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Old 06-11-2011, 12:24 AM
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restoration to production (new job)

I got a job at bodycraft, which is a huge shop in Sac and Ca. He hired me knowing my background and was looking for a mudder, well he has one now. I was hired to do all the Geico repair express jobs and let me tell you, this is EXTREME pressure. You'll get a 17 hour job that goes on the rack and they'll want it the same day put together. No honeymoon, pressure right off the start. Painter tells me lots of seasoned guys couldn't handle that position due to pressure and speed but this is what I've trained for even when no one was looking. The only hard part was the initial nervousness and constant pressure, but at the end of the day my body isn't as sore as it was doing restoration and I'm getting paid well. I love it. I got a cool guy next to me that will share info no problem. The boss loves me and keeps asking me how I like it cause he wants to pay for my welding certificate and get me platinum at non structural cause he already has two platinum icar structural techs. This is awesome to me! He also tells me I will be king in the shop in 6 months if I can sustain my work level and then he will give me the hard hits. I've answered all the calls and demands and have been on point, and if I'm waiting it's cause others haven't caught up or made mistakes. I must have been real hungry cause those guys in there are used to be treated in a certain way. I got instant respect for my work demeanor and the work I turned in. They were mean at first on the paint side but soon as my first job was turned in they were nice. Sorry for the babbling but I'm buzzed and for a slow week I got $600 for a slow 3 days. I've never been payed this much before and now I have to sign a contract to get free icar classes. So excited and will stay humble and do all I can to learn production. To keep it real with what I love, I will rent a warehouse again for classic cars where I can film more videos, WITH A NEW HD CAMERA AND EDITING ON FINAL CUT PRO!

Good times I tell ya!

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Old 06-12-2011, 07:26 AM
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congrats
I hope you enjoy it, and do well
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:48 AM
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You got the right attitude tech, you need to learn all the types and phases of this work ....You can never know too much.and believe it or not The production work will greatly help your restos and vice versa..How long have you been at this stuff ????
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:27 AM
put up or shut up
 

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6-7 years. The only draw back to this job in my opinion is that the time frame to get it done doesn't change when secondary damage is noted. That 17 hour job I mentioned would have been a cakewalk but soon as we took off the bumper the bottom of the quarter was smashed in as well as the rear panel. Quarter was also not flush with the taillights but in. So I'm hoping had they known the actual extent of the damage they would have given me more time. Bottom line I got it done but I can see on occasion I won't live up to their expectations if that little time is allowed for supplements and stuff not caught by initial estimation. It would be nearly impossible. Just can't do that but I think as long as I'm pushing and working fast everything will work out fine. I mean, shu, my time is comparable to the guys that get the big hits and it's EASY to rack up hours with the big stuff so that's a good sign for sure. Just gotta ask the right questions and not bug with the questions when I can figure it out.
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:47 AM
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Sounds like your doing pretty well. With me, at that point I was still trying to get my bondo work fast ,I always lagged behind everyone else,my work was great but sloooooow...I also started from a resto shop and went into a normal body shop that did mostly collision but we did a lot of repair work because the after market sheetmetal was still in its infancy ...These days you can get a pretty good panel that hardly needs anything but sanding,good for saving time but but bad for learning filler work...back then I used filler everyday now it might be weeks or longer before I open a can...I've also noticed many cars from the big shops that have great paint work but you can see every spot where they used filler...It's like they dont know how to do it any more....and the bar has been lowerd so its acceptable now...all in the name of speed quicker turn around + more money (for the shop)
If there was any One thing I could warn you about it would be.. Keep the car safe.do your repair with two things in mind as if it was your wife and kids getting into it and it'll get hit in that exact same spot again...Your the bottom line on safety,the shop dont care about anything but it looks good enough and getting the money...
Right now your foot is in the door and your learning something of value but later on you'll have to fight for every dollar you earn, the shop wants that money and will find a hundred ways to cheat you out of it.You'll need to learn that too,they find eager beavers that love the work EZ pray....
Dont let them burn you out....
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tech69
6-7 years. The only draw back to this job in my opinion is that the time frame to get it done doesn't change when secondary damage is noted. That 17 hour job I mentioned would have been a cakewalk but soon as we took off the bumper the bottom of the quarter was smashed in as well as the rear panel. Quarter was also not flush with the taillights but in. So I'm hoping had they known the actual extent of the damage they would have given me more time. Bottom line I got it done but I can see on occasion I won't live up to their expectations if that little time is allowed for supplements and stuff not caught by initial estimation. It would be nearly impossible. Just can't do that but I think as long as I'm pushing and working fast everything will work out fine. I mean, shu, my time is comparable to the guys that get the big hits and it's EASY to rack up hours with the big stuff so that's a good sign for sure. Just gotta ask the right questions and not bug with the questions when I can figure it out.

