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"Your Massachusetts Auto Body Association"

APRIL 2020 U.S.A. $5.95

PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

Serving the New England Collision and Mechanical Repair Industry

MASSACHUSETTS

Ten Steps to a FAIR

LABOR RATE

THE POWER OF ONE CHARGING WHAT YOU’RE WORTH A MUST-SEE VIDEO


2 April 2020

New England Automotive Report


SOM ME SEE ONL O Y PAINT. WE SEE S A REFLECTION OF WHO W WE E ARE. Every vehiclle finish mirrors what we value most as a com mpany—our commitment ent to delivering the industryy’s most advanced coatings that meet the demands mands of an ever-changing marketplace. And a passion for partnering with our customers to help them succeed at everyy level of their business. Our values have been gu uiding us for more than n 115 years running, so o our dedication is always there for the world to see.

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4 April 2020

New England Automotive Report


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YES Please list my business as an AASP/MA member in good standing on the AASP/MA website for consumers to consider using for the collision repairs and assistance with the claims process. I understand this is a member benefit (_________ initials Date ___/____/2020) !

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CONTENTS

April 2020 • Volume 18, No. 4

DEPARTMENTS

FEATURES

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE By Molly Brodeur 8 | The Power of One

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE By Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg

12 | The Binds That Bond

LOCAL NEWS

20 | IAASP/MA Rate Efforts Escalates with Commissioner Letter, YouTube Campaign 24 | Balise Earns Awards, Steps Up AASP/MA Involvement

NATIONAL NEWS

28 | AASP/MA Sponsor Supports Industry Charitable Efforts 32 | Remembering Lou DiLisio, Sr.

VENDOR AFFINITY PROGRAM MEMBER SPOTLIGHT By Alana Bonillo

34 | Don Kennett, Inc.

Ten Steps to a Fair Labor Rate

5 | AASP/MA MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION 13 | WHERE’S LUCKY? AASP/MA CHAPTER MEETING SCHEDULE 16 | AASP/MA VENDOR AFFINITY PROGRAM SPONSORS 17 | AASP/MA VENDOR AFFINITY PROGRAM BENEFITS

ADVERTISERS’ INDEX Accudraft Paint Booths ................................OBC AkzoNobel ....................................................26 Audi Group....................................................22 Balise Wholesale ..............................................4 BASF ............................................................42 Best Chevrolet ..............................................32 BMW Group ..........................................................18 BMW/Mini of Warwick ..................................33 Boch Chevrolet ........................................21, 34 Boch Hyundai ................................................21 Collision Supplies ..........................................40 Colonial Auto Group ........................................7

AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES SHOW RESCHEDULED to AUGUST

38 | COVER STORY By Joel Gausten

ALSO THIS ISSUE

36 | FOR SALE

11 | AASP/NJ’s NORTHEAST ®

44 | LEGAL PERSPECTIVE By James Castleman, Esq.

The Pros and Cons of Balance Billing

Empire Auto Parts ..........................................35 Ford Group ....................................................27 Genesis of Norwood........................................34 Honda Group ................................................31 Hyundai Group ..............................................11 Ira Subaru ......................................................11 Ira Toyota of Danvers ......................................10 Kelly Automotive Group ................................IBC Kia Group ......................................................21 Linder’s, Inc. ..................................................4 Long Automotive Group..................................23 Mazda Group ................................................30 McGovern Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram ................40 Mopar Group ................................................14

Nissan Group ................................................29 PPG................................................................3 Quirk Wholesale Parts ..................................IFC Reliable Automotive Equipment ........................9 Sarat Ford Lincoln..........................................36 Sherwin Williams ..........................................15 Spanesi ........................................................46 Subaru Group ................................................19 Toyota Group ................................................37 Volvo Group ..................................................25 VW Group ....................................................43 Wellesley Toyota/Scion ..................................41 Wheel Collision Center ..................................35

New England Automotive Report April 2020 7


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

developed a plan to engage NABR as the third-party facilitator of the survey. The strategy was laid out, FinishMaster stepped up as a sponsor to the tune of $4,200 and we were off and running. Jack, along with his business partner, Brian, pulled together compelling presentations that were shared at our chapter meetings. They both spent countless hours canvassing the state, spreading the message and engaging shops to participate in the survey. At this very moment, one year later, we’ve had 349 shops take the Labor Rate Survey. Jack has also engaged dozens of shops to participate in BillableGenie with reported successes. The effort has not slowed down. As a matter of fact, it’s ramped up to new levels with the “call to action” letter addressed to Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson, which will be shared with other regulatory and legal bodies in the Commonwealth. And again, Jack is on the move, attending chapter meetings and informing members of the importance of these activities and the steps they can take in their own shops to help us create a solution instead of continuing to be part of the problem. He helped this Board of Directors see a new path to address the Labor Rate, and he helped an industry that has felt abused and battered realize we are worth it. He did it because this was the something he could do. The power of one. Thank you, Jack.

The Power of One MOLLY BRODEUR

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something, and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.” - Edward Everett Hale As we close in on the one-year mark of the birth of the idea to launch the first-ever independent Labor Rate Survey in Massachusetts, I want to highlight how the power of one individual has made a huge impact on the collision industry in our state. Many of you have seen him present at our chapter meetings and perhaps even received a personal phone call from him inviting you to take part in the survey or join National AutoBody Research’s (NABR) BillableGenie program. In February 2019, Jack Lamborghini of Total Care Accident Repair in Raynham attended our Board meeting. He was frustrated, as we all were, about the rate issue here in Massachusetts. He came prepared with an idea and the beginnings of a plan. By the end of the meeting, we had assembled a committee to assist him. In one month’s time, the committee, led by Jack, N

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PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

AASP/MA PRESIDENT MOLLY BRODEUR is the chief operating officer of Al Brodeur’s Auto Body in Marlborough, MA. She can be reached at (508) 485-1082 or molly@albrodeur.com

G

L

A

N

D

AUT M TIVE AASP/MA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

STAFF PUBLISHER

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Thomas Greco - thomas@grecopublishing.com

Lisa M. Cuthbert - lisa@grecopublishing.com

SALES DIRECTOR

EDITORIAL/CREATIVE COORDINATOR

Alicia Figurelli - alicia@grecopublishing.com

Alana Bonillo - alana@grecopublishing.com

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

PRODUCTION

Joel Gausten - joel@grecopublishing.com

Donna Greco - donna@grecopublishing.com

TREASURER Matthew Ciaschini

PRESIDENT Molly Brodeur VICE PRESIDENT Kevin Gallerani SECRETARY Gary Cloutier

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Paul Hendricks

AASP/MA STATEWIDE DIRECTORS PUBLISHED BY: Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. 244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202, Nutley, NJ 07110 Corporate: (973) 667-6922 / FAX: (973) 235-1963 www.grecopublishing.com

COLLISION DIRECTOR Rob DelGallo

AT-LARGE DIRECTOR Adam Ioakim

AASP/MA DIRECTORS Ray Belsito

Joshua Fuller

Mike Penacho

Alex Falzone

Kevin Kyes

Dana Snowdale

Rick Fleming

Frank Patterson

Bill Spellane Brian Stone

AASP/MA ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE -New England Automotive Report is published monthly by TGP, Inc., 244 Chestnut Street, Suite 202 Nutley, NJ 07110. Distributed free to qualified recipients; $48 to all others. Additional copies of New England Automotive Report are available at $5 per copy. Reproduction of any portions of this publication is specifically prohibited without written permission of the publisher. The opinions and ideas appearing in this magazine are not necessarily representations of TGP Inc. or of AASP/MA. Copyright © 2020 by Thomas Greco Publishing, Inc. Images courtesy of www.istockphoto.com

