Charging for ADAS Services
For shops looking to invest in bringing ADAS calibrations in-house, the checklist to make sure the system is ready to run effectively is long. Do you have enough space? Are the walls the right color? Is the floor level? Has the shop decided on a scanner, or whether to do static or dynamic calibrations?
After all those things are checked off and ready to go, pricing still needs to be considered. How much should be charged? Should you expect heavy insurance pushback? How do customers feel about paying for calibrations and how much are they willing to spend?
Joshua Fuller, owner of Fuller Auto Body, a 100-year-old collision repair shop in Auburn, Mass., recently found himself answering all those questions. He says spent about a year and a half researching ADAS calibration before putting his system in place in March of this year.
With advanced driver-assistance systems showing up in more and more vehicles, Fuller says he wanted to be in a position of strength within the industry. Especially as COVID arose, he says he wanted to eliminate as much inconsistency as possible from his business operations, and bringing calibrations in-house was one way to do that.
FenderBender spoke to Fuller about what he chose to charge and how it’s been surprisingly well received by customers and insurance companies.
As told to Paul Hodowanic
Customers prioritize safety over spending.
When we first started doing calibrations, we were very skeptical about whether the insurance companies were going to cover it. They’re something we need to perform as part of the repair—we’re 100 percent liable—so are we going to choose to balance-bill the customer if their insurance doesn’t cover it?
What we found was that when customers purchased their vehicles they did so because they wanted the safety features and the peace of mind that comes with them. People are focused on what ADAS technology is in their vehicle. So when something happens to the vehicle, they know it’s going to need repair and wonder how it’s going to be fixed properly. Very quickly it was refreshing for us because there wasn’t that pushback. Calibration wasn’t seen as unnecessary.
Even when we couldn’t do a customer-pay estimate up front, like normal, there wasn’t much fuss. We leave it open ended until we have a complete repair plan and the vehicle is disassembled for repair and we know what calibrations the vehicle is going to need. We have seen so many different instances where that rate changes, or what needs to be done to the vehicle for calibrations changes, and the customers have been fine with it.
It gets covered.
We got pushback from insurance companies initially, but that was from insurers or individuals who weren’t up to speed on what repairs are required by the manufacturer. Because this is so new, comes down to education. I’d say 99 percent of ADAS calibrations have been covered by insurers and, believe it or not, we weren’t surprised about the lack of pushback.
What’s different about today, compared to five or 10 years ago, is that everyone is on the same page about safety and what is required to make sure vehicles are repaired correctly. In my opinion, top industry organizations, leaders, and vehicle manufacturers are all on the same page—they are delivering the same safety message. It is the biggest priority. For that reason, it’s much easier to get insurers to cover ADAS calibrations compared to any other service. You can’t argue with facts.
We’ve been in business for over 100 years, so we’ve got a lot of good relationships with the insurance companies in our area. We’re extremely transparent in all of our repair practices and that has led to good results.
SHOP STATS: Fuller Auto Body Location: Auburn, Mass. Owner: Joshua Fuller Staff Size: 30 Shop Size: 23,000 square feet Average Monthly Car Count: 120 Number of Lifts: 20 ARO: $3,300 Annual Revenue: $5 Million