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  • Writer's pictureTom Hunt


Updated: Sep 20, 2022

If you ever do insurance jobs for customers, you run the risk of leaving money on the table by not charging for industry recognised costs that insurance companies pay for.

These charges are for everybody, regardless of the estimating system you use.

1. Damaged panel allowance: 0.5hrs - 1hr

If you're struggling to remove a part off a vehicle because of the damage surrounding it, or to it, you will need additional time (labour) for this operation.

An example is trying to remove a window regulator that is trapped inside a heavily damaged door, being unable to access the fixings.

2. Putting a doner wheel on a vehicle: 0.3hrs - 0.5hrs

Taken a wheel off for refurbishment? Add time to your estimate for adding the doner wheel on the vehicle to keep it mobile. Don't forget this is for removal and refitting.

3. Mixing 2 colours or more: 0.7hrs

If you're doing a job that requires you to mix up more than one colour, then charge for mixing the two colours! For example, a bumper repair may have the upper section as the main body colour, but the lower part may be a different colour.

4. Touching up bolts on new bolted panels: 0.2hrs

Fitted a new bonnet/hood, or maybe a new door? Even the fender/wing will have bolts that need touching up to ensure the customers' vehicle is back to normal.

So charge to touch up any bolts that have the paint chipped off from removing the part.

5. Wind/Water test: 0.5hrs

Ever fitted a new door mirror and can hear that whistling type of noise where the rubber hasn't gone quite back where it should? Or maybe a customer has come back a week later saying their trunk/boot is leaking.

Ensure you charge for checking these things so you're not caught out! These are all steps needed to ensure the vehicle has been repaired properly.

6. Removing sound deadening: 0.5hrs - 1hr + sound deadening cost

Got a trunk/boot floor that's had a rear panel and needs a repair, but the sound deadening is in the way to apply some filler/bondo?

Then charge to remove it so you can repair it properly and then replace the sound deadening.

7. Detailed masking of trims / pre-moulded bumpers: 0.5hrs - 1.5hrs

If you have a plastic part that has an unpainted textured section that needs masking off, then you can charge for the masking.

Same with the newer type of trunks/tailgates on vehicles that have the interior trim built into it - you don't want to paint these parts, so charge to mask them.

8. Removal of paint sealants / ceramic coatings: 1hr per panel to remove and re-apply + cost of paint protection kit

It takes longer and uses more sanding materials to prepare paint protected panels, so if you're repairing or blending onto a panel with paint protection charge to remove and re-apply this.

9. Glue pulling set up and time to pull: 0.5hrs - 1hr + cost of materials

As glue pulling becomes a more common approach to repairing vehicles it is best not to forget to charge for this method of repair. So ensure you charge for setting up the equipment and for any consumable / tabs you use.

10. Dealership travel: Fixed charge or time

Some vehicles require an ADAS reset, steering angle reset or dealership health check - whatever the reason, as long as it's agreed by the insurance company, charge to take the vehicle to the dealer and back to your shop again.

What you charge here is up to you. If the vehicle needs going on the recovery truck, charge your rate, if it's not far from you and you can drive it there and back, charge the time it takes you + fuel, if it needs to be sub-contracted out for specialist recovery, charge the invoice + a 10-20% uplift for the admin work involved arranging it.


Ever been asked to "fade out" your clearcoat?

If so and you wish to finish the paint on a natural panel break to ensure the clear is finished correctly, simply ask the engineer to provide evidence of a paint manufacturer stating that this is a recognised method of automotive paint finishing and that it can be guaranteed.

If they cannot provide this, simply refuse and request to paint panels up to their natural paint break.

Disclaimer: This is for information purposes only. Correct understanding of repair methods, costs and times should be observed by the individual. These are examples only.

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