Observing the need for quick access to usable information - much of it acquired empirically through years of experience by technicians, Steve Morris, vice president of operations, Holmes Body Shop, Los Angeles, California, felt he could make information available to technicians in a much more user-friendly and expedient manner. Partnering with industry consultant and Autobody News contributor Toby Chess and web designer Young Chai, Morris launched theppages.com as an information clearinghouse for estimators and shop owners.
Chess has a massive collection of videos depicting actual procedures being performed by experts and technicians which comprise the core of the web site. He is well versed in the required operations that can only be found in the P-pages. Currently available or soon to be added to the site are an expanded matrix for sectioning, actual visuals of repairs, an exotic metals locator for determining where metals are located on a vehicle, a VIN Decoder, and a definitions page that goes one step further by showing how the operation is actually performed.
"Sometimes we can convince an estimator that a procedure must be included, but the estimator is later unable to defend his position. Now, when an estimator is challenged, he can refer back to theppages.com to document the decision," explained Morris.
"Also planned is a technical chat forum, where a subscriber can post a query and receive responses from other subscribers. In this way we are developing our own encyclopedia of collision repair information - developed from not only published documents, but from technician's experience as well."
The purpose of theppages.com is to provide training and documentation to properly estimate and repair every day vehicles. The mission is to help create a defensible estimate and justifiable repair plan based on the site's collection of proper procedures and "not-included" operations.
Completing the repair plan
Filling the gap between estimating systems and the actual repair is the goal of the site. All estimating systems provide basic replacement times but are not set up to include all the necessary operations required to complete a profitable and acceptable repair. Theppages.com provides documentation that can quickly and easily be referred to when creating an estimate and repair plan.
The estimating database providers give replacement times on new undamaged vehicles, yet who has ever seen a new undamaged vehicle come into a body shop for repairs. This site shows all the necessary operations and materials required to repair "real life" damaged vehicles.
Available on theppages.com are written procedures, videos and images of actual repairs, complete with the not-included operations that are likely to be required to complete the repair properly and profitably. Explanations, definitions and pictures of these items can be found to share with work providers and customers in a non-controversial, educational format.
With theppages.com now online, spreading the word about the service is of paramount importance. Word of mouth and opportunities to speak to groups such as Acoat 20 groups and industry associations are helping disperse the information.
"We are establishing a clearing house for pertinent collision repair information," concluded Morris. "As cars become more and more complex, it is more important than ever to avoid the expensive lessons learned using trial and error methods of repair.
"The manufacturers have done a good job of putting information on the web and in repair manuals, but our goal is to make that information more accessible to technicians who are in the process of a repair and need immediate solutions at hand."
Accessing much of the content found on this site requires the purchase of an annual subscription costing $899 good for up to five users with unique user names and passwords.