More than a third of shops (39%) itemize on invoices the diagnostic labor time they spend researching diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) apart from the charge for the vehicle scan itself, according to just-released results from a “Who Pays for What?” survey.
Among the more than 500 shops responding to the survey’s new questions related to diagnostic time, about half acknowledged never having included an itemized charge for diagnostic time.
But among those that do, about three in 10 (29%) say they are paid “always” or “most of the time” for the charge by the largest eight auto insurers, and the majority (55%) say they are paid at least “some of the time.”
Mike Anderson of Collision Advice, which conducts the “Who Pays” surveys in conjunction with CRASH Network, believes those numbers will grow because diagnostic time is becoming an increasingly significant portion of collision repair work.
“I know firsthand how much time it takes to research and troubleshoot DTCs,” Anderson said. “Diagnostic labor time should really be separated from the scan labor time because there are just too many variables involved.
"Just as judgment times vary based on the size and location of the damage and the substrate involved, diagnostic time varies as well," Anderson continued. "Isn’t the time it takes to research one diagnostic trouble code different from researching five?
"And it’s not just looking up the code. You also have to navigate the OEM repair flowchart to determine what the most probable cause is," he said. "If there are several possible causes, it might be the first one you try, or the last one. All this takes time.”
The latest quarterly “Who Pays for What?” survey is now open through January, focusing on “not-included” refinish labor operations.
Shops can take the survey here.
Survey participants receive...