Blend Guidelines for Auto Damage Appraisers

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(This is a rough draft excerpt from my upcoming book the Auto Adjuster’s Playbook)

Everything that needs to be done to repair a damaged vehicle needs to be written down step by step in the form of an auto damage estimate. We group the types of repairs that need to be done into different types of repair operations. Every line of an estimate will include a type of repair operation. Below is a definition of a repair operation, “Repair operations are types of processes and labor that need to happen to restore a vehicle back to pre-loss condition” The different types of repair operations are the cornerstone to understanding how to write a proper estimate. This makes having a proper understanding of the different types of repair operations essential to our job. In this post we’ll dive into the “blend” repair operation.

Blend Operation

The repair operation “blend” is the kid brother to refinish. This represents painting a panel then blending or overlapping the color into the adjacent panel to avoid color match problems. “Blend represents painting a panel then blending or overlapping the color into the adjacent panel to avoid color match problems.” Why do we blend? Great question. Let’s go back to a household example. Imagine your spouse has asked you to repaint a wall in the living room where the nephew ruined it with permanent marker. It has been years since the room was painted. You start out with the intention of only painting one wall, but after completing the one wall you realize how bad the walls next to it look. One looks shiny and new, the other not so much. You end up chasing the new paint look around the room and paint the entire room. The blend operation is designed to help with this issue when a panel is getting painted. We blend the refinish operation into the next panel so it isn’t obvious only one panel was fully painted.

Blend Guidelines

There are certain situations when you choose to blend and others when you don’t. For the most part it is straightforward, but like many things in our industry there are many opinions as to the “right ways” to choose how to blend. I will stick by widely accepted guidelines and try to make it as easy as possible on you. When considering if a panel needed “blended” you have to determine FIRST if the car qualifies for blend. What this means is that not all paint colors need blended and then the SECOND thing you need to determine is if the panel that you are considering a blend operation on qualifies for blend. This may sound ambiguous, but I’ll give you 3 questions to ask yourself that will make it easy. The first two rules are to help you determine if the CAR qualifies as a vehicle that will possibly need blending and the last one is to help you determine if the PANEL you are considering does indeed need blending.

  1. Does the vehicles paint have metallic in it? (car)
  2. Is the vehicles paint light in color? (car)
  3. Does the panel share a horizontal plane with a panel being refinished? (panel)

If you answer YES to the first question (metallic in paint) then you can skip the second question. Cars with metallic in the paint always qualify for blend   Metallic is the metal specks or flakes in the paint. I personally call them sparkles, but technically it is called metallic. If there is NO metallic in the paint you ask the second question, “Is the vehicle light in color?”   Except for white, all vehicles that are light in color will qualify for blend.   Many body shops and repair facilities write estimates based on the rule that the only colors they don’t blend are white and black. As an IA I’ve had MANY files rejected for blending dark colored vehicles which has made me develop the above guidelines but understand that a shop will likely request blend on a dark color vehicle. They aren’t WRONG, we just operate under different guidelines. Check your guidelines for the carrier you are working for when faced with that situation.    

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