DETROIT — Every month, Aaron Morrison examines and writes repair estimates for scores of collision-damaged cars and trucks. He spends 50 hours a week mediating tensions among often distraught customers, penny-pinching auto insurers and overworked service technicians.
Morrison, 27, is lead estimator and assistant body shop manager of Moran Service & Collision Center in the Detroit suburb of Southgate, Mich. The shop is part of the nearby Moran Buick-GMC dealership.
Technology such as estimating software — the Moran shop uses three kinds — and electronic measuring augments the work of the collision repair center estimator. But it won't replace human judgment in the foreseeable future.
"I don't think you're going to be able to roll a car through a tunnel anytime soon and it's going to write an estimate for you," Morrison told Fixed Ops Journal. "You've got to learn the business before you write it down on paper."
Morrison's job doesn't always end when the workday does. He must think about how to resolve paint shop bottlenecks and deliver on promises when something out of his control takes longer than expected.
"You are the ultimate middleman because you are dealing with the insurance company and the customer, and then you're dealing with the insurance company and the technician," he says. "You have to make sure the body [work] meets the customer's expectations above and beyond what the insurance company wants."