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Dr. Mike was on the Mic!

 

There are a couple things I wanted to make sure you had a chance to know and review from the Mike Anderson meeting (you were likely not in attendance for) and need to check out:

  • Everyone should have a succession plan. He suggested that we have a future WMABA Meeting going over what it means to either sell the business, become a phantom stockholder, or protect the business with a family trust and pre-nups that keeps ex-spouses or other vultures out. Keep in mind that without a pre-nuptial agreement, a divorcing spouse from an heir can come after their inheritance. Wouldn’t that be terrible?!
  • When he had a shop, he would send his rates certified mail with a cover letter to all insurance companies. Every quarter, they would send out the letter of rates, including the statistical data and government cost of living increases. Also the increases in IT, Equipment, and Training. Basically, it included anything justifying the reasons behind the rate change to promote education of insurance representatives as to why it was necessary to make the change.
  • You should check out the following websites that came up in the discussions:
    1. com – if you want a free trial to this site that checks for missing operations – AKA FREE MONEY! – then let me know and I’ll make sure you get it!
    2. org – showing new vehicles with aluminum. Enough said.
    3. org – There are multiple divisions in our area of the USO, and they are looking for career objectives for military personnel being released back into civilian life. Wouldn’t it be great to get these well-trained people into our industry?! (WMABA is working on this too, so check with us to see progress)
    4. com – a cool site dedicated to the emergency extrication information on vehicle structures for emergency personnel, such as firefighters, police and EMTs. It’s also interesting to see the vehicle diagrams that they have on the site. If you work with any local first responders, send them here!
    5. com – Not to be outdone by Aluminum and Boron, the Steel industry also has a website of information about steel usage in vehicles and the communications they have with automakers. Keeping up on what usage of their high-tensile steel or super-high strength steels is just as important as aluminum and other metals.

 

If Mike comes back, you need to make it. Every shop there emailed me, thanking us, for having him speak. You may have known Mike from being a body shop owner/manager, like you, but you have to put that aside and come see him as an industry inspirer, motivator, and friend. Where he is now is a place of comradery, leadership, and educator. He’s incredibly entertaining, but it is all very useful to you in your day-to-day operations.

 

If the humdrum of this industry has you in the dumps, then you need to pull yourself out of it to be at our meetings. We always have one thing going for us: no one will judge you, oppress you, or beat you up. The people at our meetings are all there for one reason: get better.

 

Thanks for supporting us by reading, and get that Membership Application in. You owe it to yourself to make sure this industry is around for you in the future!

Press Release: WMABA Opposes West Virginia Parts Bill, Neighboring States’ Efforts Will Be Affected

http://conta.cc/2mxrWLz

Richmond, Virginia – March 15, 2017 –  In reaction to the recent legislation, Senate Bill 544, proposed in West Virginia and reducing the consumer protections related to collision repair parts, the Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA) strongly urges representatives to vote “NO”.

After years of efforts to push forward similar protections in both Maryland and Virginia, the WMABA has utilized the neighboring state of West Virginia as an upstanding example of how a state can protect consumers when it comes to the collision repair parts used during the collision repair process. Having the majority, if not all, of the warranty period covered, those consumers with newer vehicles do not have to argue with insurers about what is best for their car and can get the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts without any out of pocket expense. This is something not afforded their neighbors, who applaud this type

Screenshot from Maynards Auto World, Facebook showing company parts sales.

of protection and disclosure.