I don't understand, are you saying that there was more damage exposed and they aren't getting any more time to repair it? That is basacwards! EVERY "turn of the wrench" it takes to repair it gets added. Our supplement average is probably a grand. We get every dime we need to repair it and make money.

Brian
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:12 PM
put up or shut up
 

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The turnaround time is what I'm talking about. The estimates are pretty accurate. So basically had there not been hidden damage I would have cakewalked to the finish line, but since there is, they still expect it done asap. I was being completely open and said, "where do you want me to cut corners to get this done?" I'd say for that 17.6 hr job I got it done in 7-8 hrs.
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:19 PM
put up or shut up
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadbodyman
Sounds like your doing pretty well. With me, at that point I was still trying to get my bondo work fast ,I always lagged behind everyone else,my work was great but sloooooow...I also started from a resto shop and went into a normal body shop that did mostly collision but we did a lot of repair work because the after market sheetmetal was still in its infancy ...These days you can get a pretty good panel that hardly needs anything but sanding,good for saving time but but bad for learning filler work...back then I used filler everyday now it might be weeks or longer before I open a can...I've also noticed many cars from the big shops that have great paint work but you can see every spot where they used filler...It's like they dont know how to do it any more....and the bar has been lowerd so its acceptable now...all in the name of speed quicker turn around + more money (for the shop)
If there was any One thing I could warn you about it would be.. Keep the car safe.do your repair with two things in mind as if it was your wife and kids getting into it and it'll get hit in that exact same spot again...Your the bottom line on safety,the shop dont care about anything but it looks good enough and getting the money...
Right now your foot is in the door and your learning something of value but later on you'll have to fight for every dollar you earn, the shop wants that money and will find a hundred ways to cheat you out of it.You'll need to learn that too,they find eager beavers that love the work EZ pray....
Dont let them burn you out....
good advice, thanks. Yeah, I noticed the guys there that aren't the old schoolers can't do good bodywork. That's pretty much why I got hired. He basically wanted a mudder and one that wasn't adapted to production and I feel it's cause guys get entitled to the old ways of pay when the insurance companies just keep pinching away.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MARTINSR
I don't understand, are you saying that there was more damage exposed and they aren't getting any more time to repair it? That is basacwards! EVERY "turn of the wrench" it takes to repair it gets added. Our supplement average is probably a grand. We get every dime we need to repair it and make money.

Brian
Explain "double sheeting" Brian...I think he should be aware of this practice for starters..
tech ,you can bet if theres a suppliment the shop is going to get it...You (on the other hand) is another story..thats your money, get it ,you earned it not them and never forget its guys like you in the shop that pay the for the guys at the desk without you they wouldnt have a job but without them you can still keep on.watch them ,some of them will skim your hrs and put it in thier own pockets
either way tech if your doing 80hrs in a 40 hr week your doing great...after about the third or fourth week is when you find out what kind of guy your working for..Sometimes they'll start taking a couple hrs here and a few there and next thing you know your working twice as hard and getting half the money...and it gets a little uncomfortable to sit....
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Old 06-16-2011, 07:54 PM
put up or shut up
 

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I totally can picture "double sheeting" and the thing I hate about production is estimators in general. They're cool here but at the other place I worked at before they were snobs and I can totally do my job and THEIR job. I think what they're concerned about is the guys who don't like the hours Geico gives and their looking for guys like me just wanting the experience but haven't been in the game long enough to complain about hours. I have no problem with being at the bottom but it bugs me when it's slow and I'm just doing bumpers...what the hell, it's basically what I did when I started. Also sucks when you get one bumper for the whole day while the guy next to you is working on three cars. That bothers me but I won't say anything. I'll just plug away and let my work do the talking.
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Old 06-16-2011, 11:39 PM
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Henry don't be dissing the estimators and don't be dissing the paint dept if you want to make money. First off, the estimators aren't just "writing estimates" they are communicating with the customer,they are communicating with the insurance companies. They are walking a tight rope which is often hard to do.

If you start telling the estimator how to do his job, you will find you will be doing those bumper jobs a lot.

As far as the times go, do you do your own supplements? If you are there are millions of tricks to get time. And you can bet the estimator is dealing with the insurance companies everyday and it gets old believe me, they have a headache from doing it day in and day out.

One thing is that the insurance company is very "visual" they need to SEE something. So the time on straightening a rad support is tough, they don't see all the time fitting the lights and stuff, you know what I mean? This takes time to figure out how to do get time out of them.

Then when there is a DRP involved you get things like contracts that have been signed. "Frame setup" for instance may be 1.5 and the disconnecting the battery is part of the frame rack setup in the book. But that frame rack setup isn't 1.5, it is likely more. But under the contract all you get is 1.5. So how do I get them to pay for the R&I of the battery, I put R&I the battery tray or battery box! LOL, I have never had them say a thing.