WWW.AASPMA.ORG 8 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg: AASP/MA Executive Director

Alana Bonillo: AASP/MA Administrative Assistant P.O. Box 212 Marlborough, MA 01752 617-574-0741


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New England Automotive Report


Automotive Services Show Rescheduled to August Amid coronavirus concerns throughout the tri-state area, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) has decided to reschedule the 2020 NORTHEAST Automotive Services Show, originally scheduled to take place March 20-22 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ, to new show dates of August 21-23 at the same location. “It became inevitable to reschedule this year’s show dates for the safety and wellbeing of all parties involved in the NORTHEAST show,” said the association in a statement. “We are truly sorry to have had to make this decision, but our top priority remains the safety of our attendees, exhibitors and supporters. Based on these concerns, as well as increasing feedback from our industry’s constituents, we trust that you will understand the need to reschedule. Thank you for your continued support of AASP/NJ’s NORTHEAST Show.” For the latest updates on NORTHEAST, please visit aaspnjnortheast.com.

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For Genuine Hyundai parts, contact an Authorized Hyundai Dealer. HERB CHAMBERS HYUNDAI 735 Southbridge Street Auburn, MA 01501 TOLL FREE: 800-767-1898 FAX: 508-832-6026 EMAIL: pobrien@herbchambers.com www.herbchambershyundaiofauburn.com

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New England Automotive Report April 2020 11


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE

The Binds That Bond EVANGELOS “LUCKY” PAPAGEORG

Anyone who has read more than a few of my messages here in New England Automotive Report or in the association’s newsletter, Damage Report, has heard me refer to my Greek heritage and, on occasion, my Orthodox religious upbringing. Both of these influences have led me to look at symbolism as a way to make a point or explain a particular issue. I had the good fortune to participate in a “polar plunge” on February 29, which happened to be dubbed “National Rare Disease Day.” Over 200 “plungers” gathered on Rexhame Beach in Marshfield wearing bathing suits in 31-degree weather with a windchill that felt like 10 degrees. This was for the common cause of raising funds to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. As I looked up and down the beach at hundreds of hearty souls of all ages, ethnicities, sizes and shapes, I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if our industry rallied together in a similar fashion to stamp out a disease which has been crippling us for decades. By no means am I trying to minimize the daily life-and-death struggles of those afflicted with the terrible disease that is ALS, but there are many, many correlations that may not lead to “death” but can surely bring the strongest of us in this industry to our knees. Similarly, it can leave us with the feeling of “learned helplessness,” unable to see that there is a lot to be said for fighting back and not giving up. There were a few participants, already afflicted with ALS, who plunged on Saturday with assistance from those around them and the aid of specially adapted dune beach

12 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

chairs. Not one soul on that beach had given up on finding a cure. We in the collision repair industry need to take inspiration from these folks. They are funding research to find a cure. We have the cure for our affliction already within us; we just need to work towards a common goal and put our “disease” – the insurance industry – on its heels and tell them that enough is enough. AASP/MA has been battling this disease for many years, and we are finally making changes through the use of some very innovative curative methods. Once again, we each have the antibodies within us to fight our disease off. We must inoculate as many of our fellow repairers so that they too can start to fight. For many years, there have been individuals who refuse to give in to the propaganda spewed by insurers. These collision repairers fight back and help to educate their customers about their rights in the repair process. They take the time to explain to the vehicle owner what their insurance “friends” with the “good hands” are really trying to do in the repair process. One of the tools gaining momentum is the independent Labor Rate Survey, which is available for each of you to take and have your voice heard. The National AutoBody Research (NABR) Variable Rate System (VRS), in conjunction with BillableGenie, has shed a great deal of light on the insurance industries’ practices, and repairers are able to see that they are not “THE ONLY ONES” seeking and getting paid a higher-than-average Labor Reimbursement Rate for their customers. That they are NOT “THE ONLY ONES” being reimbursed for procedures (such as pre- and post-

repair scanning) at rates and times reflecting the true expense associated with highly technical and potentially life-saving procedures both recommended and required. They are procedures – like it or not, Mr. Insurer – that must be performed and therefore paid for as part of the cost of repairing the vehicle. NOTE: COST OF REPAIRING THE VEHICLE, NOT PART OF THE COST OF THE REPAIRERS DOING BUSINESS! If you have not taken the survey at nationalautobodyresearch.com and not subscribed to BillableGenie, you are really missing out on a super boost to your antibodies when dealing with insurance industry tactics and propaganda. Hundreds of shops across Massachusetts (and thousands across the country) are gathering information and gaining the confidence to successfully bill and be reimbursed like never before. DO NOT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY. Some of you may have read the title of this article and wondered if it was incorrectly written. Most would recognize the saying as, “The Bonds That Bind.” For the purpose of “symbolism,” as I mentioned earlier in this message, I intentionally reversed the words. Here is why. For those of you who may not have seen our YouTube video on Labor Reimbursement Rates, I strongly urge you to stop reading here and Google #aaspma and find the Labor Rate video titled “Labor Rate for Auto Body Shops in Massachusetts.” Please watch it in its entirety, then – and this is very important – LIKE it, SHARE it and SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel so that you will receive notice of future videos as they are issued. As you watch the video, please


pay close attention to the words but also to the images in the background. One in particular shows a person being tied up or “bound” up. This is how our industry has been viewed for far too long by the insurance industry. They feel they have us hogtied. Worse yet, there are those among us who feel we ARE hogtied. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is high time we use the “binds that bond” to our advantage. Individually, it is far too easy to keep us down. I was invigorated to be at a local chapter meeting at the end of February where more than 40 colleagues came together to discuss the issues and learn about how we can each have an impact on our future. The majority of those in attendance were members of AASP/MA. The five who were not at the beginning of the meeting were members by the time it ended. In growing numbers, shops are realizing we have W strength to make a difference and get our industry the back. Just one more story of symbolism. Many, many years ago, I joined a fraternal organization. Part of the ceremony involved each person being asked to break a piece of thread with their hands. It broke rather easily. Then, those pieces were wrapped around one another creating a braided string, which even the strongest among the group couldn’t come close to breaking. Yes,

each of us is a mere thread in this industry. When we look to take care of ourselves, each of us can be snapped fairly easily. Bound together, we are the braided rope that may get chaffed here and there but will NOT be easily broken. If you are not a member and have read this and seen the video, make the best decision you ever will for your business and our industry and JOIN NOW. If you are a member, go out and gather as many pieces of thread as you can. You will make your rope stronger with every addition. DO IT NOW. Share the video and let it do your talking for you. And then be relentless. AASP/MA is here for its members and for our industry. AASP/MA is what will help each of us because of the “BINDS THAT BOND.” Lest I miss an opportunity to fundraise for ALS ONE, please go to firstgiving.com/team/399860 and contribute to TEAM AASP/MA POLAR PLUNGE 2020. PLEASE DO IT NOW WHILE I THAW OUT! HELP ME REACH MY GOAL – NO, HELP ME CRUSH IT! Many, many thanks. PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

AASP/MA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR EVANGELOS “LUCKY” PAPAGEORG can be reached at (617) 574-0741 or lucky@aaspma.org

AASP/MA Executive Director Lucky Papageorg is on the move!

