Sam Valenzuela, president of National Autobody Research
Autobody News reached out to Sam Valenzuela, National AutoBody Research president, to learn more about the goals of the survey, how it works, and how the results are panning out. According to Valenzuela, the Variable Rate System (VRS) surveys shops nationwide for their posted labor rates, including rates for body, paint (refinish), frame, aluminum body, aluminum structure, mechanical, paint and materials rate, and storage.
“When labor rates for bicycle repairmen are 40 percent higher than for auto collision repair technicians, something's wrong,” he said.
As of today, the VRS has collected rates from shops in 46 states.
“Nationwide, the average price for body and paint labor is $50/hr, and for paint and materials is $33,” said Valenzuela. “While this is only an average (some shops are higher and some are lower), the VRS actually reports a range of market-based labor rates using statistical standard deviations to define various levels of rates from low to high.”
He said the reason the VRS surveys are continuous is so shops can be confident that they are always receiving the most current results. Another differentiating factor is that the VRS survey “enables shops to find labor rates for different types of shops, based on levels of training, certifications, and investment in equipment & tools,” said Valenzuela.
As expected, more highly certified shops tend to have higher posted labor rates.
Now that we have given an overview, Autobody News will be following up with a more in depth articles on labor rate surveys in all five regions.