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"How Do You Deal With Prime and Block Time When Writing Auto Repair Estimates?"

We've been discussing auto repair estimates in our collision repair program.  We're exploring all of the non-included operations that they must considered when writing an auto repair estimates.  The key to get paid for the non-included operations is to clearly write each addition operation on a separate line item.  We need to think of it as a itemized invoice so the insurance adjuster can determine what the estimator is asking for.  However, there are still some things the insurance will argue or try to deny paying for.  One of the things that we have to do on every dent that we repair is to prime and block.  I do not understand why some insurance companies refuse to pay this.  I guess shops should just seal and paint directly over the 150 grit sand scratches.  The finished product would look horrible, but the shop did what they were paid to do.  How many industries can we pay for something and tell them that we what additional services performed, but we will not pay additional money?  Is there a reason that I am not aware of or the reasoning behind not paying for this?  If you are getting additional time and materials for prime and block, please share your method with us. 

Prime and block time has been an ongoing issue as long as I can remember.  The insurance adjusters do not like to pay for prime and block time.  Let's examine what many shops are not being paid to perform.

To repair a dent includes:
  • Clean Surface
  • Rough Out Damage
  • Remove Paint Coatings
  • Straighten Metal
  • Mix Body Filler
  • Apply Body Filler
  • Shape Body Filler
  • Finish Sand Body Filler With 150 Grit

Next, we will include a few of the operations that we must perform before we can paint the part:
  • Feather Edge with 220 Grit
  • Clean The Surface
  • Mask Adjacent Panels To Prevent Oversrpay
  • Cover Car To Protect from Overspray
  • Wipe Panel With Wax and Grease Remover
  • Tack Surface
  • Mix Primer Surfacer (depending on primer system you may use multiple primer coatings)
  • Spray 2 - 3 Coats of Primer On Repair Area
  • Clean Gun
  • Apply Guide Coat To Damaged Area
  • Block Sand Primer
  • If Any Imperfections Are Visible The Technician Must Follow Every Operation Again With The Exception Of Feather Edging

Now the panel is back to the condition that the painter is being paid to perform:

  • Final Sand
  • Mask Adjacent Panels (Does not include cover car for overspray or masking jambs)
  • Wipe Panel With Wax and Grease Remover
  • Tack Surface
  • Mix Base Coat
  • Spray Until Hiding
  • Clean Gun

As you can see, there are many repeated or additional operations that a technician must do to paint a repaired panel as apposed to a new panel. The P-Pages clearly states that the time given is for new undamaged parts.  Another thing that may be costing money is material costs.  How many shops charge for the body filler, glaze coat, guide coat, and sandpaper that is used on every dent?  These supplies are very expensive.  What about the materials used to prime and block?  DA sandpaper, cleaners, masking paper, masking tape, plastic car cover, primer system (some shops use epoxy and primersurfacer ), guide coat, etc.  This adds up to a lot of material.  I think some shops have started adding for some of these additional materials, but many shops are taking the loss on each repair that they perform.  I have heard the itemizing and using some of the material calculation systems like PMC Logic are helping claim much of the supplies used. 

This seems like a lot of hassle to try to get paid for what we do in the industry.  Now I understand why many shops would rather replace everything and perform as few dents as possible.  I am always open to other ideas and methods of how the industry is dealing with issues like this.  I like to provide my students with the current trends and methods used so if you have any suggestions or comments please leave feedback.  Maybe there is an easy method to deal with this that I do not know about.  How would you train students to generate



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