In the automotive repair industry, a term called “go-backs” is the last thing a body shop wants. This situation occurs when a customer decides that there is a problem with the repair after they take delivery. Body shops never want these go backs, and of course, car owners have no desire to return to the body shop after they got their car repaired. Yet there is still an industry average of unsatisfied customers. A new study shows that the dissatisfaction rate climbs the higher the repair cost significantly.

For those of us working in the collision repair industry, we use a software to write estimates and run the business. The most common one is called CCC. Because CCC has access to the data from nearly every body shop in the country, they publish trends reports, and there is a lot of valuable information in these reports. Most of the time, these reports contain consumer information, average repair times, and issues that face body shops nationwide, such as parts shortages or materials cost increases.

Sometimes these trends can be a bit troubling, and they really stand out. Recently CCC published a report that said that generally speaking, customers are satisfied with their collision repair as long as the repairs total less than $10,000. But when repairs cross the $10,000 mark, customer satisfaction climbs sharply to 26.6%. That is one in every four cars…which is why a statistic like that is absolutely shocking. 

The industry average for go-backs regardless of price is 10.9%. So just over one in ten repairs results in an issue at most auto body shops. 

At repairs between 1 cent and $500, 5% of vehicles are returned to the shop for some reason, according to the CCC data. Typically, these are cosmetic repairs because it is rare for a $500 repair to involve any structural repair. This could be from scratches visible under the paint, or a piece of trim that has come loose.

However, the average repair cost for collision repair in 2018 was $3,053. So what happens with satisfaction after the $3,000 repair threshold? 

When collision repair bills jump to the $3,000-$4,000 range, the percentage of the vehicle go backs also jumps to 12%. So the numbers climb past the industry average. If the repairs hit the $4,000-$5,000 brackets, 14.5 percent of vehicles are returned.

At the $5,000-$10,000 brackets, 17.7% of vehicles are brought back. That’s more than one out of every six of your customers coming back with a problem.

And finally, we reach 26.6 percent of vehicles needing some redo when the repair bill exceeded $10,000.

So why does this happen, and what does it mean for you?

A lot of customers needing collision repair are unaware of what they are buying. They simply want their car back as soon as possible. If the car looks nice and shiny after getting a repair, and it was done quickly, then they’ll be happy.

However, even if the car looks fixed, that doesn’t mean the problems are all of sudden wiped from existence. After all, looks can be deceiving and there could be a whole world of issues beneath the surface of your car that you may not be aware of. These issues could be from a technician cutting corners in the repair process to an entire body shop simply neglecting to follow the repair procedures laid out by the car’s manufacturers. 

It could happen as soon as you’re driving out of an auto body repair shop’s parking lot and notice your car simply isn’t the same. Maybe the car leaks now, or the steering feels funny. Maybe there a rattle that wasn’t there before, or you notice that in the right sunlight, the paint doesn’t match. At this point, what are your options? You can call your insurance company or turnaround and “go back” to the body shop and ask them to have another look at your car. 

Cycle time and length of rental issues

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that more expensive the repair, the longer the repair takes. Complicating this issue is the fact that repairs are more expensive now than in previous years.

According to CCC director and lead analyst Susanna Gotsch, “the average repair bill sits around $4,000 for the current model year.”

One of the biggest reasons for more expensive repairs is because the cost of purchasing a vehicle has increased significantly due to improved safety technologies and additional advanced features. The average new car loan increased over $1,000 from April-June of last year (Experian). Not to mention, the changes in vehicles have attributed to the increased costs in repairs. 

Take a look at the image below. These are the most recent changes seen in vehicles that have added to the more expensive repair costs:

These modern updates in vehicles have made collision repair far more complicated than what it was even just five years ago. Because of the increased complexity of car repair, body shops need to charge more to get the job done. This is why there is often an increased cycle time when getting your car repaired. 

In case you didn’t know, cycle time refers to how long it takes to repair your vehicle. Because the cycle time ends up taking longer than anticipated and drivers are still without their car, insurance companies are having to rethink rental policies since the length of rental covered in most policies (typically 3-5 days) doesn’t last as long as the repair process. When a customer has to pay out of pocket for their rental car, it creates immediate dissatisfaction for both the insurance company and the body shop. 

Most body shops will do whatever they can to keep the insurance company happy and not go past the allotted rental period, even if it means cutting a few corners with the repair. But this is not without a price: Quality suffers, and go backs increase. Not to mention, cutting corners in the repair process can significantly put your safety at risk. You have to ask yourself if a faster repair is better if you’re not going to get the quality of repair that you deserve. 

Your insurance company promises to be your advocate for collision repair, but they also are directed to spend the least amount of money possible for the repair. This puts the pressure on the repair shop to meet their deadlines so it can stay within the length of the rental. The numerous changes in cars have increased the costs of repairs as well as repair complexity. If a technician follows the top quality repair procedures laid out by the car manufacturer, it’s going to take longer than the “quick fix” an insurance company wants. 

On-time delivery

The largest source of dissatisfaction comes when a body shop misses its promise date for vehicle delivery. On-time delivery also seems to worsen more dramatically than other statistics. Industry-wide, customers reported on-time delivery 87.5 percent of the time. For repairs between $0.01 and $500, shops hit that target 94.5 percent of the time.

At the $3,000-$4,000 range, body shops are already below the average, making deadline 86.3 percent of the time. When the repair cost crossed over the $10,000 bracket, the industry average for auto body shops hitting their mark is only 70.9 percent of the time. This means 1 out of every 4 vehicles is delivered later than promised.

Bottom Line

The bottom line for customers who have repairs in the $10,000 or above range may face longer repair times, out of pocket rental car expenses, and a lack of communication from the body shop. But it does not have to be this way. If you choose a good quality local auto body shop and not one of the nation’s largest chain body shops, you will get an owner-operator who is communicating with their customers, performing quality repairs, and managing their deadlines.

Who in Pennsylvania knows how to repair my car the right way? 

Here at Rocco’s Collision Centers, we have many customers who come into our shop who were victims of bad expensive car repair in the past. Luckily, our team of highly trained technicians is capable of handling any repair that comes into any of our shops, which is why they know we are the body shop Pennsylvania drivers can trust. As a customer of Rocco’s Collision, you will never feel like you aren’t informed and that your car isn’t being repaired with the same level of quality and safety that your car’s manufacturer would instruct.

We have six different locations across Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. We invite you to see for yourself why Rocco’s is the best out there! Feel free to give us a call at anytime at (888)-9-ROCCOS. Or to schedule an appointment or to call any of our locations directly, click here

We look forward to hearing from you!