Marketing Your Body Shop to Insurance Companies
For Brian Hinton, and countless body shop managers like him, it’s a constant battle:
How do you market your facility to insurance companies when you have countless other duties to tackle each day?
“You’ve got to do the leg work—[insurers] don’t just come to you, unfortunately,” says Hinton, the manager at Chapman Collision Tempe in Arizona.
There’s an additional issue to overcome, too, considering collision repair centers and insurers have differing mentalities. While body shop managers are largely focused on fixing customers’ vehicles in exemplary fashion, insurance reps know that their bosses demand low repair costs. By way of illustration, Chapman Collision Center is a certified BMW facility, and constantly struggles to get insurers to accept the fact that Hinton’s staff isn’t allowed to use aftermarket parts.
All of which makes Hinton’s task of marketing his body shop to insurers rather difficult. He has nevertheless secured several direct repair programs, and leads a shop that produces $10 million in annual revenue.
Hinton, whose facility boasts a 94 percent CSI score, recently shared with FIXED the keys to marketing a body shop to insurers.
As told to Kelly Beaton
We try to build good relationships with all the field guys so that they like to use us. If you see one particular insurance company’s adjuster coming into your shop a lot, then you can eventually approach them and say, “We’re already doing X amount of business, why don’t we make it easier? You should become a direct repair partner.” It just makes sense, if we’re treating customers right and getting good feedback from customers.
We typically try to price match. We have certain discounts that we can utilize with the manufacturer. So, we usually just price match, and try not to make it a hassle for the insurer, if there’s a big discrepancy. Then, obviously they have the option of paying any differences if the insurance company just refuses to cover it.
Sell what’s unique about your shop, like great KPIs. Like customer service, which consists of keeping a customer happy, keeping a customer updated throughout the process, exceeding expectations from the start. Insurers also care about cycle time; we wait a bit before giving them any type of expectation. We keep them updated that they will get a pick-up date as soon as we have confirmed parts.
Insurers want to know that you have a quick lane. They want to know that we’re focusing on the smaller cars. They like to see that you can identify quick repairs and get them in and processed, and that you’re not going to be bogged down with bigger repairs so other cars are delayed.
Show them your process. A lot of it’s getting out there and meeting insurers, and trying to get them in here and show them your setup and process. We did that for a couple insurance companies when we remodeled, so we could show them we care about our business and the product we’re putting out. We get them in here so they can see the shop and we can start that conversation of possibly being added to their program.
Remember, insurance reps are out here to do a job. When they’re coming into the shop, there’s a couple different mentalities that people have in this industry: fighting tooth and nail for every penny and not really cooperating with them, or working with them and coming to an agreed price. We’re more insurance friendly, because I’d rather get working on the car than wait days for approval.