Finding outright fault in the argument that this proposed legislation reduces the deductible charge in any way, the association also urges legislators to check the facts and the other consequences of this bill. The deductible is set by the policy, and would not be changed.
Customers will not always know what kind of parts they are getting, unless they ask. The “fine print” parts disclosure required at the end of each repair estimate or repair order that explains the use of aftermarket parts is also a necessary consumer protection, so that they know what parts are being used in their repair. There is nothing else that would mandate a repairer or insurer educate the customer on the parts types written into the charges. Knowing what kinds of parts are used is a right-to-know that should not be altered.
It appears that the Senator Maynard, who proposed the bill, also would take personal interest in this cause, as his own business deals in aftermarket parts for cars (see picture from Maynard’s Auto World, Facebook). Without doubt, WMABA knows that insurers, aftermarket parts companies, and others will take benefits to this bill through the course of their business. Insurers believe that this will save on claims amounts, but also push or shift the cost onto the policyholder or claimant by making them pay out of pocket to get what the law already provides. Aftermarket parts suppliers benefit through the additional usage of their parts, which are not covered by the vehicle’s existing warranty, something that consumers often find subpar to their “pre-accident condition” where the warranty is fully intact. They are not made whole to the point of value or condition they were when the accident occurred.
WMABA again urges all West Virginia legislators to carefully review the consequences of these language changes, and to vote against changing a consumer protection that needs to stay.
For more information please call 804-789-9649 or email jordanhendler@wmaba.com

And the Survey Says…

The broken record just keeps playing along… As you can see by the Part 2 of the sections you responded to about marketplace and daily business practices, it’s more of the same. While that can make you feel down, understand that it’s helpful to know you are definitely and sincerely NOT ALONE!

The most derogatory and hurtful of all statements made to a repairer is “You’re the only one.” The only one who charges X for anything, performs it that way, or needs to adhere to a particular OEM requirement or recommendation. I love statistically valid statements, and being the only one is an impossibility.

Not being the only one isn’t usually any help if you don’t know two things: 1, who are the other ones; 2, how do you overcome that argument. At the time of this writing we are a couple days away from a Mike Anderson meeting in Maryland. You’ll undoubtedly get the earful next issue on that, but I have no question in my mind that he’d say you overcome these things with facts. Present all the facts. Facts are the best way of negotiation there is.

But what if facts aren’t enough? I’m sure he’d say you’ll have to involve the customer. If you want to make the difference in price, then it will either be paid by the customer or the insurer will need to delineate the argument to them. It will involve the only one argument, but facts to the customer will come down to whether or not they agree with your case or theirs. Sometimes it will come down to an argument between them.

What if you don’t want to cause the riff? Other repairers are using a hold-harmless agreement. You want to use Aftermarket parts against the OE recommendation, or not have the pre- or post-repair scan performed? Then sign on the dotted line. (The customer, that is.) If you put the option to the customer to pay the difference and they just can’t come up with it and the insurer won’t budge, then why should the repairer be on the hook of liability? This is another option.

Many repairers wilt at the thought of telling the customer bad news. It just feels bad. But if you were a doctor, where you first do no harm, then even tough news is still required to be shared. A doctor wouldn’t come out of surgery and say everything went great if you died on the table 4 times and will need further medical attention! You have a form of Hippocratic oath when you assure the customer you are going to fix their car right.

Facts are facts, and that should be the basis of conversations with both customers and insurers. You don’t have to give them every gory detail, but is something went wrong they really have a right to know. It is their car, not ours. In the age of what is too much information, maybe we should get on board. The more people know of repair issues we face when trying to do the right thing, the more likely attention from positive sources can happen!

WMABA Testifies in Maryland Parts Bill Hearing

Yesterday WMABA testified on behalf of HB 1258.The bill is written to prohibit the use of aftermarket parts for the first two years of a vehicle’s life, as well as define certified aftermarket parts was heard in the House Economic Matters Committee.

Executive Director Jordan Hendler and President Mark Schaech were present and  testified. You can see the full coverage at the link below as well as the article from Repairer Driven news.

LKQ blasts Md. bill, says shops owe existence to company’s parts preventing total losses
Implying that shops effectively owe their existence to LKQ, a lobbyist for the aftermarket giant Thursday lashed out at a Maryland bill curtailing the use of uncertified generic collision parts.
LKQ government affairs representative Ray Colas said that without his company providing cheaper versions of OEM parts, damaged cars would be totaled and auto body shops would begin to dry up. (The hearing can be viewed here, with the parts bill debate starting at about the 2:15:00 mark. Colas speaks at about 2:48:26.)
“They’re in business today because we enable them to be able to repair their vehicle,” Colas said. “… In terms of total loss calculation, we keep vehicles on the road. We allow them to repair vehicles, because we keep it below that threshold.”
House Bill 1258 sponsor and former body shop owner Richard Impallaria, R-Baltimore and Hartford counties, challenged Colas on that statement.
“That was some very, very strong language: that body shops get to exist because you are there,” Impallaria said.
By |March 13th, 2016|News|1 Comment|

Ring, Ring, I’m talking to YOU!

