Blending Update: Blending is back in the News!

Blending Update: Blending is back in the News!

Beginning in October 2023, CCC / Motor will enable users of its estimating systems to input alternate blend times. This is excellent news for repairers as it follows 2022’s SCRS blending study and initiates the first substantial change in how blending is compensated. However, it opens the door to further dialog and negotiation between repairers and insurers.

In this month’s blog, we will review the Production Tips, provided by SCRS, and we will briefly describe what CCC / Motor is doing, how it may influence other estimating systems, and what it really means for damage writers and technicians.

This is a great opportunity to revisit the need to bleed adjacent panels to obtain the correct color match and how to be compensated appropriately for those blending operations.

CCC/ Motor is in the news due to their pending system update that will enable repairers to input alternate blend times. Motor is the repair database behind CCC One estimating systems. This change will roll out beginning in October 2023.

Our December 2022 Production Tips addressed the SCS Blend Study that determined that blending an adjacent panel takes, on average, 131.6% MORE time than refinishing an entire panel.* This was in stark contrast to prior blend formulas built into most estimating systems of 50% of the full panel time for 2-stage, and 70% of the full panel time for 3-stage. 

The CCC / Motor change is the first database provider to make this change. However, it’s important to understand precisely what this change is, and what it ISN’T! 

What This Change Means

Instead of a fixed factor for blending an adjacent panel, the Motor database and CCC One will enable the damage writer to enter their own value for the labor time to perform a blend. Motor’s rationale is that: “Given the variations among scenarios today, MOTOR believes that the Estimated Work Time Development methodology should defer to the judgment of an estimator or appraiser following an on-the-spot evaluation of the specific vehicle and refinish requirements in question.” 

While not explicitly stated, blending to achieve color match is further complicated by 3 and 4-stage finishes that require additional labor operations subject to a specific paint manufacturer’s recommendation. (See Production Tips, June 2021, Getting Paid for 4-Stage Finishes.) 

CCC / Motor will also enable users to set up default times for multiple profiles for both two-or three-stage finishes, based on insurer agreements or other factors. These beneficial changes will enable/require collision repairers to write and NEGOTIATE with customers and/or insurers to get paid for whatever blend times they believe are warranted. 

*During 2022, SCRS took on the task of conducting a thorough study on the labor time to blend typical panels compared to the time to refinish the entire panel according to the procedures recommended by five major paint manufacturers. Following the release of the SCRS study at CIC’s Fall meeting, CCC let the society know that they would conduct observational studies of the blending process and provide an update at the end of the first quarter of 2023. 

Neither Mitchell nor Audatex has publicly announced changes, but SCRS continues to work with them. As an interim workaround, Solera stated that their estimating solution enables user edits to make changes for the blend calculation. 

A Tip to Consider 

Regardless of what SCRS and the database providers do, blending will continue to be a bone of contention for repairers and insurers. While demonstrating that blending takes MORE time than refinishing a full unfinished panel, what the database providers have done is open the door to fully customizing every repair where blending an adjacent panel is necessary for correct color match. There is no single correct formula. Each repair, each paint system, will be unique. 

While this is an opportunity for repairers to be paid MORE for proper repairs, it places the onus on damage writers to determine the time needed to blend an adjacent panel and to negotiate payment with insurers

It will, now, be even more essential; for effective repair planning of the refinishing process to: 

  • Identify and document paint codes.
  • Research the process needed to achieve color match for that color, texture, and gloss as determined by the paint manufacturer.
  • Identify all panels to be blended.
  • Writers must consult with refinishing technicians to determine the labor time required to blend all adjacent panels.
  • Negotiate payment. 

The question has shifted from whether repairers will be paid to blend, to how much!