Building A Better Estimate

June 13, 2011

With the release of the SCRS Guide to Complete Repair Planning, the topic of professional estimate writing has once again taken center stage in the industry.

Just like the long-running Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG), the new SCRS publication is a completely free tool provided to shops to help them better document the work they perform – and better demonstrate why they are charging for certain repair procedures. Used together, the DEG and SCRS guide are helping shops throughout the country earn more well-deserved money each and every day. But how many shops are truly using these free services? Is widespread apathy destroying the industry’s greatest opportunity to gain financial strength? This month, we touch base with new DEG Administrator Arthur Harris, former SCRS Board member and veteran auto educator Toby Chess and Hammer & Dolly technical writer Larry Montanez for a frank discussion on why repair shops may be their own worst enemies when it comes to writing it right.

Arthur, where does the DEG currently stand in terms of addressing database issues? Arthur Harris: The current situation is very strong. From a numbers standpoint, we are receiving over 1,000 inquiries a year. Currently, we just surpassed 3,300 inquiries since inception, and we’re looking to increase that number as much as possible. Since I’ve been [here], we’ve had a good influx because of the articles promoting the DEG. In the five weeks I’ve been here, I’ve already processed 151 inquiries. We disabled the website for about two weeks during the transition [between administrators], but the DEG was well-promoted after that through various publications. From your experience, how have the IPs been in terms of getting back to you and offering feedback and collaboration on labor time matters? Arthur Harris: Two of the Information Providers have been very good; they are responding back when we submit an inquiry and acknowledging that they have the inquiry. They have been good in resolving the inquiries in a timely manner. We have one IP we’re working with right now that is not as responsive. We are also cleaning up [our] database, and have noticed that there were unanswered inquiries from late 2010 and early 2011 that we have since addressed.

Read the full article here…

DEG- About the Database Enhancement Gateway (DEG): The DEG is an initiative designed to help improve the information in collision repair estimates through proactive feedback about vehicle-specific errors, omissions and inaccuracies in the database and labor times. With support and funding from the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP), Society of Collision Repairs (SCRS) and other industry organizations, the DEG can provide its services free of charge to the industry. For more information on the DEG please visit or email .