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Expert: Body shops should set expectations, be consistent on staff quality

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A body shop’s employees need to know what is acceptable, reinspector, appraiser and expert witness David Smith said last year, telling a virtual audience they’d be “amazed” at the varying degree of quality he sees in his area.

Smith, operations president for Auto Damage Experts, said he sees bare welds on panel backsides “almost every week.” Probably about 50 percent of vehicles he reviews lack cavity wax, carry damaged pinchweld clamps or lack at least some necessary seam sealer, he said.

He said he once encountered a Dodge Charger fixed four times, for a tech “didn’t know how to use a block.” The fault for this lay with the shop as well as the technician, for the shop failed to train the worker to do better or replace them outright.

“If you start accepting little problems, they will start snowballing into bigger problems,” Smith said in “Order of Importance: Car, Client and then the Shop…and Why.”, one of the courses in the virtual Repairer Driven Education released in November 2020. The course and more than a dozen other video RDE classes will be available for replay through Aug. 31 on rde.scrs.com.

Smith said shops will also accept different levels of quality among their staff. “Why?” he asked.

If the worst technician can “get away with what he’s doing,” he asked, what message does that send to the best worker?

A shop should keep quality consistent, Smith said. He said his shop didn’t perform fleet work for that reason: Technicians would “create two different sets of quality” — but then do all the work at the lower benchmark.

“They’re not gonna reach to the highest level,” he said.

More information:

“Order of Importance: Car, Client and then the Shop…and Why.” (Replayable through Aug. 31, 2021)

Society of Collision Repair Specialists, 2020

SCRS Repairer Driven Education virtual courses (Replayable through Aug. 31, 2021)

Featured image: Auto Damage Experts operations president David Smith speaks during a 2020 virtual Society of Collision Repair Specialists Repairer Driven Education series course. (Screenshot from SCRS video)

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