In part 3 of our look at the cost of calibration in the U.S., we go to the South Atlantic.
In the automotive industry since 2004, Kris Griffin founded Calibrators of the Carolinas in 2019 in the Charlotte metro area of North Carolina. “My biggest thing is there are still vendors out there not doing [calibrations].” He finds that if you have a good relationship with the third-party administrator, “you can get [calibration] covered. The big thing I see is the lack of consistency in pricing.” However, Griffin does not think auto insurance companies should have fixed pricing for calibration because the job depends on the difficulty of the calibration. The more difficult, the more time the technician will spend performing the calibration.
For example, Griffin says that some Honda models require dual calibration, including a 30-minute test drive. “It’s sometimes very difficult with the TPAs on cost [not being on the same page].” More consistency is necessary with pricing for calibrations.
“I think an Advanced Driver Assistance System is a good system,” Larry Robinson, president and owner of Albany Auto Glass in Albany, Ga., says. ADAS prevents less trained and experienced technicians from doing calibrations and auto glass replacement. “To me, it’s going to make the whole auto glass industry safer.”
Albany Auto has been in business for 25 years and has five technicians, all certified by the Auto Glass Safety Council. Safety is important, but auto insurance companies are taking 55%, 60% percent off the list price although, Robinson says, the companies know distributors will not set a list price. “We’re the ones doing the work, taking responsibility for the job, yet getting shafted for the job,” he says.
Robinson’s company is in a rural area of Georgia and he often travels to get auto glass for customers. Yet, he says insurance companies do not appreciate the extra effort and reimburse his company. “But it’s like they just want to nickel and dime us out of business,” he says.
Robinson says he sometimes will argue with insurance companies about the cost of calibration. “We probably turn down 10 to 12 jobs per week,” he says. At least five or six customers per week will pay for calibration out of pocket because they want the job done by Albany Auto, then they will request reimbursement from their auto insurance company. “The less money you get [from insurance companies], the less money you can pay to get qualified help,” Robinson says.