Collision industry veteran Bob Klem isn’t afraid to take on the insurance companies and that’s why he developed PaintEx 2.0, a system that enables shops to get paid fairly for each repair.
Klem, 78, is a veteran of the collision industry and worked for Mitchell for many years before starting KLM in 1980. While most people are retired at this point in their lives, Klem is still driven to make the insurance companies accountable and that’s why he invented PaintEx 2.0, an easy-to-use, intuitive paint and finishing cost-accounting software guide that enables body shops to quickly and effortlessly create detailed, itemized invoices for every repair job while re-capturing significant amounts of money as a result.
Klem’s mantra from day one has been exactly the same. “Let the shops fix the cars because that’s what they know how to do, and then pay them fairly, that’s all I have been saying,” Klem said. “For years, insurance companies have lumped all materials needed to prepare, paint, sand, buff, and clear coat a vehicle into one number, the hourly P&M allowance, which is an estimate based on the number of paint hours. The problem with this method is that it is often incorrect, as every job is different.”
After decades of research and development, Klem said his software is the best way to recoup money from the insurance companies. “There are three factors here to consider—contracts, assignment of proceeds and cost accounting and all are protected by business law. If enough body shops can truly ask to get paid properly for the cars they fix, this industry will be better for shops and consumers.”
Klem has been developing his PaintEx 2.0 system since the early 1990s, long before the Internet became a daily part of all our lives, and although he’s a senior citizen, he has gladly embraced every new technological innovation as it became relevant.
“At the beginning, we had PaintEx on disks, but in 1998, we made it Internet-based,” he said. “I used to silkscreen my own disks prior to that. Then in 2012, clouding became the new thing and we embraced that. Now, users can access our system anywhere, any time and it has made the whole process that much easier.”
PaintEx 2.0 allows you to quickly generate a preliminary damage report and then go on to modify, add and subtract any and all materials used in the refinishing of the vehicle. The result is an accurate accounting of the refinishing cost for each vehicle. It allows shops to bill for exactly what they use to refinish the vehicle. On average, using PaintEx can help a body shop to double its income for paint and materials used without any increase in shop time! They can also easily customize PaintEx 2.0 for their shop to allow fast and accurate invoicing.
The number one benefit of the software, according to Klem, is that it makes shops independent of insurance company influence. “Shop owners ask me what is the right percentage of DRPs I should have and I tell them zero,” he said. “And this software can help you to get there, because once the insurance companies see that you’re using PaintEx 2.0, they know that this shop now has the ammunition it needs to get paid on materials and products that are used in every repair.”
Klem claims that by using PaintEx 2.0, the software (cost: $500 annually) will pay for itself after only two or three jobs. “It’s a short-term investment with a long-term payout and truly the best way to drive your body shop profits up.”
Jose Garjeda, the owner of C&J Paint & Body in Oxnard, CA has only been using PaintEx 2.0 for a short time, but he has already seen the results and he is astounded, to say the least. “Not every repair job is the same, because painting a car with red pearl is not the same as another color,” Garjeda said. “The red pearl may need five coats, for example, but how can I get paid for the additional paint, materials, etc.? The insurance companies want a standard rate and an easy answer on every repair, but that’s not realistic.”
After just using PaintEx 2.0 one time, Garjeda was sold on the system. “We put together the first invoice and submitted it to the insurance companies claiming an additional $1,200. When they saw the documentation that we created using PaintEx 2.0, they couldn’t fight it, because it’s all right there. We got the money from that insurance company without drama or haggling, because we did our homework and followed the proper steps. Now we know how to do the same on every repair, which means we will increase our revenues substantially and get paid for what we’re entitled to.”
Garjeda loves the software and also values the company’s full tech support with free shop set-up assistance. “The service is 24/7 and if I want Bob Klem on the phone, I have his cell. He is dedicated to this system and I can see why, because it works and there’s no doubt about that. After a brief training, we were up and running with the system. It was super easy.”
Will Bob Klem finally get the insurance companies out of the collision repair business before he retires? “If I can take down Allstate and Farmer’s, the rest will fall like dominoes. But, really I just want the playing field to be equal for both parties involved. In the end, it all comes down to accountability, transparency and an attitude that says we’re working together instead of against each other.”