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HOW IT WORKS: It’s the part of the collision repair process that Adam Grant, owner of Xtreme Collision Center in Morristown, Va., says he used to dread every time: rekeying estimates into his management software—a task that often takes up to 45 minutes to complete with complicated jobs.

Grant says that at minimum, this process used to take 10 minutes, but could take hours for a more detailed job or a more inexperienced estimator. This was especially the case because differences in estimating softwares meant price differences, which needed to be ironed out to match the amount of money issued by the insurance company.Does this process sound familiar? “I would sit down and I would enter in the customer information, insurance information, claim number, adjuster, all of that information,” he says. “Then start filling out all the other information on the vehicle; replace fender, replace this. I’d get a total and go back through and make sure everything is ship shape, make everything come out to the penny. Then I would lock it, and then import it into the management system. And I’m really good at it because I’ve been doing it for a long time! You take an inexperienced estimator and they don’t understand all that stuff, it would take them hours to get it transferred and rekeyed accurately.”

So, roughly four months ago, when veteran industry consultant Mike Anderson told Grant about Estify, a product that would virtually eliminate that rekeying work for him, Grant was hooked. The web-based tool allows Grant to upload a PDF of an estimate from any of the big three estimating software platforms (Audatex, Mitchell or CCC) to the Estify website, select his management system and the Estify staff will copy the estimate into the correct format.

When it’s done (Grant says it takes generally 30 minutes), he receives a text notification that the estimate is complete, as well as an email with the new PDF attached, which he can directly import into his management system.

“I’m addicted to it. It makes my life so easy,” he says. “Now it’s just a matter of uploading it to the site. You go on about your business and keep clicking away on other things.”

THE RETURN: Grant says that the time saved using the product is significant. He is able to spend his time working on projects and items that generate revenue for the shop, and the staff is able to more smoothly keep the production line.

However, because each estimate transfer costs $15, Grant says he really needed to make sure he could justify the price. He says the tool has saved his shop significant time and money by not having to spend hours doing the rekeying himself or hiring another front office staff member to complete the work.

“The way I look at it is that you can hire a person and, hourly, they can sit here and rekey estimates for you, if you want,” he says. “But then you have benefits, worker’s comp, all these other expenses that come along with it. I can do it quickly but it would take someone years to have the experience to be able to do it quickly, so I think it’s well worth the money. I can spend $200 to $300 a month on transfers and that’s a fraction of what I pay someone a week and it’s on demand.”

Grant has purchased the “pay-peruse” subscription model, meaning he only pays per estimate he uploads. Grant says he typically sends up to three or four estimates per day to Estify, but if he has the time or wants to, he can still do the rekeying process for himself.

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