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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2013, 06:20 AM
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I know one thing, this industry is NOT going anywhere! Some dude in India isn't going to fix Mrs. Smith's Lexus that she wrecked over the weekend.

Brian
And it wont get fixed by some asshat in the office or an adjuster or even the owner of the shop, its the guy in the shop that actually does the work and pays their wages so my advice is STOP SCREWING THE TECH.. why is it they think they are worth so much more when all they do is talk all day and the guy doing the actual work gets nothing????. Ya'll should be ashamed of yourselves.....but your digging your own graves...

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:49 AM
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A good tech should make more than an insurance adjuster, office manager, or estimator. The more the techs make the more the shop makes. If they aren't the shop is running backwards. If the office staff is taking higher wages than the guys generating the shop income that shop is going nowhere. If the tech has no influence in the estimates and insurance supplements something is wrong. Every techs work station has an I-pad or laptop and camera, we document everything with pictures and bill the insurance companies for every operation and email the customer keeping them in touch with the entire operation and status of the vehicle. When we show the customer that the insurance wants to repair something that should be replaced and the customer is supplied with this information, the adjustors email and phone number we generally get what we want. We use the customer, they are informed how the system works and take part in it.. Essentially the tech writes his own estimates. I make the easiest money of the day money taking a few minutes with a camera and a couple emails. The problem with the shops vs. the insurance companies is shops taking the adjusters estimate for face value. We do the work on our terms. We have a great loyal customer base, they refuse to go else where when directed by insurance companies. If you let the insurance companies step on you they certainly will.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:10 AM
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I love the trade and think the future for good tech's is bright. Over the last two decades fewer people have entered the trade, vocational schools are graduating smaller classes, supply and demand for good tech's will make the wages go up.

There are many things to decide, do you want to be a painter, a body man, or a combination paint and body. Also there are different shops, from small to very large production shops, the atmosphere is quite different and is something too consider. Its the craftsmanship part of auto body repair that keeps me interested, to me its an art.

Good luck
The cool thing is you don't have to stick to any one of them, I haven't and have made a good living. Changing when the need arises makes you stronger and more valuable.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:30 AM
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And it wont get fixed by some asshat in the office or an adjuster or even the owner of the shop, its the guy in the shop that actually does the work and pays their wages so my advice is STOP SCREWING THE TECH.. why is it they think they are worth so much more when all they do is talk all day and the guy doing the actual work gets nothing????. Ya'll should be ashamed of yourselves.....but your digging your own graves...
What in the living hell are you talking about? First off, the money is made in the office, AND the shop. That is the first mistake I made when I opened my shop, I was a body man first and a business owner second, big mistake.

The body shop is a "Time factory" right? You are selling "time", you buy low, you sell high, just like the product any other factory creates. Just like any business, the Quickie mart, it buys the beer wholesale and sells it at retail.

What would the guys assembling toasters at the toaster factory do if management up and left? They would go home with no pay check, the money is made in the office, the shop helps them make it happen, they are an equal part in the process.

Oh, and I took a pay cut to go in the office, the techs make more than me. Not an hourly cut, but I don't get my bonus anymore.

My boss has all the headaches, all the responsibility, He has built a huge business, bought the property it sits on, we have a flat bed tow truck, two Spraybake down draft booths, Hunter Laser wheel alignment, Genesis frame measuring, Computerized spot welder, 6 MIGs, a braze MIG, insurance for us all, if something where to happen to the sales and it tanked, HE is the one who would be in deep poopoo. Me and the other guys at the shop would roll our tool boxes out and go to work at another shop or go home on unemployment. He has ALL the responsibility, he SHOULD make good money. I am thrilled that he has it easy now that he is retired, he takes his whole family (married, with kids) on vacations to Hawaii and such, I am thrilled he can do that, he has worked hard to be able to. But he pays us the going rate too and it is a good living wage, most everyone there owns their homes, new cars, swimming pools, man toys, boats and such, no one is starving that is for sure.

I have seen other shops that are different, but I stayed at this shop because of what it is, it is close to my home, ect. that is what we do with our experiences in life, use the education to do what makes the most sense.

