Maaco and Meineke presented a refurbished vehicle to a deserving Phoenix, Ariz., mother as part of the Recycled Rides program.

Mike Anderson to Keynote 2023 PBES Conference

Anderson will share updates on the current PBE industry and also reveal results from his “Who Pays for What?” survey.