CIC panel examines how body shops can respond to rising paint and material costs

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A round table this summer Collision Industry Conference (CIC) related to the impacts of inflation focused primarily on how body shops can cope with increases in paint and material costs—including how to discuss rising costs with insurers.

No matter which of the main refinish paint lines is used in a shop, virtually every auto body repair company has received at least one letter—and usually several—in the past 18 months announcing price increases. for these materials.

One paint company, for example, notified its US in-store customers in January 2021 of a “weighted average increase of 4.1%”, followed by a similar “weighted average increase of 4.25%” in May 2021, and another 9.8% in February 2021. this year.

CIC panelists noted that some stores may be confused by the term “weighted average,” particularly if they see their paint costs exceed the percentages listed in the letters.

Paint company representatives said these average increases are an overall average for all of the different products manufacturers may include in the notice.

“So some products can be lifted more, others will be less,” said Braxton Ewing of BASF. “A lot of it depends on supply chain issues and raw material availability.”

Tim Ronaksenior service consultant for AkzoNobelOkay.

“An individual store may not buy this entire weighted range of products in the same distribution that we averaged,” Ronak said, noting that most companies carry a variety of clear coats, for example, whose price could increase at different rates. “This means each store can see their own unique price increase, regardless of what is posted.

“A published figure of 10% could represent, for an individual store, a 12% increase in actual spend, while another could see an 8% increase,” Ronak said.

Track and document costs

Panelists noted that one way for a store to better document its costs is to…

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