I have been offered jobs with a LOT more pay (how about 30-50% more with bonuses) that would require a commute across the bay, I chose not to because I don't want to live on the freeway in stop and go traffic. We can come and go to any shop we want just about, especially when we widen our skills to be able to do anything in the business, that opens up even more businesses we can go and get a job to earn a living for our family. We don't have to stay at the shops where we are treated like crap.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:48 AM
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A good tech should make more than an insurance adjuster, office manager, or estimator. The more the techs make the more the shop makes. If they aren't the shop is running backwards. If the office staff is taking higher wages than the guys generating the shop income that shop is going nowhere. If the tech has no influence in the estimates and insurance supplements something is wrong. Every techs work station has an I-pad or laptop and camera, we document everything with pictures and bill the insurance companies for every operation and email the customer keeping them in touch with the entire operation and status of the vehicle. When we show the customer that the insurance wants to repair something that should be replaced and the customer is supplied with this information, the adjustors email and phone number we generally get what we want. We use the customer, they are informed how the system works and take part in it.. Essentially the tech writes his own estimates. I make the easiest money of the day money taking a few minutes with a camera and a couple emails. The problem with the shops vs. the insurance companies is shops taking the adjusters estimate for face value. We do the work on our terms. We have a great loyal customer base, they refuse to go else where when directed by insurance companies. If you let the insurance companies step on you they certainly will.
I have to tell you, you are working with some top notch technicians! There is no way that I can see that this would work in the shop I work at. I have been the supplement guy where I work before I took over the parts, and I still go out there and do this. In my down time I will walk out and look at a car that has already had a supplemented, and add another $300-500, EASY. For that matter, sometimes it's $2000 more! I am amazed at what these guys don't see. And we go by manufacturers and ICAR standards. Yes we replace a LOT of structural stuff, because that is what the guidelines say to do. But anyway, yes we never go by the adjusters est, are there really shops who do this? REALLY? That would be the most ignorant thing I have ever heard! I have wondered how the heck they will write such poor estimates, "really, you really think we would do it this way?" REALLY? So I have wondered if there are shops out there that do what they say? We work with the insurance, to our advantage. We get paid for EVERYTHING we do, we get paid for EVERYTHING the car needs for OUR customer. Be it a direct (we are direct repair with a number of companies) or someone else, we get paid properly. Don't get me wrong, it takes a lot more work to do it these days with trail fitting AM parts and then going to OEM or turning down used parts, and all that crap, but in the end we get paid.

On the tech making more money than anyone else, looking at business as a businessman (the guy who CREATES the job) should a guy in the toaster factory putting toasters together get the same pay as the salesman who brought in the $million dollar a year account?
Just something to think about.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:58 AM
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And it wont get fixed by some asshat in the office or an adjuster or even the owner of the shop, its the guy in the shop that actually does the work and pays their wages so my advice is STOP SCREWING THE TECH.. why is it they think they are worth so much more when all they do is talk all day and the guy doing the actual work gets nothing????. Ya'll should be ashamed of yourselves.....but your digging your own graves...
the fact that they can hire anyone who can use excel into the office it goes to show that it is the workers making the money. But with that said, you need to make business decisions that go beyond body and paint experience. With that said, there's nothing difficult about being an estimator. That's why they hire these office nerds to do it. In fact, they don't want to hire anyone with tech experience cause the bottom line is paying less for the repair.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:05 AM
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And it wont get fixed by some asshat in the office or an adjuster or even the owner of the shop, its the guy in the shop that actually does the work and pays their wages so my advice is STOP SCREWING THE TECH.. why is it they think they are worth so much more when all they do is talk all day and the guy doing the actual work gets nothing????. Ya'll should be ashamed of yourselves.....but your digging your own graves...
Very true.. Take the guy's out the shop and see how well the office does..
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2013, 10:31 AM
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Very true.. Take the guy's out the shop and see how well the office does..
The basic Christian rule works well here, respect everyone. I see no difference between anyone in the place, what would we do without the guy detailing the cars? Not every skilled but what would we do without him? How about the lady answering the phone, what would we do without the phone being answered? No work for the guys in the shop that is for sure.

We look at a person and make a judgement, they are an insurance adjuster, they are stupid, I have one that comes buy who has a shop at home and builds streetrods on the side. A guy comes in our shop inspecting our work, we hired this company called "Veri-fax" an independent company who oversees our work. This guy comes in, a very plain chubby guy and the wear coveralls, he looks over what every tech is doing in a spot check to see if welds are proper and so on. I was blown away when I found out this guy is a very serious hard top racer builder and knows a LOT about the subject. How about our new estimator, oh, this dumb keyboard tech, what does he know? He worked for a number of years at a well known full on restoration/hotrod shop across the bay building chassis and bodies!

But honestly guys, how can we expect to have a good working relationship looking down on the insurance adjusters who come to our shop? How can we expect "fair" when we are telling them with our actions or out right that they are dummies who know nothing because they aren't "getting their hands dirty"? How about who we get parts from, those "dummies" (not my opinion, but many guys feel this way) again, start talking to them and found out they are building cars at home (one I deal with has a blown 69 Camaro). But do we treat them like second class citizens, of course not. They are EQUALS and just like the insurance adjuster who is working his butt off making it to 30 shops a day all over driving miles and miles all to feed his family would like some respect, so do the parts guys who without them your shop wouldn't move an inch!

