Estimating
3 min read

Estimate Accuracy

Written by
Kirk Carlisle
Published on
April 7, 2023

Balancing a safe and correct repair with a profitable repair is difficult.

This balance only exists in the few pages of a well-written estimate, and accurate estimating sets off a chain reaction of good things.  Over the next few weeks, we will look at ways to improve estimate accuracy, and the impact estimate accuracy has on the entire shop.  So what does estimate accuracy impact, and what are some ways to improve yours?

$100 bill tied to the top of a toy car.

Preserving Profits

Accurate estimates help prevent unexpected costs that can eat into a facility's profits.  Often if a repair facility underestimates the cost of repairs, it may have to absorb that additional cost.  On the other hand, if a facility overestimates the cost of repairs, it may lose customers to competitors who offer lower estimates.  Capturing every operation to be completed during the repair is critical.  Accurate estimates help ensure a facility can provide its customers with a fair price while maintaining profitability.

Ascending stair with blocks pointing to the top prize.

Improved Cycle Time

Accurate estimates help reduce the time required to complete a repair.  When a facility provides an accurate estimate, it can order all the necessary parts and schedule the repair work in advance.  This ensures the facility can complete the repair quickly, reducing the vehicle's downtime and increasing customer satisfaction.  Reduced cycle times also mean your facility can take on more repairs, increasing your throughput and profitability. 

Happy customer receiving their car back from the repair shop.

Boost Customer Service

Accurate estimates can also help you provide better customer service.  When you provide an accurate estimate, you set realistic expectations for the repair process.  This helps manage the customer's expectations and reduces the risk of surprises when the final bill arrives.  Accurate estimates also help you keep customers informed throughout the repair process.  By providing regular updates on the progress of the repair, you demonstrate your commitment to customer service and build a rapport with the customer.  This can lead to positive reviews, word-of-mouth referrals, and increased customer loyalty.  It also prevents those awkward conversations when additional damage is found late in the repair process.  When you combine a significant price increase with a missed delivery date, you’re generally not going to have a happy customer. 

Safer Repairs

In addition to profitability, cycle time, and customer service, estimate accuracy also plays a crucial role in ensuring safety.  A good estimate ensures that all necessary repairs are completed and safety concerns are addressed.  This is especially important for repairs that involve structural repairs, suspension, and ADAS systems.  An inaccurate estimate may overlook hidden damage, leaving the repaired vehicle unsafe to drive. 

So what is a good first step to improving estimate accuracy?

One obvious choice is blueprinting. The term ‘blueprinting’ gets thrown around in several ways, but when we say blueprinting, we’re referring to an established procedure that your facility uses on every car to determine the full extent of damage on the front end.  This can be a one-and-done approach, a pre and post-disassembly approach, or any combination.  The process just needs to be a fit for your shop. 

Digital schematic of vehicle with parts pulled apart for identification.

There are a few steps that every good blueprint process has, though.  It is important that once the vehicle is dropped off at the facility for repair, it receives a prescan.  Then it goes through a complete disassembly process, documenting all damages and adding them to the estimate. Part numbers for replacement parts are confirmed. Copies of all the manufacturer procedure pages for the repair are pulled, with copies provided to the technician.  Once the parts needed are confirmed, prescan and procedure pages are reviewed, and all operations are on the estimate, the vehicle can go into production.  Completing these items on the repair's front side is the key to success. 

It goes without saying that each of these blueprinting steps must be documented.  This is where the Dents.co Damage Appraisal App can help.  The Dents.co app captures key repair information such as substrate, damage severity, and clearly denotes the size and location of the damage with digital markings and a 3D depth map overlay.  Combined with manufacturer procedures, you can quickly and easily document your repair decision, ensuring the customer gets a safe, quality repair every time.

You can try the app for free for 10 days by signing up here or see a live demo by signing up at dents.co/demo.

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