Read below for his stops this month.

In the first full week of April, Lucky will be visiting shops in the Midstate region and hosting a chapter meeting on the 8th. (Location TBA.) During the second full week of April, he will be visiting shops in the Boston/Southeast region. He will be visiting shops in the Boston/Northeast region in the third full week of April and will be hosting a chapter meeting on the 22nd. (Location TBA.) For the fourth week of April, he will be visiting shops in the Western region.

4

3

AASP/MA will be hosting a General Membership Meeting on April 29. (Location TBA.)

1

Lucky will be attending the AASP National Board Meeting in Minnesota April 30-May 1.

42

In the first full week of May, Lucky will be visiting shops in the Midstate region.

April

During the second week of May, he will be visiting shops in the Boston/Southeast region and will be hosting a chapter meeting on the 13th at Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School in South Easton.

2020 Keep an eye out for future meeting dates and locations! "Your Massachusetts Auto Body Association" PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

Subject to change. Everyone should keep an eye out for meeting notices in their area.

He will be visiting shops in the Boston/Northeastern region during the third week of the month. For the fourth week of May, he will be visiting shops in the Western region and hosting a chapter meeting on the 27th. (Location TBD.)

Lucky can be reached at

(617) 574-0741 or lucky@aaspma.org. New England Automotive Report April 2020 13


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MCGOVERN CHRYSLER JEEP DODGE RAM 777 Washington Street Newton, MA 02460 Order Hotline: (800) 741-7563 www.clarkandwhiteautos.com For the best customer service ask for Mando Bogosian PREMIER CAPE COD 460 Yarmouth Road Hyannis, MA 02601 Order Hotline: (888) 927-8261 Fax: (508) 778-0900 www.premiercapecod.com QUIRK AUTO DEALERS 115 E. Howard Street Quincy, MA 02169 Order Hotline: (877) 707-8475

KELLY JEEP CHRYSLER 353 Broadway Route 1 North Lynnfield, MA 01940 Order Hotline: (800) 278-8558 Fax: (781) 581-2490 Email: kjcparts@kellyauto.com Over $1,000,000 in stock to support your business, and fast free delivery!

Check out MoparRepairConnection.com for resources, promotions and technical information. ©2019 FCA US LLC. All Rights Reserved. Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Mopar and SRT are registered trademarks of FCA US LLC.

14 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

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16 April 2020

New England Automotive Report


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Support through membership in the 9HQGRU$IÃ&#x20AC;QLW\3URJUDP For more information or to become a sponsor please call (617) 574-0741 or email admin@aaspma.org

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Â&#x2021; Link to website Â&#x2021; Quarterly copy of paid member list Â&#x2021; AASP/MA logo for your collateral -Bi-Monthly digital advertising in Damage Report Newsletter -Up to 9 Brands, 6x/year -Your copy due to AASP PGmDFPOUIFTUPG'FC "QSJM  June, Aug, Oct, Dec -NEAR Article QFSZFBS -Company logo on AASP-MA website and published monthly in NEAR 7YVTV[PVUHSÃ&#x2026;`LYLTHPSISHZ[ to membership -3x/year $PQZEVFUP""41PGmDFPO TUPG'FC "VH BOE%FD -25% discount on advertising in NEAR

-Bi-Monthly digital advertising in Damage Report Newsletter -Up to 3 Brands, 6x/year -Your copy due to AASP PGmDFPOUIFTUPG'FC "QSJM  June, Aug, Oct, Dec -NEAR Article QFSZFBS -Company logo on AASP-MA website and published monthly in NEAR 7YVTV[PVUHSÃ&#x2026;`LYLTHPSISHZ[ to membership -3x/year $PQZEVFUP""41PGmDFPO TUPG'FC "VH BOE%FD -20% discount on advertising in NEAR

-Bi-Monthly digital advertising in Damage Report Newsletter 6QUP#SBOET YZFBS -Your copy due to AASP PGmDFPOUIFTUPG'FC "QSJM  June, Aug, Oct, Dec -NEAR Article QFSZFBS -Your company logo on AASP-MA website and published in monthly edition of NEAR 7YVTV[PVUHSÃ&#x2026;`LYLTHPSISHZ[ to membership UJNFTQFSZFBS $PQZEVFUP""41PGmDFPO TUPG'FC "VH BOE%FD -15% discount on advertising in NEAR

-Your company logo on AASP-MA website and published in monthly edition of NEAR

-TWO complimentary attendees for all chapter meetings TDIFEVMFENFFUJOHTYZFBS  QFSNPOUINPOUIT

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New England Automotive Report April 2020 17


THEY’RE CALLED “ORIGINAL BMW PARTS” FOR GOOD REASON. FOR UNCOMPROMISING PRECISION AND INCOMPARABLE QUALITY, YOUR BMW CENTER IS YOUR ONE-STOP SHOP FOR EVERYTHING BMW. For Original BMW Parts, contact one of these authorized BMW centers: BMW of West Springfield 1712 Riverdale St. West Springfield, MA 01089 PH: 413-746-1722 FAX: 413-304-9009 bmwwestspringfield.com

BMW of Stratham 71 Portsmouth Avenue Stratham, NH 03885 PH: 603-772-0000 FAX: 603-772-9436 bmwofstratham.com

Tulley BMW of Nashua 147 Daniel Webster Hwy Nashua NH 03060 PH: 603-888-5050 FAX: 603-888-8427 tulleybmw.com

New Country BMW 1 Weston Park Ave. Hartford, CT 06120 PH: 860-240-7881 FAX: 860-240-7873 newcountrybmw.com

BMW of Warwick 1515 Bald Hill Rd. Warwick, RI 02886 PH: 401-821-1510 FAX: 401-823-0530 bmwofwarwick.com

BMW of Sudbury Wholesale Parts 68 Old County Road Sudbury, MA 01776 PH: 800-338-3198 FAX: 508-881-7578 bmwofsudbury.com

©2020 BMW of North America, LLC. The BMW name, model names and logo are registered trademarks. 18 April 2020

New England Automotive Report


Genuine Replacement Parts For the Road Ahead.

Avoid problems down the road that will cost you time, money and customers. Choose Genuine Subaru Replacement Parts, engineered to fit better today, and perform better tomorrow.

