June 2024 Collision Corner

Jun 10, 2024 | Dateline

After its 2022 study of blend refinish labor times, which led all three estimating systems to
reexamine their 50% formulas and add more flexibility to their systems related to blending,
the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) says it will embark on a similar approach
to the topic of structural set-up and measure.

State Farm last week began a test using Mitchell Cloud Estimating in Ohio. “Beginning May
21, State Farm staff appraisers will prepare all estimates in Ohio using Mitchell’s
platform,” the insurer wrote in a notification to its Select Service shops. “Concurrently, a
small number of Select Service facilities in Ohio will prepare estimates using Mitchell’s
platform. All other Select Services facilities in Ohio will continue to use the CCC platform
to prepare estimates, but they will submit potential total loss vehicles through Mitchell.”

• OFFERING WORK-LIFE BALANCE: A panel at the most recent Collision Industry
Conference talked about what they’re doing to help attract and retain employees. Aaron
Flett, owner of Kent Collision in Washington state said when he opened his shop 10 years
ago, he thought about the differences he’d seen and heard about Walmart’s Sam’s Club
versus Costco, which is headquartered about an hour from his shop. “Sam’s Club, at least
up here, failed, and they’re all gone [from the Pacific Northwest],” Flett said. “Costco is
thriving across the country. One of the big things that we learned about the difference is
just a work-life balance [for employees]. We’ve all had techs who want to work 10- or 12-
hour days. We don’t really allow that. We want to make sure they get their eight hours in
and go home, to enjoy their family, be healthy, have longevity in life and longevity in the
industry. We want fair compensation plans that make them want to not have to work 12-
hour days.” Another Washington state shop owner, Micah Strom of Modern Collision, said
they took a different approach to providing that work-life balance. “We switched to four
10s, which is a little unusual in our industry, but has been very well accepted by our team,”
Strom said. “It’s a great attraction for new talent coming in. We get three days a week to
spend with our family at home. Some of them do have things going like daycare or getting
kids off to school, so we have flexible hours. I think it’s important to accommodate and
work with it because everybody has different things going on in life.” He said while there’s
different ways to structure 4-day work weeks, they kept it simple and are just closed on
Fridays. “The customers get the cars back on Thursday, so that’s worked very well for us,”
he said. “When COVID started, we quit doing estimates on Fridays and basically finished up what we had in the shop, so when we decided to shut down completely on Fridays, it was actually really easy at that point.”