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Mississauga, Ontario -- November 12, 2012 -- Estimate writing can make or break a collision repair facility. A well-written, comprehensive estimate saves time in every department and can help to put extra dollars in your pocket. Making sure estimators have the tools they need to write the best estimates was the goal of “Estimating for Profit!,” a one-day seminar held recently by Co-Auto Co-Operative and BASF.


The seminar was conducted by John Niechwiadowicz of Performance Consulting Services on November 6 at Stage West in Mississauga, Ont. In attendance were around 40 damage writers, customer service representatives and collision centre managers and owners. This training is part of Co-Auto’s Value added services provided to their paint customers and is also part of BASF’s Vision Plus University program. 
Don Teevens is the Refinish Manager for Co-Auto Co-Operative. He says Niechwiadowicz put a different spin on the basics of estimating and made it both entertaining and informative. 
“Everyone took away something that could be used immediately in their shop. He started the class by explaining the differences between gross profit and net profit, prerequisites to writing good estimates and why we need to for the health of the shop,” says Teevens. “He even tied it to the guys working in the back. The estimator is responsible for those guys making good incomes and feeding their families. Estimates written for profit means everyone in the shop does better.”
The seminar went beyond the mechanics of estimate writing and into related areas of the estimator’s duties, such as interacting with customers in a sales capacity and how to explain the value of having the customer’s car repaired at a particular shop. These lessons were facilitated with the use of mock-up sales situations and role-playing.
The instructor also placed a significant focus on interacting with insurance companies and how to write estimates to avoid increases in cycle time.
Pauline Hunter is an appraiser with Owasco Collision Center in Whitby, Ont.
"It was really informative," says Hunter. "There were a lot of good ideas going around. There were definitely tips I could use in my day-to-day work."
For more information on Co-Auto Co-Operative, please visit For more information on BASF’s Vision Plus University, please visit

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