There are tons of items that are included in processes. Like the tail lamp is included in the R&R of a quarter panel. And if you add it to the est it will simply be "included" and no time will appear. But there are TONS of things that you can add that probably should be included and would be by common sense included. But you can add them and gain .2, .3 over and over and pump up the time.

I can't say it enough, don't be thinking you can do their job better, work with them or you will be screwed blued and tattooed (as my late father use to say).

Brian
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:10 AM
put up or shut up
 

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who said I don't work with them? I don't give them any ****, they just don't share the same pride in work that I do, but I don't say anything. I've always thought estimators were just insurance company suck ups. I don't think this place is gonna change that. As for the painters, I think they're really good and are cool. There's just one guy who wasn't so nice to me but that's cause I had to prove myself to him. He's cool now.

As far as supplements, we're not encouraged to do them. We're only supposed to do 8% supplements out of all the jobs, so we tear down everything....and wait and wait and wait. It's a big shop and I'm at the bottom of the todem pole. There's no mid level techs. They're all journeymen. This is a perfect opportunity for me, just have to keep plugging away and besides, R&I stuff to me is less sanding and mixing it up. In Restoration that's all did. Sand sand sand.

btw, I never said I could do their job better, but I could do it. I know they can't do mine. I've done estimates before. It's pretty simple if you ask me. I like the estimators here. They're nicer here then they were at the last production place I was. At the other place they thought they were superior to everybody. Just snobby. Not here though.

You sound like I'm dogging the company. I'm not doing that, I'm just trying to guess how things will play out just as they are about me. If they double sheet me and take advantage of me so be it. I'm here to grow with the company but the best part is seeing the opportunity to transition into a well rounded tech. I can take abuse for that shot.

funny to sprain your right thumb and two fingers on your left hand and trying to get off a belt moulding. Ouch!

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Old 06-17-2011, 08:42 AM
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Martin, guess we know what your "office" job is now.

You're the exception!
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Old 06-17-2011, 09:57 AM
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Henry, you are right, I am in the office now, have been for two years. Remember that book I told you guys about? Well I am telling you right now, if you tell us "they just don't share the same pride in work that I do, but I don't say anything. I've always thought estimators were just insurance company suck ups." and "I never said I could do their job better, but I could do it. I know they can't do mine. I've done estimates before. It's pretty simple if you ask me".

If you are THINKING these things, you are likely TELLING them with your actions.

These are generalities, what we as human beings do, I am not saying YOU are doing it, I am telling you it is usually true. I know it would be with me, as I am a human being.

And you know what, guys in the shop think about me that way, even ones that were here when I was in the shop, I hear things, I see things, they feel that I am a dumb office person now. Like my brains drained out of my ears when I walked from the shop to the office.

And if you think simply "writing estimates" is simple, oh heck yeah, look at damage and pick the parts on a computer screen, "writing estimates" is simple. But that isn't even close to the responsibilities of the estimator.
When you pile on all the parts checking and searching out sources, getting the right paper work and signatures, payments, comfirmations, supplements faxed and confirmed, begging for hours with the insurance company, discussing why you aren't using an aftermarket part with them, and why you ARE with a customer because they signed the contract with their insurance company.

"Writing estimates" is just a small part of it. And I don't know about other estimators at other shops, but me personally who is doing the supplements out in the shop but I have worn a pedometer and I walk 6-8 miles a day. I work WAY, WAY, WAY harder physically doing this job than working on cars all day, WAY harder. I will never look at the estimator the same again, that I will tell you.

I am not preaching to you here, I am simply saying that there are two sides to this and if you look at the estimators as equals you will be a lot better off.

Brian
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Old 06-17-2011, 06:58 PM
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you're right and that's good for me to think about cause in the end we're all humans. It's just as much their job to appease to not only the customer but the insurance company and the tech. I'm sure it's a lot to deal with in a fast pace environment.

I place the blame on Geico when I have an 07 Accord keystone fender and headlight to fit...oh boy!

I did learn something today though....when you have a bumper where just the bolt at the end is holding it on you better not only use a heat gun to fix whatever you're fixing but you also have to heat that area that snaps into the bracket and straighten it, even if it's not noticeable. I've quickly learned that if the tab breaks that means the same thing and if you don't have enough time to check it back on the car for fit you better heat it undo that bend that was caused by the bolt being the only thing not giving into the crush. Had two bumpers that didn't fit the greatest and it's because of that subtle bend that you can't really see. I guess I was used to shops replacing bumpers when they get hit in that area. Also noticed the keystone fenders don't hold the bumper up close enough sometimes so you have to roll the bottom of the fender to give the bracket the correct angle. Not a good thing when it's painted.

Anyhow, it was a pretty good week and tomorrow I'll go for a few hours to knock out the last of my jobs to paint so I'll have about 60 hours for the week. Really good considering half the week was dinky bumper jobs. Good fun.
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