CSI’s Randy Miller recognized in national magazine; Focus on streamlined estimating process

Collision Specialist, Inc. owner Randy Miller is a familiar name to those in town who have had to deal with accident repairs.

In business since 1981, Miller built his current location on 21st Avenue Northwest in 2003. Since then, he has developed a streamlined process for estimates, one that earned him recognition in the March 2019 issue of Fender Bender magazine, which prominently features his face on the front cover.

“In the article they focused on estimating processes,” Miller said. “We do ours a little different. We built this shop in 2003, and within two years I knew I had to do something to get those processes going in the right direction because it was a nightmare. We went to other shops all over the place and couldn’t find what we needed, so we started to develop our own.”

Miller realized to make it effective, much of the work had to be done up front.

“Basically, it’s very streamlined in the front part and that really is what affects your total job as it goes through the shop,” he said. “If it’s going to go through the shop smoothly, a lot of work has got to be done up front.”

Miller’s process starts with scheduling the estimate to get the necessary information and take the time to discuss it with the customer.

“We get all of the information from the accident, such as how it happened, if they have child car seats in the vehicle, if they had children in the vehicle; it all makes a difference on how we do the estimate,” Miller said.

This helps determine if the vehicle will be totaled, a quick fix (which Miller calls a “speed lane job”) or an average 20-30 hours job.

“The estimator has to determine which way it’s going,” Miller said. “We don’t want to have a vehicle in here that we’ve ordered parts for and is in process only to find out it’s totaled out. After that, once we make the choice, we have to go into a blueprint process where we take it completely apart and write a 95 percent total sheet on it. That way we’re getting everything up front. If there is suspension damage, we check into that right away. We do a frame analysis right away, which is measuring the vehicle. About 75 percent of our vehicles are measured because we’re not sure if it’s out of specifications. If it is, that throws another part of the estimate of going to a frame rack or going to straighten it and getting that aligned first before it goes into the body department.”

Although five staff members work on the front-end process, all staff are included to offer their advice in their areas of expertise.

“The estimating process is basically a team effort throughout the shop,” Miller said.

The process has been a success, with others coming from across the nation to learn how to better streamline their estimation procedures.

“It’s helped us get vehicles back to the customer as fast as we can,” Miller said. “Insurance companies are gaging us on that. They give us a report every month on how we’re doing as far as quality, which is the customer satisfaction end of it, as well as speed and price. Speed is where we excel and everyone is wondering how we’re doing it, and this is why.”

As far as the Fender Bender feature goes, Miller was surprised about the recognition.

“I never thought (being featured) was going to happen. Last October they notified me that they wanted to do an article on estimating. The group of guys they were trying to do the estimating article on were up in Minneapolis, but those guys kept pointing to me and said, ‘He’s doing it better than anybody else.’ It was just going to be an article, but I saw (the magazine) a couple of months ago and I thought, ‘Are you kidding me? They put my mug shot right on the front!’”

But when it comes down to it, Miller credits his staff with making the estimation process work.

“My guys are exceptional,” he said. “They grasp all of this and are taking it to another level.”

“It’s not about me; it’s about all of us,” he added.

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