For many people, going to an auto body shop is a mysterious experience. The good ones take your car away and return a gleaming one to you, while the bad ones, simply do a shoddy job and then charge you anyways. If you’re tired of not knowing where your hard-earned money is actually going, you can learn a little more with these suggestions.
The basic and essential step, is based on finding a good shop and then building a relationship of trust with the owner and manager of that shop. Make sure that you’re going to an actual shop that has a history of business and satisfied customers. The good news is that most body shops stay in the family, and have years of experience behind them.
It may seem like collision repair is a high-profit job, but today, the well-managed shops are not making the same returns. However, these body shops generally rely on word-of-mouth to get customers, so if you’ve heard of one from a friend or family member whose had a good experience, then you may want to give them a try.
Once you approach a shop, ask them to give you an estimate of the repairs. Price quotes from shops tend to vary wildly because all shops may use a different one of several systems available to estimate repair jobs. The quote you receive may not mean that anything dishonest is happening, it is simply a different system is being used.
However, remember that all quotes should be in the same ballpark range. Cars today are being made with lighter and higher-strength materials like boron steel, especially in the car’s frame and suspension systems. These parts are very expensive and body shops are required to restore each car to the original standards of the manufacturers.
Be aware though that some shops will instead fix the car in a way that is convenient for them, but not up to the standards in place. These may result in your car being fixed incompletely or unsafely. This may be why you receive such huge ranges in price quotes.
If you’re trying to get good-quality work, find a body shop that’s willing to explain their process to you. The staff should be knowledgeable and explain the estimate in detail to ensure you have a good idea of what is happening. You should be wary of a price quote that is too low. Also, be aware that some shops will write an extremely low estimate just to get your business.
After the car has been dismantled, the shop owner may contact you to explain about additional charges that are due to new damage that’s just been discovered. This is a concrete sign that a shop is dishonest. You can avoid this common ploy, by choosing to go to a well-reviewed body shop in the first place. Make sure that the initial estimate covers the majority of the work done and walk away from any shop that has not been established or has poor reviews. If you don’t, chances are, you’ll be unhappy with your service and end result.