I’ve heard it all, people. The entire span from “Ya!” to “BODYSHOP!” to “Thank you for calling ABC Collision Repair, this is Susan, how may I help you today?”; it’s all over the board. Really, I think it is a measure of personal respect, the manner in which you answer your business telephone.

In this issue, we’ve talked about the first impressions made by the physical appearance of the outside and inside of your business, and your employees, but the telephone is no less important. Giving the due diligence to have a procedure for anyone answering will pay off indefinitely.

Your first impression on the end of the ringing line is a concern. It is a primary source of revenue. It’s a first line to your customer, both existing and potential. Talking to your staff – including yourself – about what takes place when you pick it up can change the dynamic of your customer base. The expectation of folks today is that any retail business should be professional, and act professionally.

What are the most important factors of answering the phone properly?

  • Identifying the business name
  • Stating the person’s name answering
  • Smiling face and cheerful tone of voice

To put it all together, put a smile on your face and say my latter example above: “Thank you for calling ABC Collision Repair, this is Susan, how may I help you today?” personalized to you of course.

Why the smile and cheerful tone? You can’t ask someone to come to work happy, but you can have an expectation that their private woes will not affect their manner in interacting with your customers. Hence, the smile, because it’s difficult to sound down while doing it. You can improve a lot by empowering those in this position with the understanding of how crucial they are to the success of the entire business.

No customer expects a receptionist to be able to answer all of their questions, but they do want a friendly voice that can assist them in a time of need. If there is not a dedicated answerer, then anyone who would ever pick up a phone should be on the same page as to how the phone will be answered. Then the team can maximize any incoming lead into new repair jobs.

Taking a few minutes to give this part of your business a mini-makeover could be more important than the sign out front.

Published in the June issue of Hammer & Dolly Magazine

By |June 1st, 2015|Executive Director, News|Comments Off on Ring, Ring, I’m talking to YOU!|

CNN Reports – Are cheap repairs part of an insurance scheme?

WMABA Reviews CNN’s Collision Repair Story by Anderson Cooper

Jordan Hendler, Executive Director

VIDEO: Are cheap repairs part of an insurance scheme? – including Article.

On February 11, CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired a special expose of the collision industry during his nightly broadcast of Anderson Cooper 360, “Are Cheap Repairs Part of an Insurance Scheme?” If you have not already seen it, the video coverage can be viewed at http://cnn.it/1EZTGPa. It was a 10 minute piece that will go down in infamy for our industry, covering examples of how consumers have been harmed as a result of insurance company interjection into parts and repair service provider selection.

Covering a broad range of issues in a short amount of time, the video left one sour taste for me: the notion that all preferred shops are providing poor repair quality. We know this is simply not true. The differentiation of repairers comes at the helm of education, tooling, and dedication to providing safe, quality repairs on continuously advancing vehicle platforms with ever-increasing OEM requirements. Not whether they participate in a direct repair agreement.  There are plenty of great repairers in DRP agreements, and conversely poor examples of independents. That issue aside, WMABA is pleased that CNN has given our industry this much needed exposure.

The Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) highlighted the issue of differentiation in their review of the newscast, saying, “In a well-functioning market, those with lesser skill, lesser capability and lesser quality would be incentivized to improve because those who perform better would receive appropriately higher degrees of compensation based on skill and competition. Consumers would seemingly seek out those with the best skill set available to them, further ensuring their vehicles are safely repaired, and providing those leading repairers with greater market share. Unfortunately, insurers often refuse to recognize these gradations in the marketplace; just as they have proven not to distinguish similar gradations between part qualities.” 

Where we hope progress can be made is the incentivizing of having the proper education, tools, and equipment with a fair compensation. This emphasis, rather than the current lowest price, highest use of alternative parts, or quickest turnaround would improve the overall quality of the repair process for all parties involved, and mostly the consumer. All consumers want their car back fast, and for no additional out of pocket, but with rare exception would knowingly trade that for their safety or diminished value of their vehicle.

