Progressive revised its reimbursement plan to a more appropriate allocation when color is contained within a panel. How did we get to the point of needing this correction in the first place?
The abuse of the “Spot Blend Within Panel” occurred because it became a “one-size-fits-all” scenario. Our paint and our technicians have come a long way with color-matching, improving our ability to reduce the amount of the vehicle being painted. The savings had very little to do with time spent painting the panel itself..
Today, consumers and carriers expect a lifetime warranty on workmanship. Furthermore, in an attempt to save money, “creative procedures” may be demanded, and that can put you in a bad spot. Any time a documented procedure is compromised, it may directly affect the workmanship, safety and the ability to support a warranty to that consumer. And that paves way to fraud.
I recall hosting an I-CAR class where a local shop owner—one who rarely attended training—bragged to me about using structural adhesives, instead of welding quarter panels, to shave time off the repair. When I mentioned that the OEM was against that, the owner said, “Ah, they’re just afraid someone out there won’t do it properly.” I had recently attended a conference where I talked with that OEM collision division rep; he explained that he had tested many applications and had not gotten consistent results, which is why the documentation was to weld the panel.
As an industry, we need to understand that when asked “Can you do it?” our response should never be about our ability, but about the OEM recommendation. Next time that you’re asked, “Can you do this?” check the OEM procedure or call your paint vendor to see if there have been any changes since your last class. The consumer, after all, is depending on your expertise!
Ray Fisher is the president of ASA-Michigan. This article represents his opinion and does not reflect the views of ASA-Michigan.