John Yoswick

John YoswickJohn Yoswick is a freelance automotive writer based in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing about the collision industry since 1988. He is the editor of the weekly CRASH Network (for a free 4-week trial subscription, visit www.CrashNetwork.com).

He can be contacted at john@crashnetwork.com 

Tuesday, 06 September 2022 15:12

CIC Panel Looks at How Auto Body Shops Can Respond to Rising Costs of Paint and Materials

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Braxton Ewing of BASF said using a refinish materials calculator will help a shop better account for its paint shop costs. Braxton Ewing of BASF said using a refinish materials calculator will help a shop better account for its paint shop costs.


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A panel discussion at this summer’s Collision Industry Conference (CIC) related to the impacts of inflation focused primarily on how body shops can address increases in the costs of paint and materials---including how to discuss rising costs with insurers.

No matter which of the major refinish paint lines is being used within a shop, virtually all collision repair businesses have received at least one letter---and generally multiple---in the past 18 months announcing price increases for those materials.


One paint company, for example, notified its U.S. shop customers in January 2021 of a “weighted average increase of 4.1%," followed by a similar “weighted average increase of 4.25%” in May 2021, and another of 9.8% in February of this year.


Panelists at CIC noted some shops may be confused by the term “weighted average,” particularly if they see their paint costs rising above the percentages noted in the letters.


Paint company representatives said those average increases are an aggregate average across all the various products that manufacturers may include in the notice.


“So some products may be raised more, some will be raised less,” said Braxton Ewing of BASF. “A lot of that is dependent on supply chain issues and raw material availability.”


Tim Ronak, senior services consultant for AkzoNobel, concurred.


“An individual shop may not buy that entire weighted range of products in the same distribution that we’ve averaged it,” Ronak said, noting most companies offer a variety of clear coats, for example, that might increase in price at different rates. “What that means is that each shop may see its own unique price increase, irrespective of what’s published.


“A 10% published number might be, for an individual shop, a 12% increase in actual expenses, whereas another might see an 8% increase,” Ronak said.


Track and Document Costs


Panelists noted one way a shop can better document its costs is through...

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