When someone is in a traffic accident, and their car is damaged, they are free to choose where to have it repaired. But many times, their insurance company offers them a list of trusted auto repair shops. More often than not, the owner chooses one of the suggested auto shops.
Your auto repair shop could be on that list.
If you partner with an insurance company through a Direct Repair Program, you will likely get more work. And of course, more customers mean more profit.
In this article, we will talk about what a direct repair program is, how you can join one, and what benefits your business will have by partnering with an insurance company.
What is a direct repair program or DRP?
Through a direct repair program or DRP, insurers offer their policyholders a list of a network of auto repair shops.
Here’s how it works:
|With this type of program, auto shops agree with insurers to repair their policyholders’ cars when they are involved in accidents.
The insurance company refers those affected to a network of direct repair facilities, from which they can choose the one that is best for them, depending on their location or the services it offers.
Benefits for your business
A DRP program has advantages for insurers and their clients, but being part of this list can also bring benefits to you:
1. More clients
Although it is illegal for insurers to force their clients to go to a specific auto shop, they can offer suggestions. Turning your business into a direct repair shop can give you visibility to potential customers, who might decide to choose you.
2. You become more reliable
Being part of a DRP program will generate a lot of trust among potential customers. If you are a direct repair shop, it means that the insurer has thoroughly evaluated your credentials to ensure that you offer quality repairs and services.
That makes clients trust your business and choose it, even if their insurance company didn’t suggest you.
3. You can be part of more than one DRP
Your auto repair shop can be part of one or more programs at the same time, making it a real option for tons of policyholders.
It can be an incredible idea for your business to belong to a direct repair program because you can access a larger portion of the market through it. But you have to follow a few steps before becoming a member.
5 Steps to Join a Direct Repair Program
Partnering with an insurance company is not a breeze. There is a complex application and approval process that you must follow.
But if turning your business into a direct repair shop means expanding your customer base and increasing your profits, it’s well worth the effort.
This is what you have to do:
1. Make a list
Create a list of the insurance companies with which you could partner.
Concentrate on finding out what their needs are and what requirements you must complete to join their programs. Do your research online, or contact a company representative directly.
If you have worked with some of them in the past and even established a relationship of trust, that will help you narrow your search.
2. Complete an application
Insurance companies generally have an online application form to join their DRP program.
Fill it out with important information, like your business certifications and a list of all your main equipment and machinery.
Adding pictures of your tools and the workshop can be a nice touch.
3. Meet with them
Speaking face to face with a representative of each insurance company will allow you to ask any questions, and they can get to know your business. Take the opportunity to formally present your request and tell them what you have to offer.
In addition to presenting your auto repair shop as a valuable asset to their programs, the main objective of these meetings is to get inspectors from the companies to visit your business for an evaluation.
4. Prepare for an inspection
This step is crucial.
You never know when the inspector will show up, so you need to be ready. When they arrive, show them your facilities, equipment, and any other area showing that your business has value to the insurance company.
If you can, also present some numbers about your business, like estimated vehicle repair time.
Don’t forget to let them talk to some of your technicians, if you have any.
5. Review the terms of the agreement
If everything went well during the inspection, the insurance company will want to make a deal. Before agreeing to the terms, have a contract attorney review the fine print. Negotiate any inconsistencies you find.
Sign the contract when you are comfortable with all the conditions.
Tips for a successful DRP application
Sure, the application process is complex, but becoming a direct repair program member can offer you great benefits.
Your chances of a successful application will increase if you follow these tips:
The law is on your side
Legislations in some states require insurance companies to allow any qualified repair shop to be part of their programs, so the number of direct repair facilities in one location is not limited.
Find out if this is the case in your state. If you meet all the requirements, this will make it easier for you to apply.
Using state-of-the-art technology, having a trained workforce, and continually improving all business processes will facilitate your entry into a DRP program.
Having been in business for longer can work in your favor, especially if you have positive reviews from clients satisfied with your work or other recognitions that you can boast to insurers.
When selecting you as a direct repair shop, insurance companies might ask you to make some compromises, like lowering your prices or providing a quicker service. Make sure that, by accepting these conditions, your income won’t be affected, much less the safety of your customers.
You’ll get more clients, but …
Policyholders are not required to use the services of the direct repair shops that are part of the DRP program. They can decide to go to another auto shop. Being part of a DRP does not only mean convincing the insurance company; you also have to do the same with the clients.
A great way to show your clients how professional you are is with a good invoice. Download our FREE invoice template here.
Don’t just depend on the DRP
You can’t wait for your income to depend entirely on participating in one of these programs. What will happen to your finances if suddenly you’re no longer part of the DRP program?
In addition to belonging to a DRP, you need a long-term commercial strategy for your business, an agile sales team, a marketing plan, and first-rate service.
This is the best formula to attract traffic to your workshop.
Read the fine print
In addition to making certain compromises, some contracts require auto shops to assume responsibility for repairs and to compensate them if the customer files a lawsuit.
Turn your Auto Repair Shop into a Direct Repair Shop
Being part of a direct repair program can give a great advantage to your shop. Insurance companies can bring policyholders to your doorstep whenever they have an accident.
This can make yourself more visible, generate more income and gain the trust of customers.
But to be an auto repair shop, you have to understand the needs of the insurance companies, submit an application and wait for your auto shop to be evaluated. When you’re entering a DRP program, make sure to read the fine print and remember that there are tips that can help you on your journey of being a DRP.
While your business cannot entirely depend on a DRP program, they are a great opportunity to grow your business.
At Camino Financial, we don’t leave any small businesses behind. If you want to strengthen your auto repair shop but need financing, we are here to help you.