On March 19, long-time collision repair industry professional Frank Terlep presented an introductory webinar to the TestDrive CoPilot™ Platform, entitled “Test Drives Done Right! A New and Better Way to Perform, Manage, Document and Get Paid for Test Drives.” In addition to demonstrating how the platform operates, Terlep’s goal during the webinar was to introduce attendees “to the best way to perform, manage, document and get reimbursed for test drives.”
After sharing his experiences and successes in the collision repair industry, beginning in the 1980s, Terlep explained why the Test Drive CoPilot Platform presents a realistic return on investment. “Test drives are becoming more complicated due to advanced technology in vehicles, and many shops feel there’s no way to document and get paid for test drives,” he said. “Is a vehicle repair safely and properly if all systems are not tested and validated via test drive after the repair is completed?
“Test drives prior to the repair are important for establishing a base line, and post-repair, test drives help the shop ensure that all the customer’s concerns have been addressed and that the vehicle systems are performing as they have been designed to,” Terlep continued. “Dynamic calibrations require certain conditions to be met, such as vehicle speed, road conditions, and more, in order to determine whether the vehicle is performing as expected before it’s returned to the customer. Test drives are a key repair process.”
When shops perform test drives today, it’s one of the few times that the vehicle leaves the control of the business, making it important to be able to manage and document that process. “All aspects of the repair and calibration process should be document,” Terlep stressed. “You should be documenting your repairs like you’re going to court tomorrow.”
With 18 different manufacturers’ safety systems on the road today, test drive requirements continually increase in complexity, and “there was no easy, inexpensive way to manage and document test drives before now,” according to Terlep. “It’s almost impossible to expect a shop to understand all 18 systems and be an expert at repairing them. When doing a test drive, you have to understand how the safety system operates.”
Terlep provided examples of the test drive requirements and complexity for several different vehicles which ranged from 7 required system verifications and went as high as 11 requirements. Terlep predicted that those requirements are only going to increase. Terlep challenged, “You won’t find a single place where a shop can go to find out how all the systems operate and how they should be test driven, but that’s what we’ve done with the Test Drive CoPilot Platform.
The Test Drive CoPilot Platform operates through a mobile app, available on iOS and Android, as well as on a SAAS portal, which work together. Opening the mobile app, Terlep demonstrated how to create a new test drive, convert a pending test drive, and access “how to” safety system videos for 19 manufacturers. After pressing “start,” the system records video, maps the route, and stores other useful data about the test drive.
“Most repairers don’t really understand how all the safety systems are supposed to work, so our team researched them and added videos to our existing platform,” Terlep explained. “At the bottom of the recommendations section, the system will offer videos about that specific type of test drive for that manufacturer. The user receives a checklist on what to do during the test drive and now also has videos to inform their expectations. It’s a pretty cool feature, and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback on that.”
Once a user stops the test drive, Test Drive CoPilot generates a test drive report and a test drive statement, containing the repair order information, the tech’s name and the hours associated with the test drive. The Test Drive report starts with administrative information related to the vehicle and type of test drive, followed by who performed the drive and the statistics related to it. There’s a link on the file that allows video to be viewed, and the report continues with a test drive speed graph, a map of the test drive, and recommendations based on the make, model and type of test drive.
At the end of the test drive, the audio and video files are automatically uploaded to the business’ online portal where subscribers have two terabytes of storage, the equivalent of approximately 3000 test drives. Terlep demonstrates how to access and review completed test drives on the app, and he shared the Test Drive CoPilot performance dashboard which is constantly being developed based on customer feedback.
The platform also allows the end user to edit or change lists to create their own test drive recommendations, including specific instructions. “The system is built with multi-lingual capabilities and is enterprise ready,” Terlep said. “Our drive to success guarantees a return on your investment.”
The Test Drive CoPilot Platform prices at $99 USD per monthly, or $999 for the year. CoPilot Lite, a version without video or audio, is available for $79 monthly. After demonstrating the program’s possible ROI, Terlep insisted, “You should be test driving every vehicle you repair, and if you’re not, shame on you!
“According to Mike Anderson’s Who Pays for What survey, 26% of shops say they get paid for test drives, but insurers wants evidence that it was done – documentation – because they are worried about quality and liability. You should be too. If you don’t use something like this, you don’t have documentation for the test drive, and without the CoPilot, you lose control of the vehicle during the test drive without being able to verify where it went or what was done,” Terlep added.
Terlep ended with a question-and-answer session, and he reinforced, “Reimbursement documentation is only one part of why this is so useful. If you don’t want to document test drives just because you’re not getting reimbursed, that’s your choice; it’s your shop and your liability.”
For more information on the Test Drive CoPilot Platform, visit www.testdrivecopilot.com.