7 Sutton Rd. Webster, MA 01570 800-982-2298 Fax: 508-879-1212 tschube@longauto.com

115 E. Howard St. Quincy, MA 02169 Toll Free: 877-707-8475

561 Quaker Ln. Warwick, RI 02893 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com

One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands! New England Automotive Report April 2020 19


[LOCAL] NEWS

AASP/MA Rate Efforts Escalates with Commissioner Letter, YouTube Campaign In addition to its ongoing work promoting an extensive Labor Rate Survey and encouraging members to participate in the BillableGenie program available through National AutoBody Research (NABC), AASP/MA recently stepped up the intensity of its campaign for reimbursement rate reform in the state by sending a detailed letter to Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner Gary Anderson requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. Excerpts from the February 5 letter appear below:

The current reimbursement labor rates paid by insurers to their policyholders in Massachusetts are the lowest in the United States, despite the fact that Massachusetts has always been, and will continue to be, one of the most expensive places in the country to live and operate a business. Please explain to us how this makes any economic sense? Insurers are reimbursing their policyholders from as low as $36/hr. (Vermont Mutual) to a high of $42/hr. (USAA), with all others falling somewhere in between. I would be surprised if any of the executives of these companies can get their lawn cut for $40/hour. Please repeat the following statement aloud and hold the thought: “Insurers expect us to repair these high-tech machines, guarantee the work and assume all the liability for $40 per hour.” Does this statement help you to better understand where our “outrage” stems from? AASP/MA has commissioned National AutoBody Research to conduct an ongoing Labor Rate Survey. As of today, 349* licensed collision repair facilities in the state have taken the survey, and the average posted Labor [Reimbursement] Rates from this survey reveal the following: • • • •

Body labor: $57/hr.* Paint labor: $56/hr. Frame labor: $67/hr. Mechanical labor: $83/hr.*

Based on the number of licensed collision repairers in Massachusetts and the level of survey responses thus far, these figures are statistically valid within +/- three percent. Note: These rates are also comparable to our neighboring states. Are you aware of this independent survey? If you are aware of it, how can you ignore the results of an independent survey? Do you condone what is obvious manipulation and the intentional suppression of the Labor Reimbursement Rates here in Massachusetts?

AASP/MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg believes that reaching out directly to Insurance Commissioner Anderson is a necessity as the state’s average Labor Rate continues to harm consumers and body shops alike. “Massachusetts has the 50th lowest Labor Rate out of 50 states. After not seeing any kind of movement in the Labor Rate in so many years, we wanted to verbalize the frustration that everyone is feeling about this artificially controlled and suppressed rate.” 20 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

A glimpse of AASP/MA’s new YouTube video, “Labor Rate for Body Shops in Massachusetts”

AASP/MA distributed copies of the letter to attendees of its recent chapter meetings. Not surprisingly, the association received strong feedback for its latest direction in the Labor Rate battle. “Everyone who read it gave it kudos and commented that we hit a lot of the issues,” Papageorg says. “It was a route that had to be taken; they also feel there was no other option but to write to the Commissioner to make sure he gives some attention to this matter. Obviously, the Commissioner oversees all lines and aspects of insurance, and auto insurance is just one small part of that. Rather than get lost in the big picture, we wanted to get his attention and have him focus on what is a really serious issue that is quickly becoming critical for the industry.” AASP/MA also stresses that the low average Labor Rate is a critical dilemma for Massachusetts drivers as well. “This is a matter of billing what we are worth and what it takes to be able to guarantee and accept the liability for doing proper repairs. We can no longer do that on a short dollar. If we try to pass that expense on to the consumer, they are being shortchanged by the insurance company and not being reimbursed in full.” A meeting between AASP/MA and the Commissioner to discuss the issues outlined in the letter was pending as of early March. Naturally, AASP/MA continues its Labor Rate campaign in the interim, recently launching a special video on YouTube, “Labor Rate for Auto Body Shops in Massachusetts,” that gives a clear voice to the struggles facing shops as they attempt to provide safe and quality repairs for consumers under the present average rate. In the clip (available at youtube.com/watch?v=UH0AN9hcnDw), a Massachusettsbased shop owner offers unscripted views on how the frozen rate has affected his business and the consumers it serves. Below is an example of the kind of commentary featured in the video: “Thirty years ago, we were being reimbursed at a Labor Rate of about $30 an hour. Today, the Labor Rate is up to about $39 an hour. In this 30-year span, the Consumer Price Index has risen about 120 percent here in the northeast. And if you do the math on our Labor Rate, [it] has risen a whopping 24 percent. In


fact, if you break it down into dollars and cents, we have gotten a raise of 30 cents a year for the last 30 years.”

The video, created by Bill Enross of AASP/MA Bronze Sponsor cPrax Internet Marketing, has received thousands of views since it was posted on February 14. Papageorg reveals that it is the first in a series of planned consumer-focused videos that will address a host of industry-related issues under the motto, “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know.” These videos will be available to consumers on the AASP/MA website (aaspma.org). “A consumer will be able to go on our website, click on the short video and then be directed to a much longer, more in-depth video on a topic such as aftermarket parts, first- and third-party claims or total losses.” Additionally, AASP/MA’s website will soon feature a special search option that will allow consumers to search for AASP/MA member shops by zip code. For more information on AASP/MA, please contact Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg at (617) 574-0741 or lucky@aaspma.org.

*These represent updated figures as of press time, subsequent to the distribution of the original letter.

PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

Make Quality Your Goal.

REPAIR WITH KIA GENUINE PARTS. Your reputation depends on repairs done right - the first time. Kia Genuine Parts are manufactured to the same exacting standards as original equipment. Don't take chances by using aftermarket parts. Are you willing to risk your reputation and customer satisfaction? A happy customer is your best advertisement. Protect your customer, protect your business Insist on Kia Genuine Parts.

Contact these select dealers for assistance and delivery of your Kia Genuine Parts. Bald Hill Kia 1021 Bald Hill Road Warwick, RI 02886 Parts Direct: (800) 822-3015 www.baldhillkia.com Quirk Auto Dealers 115 E. Howard St. Quincy, MA 02169 Toll Free: (877) 707-8475

Balise KIA 603 Riverdale St. West Springfield, MA 01089 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!

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New England Automotive Report April 2020 21


Audi dealers strive to make you an Audi Genuine Parts fan •

Audi Parts professionals are your subject matter experts on collision parts, replacement components and mechanical items.

Many Audi dealers offer technical service support hotline access that can reduce your repair times and help you meet an on-time promised delivery.

Installing Audi Genuine Parts contributes toward improved cycle time that helps make both your customer and their insurance company happier.

Regardless of the age of your customer’s Audi, Audi dealers have access to over 200,000 part numbers. No other supplier comes close.

Helping you do business is our business. Order Audi Genuine Parts from these select dealers. Audi Natick 549 Worcester Street Natick, MA 01760 www.bernardiaudi.com 800.247.3033 Fax: 508.651.6841

Hoffman Audi 700 Connecticut Blvd East Hartford, CT 06108 860.282.0191 Fax: 860.290.6355 www.hoffmanauto.com

22 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

Audi Peabody 252 Andover Street Peabody, MA 01960 800.774.8411 Parts Direct: 978.605.2182 email: pwalke@iramotorgroup.com www.audipeabody.com

Mattie Audi 80 William S. Canning Blvd. Fall River, MA 02721 800.678.0914 Fax: 508.730.1283 www.mattieaudi.com


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PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

