McKernan, a 35-plus year collision claim industry veteran, said that many shops---even those that have operated for many years---are uninformed and often have no idea that certain parts can be repaired.
“A large portion of trim panels that are currently being replaced could have easily been repaired if they would have just gotten a ‘trim quote’ first, thus simplifying and expediting the return of the car to the customer,” said McKernan.
The company currently offers the trim quote system primarily in California and plans to expand to other states soon.
McKernan said there are a variety of benefits for a shop by choosing to repair, including decreasing claims severity, length of rental and overall customer satisfaction, but the biggest benefit, he said, is cycle time.
“Body shops are paid by their gross sales on vehicles delivered,” said McKernan. “What they fail to see is that by reducing cycle time by not waiting on trim panels, they actually get more cars out, thus increasing their sales.”
As a result, he said cycle time is greatly reduced and outweighs any parts mark-up they would have in most cases.
When a body shop is deciding whether to repair or replace, McKernan’s company uses a method in which a shop can text a photo and within five minutes, will receive a trim quote that gives the estimator an informed decision of whether something is repairable.
“About half of the estimators at body shops, as well as insurance companies, don’t even know these things can be repaired,” he said. “There are a lot of new estimators in the industry who haven’t been trained to try it. They see minor interior damage and write it for replacement. They don’t even know they don’t have to wait three weeks for a door trim.”
Some of the interior repairs that McKernan said are often repairable include dashboards, leather seats, door trim panels, center consoles, minor glass damage and bumpers. He said in most cases, minor glass damage is repairable.