And not all shops are the same, some use "pretty boys and girls" as estimators because what is most important at that point is to get the car in the shop! After it gets torn down, NOW you get the experienced folks to look it over and capture "every turn of the wrench".There are different ways to look at it. But again, if they aren't given respect, how does the tech expect the guy to be "giving" in his hours given for repair?

I don't know, it's all about respect in my opinion.

Brian
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2013, 10:40 AM
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the fact that they can hire anyone who can use excel into the office it goes to show that it is the workers making the money. But with that said, you need to make business decisions that go beyond body and paint experience. With that said, there's nothing difficult about being an estimator. That's why they hire these office nerds to do it. In fact, they don't want to hire anyone with tech experience cause the bottom line is paying less for the repair.
Depending on the company, most insurance companies are more than happy to hire adjusters with repair experience, who better than to know if the shop is ripping them off? Some like AAA they hire from within, you go to work for them as a "mail boy" and move up, so no, they have zero experience. But what's funny is they have a guy who comes to our shop once in a while to go over our jobs and teach the adjuster who handles our account.

But honestly, I have worked with a lot of them that have experience. And besides that, if you go to 30 shops a day looking at the same stuff over and over and over which 95% or collisions are so similar it isn't funny they learn, even though they are not working on the car. They see the damage over and over and they see what techs can do with it, it isn't isn't that difficult to learn a lot about time and repair POSSIBILITIES without actually knowing how to do it. It's like being able to pick out a well played song without being able to play the music ourselves.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:18 AM
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Depending on the company, most insurance companies are more than happy to hire adjusters with repair experience, who better than to know if the shop is ripping them off? Some like AAA they hire from within, you go to work for them as a "mail boy" and move up, so no, they have zero experience. But what's funny is they have a guy who comes to our shop once in a while to go over our jobs and teach the adjuster who handles our account.

But honestly, I have worked with a lot of them that have experience. And besides that, if you go to 30 shops a day looking at the same stuff over and over and over which 95% or collisions are so similar it isn't funny they learn, even though they are not working on the car. They see the damage over and over and they see what techs can do with it, it isn't isn't that difficult to learn a lot about time and repair POSSIBILITIES without actually knowing how to do it. It's like being able to pick out a well played song without being able to play the music ourselves.

Brian
so you're saying they can't actually do the work then, right? They sure can on paper though!

No, I know what you're saying and even though I poked fun at an adjuster having an office in a company he doesn't even work for, it does benefit the techs as the ball always gets rolling faster on the job rather than waiting after a teardown. It's ok if you went to the "darkside", darth vader was once a jedi too. I'm happy that opporunity was there for you and it's an option for guys in the trade at a later time.
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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2013, 11:48 AM
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I'm happy that opporunity was there for you and it's an option for guys in the trade at a later time.
So why do we chose to do something? Because we can't do the old thing anymore? Nope, that would be what someone who makes poor decisions does. Like I said, I love this industry and am more than happy to do anything my employer needs me to do, as long as it isn't immoral, illegal or fattening.

I went into the office here, not so much because i couldn't do it, though hemming a door skin would leave my arm damn sore! I got sick and tired of a moron I had to work next to screaming and whistling all day long! It was like working in a friggin rain forest! Honestly, I was going to leave that shop one way or another. I did and he actually didn't last too much longer.

But as I said, I protected myself so I am still in damn good shape and could go out there and do the job again tomorrow if that is what they needed me to do.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:49 AM
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The basic Christian rule works well here, respect everyone. I see no difference between anyone in the place, what would we do without the guy detailing the cars? Not every skilled but what would we do without him? How about the lady answering the phone, what would we do without the phone being answered? No work for the guys in the shop that is for sure.

We look at a person and make a judgement, they are an insurance adjuster, they are stupid, I have one that comes buy who has a shop at home and builds streetrods on the side. A guy comes in our shop inspecting our work, we hired this company called "Veri-fax" an independent company who oversees our work. This guy comes in, a very plain chubby guy and the wear coveralls, he looks over what every tech is doing in a spot check to see if welds are proper and so on. I was blown away when I found out this guy is a very serious hard top racer builder and knows a LOT about the subject. How about our new estimator, oh, this dumb keyboard tech, what does he know? He worked for a number of years at a well known full on restoration/hotrod shop across the bay building chassis and bodies!

But honestly guys, how can we expect to have a good working relationship looking down on the insurance adjusters who come to our shop? How can we expect "fair" when we are telling them with our actions or out right that they are dummies who know nothing because they aren't "getting their hands dirty"? How about who we get parts from, those "dummies" (not my opinion, but many guys feel this way) again, start talking to them and found out they are building cars at home (one I deal with has a blown 69 Camaro). But do we treat them like second class citizens, of course not. They are EQUALS and just like the insurance adjuster who is working his butt off making it to 30 shops a day all over driving miles and miles all to feed his family would like some respect, so do the parts guys who without them your shop wouldn't move an inch!