1.800.982.2298

218 TURNPIKE ROAD SOUTHBORO, MA 01772 24 Hour Fax: 508.879.1212

Email: tschube@longauto.com New England Automotive Report April 2020 23


[LOCAL] NEWS By Alana Bonillo

Balise Earns Awards, Steps Up AASP/MA Involvement If recent news surroundings its staff and operations are any indication, the decades of success that Balise Collision Repair has achieved to date are no doubt attributed to its commitment to providing good work and doing the right thing. Stone Joins AASP/MA Board Wanting to be a part of creating positive change in this industry, Balise Wholesale Auto Parts recently joined AASP/MA’s Vendor Affinity Program as a Diamond Sponsor. Taking things one step further in lending a hand in the fight against industry challenges, Group Collision Director Brian Stone has joined AASP/MA’s Board of Directors to represent the Western Chapter. “AASP/MA wants to make people aware of what the association is about and what it is doing. We need to change the mindset of the past years. People may have thought there wasn’t much movement at one time, but now we are making them aware that we are trying to make a difference. We are looking to spread the word that we want to make things better for everybody.” Helping Heroes At the end of February, Balise Collision Repair, along with several area donors, played a huge role in giving back to a special heroic couple who sustained thousands of dollars in damages to their Escalade while trying to help police chase down a young girl who had been abducted. They chased the abductor’s car for miles trying to get the license plate to give police; by doing so, their vehicle sustained considerable damage to its undercarriage, suspension, brakes, shocks and struts. Once learning of the story, Balise immediately reached out to help by covering the expense of the damages. “When we have an opportunity, we work to give back,” shares Stone. 24 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

Balise also performed a full overhaul of the vehicle, providing a front and rear bumper, undercarriage suspension component and 22-inch platinum wheels and tires. Old dents and dings were fixed, and a custom matte black paint job was added. Parts were donated by Balise Wholesale Parts, NAPA Auto Parts and LKQ/Keystone, while Auto Body Supplies and Paint (ABSAP) donated the paint materials and Balise Riverdale Car Wash donated a complete interior and exterior detail. Earning Recognition In other news, Stone is proud to report that Balise Collision Repair of Rhode Island has received what he calls the “Super Bowl” of awards the coveted Triple Crown Award after being named the number one Toyota Certified Collision Repair Center in the country (large volume) for the

third year in a row. The shops received the prestigious honor in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Stone admits winning this award was on his bucket list – not for himself, but for the entire team. “This absolutely is a team award. It’s about getting everyone working together. Winning once is just great – and going back to back was just remarkable – but to be three years in a row is something special. It’s hard to keep up the drive to continue to work hard and win. And we’ve done it.” In addition, Balise Collision Centers was recently presented with the Nissan/Infinity and FCA Legacy Awards, which are granted to shops that were among the first to be part of these OEMs’ certification programs. The presentation took place during the Nissan/Infiniti-FCA Collision Conference at Walt Disney World in Orlando. PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS

Left to right: Brian Stone (group collision director for Balise Motor Sales), Benny Correa, Amanda Disley and Derek Weaver (collision center general manager for Balise Collision Repair West Springfield) in front of the finished Escalade


Quality Repairs Start With Volvo Genuine Parts.

For over eight decades, the Volvo name has been synonymous with unmatched quality and performance. That legendary Volvo quality starts with Volvo Genuine Parts.

Rely on Volvo Genuine parts to get the right fit, at the right price, right now. Please contact the following dealers for your Volvo parts needs:

Prime Volvo Cars 1030 Hingham Street Rockland, MA 02370 Parts Direct: 781-927-3520 Fax: 781-927-3592 www.volvocarssouthshore.com

Volvo of Wellesley 962 Worcester Street Wellesley, MA 02482 Parts Direct: 800-247-3033 Fax: 508-651-1220 www.volvoofwellesley.com

www.volvogroup.com New England Automotive Report April 2020 25


26 April 2020

New England Automotive Report


Get it right from the source.

Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers are the one-stop source for all of your collision repair needs. When you need fascias, grilles, headlamps, wheels or any other Ford Motor Company Genuine Part, call your local wholesaling dealership. They’re a great souce for technical and repair information as well. Using Genuine Parts can help your body shop reduce cycle time, improve relationships with insurance companies and satisfy customers. So get everything you need in just one call to your one-stop collision repair resource – your local Ford or Lincoln Mercury Dealership.

Contact these Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealers for all your parts needs: Imperial Ford 6 Uxbridge Road Mendon, MA 01756 Toll Free Parts: 877-272-0332 Toll Free Fax: 877-800-6316 Call us for your wholesale parts needs

Sarat Ford Lincoln Mercury 245 Springfield Street Agawam, MA 01001 413-786-0430 Fax: 413-789-3715 www.saratford.com

Quirk Auto Dealers 115 E. Howard St. Quincy, MA 02169 Toll Free: 877-707-8475 Balise Ford of Cape Cod 90 High School Rd. Ext. Hyannis, MA 02601 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com

One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!

© 2019, Ford Motor Company New England Automotive Report April 2020 27


[NATIONAL] NEWS

AASP/MA Sponsor Supports Industry Charitable Efforts Palm Springs, CA was the setting of the recent Collision Industry Foundation’s (CIF) 10th Annual Gala fundraising event. Held at TheBank Event Center, the evening gathering included raffles and a silent auction and provided a fun atmosphere for CIF participants and recipients alike. The Collision Industry Foundation is the 501(c)3 charitable arm of the collision repair industry and is dedicated to raising, managing and donating funds to provide emergency relief to members of the collision repair industry who have been impacted by natural disasters or other catastrophic events. After learning about CIF last year at a Collision Industry Conference (CIC), Bill Enross of AASP/MA Bronze Sponsor cPrax Internet Marketing

Bill Enross of cPrax Internet Marketing with his wife, Raye Senecal, at the recent CIF Gala in Palm Springs

LET US TURN THEM AROUND!

CONTACT

New England Automotive Report Sales Director Alicia Figurelli (973) 667-6922

alicia@grecopublishing.com

28 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

enthusiastically signed on as a monthly donor for the Foundation. “It’s a really good cause,” says Enross, who traveled to Palm Springs to attend the Gala with his wife, Raye Senecal. “It’s a small amount of money to contribute in light of "Disaster strikes with a everything CIF heavy hand, and we does. The never know when or collision industry where it’s going to hit. We has been very here in the northeast are good to me over not immune to that. the last 20 years; Hopefully, that day never if there’s some comes; if it does, the way to give back Collision Industry to it as a whole, I’m happy to do Foundation will be there.” it. Disaster - Bill Enross strikes with a heavy hand, and we never know when or where it’s going to hit. We here in the northeast are not immune to that. Hopefully, that day never comes; if it does, the Collision Industry Foundation will be there.” More information on CIF is available at collisionindustryfoundation.org. PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

MASSACHUSETTS


GENUINE NISSAN PARTS

MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

Only Genuine Nissan Parts deliver the fit, reliability, and performance to meet your shopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collision repair needs. So keep it original, and keep it real with Genuine Nissan Parts. Contact these Nissan dealers for all your parts needs: Mastria Nissan 1305 New State Highway Raynham, MA 02767 Direct Toll Free: 800-248-2458 Direct Fax: 508-802-6118 E-mail: parts@mastrianissan.com Web: www.mastria.com

Kelly Nissan of Lynnfield 275 Broadway (Route 1) Lynnfield, MA 01940 Toll Free: 800-698-9280 Fax: 781-598-8026 E-mail: BSherman@Kellyauto.com

Kelly Nissan of Woburn 95 Cedar Street Woburn, MA 01801 Phone: 781-835-3510 Fax: 781-835-3580 E-mail: mbosma@kellyauto.com www.kellyauto.com

Balise Nissan of Warwick 1350 Post Rd. Warwick, RI 02888 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!

