McDonnell said his company now has PDR technicians on staff year-round but had previously allowed PDR suppliers to use shop space following major hailstorms. He said there are pros and cons of bringing in the outside help.
“There are some incredible advantages. It’s hundreds of claims for maybe one carrier, and boom, they’re all in your shop,” he said. “You have the opportunity to fix them [beyond the PDR work]. It’s almost like you can work on one carrier’s cars and you’re busy.”
But a potential downside, he said, is if vehicle owners don’t feel like they were choosing your shop, but like they had to use your shop.
“They may feel like they were herded in and are just a claim to you,” he said. “When you go through that many customers, it’s hard to give that one-on-one attention.”
At Upcoming CIC Meetings
Based on input from CIC participants at CIC last fall, attendees at future CIC meetings this year likely can expect a return to the issue of “opt-OE” and “alt-OEM” parts. It was a topic discussed at several CIC meetings in 2016, at a time when the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) announced that the unclear or inconsistent use of “alt-OE” or “opt-OE” designations meant the terms could no longer be used on customer estimates or invoices in that state without providing additional information about such parts, including what warranty they carry.
That hasn't appeared to slow the use of such parts; a Farmers Insurance executive last year said his company paid for 200,000 “opt-OE” parts in a recent 12-month period, just 50,000 fewer than the number of used parts it paid for during that same time.
The BAR more recently codified its rule that all parts must be identified only as new, used, rebuilt, reconditioned, OEM or non-OEM. Speaking at CIC in November, Scott Biggs of Assured Performance Network said it really should be an inter-industry entity like CIC that addresses the confusion about “opt-OE” and “alt-OE” parts.