Monday, 18 April 2022 08:29

NORTHEAST Labor Rate Panelists Teach Attendees How to Collect What They’re Worth


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Shops constantly need to invest in tools, equipment and training---not to mention standard overhead and employee costs---but many facilities struggle financially, largely due to artificially suppressed labor rates.

Industry leaders tackled this touchy topic at the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey’s (AASP/NJ) flagship event, NORTHEAST® 2022 Automotive Services Show, in March with a featured panel, “Labor Rate 2022 & Beyond: How to Get What You’re Worth.”


Veteran industry journalist Joel Gausten moderated as panelists Jerry McNee of AASP/NJ, Lucky Papageorg of AASP/MA, Burl Richards of ABAT, Barrett Smith of Auto Damage Experts, Inc. and Sam Valenzuela of National AutoBody Research delved into the reasons for labor rate suppression and how shops can circumvent insurer interference in this respect.


“All shops are not created equally, yet we’re treated that way,” McNee pointed out. “The ‘prevailing rate’ isn’t what the insurers claim it is, yet we accept it. Nothing will ever change until we stop crying and do something about it---and it’s what you do in your own facility that will make the biggest impact. Do you even know your break-even point? We’re trading time for money, and I’m not here to make a deal; I’m here to run a business, so I’m going to charge my posted rates based on my costs.”


“Collision shops can’t continue playing insurers’ games by their rules. We have to start thinking in terms of market-based labor rates which is why it’s so important to have a posted rate based on business costs and what the customer will pay,” Valenzuela noted, referencing the value of shops participating in NABR’s LaborRateHero.com surveys as a way of creating “transparency which allows other shops to make better decisions. Shops need to...

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