Once watched, how does that help us, and how can it be used for the common good?

It can be a stepping stone for other news media to give coverage to our industry. As an association, resources like this are hard to come by from an outside perspective. Especially, when they’re devoted to the position of the consumer and still convey a meaningful story. Having momentum is important for securing meetings, memberships, news sources and more, so this serves as a tremendous help in that regard. In the end of it, we utilize this material to open a door easier than it may have before.

If you are a shop who addresses issues showcased in the footage on a daily basis, then you may want to consider putting it in a lobby video for your customers. You’d likely want to loop it with other helpful information, rather than on its own, so that the redundancy doesn’t become an irritation.

This is why you need to be a member of WMABA

I know we say it a lot, but it’s vital for your support of the association to keep up on these types of works. This may have been produced from the […]

By |February 23rd, 2015|News|Comments Off on CNN Reports – Are cheap repairs part of an insurance scheme?|

Another New Year – What’s Your Resolution?

The New Year always gives heed to trying to invoke change; resolving to change something in our lives for the better. What is it about your business that you want to see change take place in 2015? How could WMABA be the vehicle to make that happen?

By answering those two simple questions, we could create a stronger partnership to create a better industry for everyone. Mostly, if you’re having an issue, there are many other repairers out there with the same problem looking for a solution. I’m feeling quite cliché, but how do you actually accomplish a New Year’s resolution?

I’ve found there are steps. Not particular ones, but very helpful nonetheless.

1) Write it down.
Writing down your resolution makes it real. If you only think about it, it hasn’t had ability to come to fruition. It needs to own real space. So, electronically or literally, write it into your task list.

2) Give it a goal.
What is a realistic timeframe that you want to see this resolution come about? Is it this year, the next 3 months, or 2 years down the road? Whatever the end game is in your mind’s eye, give it a number and write it down too.

3) Give it steps.
That old adage that you cannot eat an elephant all in one bite can ring true for your resolution. Identify the steps you can take, one at a time, to get to the result. Write those down in order, then give them completion dates and put them into your calendar with reminders.

4) Get help.
Identify those people you need support from that can get you to the goal. Collaborate with them and create a team system that can hold the goal accountable. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll get to it, but when someone else is involved, it’s harder to let them down in the process. It’s your goal, so you need to make it happen.

5) Evaluate often.
Along the way, you may find that the resolution will change in scope or morph into something completely different. When in a process of a goal, the goal may become a different target. Revising the plan to get the outcome you desire is great. It means that you have adopted the process and are utilizing it to get what you want.

6) Celebrate the steps.
When you work on a goal, you need to allow the celebration of each part. If this is a big goal, with many parts, the team may get bogged down in not reaching it because it seems so far off. If you break the resolution into sections, with timelines, then when you make a mark you can make it a big deal. Then everyone involved feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves and more likely to help you push to the finish line.

If WMABA can help you along the way, please feel free to reach out. We love to be a part of your success story!

Happy resolutioning.

By |December 31st, 2014|Executive Director, News|Comments Off on Another New Year – What’s Your Resolution?|

WMABA – Audi Event Documents

Information from the December 10th meeting at Audi, including the presentation and supporting documentation.

Download: Audi Presentation to WMABA

To Contact Audi for more information, please contact:

Mark T. Allen, Specialist, Collision Programs & Workshop Equipment

Audi of America, Inc.

Tel.   +1 703 364 7136

mailto:mark.allen@audi.com

http://www.audiusa.com

 

By |December 19th, 2014|News|Comments Off on WMABA – Audi Event Documents|

We’re Doing You the Favor

Labor Rate of Return on Investment – This article will drip with sarcasm. My catchy “Wheel of Fortune”-like slogan is a play on our Labor involved, and the return we all get for the Investment. At the time of this writing, our office is calling individual shops throughout the region to obtain their current posted/retail labor rate information, as well as additional questions relating to marketplace conduct by them and insurance representatives. It’s a truly harrowing task, calling you guys. We’re doing you a favor by putting this information together, so that you have some barometer of what our industry is REALLY doing. Data that is usable by all of us.

