Severity has been a buzz in shops lately, not that it is a new buzz but shops I have been in lately seem to have it at the top of their mind. Makes sense since the top three insurance focus points are Severity, Cycle Time and CSI.
There are several ways to control severity, I think the quickest way to make an impact on severity is by repairing bumpers. Bumpers have become more and more costly as they become a major portion of the front of a vehicle. Take a look in your trash bin and see how many bumpers could have been repaired. There are many tools available now to assist with bumper repair, staplers, hot wire embossers, as well as mesh systems to restore tabs. Compare the difference between a 4 - 6 hour repair on a bumper versus the replacement cost.
Another way to control severity is to look at the labor hours on your estimates. Are they all in whole or half hours? There are more options that using whole or half hours, ever thought of using 3.7 or 4.2? I know the thought process of writing a sheet, you look at a dent and say, "that could be 3.5 or 4, hmm, I will write 4", what about trying 3.7? You can argue that this will cost you money, but does it? How many times has an insurance company tell you, "No, I think that dent is worth 3.5". How hard would it be for them to argue the point if you wrote 3.7.
Are you charging for a entire tube of "Superfast" when making a small bumper repair or have you calculated it out by the amount used? The same can go for freon and other consumables you use to perform repairs. If you have a blanket cost for your consumables you might be over-charging compared to what you are using. Using a formula based on repair needs is a better way to charge for consumables that not only helps with severity but it also eliminates the need to negotiate the expense.
Take Severity from being a buzz word and make it an action word, compare what your are doing with these tips from my Estimating Best Practice class.