Volume 8,  Issue 4                         July/August  2006

Side Lites
guest opinion

Price Pointing
by Brigid O'Leary

In the last few months the Price Points department has drawn a lot of comment on the AGRR magazine message board and sometimes directly via e-mail. Some readers have asked how the numbers shown in Price Points are determined; others want to know if the prices we print are for installed parts or just the glass. I’m here to set the record straight.

Your Average Consumer
The objective of Price Points is to bring our readers comparative industry pricing currently being offered to the buying public. We gather information to find out how much it costs to have a certain type of windshield replaced—fully installed. We call as if we were an average consumer who knows nothing about auto glass replacement. And, since the average customer wants a windshield replaced, the price includes all that goes with it. It also means that if a CSR is having a hard time finding the replacement part, we can’t just say, “Look, I need an FW02302GBYN.” 

Price Points in the Future
Times are changing, and so is Price Points. One thing that we have discovered, is that with the rebalancing and the move by NAGS to have their list prices reflect part prices only—not labor, we could not compare the prices we have been quoted for an installation to just the NAGS part price. Starting with this issue, we have begun factoring in labor hours (at a base price of $35 per hour) and to add that cost in to the price of the NAGS part, for a total cost. This is the figure against which we compare the prices we are quoted. This should give our readers a more accurate price comparison across the country.

We’re still not going to name the shops from which we have received quotes, but as the Internet is playing a larger and larger role in consumer marketing, we’re looking into ways to incorporate Internet quotes into Price Points. 

What some of our readers may not realize is that the changing climate of the industry has a direct effect on Price Points—not just the actual price quotes we get but the interactions members of the AGRR staff have with CSRs and others while collecting the data.

It’s starting to get harder to get just a quote over the phone as hard sales are becoming more common. At least one AGRR staff member has had the opportunity of dealing with a shop that can be described only as tenacious. The shop, to which a cell phone number was given, called nearly every day for a week until the staff member answered one of those calls on a Saturday and it took her nearly 10 minutes to get off the phone.

Additionally, some states have gone “zero deductible,” meaning that by law consumers don’t pay a deductible for the replacement, no matter what. 

The Future of Price Points
Is Price Points relevant? Our readership tells us it is. Reader surveys indicate it is one of the most popular departments in the magazine. Someone on the AGRR message board indicated that he or she didn’t think it was and that it was only hurting the industry to have the numbers printed, but, so far, the dissenters have been considerably fewer than the support (if not speculation) about the department. Some think Price Points serves to point out the occasionally considerable difference between “cash” and insurance pricing. We wonder to whom, exactly, we might be pointing this out? Insurers already know and the industry knows, too.

At any rate, the feedback we’ve gotten about Price Points has been steady. Let us know what you think. We’d like to hear from you. Obviously, it’s getting the industry to talk and to think, and that’s what we like to do. 

Brigid O’Leary is the news editor for AGRR magazine.

© Copyright 2006 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.