The topic at November’s Social was one that most of us don’t like to think about…but one we really do need to consider–the possibility of being involved in a collision.
There was a full house at The Musket Restaurant in Etobicoke to learn how a little preparation can turn a potential nightmare into no more than an unfortunate incident with some simple steps to get the situation under control. On hand to share their professional experience and advice were John Evers, Technical Support Specialist at Porsche Cars Canada, Jeff Pabst, GM at Pfaff Autoworks and Lorenzo D’Alessandro, GM at 427 Auto Collision, with UCR Vice President, Mike Bryan emceeing and leading with questions for our guests.
The collision repair industry is shrinking and consolidating rapidly, with the number of shops in Canada (independent and dealer owned) dropping from about 9,000 a few years ago, to about 6,000 today and maybe 4,000 or less in the next 10 years. One reason for this is the reduction in collisions due to vehicle safety features, fewer kms driven and tougher drink/drive penalties.
What happens after your vehicle arrives at your chosen repairer? Jeff explained the steps—the collision repairer will assess the damage and write an estimate, submit it to your insurer for approval, order parts, mirrormatch them to the damaged parts and start the repair. This will involve repair or replacement of damaged parts and body panels, sometimes including the use of a frame rack to pull the vehicle frame back into shape, then preparation for painting, the application of primer, basecoat colour and clearcoat, before final detailing and inspection.
Why would a repairer quote one price for a repair to be paid by the insurer and a different price for customer pay? Lorenzo explained that the insurer commitment is to return the vehicle to pre-accident condition, so the quote must be for exactly that. However, when the customer is paying, he or she will often ask for ways to reduce the cost by, for example, agreeing to live with the cracked headlight or the small dent on the panel adjacent to the major damage. They may also get quote from repairers who have not invested in training, tools and equipment, but declare themselves competent to repair your vehicle and always more cheaply than the next guy. Buyer beware, particularly when your safety and vehicle value could be compromised.
It’s not a topic that we want to think about, but with the help of John Evers, Lorenzo D’Alessandro and Jeff Pabst, there was agreement among members that they now had the knowledge to help them do some basic pre-planning, take control in the event of a collision and make the right choice of collision repairer.
My thanks to Kathleen Wong for organizing this Social. She has done an amazing job as Socials Co-Chair over the last year and is stepping down from that role as she becomes Vice-President. Thanks too, to our charming hostess, Dagmar Pegg, who always greets us with a warm smile and finally, thanks to Mike Welker for helping out with the audio visual scheduling at this social.