Toby Chess

Toby Chess is an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist, and former salvage yard operator. Toby is universally known in the collision industry for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers. He can be reached at tcspeedster@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 19:23

The Numbers Game: Are You Winning?

Written by Toby Chess


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Recently, I did an estimating class for a regional MSO. I gave seven estimators a simple estimate to write prior to the class.

The vehicle was a 2015 Toyota Camry. The estimate included a replacement left quarter panel, four hours to repair the outer wheelhouse, three hours to repair the rear bumper, four hours frame set up and pull, and a labor rate of $50 per hour for body, frame and paint, and $30 for materials.

The estimates ranged from $3,900 to $4,900.


I asked the group how many included on their estimate to paint the backside of the quarter panel. One person did, and he charged a grand total of half an hour for paint and 0.3 to mask.


I showed the class a picture of the backside of the quarter panel (Fig 1) and the masking of the interior prior to the refinishing. (Fig 2)


Fig 1

Fig 1


Fig 2

Fig 2 

The estimating guide calls for 3.5 hours to paint the outside of the quarter panel. The premise for paint time assumes a new OEM part on the exterior portion of the panel.


The justification for painting the backside of the panel is twofold: the original panel was refinished on the backside, and the time in the guide is for the exterior only.


I do know why the information providers do not have a pop-up like for a hood, but you need knowledge to charge for it.


Honda recently issued a Body Repair News dealing with corrosion protection for Honda Vehicle Repair. In it, Honda states the following:


“The backside of the new replacement panels (fender, door skin, quarter panel, etc.) should be prepared and coated with 2K urethane primer surfacer/sealer for corrosion protection. This 2K urethane primer should match...

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