Quirk Auto Dealers 115 E. Howard St. Quincy, MA 02169 Toll Free: 877-707-8475

New England Automotive Report April 2020 29


Superior service starts with superior parts. Rely on what Mazda drivers already know-Genuine Mazda parts extend a car's life. Designed specifically for Mazda vehicles Get the right part the first time We're an accurate, trusted resource as close as your phone Give us the opportunity to serve you

Contact these Mazda dealers for all your parts needs: Mastria Mazda 1545 New State Highway Route 44 Raynham, MA 02767 Phone: 877-272-8876 Fax: 508-802-4074 wholesale@mastria.com

30 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

Quirk Auto Dealers 115 E. Howard St. Quincy, MA 02169 Toll Free: 877-707-8475 Balise Mazda 635 Riverdale St. West Springfield, MA 01089 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!


It Takes Genuine Honda Collision Repair Parts To Achieve a Genuine Honda Fit. Honda collision repair parts are engineered and manufactured to Honda standards. In the collision-repair business, time is money, and you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t waste time on parts that almost fit properly. Use Genuine Honda replacement parts. Your reputation depends on it. For Genuine Honda parts, contact these Authorized Honda dealers. Bernardi Honda 960 Worcester Road Natick, MA 01760 Parts Direct: 800-247-3033 FAX: 508-651-1220 www.bernardihonda.com

Kelly Honda 540 Lynnway Rt. 1A Lynn, MA 01905 Parts Direct: 800-779-7466 FAX: 781-595-2898 e-mail: mpsomosjr@kellyauto.com

Honda of Enfield 20 Palomba Drive Enfield, CT 06082 Toll Free: 800-222-6632 FAX: 860-253-5419 www.liahondaofenfield.com

Honda North 382 Newbury Street Danvers, MA 01923 Toll Free: 800-882-9797 FAX: 978-774-9483 e-mail: eadams@iclautos.com www.hondanorth.com

Schaller Honda 1 Veterans Drive New Britain, CT 06051 Toll Free: 800-382-4525 Direct: 860-826-2080 FAX: 860-826-2083 e-mail: jkiniry@schallerauto.com www.schallerauto.com

Lundgren Honda of Auburn 525 Washington Street Auburn, MA 01501 Toll Free: 800-777-2044 FAX: 508-721-0872 e-mail:pmccarthy@lhonda.com www.lhonda.com

Balise Honda 400 Riverdale St. West Springfield, MA 01089 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!

Balise Honda of West Warwick 509 Quaker Lane West Warwick, RI 02893 TOLL FREE: 800-992-6220 FAX: 800-254-3544 wparts@baliseauto.com www.BaliseWholesaleParts.com One Call, One Truck for Eleven Brands!

Lia Honda of Northampton 293 King Street Northampton, MA 01060 Toll Free: 800-369-7889 Direct: 1-413-586-6043 FAX: 1-413-585-0502 www.liahondanorthampton.com

New England Automotive Report April 2020 31


[NATIONAL] NEWS

Remembering Lou DiLisio, Sr. The national collision repair community is mourning the recent passing of Lou DiLisio, Sr. at 88. He was the father of past Collision Industry Conference (CIC) and Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) Chairman Lou DiLisio, Jr. of Automotive Industry Consulting, Inc. Lou Sr. grew up in Mount Kisco, NY working in the family auto body shop, Mt. Kisco Paint and Body Shop, which was opened by his father in 1932. He eventually took over and ran the shop for over 30 years. His brothers Angelo and Ed, both now deceased, spent time working for the business as well. Away from auto body, he founded a successful food manufacturing business, Casa DiLisio Products Inc., in 1973. He began the business by manufacturing the company’s frozen Italian sauces in the evenings and weekends along with his wife of nearly 66 years, Lucy, and it grew into a full-time enterprise. He was also a tennis player, wine connoisseur and avid musician whose dance band (which he formed when he was still in his teens) played for many local weddings and events. His love for music

drove him to become part of the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra, among other organizations. In addition to being profiled by CBS in 1976 and the New York Times in 1977, Lou Sr. appeared on the Food Network and was a guest on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee in 1996. In a February 1977 radio address shortly after the CBS report aired, future US President Ronald Reagan praised the New Yorker’s independent and inventive spirit. Of course, many industry members from the East Coast and beyond will never forget the pre-show dinner

parties that Lou Sr. and his family threw each year prior to the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey’s (AASP/NJ) annual NORTHEAST® Automotive Services Show. During his eulogy for his father, Lou Jr. spoke of the kindness that touched everyone who had the pleasure of knowing this unforgettable man. “My father’s generosity to those around us was infectious. One of the things I learned from him was that generosity didn’t mean ‘giving’ something to someone. It very simply meant ‘do the right thing.’ In some cases, that may have been viewed as a gift, advice or just plain friendship, but it was never done to get something back in return. It was done because it was the right thing to do.” Lou Sr. is survived by Lucy, three children (Lou Jr., Linda and Lisa), four grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Leslie and parents Edward and Antoinette. PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

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[VENDOR AFFINITY PROGRAM MEMBER] SPOTLIGHT By Alana Bonillo

Don Kennett, Inc. has been recognized as a reliable by being a supporter and active member of AASP/MA. A automotive paint and body supplier throughout Silver Level sponsor in the association’s Vendor Affinity Massachusetts and New Hampshire for nearly 67 years Program, Don Kennett goes out of its way to take part in now, and the company shows absolutely no signs of member events. Michael also makes it a point to attend stopping. chapter meetings and sponsor them when called upon. Working as a team, President/Owner Dan Takesian “I want our customers to know that we support and Vice President Bob Levy have been leading the way them. We don’t own body shops or make Labor Rates; we for many decades. Now, multiple family members on just sell the products, but we want to educate ourselves both sides have come into the fold, extending the to help our customers. If we can go to these meetings and company’s strong values for quality and excellent service pick up on things that we can bring to those who weren’t through its up-and-coming able to attend, I have second generation. knowledge that can benefit “It’s tough in this industry, and we Although Michael Levy (Bob’s them. At the end of the day, it’s wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our son) did not initially set out to about getting everyone together customers and the people who work follow in his father’s footsteps, he to get a common goal for us. My dad always says he has so has found a great sense of pride in accomplished. If I can promote many customers he has personal recoming to work for the familythat and get it to shops and get run operation as a sales associate. more customers to show up to lationships with, and that is what it’s While still in school, Michael meetings, it’s going to benefit all about and what we value most.” helped out around the shop doing AASP/MA in a positive way. - Michael Levy odd jobs as needed. After “We fully support the graduation and working briefly organization. When Molly for major corporations like Enterprise-Rent-A-Car and [Brodeur, AASP/MA president] calls in need of Converse, he displayed an interest in outside sales. His something, we are there. We see what AASP/MA is father offered him an opportunity to come on board and working to do, and we are right there with them.” take over a sales route that had been manned by a Another key to Don Kennett’s success is having the longtime rep. Six years later, he is still pleased with his right people on board. Michael says the company recently decision to give it a try. hired additional customer representatives and “I was always interested in the industry. I really like salespeople to meet its continued growth. He credits his working for a family-run operation; I like that every day, father and Takesian for putting together an amazing team. you work to put food on the table for your family. “They really try to get a good-quality team at each of Coming to work means something personal as opposed to being a number at a corporation. I really enjoy this our locations who can work well together to get the bestindustry, and it’s good to come in as a member of a quality service to our customers.” In addition to Michael coming on board, Bob Levy’s younger generation. I’m only 29. It’s new and exciting every day, and I am always learning something new.” wife, Lisa, works in the office. Takesian’s son, Paul, does When on the road daily, Michael sees his connections purchasing; his daughter, Lori, handles account receivable. with his customers as more than just making a sale. The In Michael’s mind, Don Kennett’s continued success Don Kennett brand seeks out to offer its customers value comes down to the relationships it makes and grow. in addition to products. Part of what he does is business “It’s tough in this industry, and we wouldn’t be here development as the company works to help its customers if it wasn’t for our customers and the people who work be more successful. for us. My dad always says he has so many customers he “It’s really important to help them grow. If they has personal relationships with, and that is what it’s all don’t grow, we don’t grow.” about and what we value most.” The Don Kennett team believes that the more they know about the industry, the better a partner they can be to their clients. One of the ways in which they do this is PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

