Estimating

Replacement car bumpers weaker than originals

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Today’s cars and car parts are made not just in one place, but many. Toyotas hail from Mississippi, Volkswagens are assembled in America, and Chryslers aren’t just made in Detroit any more. But replacement parts for all these car types and makes come mainly from China. (FAQ: What kind of parts are used to repair my car?)

When a car needs structural repair, parts for a GM, Chrysler, VW, or even a BMW are sourced from factories that have never produced, or likely ever even seen, the whole vehicle.

Replacement body parts often don’t come from the manufacturer that produced the originals used in the fabrication of the car, but very likely will come from a factory that produces only parts for the aftermarket network of buyers and distributors.

That’s because there is a flourishing market in parts manufactured all over the globe, but mainly in China, that represents a billion dollars plus in imports to the U.S. market.

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Collision Photography

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Taking high quality collision photos is a must when validating vehicle damage written on your estimate. Hi-Tech Toolbox™ hosts Bob Medved and Roger Cada discuss and demonstrate proven methods for improving your collision photography.

Paint materials profits

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Think you’re not making enough profit on paint materials? Here’s the process I would use to determine if this is the case and if so, fix it.

First, I’d look at your profit-and-loss statement to see how you are doing against two key benchmarks for paint materials. I’d look at your sales to make sure that paint materials account for 10 percent or more of your total sales. Then I’d look at your cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) to make sure you weren’t spending more than 6 percent of your total sales on paint materials.

Those benchmarks on a per-job basis mean that for a $1,000 job, you should charge $100 or more for paint materials, and your paint materials costs for that job shouldn’t exceed $60.

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Change the industry instead of letting the industry change you

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Are you controlled by your circumstances, or are you taking charge of your own destiny?

I don’t use the term life-changing experience very often, but I recently had one. A lot of people I respect and admire in this industry, people I consider to be successful or even my mentors, had told me about attending (or sending key employees) to Discover Leadership Training in Houston, Texas. I was intrigued, so I signed up and attended. I’m not getting paid to endorse it, but I can honestly say it was life changing.

I won’t go into all that I came away with, but one of the key things Mike Jones of Discover Leadership said that really resonated with me was this: Do you want to be the flag, or the wind? The flag is visible and gets all the attention. But think about it: The wind controls the flag. The wind determines whether the flag moves at all, and sets the direction for the flag.

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