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Auto Body Estimating Solutions: Excel and OpenOffice.org

Race Club Body Shop Newsletter

What is an Estimate (basics)

A collision repair or body shop estimate is basically an educated guess as to how much time it will take to do the work, multiplied by your labor hr rate.  If a repair job is estimated at 10 hours and your labor rate is $50 per hour, then your estimate for labor is $500 right?  Add materials and supply's and you have an estimate.

The problem is this educated guess is rarely 100% accurate, that when supplements come in to play (will be discussed later).

The problem for the novice estimate writer is how many hours each task is supposed to take.  This will be different for each shop as they have different skill sets, the more experienced repairman will be able to do the job quicker.

The estimate should be written based on your shop conditions, overhead, experience etc.  Of course there are average across the Industry and we add those to our estimating tools.  But for your shop, you should have your price.

Insurance companies understand there are many variable when estimating this type of work, they build in these variables to their claims processes.  Don't be afraid to tell the Insurance company this is how much it will cost for us to do this repair, they will pay it.  Sometimes they will argue the point, but in the end, they know they must pay.

An estimate is a guess, the more experience you have in the Industry, the more educated this guess will be...