And not all shops are the same, some use "pretty boys and girls" as estimators because what is most important at that point is to get the car in the shop! After it gets torn down, NOW you get the experienced folks to look it over and capture "every turn of the wrench".There are different ways to look at it. But again, if they aren't given respect, how does the tech expect the guy to be "giving" in his hours given for repair?

I don't know, it's all about respect in my opinion.

Brian


I do respect every man at every job.. Just to show you how well I do respect everyone and every job... I'm the only one on MY street that bring's out water or a coke to the guy's on the garbage truck that pick's up my garbage.. Even the driver.. So that's three drinks... Them, and my neighbors just give me a look like.. WHAT ARE YOU DOING !!!!!

I just tell them I respect them for taking that job on..


Now.. As far as what I was getting at with what I posted... Don't make it sound like if it wasn't for the people in the office,, The shop wouldn't be what it is without them.. I have many friends that have shop's.. And no ones sit's in the office... And have been running their shop's for years now..

Yes the people in the office can make a difference...And I have seen many shop's go under... But on the other hand.. Many ran for years without anyone in the office... Most Mom and pop Place's don't have people sitting in a office.. So I hope you got the point I was trying to make...EVERYONE'S job is important,,


Most if not all rich people making their money,Is from the people getting their hands dirty under them...

Let's don't forget about all the big companies that have been run in the ground by the one's in the office..

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Old 01-10-2013, 11:56 AM
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so you're saying they can't actually do the work then, right? They sure can on paper though!
No it isn't about if they can do it, think about it, it is that they can know WHAT an be done. That is two different things and they CAN know JUST AS MUCH as you about what CAN be done. Being able to do it is a totally different thing and that is the skills you possess. But you don't need those skills to now WHAT can be done.

It's like a baseball fan, I can't hit a ball out of the park, hell I can't hit it out of the infield. But if a ball player told me he could hit the ball up to the lights like in the "Natural" or hit the skin off the ball I could tell him he can't, I don't have to have tried, I don't have to have taken 7000 hits as a big league player to know this. He has skills I don't, but I KNOW it can't be done.

Or I know it can be done, I KNOW the guy should be able to bunt the ball towards third to get on base, I couldn't do it, he has the skills, but I KNOW he should be able to do it.

The adjuster who comes into your shop has seen THOUSANDS of damaged cars, he sees them before they are repaired, he sees them after, he KNOWS what can be done. He needs to be respected for what he does, he will give you a lot more if he is given that respect and not treated like a piece of dirt as a lot of shops do.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:58 AM
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I do respect every man at every job.. Just to show you how well I do respect everyone and every job... I'm the only one on MY street that bring's out water or a coke to the guy's on the garbage truck that pick's up my garbage.. Even the driver.. So that's three drinks... Them, and my neighbors just give me a look like.. WHAT ARE YOU DOING !!!!!

I just tell them I respect them for taking that job on..


Now.. As far as what I was getting at with what I posted... Don't make it sound like if it wasn't for the people in the office,, The shop wouldn't be what it is without them.. I have many friends that have shop's.. And no ones sit's in the office... And have been running their shop's for years now..

Yes the people in the office can make a difference...And I have seen many shop's go under... But on the other hand.. Many ran for years without anyone in the office... Most Mom and pop Place's don't have people sitting in a office.. So I hope you got the point I was trying to make...EVERYONE'S job is important,,


Most if not all rich people making their money,Is from the people getting their hands dirty under them...

Let's don't forget about all the big companies that have been run in the ground by the one's in the office..
I totally agree.

Brian
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:01 PM
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So why do we chose to do something? Because we can't do the old thing anymore? Nope, that would be what someone who makes poor decisions does. Like I said, I love this industry and am more than happy to do anything my employer needs me to do, as long as it isn't immoral, illegal or fattening.

I went into the office here, not so much because i couldn't do it, though hemming a door skin would leave my arm damn sore! I got sick and tired of a moron I had to work next to screaming and whistling all day long! It was like working in a friggin rain forest! Honestly, I was going to leave that shop one way or another. I did and he actually didn't last too much longer.

But as I said, I protected myself so I am still in damn good shape and could go out there and do the job again tomorrow if that is what they needed me to do.

Brian
Martin, you don't have to prove yourself. I just said it's great there's other opportunities within the trade for people. I never said you can't do it anymore and if I would have guessed I'd say burnt out on it. I'm happy for you and can't say I wouldn't do the same but don't worry, they're not reading your posts. You don't have to sound so loyal to the darkside, you're still a Jedi under that suit.
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