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[COVER] STORY By Joel Gausten

Ten Steps to a Fair Labor Rate You don’t have to work under your current Labor Rate any longer. Yes, the above statement is powerful, but it is not as unbelievable and revolutionary as you might think. For the past several months, AASP/MA has worked to address the state’s long-stagnant average Labor Rate of $38.28 – the lowest in the country – by encouraging shops to participate in the VRS Standardized Labor Rate Survey (nationalautobodyresearch.com) and subscribe to the BillableGenie service available through National AutoBody Research (NABR). These efforts have already resulted in statistically valid survey results and an opened door to true Labor Rate reform in the state and a means for consumers to be better indemnified by their insurers. The survey and AASP/MA’s various other efforts aim to illustrate the clear difference between a fair market rate for 38 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

performing repairs (while being able to keep up with technology, training and equipment costs) and an unrealistic reimbursement rate paid by insurers based on fiction and not fact. Now, it’s time for AASP/MA members to use the critical information that has been gathered to their advantage. At the association’s recent Midstate Chapter Meeting at the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough (and sponsored by Don Kennett, Inc.), shop owner Jack Lamborghini (Total Care Accident Repair Service; Raynham) joined AASP/MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg in presenting 10 things that members and non-members alike can do to impact the Massachusetts industry’s quest to be fairly compensated for the very important work it does. “This is not going to happen overnight, but the


idea is that we have to continue to cause disruption,” Lamborghini explained. “These are things you can start doing tomorrow to create disruption and a buzz and make the insurance industry constantly aware that we are not happy with what’s happening to us Labor Ratewise. This is an opportunity to get your voice heard.” 1. Take the NABR Labor Rate Survey and Update It as Necessary The VRS Standardized Labor Rate Survey is one of the most powerful tools at AASP/MA members’ disposal, but Lamborghini reminded attendees that it will only remain relevant if repair professionals continue to utilize it. “The beauty of that survey is that you can go and take it today, and if your business costs change tomorrow, next week or next month, you can go back, retake the survey and adjust the rate accordingly.” Not surprisingly, regularly taking the survey has resulted in positive changes at Lamborghini’s facility. “People are willing to pay us a higher customerpay rate to do a quality collision repair on their cars. There are other people just like me all across the state who are doing the exact same thing. Some of them are getting paid higher than my current customer-pay amount.” 2. Post Your Labor Rate in Your Office and Make Sure It Reflects Your Survey Of course, taking the survey is only the first step. Once a shop enters its posted rate in the system, it also needs to make that amount known. “If you post a rate in the survey – whatever it is – put it on the counter or your wall,” Lamborghini urged attendees. “Be proud of it, and then go collect it from your customer pays. Put a number in that you’re comfortable with and that adequately reflects what you need to get paid in order to run your business profitably.” Lamborghini added that shops shouldn’t be afraid to charge customers a suitable amount to repair their vehicles, which now often feature technologies that demand expert care. “The discerning customers today will pay to have cars done correctly.” 3. Point Out Your Labor Rate to Every Appraiser Who Walks Through the Door Once a shop posts a realistic Labor Rate, it must follow through on making this figure known to the insurance industry. If enough shops do this, a trend of higher rates will appear in the marketplace. “Every day, I have insurance people tell me I’m the only one or one of the only ones squawking about the Labor Rate,” Lamborghini shared. “I know that’s not true, but not enough of us are questioning it.”

AASP/MA member and recent chapter meeting co-presenter Jack Lamborghini 4. Engage Every Appraiser in Conversation and Ask if They Can Negotiate Your Rate Lamborghini was quick to acknowledge that while negotiating this higher rate will likely be an uphill climb for shops at first, the effort will ultimately pay off. “The answer will be ‘no,’ but that’s okay because they know I’m pressing the issue constantly.” 5. Charge Your Labor Rate on Self-Pay/Customer-Pay Repairs From lawnmower repair to copy machine service, consumers are used to spending money for things outside of their wheelhouse. Lamborghini stressed that collision repair shouldn’t be an exception. “Our experience has been that consumers don’t pay much attention to what the Labor Rate is. Even if they do, I’m okay with that; it’s posted right on my counter, and I have no problem talking to them about it. Don’t be afraid of posting a Labor Rate that’s reasonable and that you are willing and able to go ahead and collect.” 6. Be Confident and Believe that You Are Worth It! As discussed in previous Executive Director’s Messages by Papageorg in New England Automotive Report, the Massachusetts auto body community largely suffers from a feeling of “learned helplessness” after years of being beaten down by insurers. In Lamborghini’s mind, the positive steps taken by

Continued from page 41

New England Automotive Report April 2020 39


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[COVER] STORY Continued from page 39

AASP/MA in recent times to address the Labor Rate serve as a much-needed remedy to this situation. “It’s kind of like Stockholm Syndrome. You’ve been pounded on for so long that you don’t believe anything is ever going to change. As long as they continue to make us feel that way, we will forever be in that situation. Have confidence in what you do, believe in what you do, be proud of what you do and charge for it.” 7– 9. Subscribe to NABR’s “BillableGenie,” Submit Customer Pay Invoice/Payment Documentation and Insurance Documentation to NABR As AASP/MA members continue to strive for greater profitability, providing consistent and meaningful information to NABR is a necessity. “In the last month, there have been about 200 submissions of customer-pay invoices where shops have been collecting their customer-pay Labor Rate,” Lamborghini revealed. “Those shops weren’t doing that a year ago.” “The motto of NABR is, ‘Customer pay paves the way,’” added Papageorg. “The true prevailing rate in our industry is what a customer is willing to pay you for your work before they turn around, walk out the

door and go somewhere else. The rate the insurance companies are inflicting on us is artificially suppressed and basically a ‘fleet’ rate. That’s all it is.” 10. Pay Attention to All Emails from AASP/MA and Continue to Support “Your Massachusetts Auto Body Association” As its new tagline states, AASP/MA is “Your Massachusetts Auto Body Association.” As the association moves forward with its activities, it is critical for members to keep an eye out for important emails and updates that are sent out on a frequent basis. As one shop owner who has made the most of his membership (and who has also stepped up to co-host presentations), Lamborghini is a firm believer that the association holds the key to a better future for anyone who makes a living off repairing automobiles in the Commonwealth. “My business life has become exponentially better in the last year because of AASP/MA, taking the survey and stepping up to do what we need to do.” The stage has been set. Now, it’s time for everyone working in this business to take action. As Papageorg said, “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’re only going to get what you’ve always gotten.” PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

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New England Automotive Report April 2020 41


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[LEGAL] PERSPECTIVE By James A. Castleman, Esq.

