National AutoBody Research has added another state’s data to its ongoing labor rate surveys.
“The recent Arizona survey has been a special case because it’s sponsored by three independent shops,” said Sam Valenzuela, President of National AutoBody Research. “Previous surveys we’ve launched have been sponsored by an individual or an association.”
The three shops that sponsored this survey are Arizona Collision Center, Lake Pleasant Collision Center, and Vince’s Auto Body, Inc.
“So far, we’re getting good responses,” he added. “People are filling out the survey and they’re excited about it.”
The organization has also launched labor rate surveys in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Utah.
He recommends that shop owners who want to “drill down deeper” go beyond the general survey results and subscribe to the Variable Rate System (VRS), so they can get access to all the nationwide data.
“From that data, users can search all the way down to the zip code level or within mileage ranges of their shop,” Valenzuela added. “They can also search for other shops with any type of factory certification and equipment.”
He said he’s slowly starting to see the outcome he was hoping for.
“At a state wide level, it’s a little harder to see results, because the states are so big and there are so many shops,” said Valenzuela. “But the success is coming from individuals and that is starting to grow.”
He said on November 12, he received a call from a shop owner in California who received a “significant jump” in his hourly labor rate after making a case from the VRS survey results.
“The shop collected $58 per hour from an insurer that had previously paid in the high $40s, maybe low $50s, because that was the prevailing rate in the area,” said Valenzuela. “That’s just one example, and we are seeing those examples all over. We are definitely experiencing results and success and those numbers are starting to grow bit by bit.”
National Autobody Research has also launched a new online library, which stores documents stating whether insurers paid shops for necessary, but not included parts. The studies allow body shops to find out what ‘not included procedures’ insurers are paying for across the country.
“After shop owners search for an insurer or procedure, we show them the list of documents we have. These include the dates, the name of the insurer, the actual claim number for that case, the name and address of the shop, and the full list of the non-included procedures that were paid,” said Valenzuela.
He said the online library has been very helpful in allowing NABR to move in the direction of “leveling the playing field” in the industry.
“Shops are having exuberant reactions to the information, because I think they’ve been looking for something like this for a while,” said Valenzuela. “Without this they’ve never really been able to prove or even know that some shop in Florida was getting paid for a procedure that wasn’t being covered in California.”
He added that consistency in payment by insurers to shops is the main goal of the new document search capability.
“We believe if one shop does the work, then they should get paid for it, and if any other shop does the same work, they should also get paid for it,” said Valenzuela. “Practices should not be inconsistent across the country, even though they are today. So, this tool is helping to level that out so shops are fairly paid for their work.”
Autobody News asked Valenzuela whether state laws can play a role in how much shops are paid by insurers for certain procedures and equipment.
“To my knowledge, there are no specific state laws that prohibit any particular procedure or operation from getting covered by insurers; I think it’s just more of a market dynamic that’s just out there,” he said.
Valenzuela said he’s heard insurers tell shop owners, “We don’t pay for that in your area or in your market.”
“If you read into that, you can see it’s implied that they may pay for it somewhere else,” he explained. “We don’t think geography should have anything to do with it; it’s a pretty irrelevant variable. No matter where you are, if you do the work, you should get paid, and that’s what we’re trying to help with.”
To view current surveys: http://www.nationalautobodyresearch.com/surveys.html
For more information on the new Procedures Document Search product, or to submit documents: http://www.nationalautobodyresearch.com/vrs-procedures-search.html
*Explanation of the Labor Rate Data Table:
The data in the table above is based on your search criteria and is calculated from the use of Statistics, the science of collecting and analyzing numerical data.
High Rate is the average rate plus two standard deviations (see definition below).
Above Avg is the average rate plus one standard deviation.
Average Rate is the simple mathematical average of the rates matching your search criteria.
“Standard deviation” is a Statistics calculation, and it measures a data point’s difference (or “deviation”) from the average. It tells us how tightly grouped together or how spread out the data is. When standard deviation is low, then the data is tightly grouped together, which means that most shops tend to charge similar rates. When standard deviation is high, then the data is spread out, which means that shops charge a greater variety of rates.