Our Industry Needs Phone Skills

For some helpful feedback, I’d like to give you some insight into what it’s like to talk to, well, you. Here’s some insight into the experience, and what you could learn from us.

You may have been the one getting the phone call, but also likely it was a receptionist or front desk person, or much worse, the voicemail machine. Any which way it’s sliced, the majority of you do NOT participate. That can be for several reasons. The receptionist is like a highly skeptical, expertly trained junkyard dog – which we must maneuver to gain “entry” to the manager or person holding the information at ransom. If we get past the dog that’s sure we’re selling something, we are met with another level of skepticism from the gatekeeper. That’s you.

I know that many of you are afraid of sharing that your “partners” will somehow find out – and that is a myth. We do not disclose ANY personal information, but we know why it makes you cringe anyway.

Here’s the real deal:

Ring, Ring, Ring…

When answered, we get everything from “Hmph?” – something resembling Hello, but not really, to “Thank you for calling ‘Joe’s Collision’ how may I help you?”

Response: “Hi, this is Jordan Hendler, with the Washington Metro Auto Body Association and Hammer & Dolly Magazine. We’re calling for our 3rd annual labor rate survey. It takes about 3 minutes over the phone or we can email you a link to do the survey online.”

Here is an array of what follows:

“Uh…… I can’t do that right now.” click.

“I’m busy right now, call me back later.” Click.

“My hands are full.” How did you pick up the phone?

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about, can you call tomorrow?”

“The guy you want isn’t here, and we don’t know when he’ll be here.”

So, my deduction is simple. If someone that is a CUSTOMER were to call and ask this very same question, what would you prey-tell give them as an answer? Think about it.

Your homework:

Make sure your entire staff are aware of your retail rates (not an agreement rate) and that whenever a potential customer calls, they won’t get the run-around that we experience for the survey. Have a documented procedure to capture that customer rather than scare them away.

The importance of giving input

Our industry is the most unforgiving cutthroat business to be in. People who go the extra distance to involve themselves with WMABA all seem ingrained with the same similar fundamental belief in trying to affect some kind of change.

I grew up hearing the phrase, “you cannot complain about something without offering a solution.” Though mostly, I didn’t head that advice until I was older, and it always seemed as the world was unfair. It took me time to figure out that the world is what you make it, and if you want to see change then you need to have the initiative to do it yourself.

We cannot know where we are going unless we know first where we are. The WMABA Labor Rate survey is something in which all people in our industry can give input to help with the prospect of change. Not by changing prices by virtue of their input, but by giving a face to the reality that our industry is in.

All things considered, we are in a community that spans many miles but is in actuality very small. You can go anywhere, in any modern country, and find a repairer who deals with the exact same circumstances as you. You are not alone. In that premise, you cannot possibly be the only one that questions what is being asked of them, told to them, or expected as “usual and customary.”

Operating an association comes with the realization that no one is ever the only one. If you were to monitor my phone or email, you would quickly see the fact of that statement. Sometimes it is as if there are ripples where I’ll have 3 or 4 repairers call me about the very same thing within a two-day window.

Some issues I get relate to government oversight, finding good technicians, how to purchase the right equipment or get the right education need met, and even getting an insurance question answered from the “higher up’s”. There are so many resources shared by our membership, that it – sorry to sound so cliché – never hurts to ask about your own issue. What would you lose by calling in and asking the question that nags you? What if someone else that lay in bed staring at the ceiling each night had cracked the code and we already have the answer to sound sleep for you? Wouldn’t it serve your interest to at least find out? Last question: what are you waiting for?

Participation of any kind in the efforts pushed by WMABA is a way of keeping your voice, even anonymously, included in those who want to see positive change in our industry. That could be by any means in your imagination.

We often put the call out that if you believe passionately about just one thing, whatever its significance, and see it through to resolution, you’ve effectively moved a mountain. Find out if there is already someone working on a door lock that just needs your key to get to the other side. Some things really are just a basic connection for simple conclusion.

By |September 25th, 2014|Executive Director, News|Comments Off on The importance of giving input|