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Why Do Car Repairs for EVs Cost What They Do?

Debate has always been raging among autobody repairers on what should be charged for certain repairs. Interestingly, the same old disagreements usually spiral into a hot mess about how those that charge too little or those who are a “rip-off” are destroying the motor trade. This is the case for traditional combustion cars and newer electric vehicles and is likely a question for time to come.

The question is, who is actually right?

First, let’s examine closely what affects the cost of repair of an electric vehicle:

Reason 1: Everyone Has Different Business Overheads

What it costs one repairer isn’t necessarily the same as what it costs a different repairer to repair the exact same vehicle. The more outgoings a business has each month, the more it will be forced to charge per hour to cater for those overheads.

Whether you are workshop-based or mobile is one factor, but the size of your premises, number of employees, equipment, tooling, and utility costs are just some of the factors likely to affect the monthly expenses that are subsequently passed onto the customer in the repair cost, typically factored into the labour rate, according to White’s Bodyworks.

Reason 2: Business Location

Take a look at the following example:

You would require about £3,046.54 ($3750) a month to live in Aberdeen and £4,800 ($5,900) a month to live in London to have the same standard of living. That’s an additional £1753.46 ($2,150) just to live in a different location.

The cost of living is different in different parts of the world, let alone the country you live in. You must never get too caught up on what others are pricing where they live. Price should always be relative to where you’re based.

Reason 3: Scale

The problem with bigger auto body shops is that they not only have bigger overheads but also usually require bigger IT infrastructure, more administration work, computers, office phones, bigger insurance policies, more parking spaces, etc.

Unfortunately, the things listed above don’t always make them money but are still necessary to have. Worse still, they are definitely not cheap and this cost is inevitably factored into the repair.

Does this translate to repairs of superior quality? Not necessarily, big auto body shops can produce poor quality work just as small auto body shops can, but, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to invest so heavily to then throw it all away with poor quality repairs.

Reason 4: Time Taken by an Individual to do the Repair

What takes one auto body shop two hours may take another shop three hours and vice versa. However, one thing is certain. If the auto body shop spends two hours repairing one vehicle, it needs to get paid for the two hours since there are only nine working hours in a day.

So, regardless of whether it takes two or three hours, the fact is that the auto body shop still needs to get paid for the time spent repairing the vehicle. That’s why it is so important for an auto body shop to have a labour rate set at a price where profit is guaranteed.

Reason 5: Product Quality

A universal principle is that you get what you pay for and auto body repairs are not an exception.

Ultimately, when it comes to body repairs, if more time is taken with the preparation, better products are used and the paint is a more expensive brand, then the repair will definitely cost more. However, does that mean that cheaper products translate to an inferior repair? Not necessarily.

All auto body repair shops use different products and as long as the cheaper products come from a reputable company and they work for both the repairer and customer, then it does not mean that the other repairer is “too cheap”.