Setting Priorities

J.R. Martino is General Manager
at Budds’ Collision in Oakville, Ont.,
one of the most progressive facilities
of its kind in North America.
You can reach him at

J.R. Martino Asks What Shops Should Really Consider When It Comes To The Repair Process - J.R. Martino

We are all in the business to repair damaged vehicles, no matter if it’s a 2017 Jaguar F-Pace or a 2005 Honda Civic. What has made our businesses successful seems to be an afterthought by insurance companies in today’s measures. QUALITY. Working with both OEMs and DRPs we see a lot of vehicles.

With this, come a lot of previously repaired vehicles. And in numerous cases, we’ve seen these vehicles feature prior repairs that look as if they were performed in a home garage rather than a reputable shop. What some shops accept and pass as quality these days still astounds me.

But is it really the shop’s fault? KPIs put on us by insurance companies often have nothing to do with QUALITY. The focus tends to be on cycle time, touch time, length of rental and severity. An argument can be made that CSI regarding repairs is measured—yet, does a customer truly know the quality of repairs beneath those freshly painted panels?

Something Needs To Give
It’s assumed that quality is expected from insurance companies and that it is a “given,” however, by having these—at times—near impossible benchmarks placed on shops and holding the volume of repairs at ransom if these benchmarks are not met, something has to give. More often than not it’s the quality of repair that suffers.


Repair quality should always be a top priority.

Shops are still measured by the “.3 formula” when it comes to length of rental. A measurement that was prevalent in the 1980s when my father was fixing cars. I feel we can all agree—both shops and insurance companies—that how vehicles are made and repaired has drastically changed within the past 30 years. At Budds’ Collision, we do everything within our power to make sure that our customers’ vehicles are repaired in a timely fashion, so no additional expenses are accrued by either our insurance partner or our customer. This being said, we will always choose to sacrifice “cycle time” if it jeopardizes quality. Budds’ has been in business for 34 years and is still going strong because of prioritizing quality and an enhanced customer experience, not focusing on cycle and touch time.

Recognizing The Investment
That said, putting all insurance companies in the same bucket is unfair. There are those insurance companies out there that have, as my former mentor Sam Piercey would say, “drank the Kool-Aid” and have recognized the investment shops like ours have made in both facility and technicians. They will not hold our feet to the fire if repairs exceed the initial date of delivery. And those are the companies we have partnered with.

As a shop owner or manager, the next time you address an employee for not having a repair completed the Friday before a long weekend, as yourself, would rushing and delivering that repair to meet the KPI of that respected insurance company truly be the best thing for your business?