The Pros and Cons of Balance Billing Many decades ago, the first question posed to me at the very first meeting I attended as the attorney for a collision repair trade association was, “What can we do about the Labor Rate?” At the time, I had no idea what the question meant. It didn’t take me long, however, to understand what the issue was. Repair shops were dependent on insurer reimbursements to pay for collision repairs, but insurers were not paying what the shop owners thought was adequate for an hourly Labor Rate. As a result, the businesses had difficulty making enough money to pay their employees, pay their bills and actually make a profit. It didn’t take much longer for me to understand that similar

44 April 2020

New England Automotive Report

issues applied to other elements of repair charges, and the number of issues seemed to increase over the years. What could be done about insurers that would not pay for enough time to perform certain repairs? What about insurers that insisted on paying discounted parts prices and only paid for aftermarket parts? How could a shop afford to paint a car with some specialty color if an insurer was willing to pay only a dollars-times-hours figure, and what if the allowed dollars were incredibly inadequate and the allowed hours too few? What about insurers that just said, “We don’t pay for that” – no matter what “that” happened to be? Storage of totaled vehicles? Restoration of LKQ parts? Pre- and post-repair scanning? Mark-up on sublet work? Forget about it!

Is There a Solution? When I got that first Labor Rate question, I initially thought that one way for shops to get paid more was to band together and insist on getting paid a higher Labor Rate or for other repair costs. But I knew from law school that it would be a violation of the antitrust laws for repair shops to join up and agree among themselves to charge a particular Labor Rate or insist on getting paid for other costs. I did come to the conclusion early on, however, that the only real way for repair shops to get paid what they want is to ignore what insurers agree to pay and to charge their customers what the shops think they need to get. I stand by that conclusion today. The shops would still collect whatever they could from insurers, but they would balance bill their customers for amounts the insurers refused to pay. There is no law that prevents repair shops from balance billing their customers. Many health care providers (and other businesses) balance bill their customers for amounts that are paid by the customers’ insurers. Please understand that in most retail sales in most industries, there is no insurer standing by to pay the bills. Those businesses get to charge what they think they need, and their customers pay the full amount of those bills. I know this from personal experience, because no insurer is paying my clients’ legal fees.


The Pros and Cons The biggest pro of balance billing your customers is that you actually get paid what you think you need for a particular repair job. You can still negotiate with your customer’s insurer, but you will know that if you do not get everything you want from the insurer, then your customer is still going to cover the balance. If you think that you need to get a certain amount an hour for a Labor Rate, then you can charge and get paid that amount per hour. If you think that a particular repair is going to need more time than your customer’s insurer is willing to allow, then you can still bill for and get paid for the extra time. If you think an OEM part is what you want to use for a repair and the insurer is willing to pay only for LKQ or aftermarket, then you can charge for and get paid for the OEM part. There are other pros to balance billing as well. If you balance bill, then you are going to have to get your customer involved in making decisions about their repairs, and you will have the opportunity to potentially sell improved or additional repairs to them. Is there unrelated old damage that would not be covered by your customer’s insurer? If your customer is actually involved in making decisions about their repair, then maybe they want to get that old damager repaired too. Are some parts just old and tired? If so, maybe your customer wants to upgrade their repair by getting those items taken care of. There are really no limits as to what you can try to sell. The obvious con to balance billing is that you are probably going to lose customers. After all, many (if not most) insured customers want to pay as little as

possible out of their own pocket. And their insurers are telling them that they have a whole list of shops that will repair their car for whatever the insurer writes, and that the insurer will guarantee those shops’ repairs. Are you willing to give up customers in order to assure that you are getting paid what you want from those customers who stay with you? How many customers are you going to lose? Are you going to have to cut back on staff because of loss of business? Are you going to have enough customers to remain in business? A second con to balance billing is that you cannot engage in it for customers who are insured with carriers for which you are a referral shop. If you have a referral contract with an insurer, then you are contractually obligated to accept whatever that insurer tells you they are going to pay for a repair job, and you are contractually obligated not to balance bill your customers who are insured with that insurer. Based on my experience with shops that do balance bill, another con is that some insurers, even if you are not their referral shop, will try to tell you and your customers that you cannot legally balance bill. THAT IS COMPLETELY FALSE. How Do You Do It? If you want to balance bill, then you will have to make some decisions, and you are going to have to be prepared to change the way you do business. First, you will need to understand who your customers are and what you want to balance bill. As an example, do you perform certain specialty repairs? I

represented two shops over the years that only performed specialty repairs. One only repaired Corvettes, focusing on fiberglass repairs; the other only repaired cars from a certain era, essentially doing restoration work. Both shops billed what they wanted to bill, ignored what insurers were willing to pay, and had work backed up for months. Their customers cared deeply about their vehicles, there were few other shops that knew how to properly repair those vehicles, the shops had good reputations and they both did very high-quality work. As another example, you may want to balance bill only for certain types of work. This could be for older cars for customers who want a better repair than their insurer is willing to pay for, scanning, sublet mark-up or work for customers with certain types of high-end vehicles who might be willing to pay extra for higher-quality repairs. After all, mechanical shops often charge a higher rate for certain high-end vehicles, so why shouldn’t collision repair shops? As a third example, maybe you want to charge for uninsured repairs that are going to make certain customers, who cannot afford a lot, feel better about their vehicles. MAACO sells a lot of paint jobs for older mid-level vehicles. It may not be the most sophisticated paint job, but it is a product that their customers want and are willing to pay for and which may allow them to keep their car for a few more years so they are not forced to buy a new one sooner than anticipated. Second, you may want to start by balance billing only for some repairs to see how it goes. Feel out certain customers who you think Continued on page 46

New England Automotive Report April 2020 45


[LEGAL] PERSPECTIVE Continued from page 45

might be receptive to the idea â&#x20AC;&#x201C; whether based on the customer, their car, the particular repairs or the customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s insurer. This will give you an opportunity to see what works and what doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work while making sure you are not going to be faced with a wholesale revolt of customers that could harm your chances of staying in business. Third, you are going to have to get your customers involved in every aspect of their repair. You are going to have to make sure that you get your customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s authorization for all repairs in advance at the price you are going to charge. Your customers are going to have to know that they will have to come up with money out of their own pocket and feel good about it. You are going to have to make it clear why you are charging what you are and why it is to your customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s benefit to pay your charges for their repair. Not only is obtaining authorization for itemized repairs and their pricing required by regulations issued by the Massachusetts Attorney General, but it is required if you want to keep your customers happy and have them recommend you to their friends and family. By the way, if you do get your customer involved in

every aspect of their repair, then they may be more apt to try to convince their insurer to pay a greater portion of your charges. Sometimes, their insurers will actually pay it. Conclusion Is balance billing right for you? That is a decision only you can make. But if you want to get paid more than what insurers are willing to pay, then it may be the only way you can accomplish that. If you are going to try it, make sure you know who your clients are and what they may be willing to pay. Further, make sure you do it in compliance with Massachusetts law and in a way that is likely to let you keep most of your customers and maybe get some new ones. PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND THE COLLISION INDUSTRY

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Attorney James Castleman is a managing member of Paster, Rice & Castleman, LLC in Quincy, MA. He can be reached at (617) 4723424 or at jcastleman@prclawoďŹ&#x192;ce.com.

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