Estimates and the quality of work done varies wildly from one body shop to another. You might get a $2,000 quote from one shop and an estimate of $500 only from another one. While cost certainly plays a significant part in auto body repair services you should avail of, there are other factors.
Taking a vehicle to an auto body shop is a considerable investment. However, if you’re able to pick the right one near you, you’ll not be only saving yourself thousands of dollars for your future repairs – you’ll also be sparing yourself from headaches.
Here are some practical and essential tips you can use when finding an auto repair shop that’s right for you:
1. Give Value to Recommendations and Reviews
Don’t rely on slogans and ads alone when determining a good shop. You also need to consider reviews from their customers and recommendations from your family and peers.
Did you know that there are still shops that never advertise but are well known to be the go-to place for auto body repair services in some neighborhoods? So ask around. Your neighbors or co-workers might be able to recommend a shop that they’ve trusted for years. You can also check shop reviews on the internet.
2. Pay Attention to the Shop’s Location and Operation
While prices of specific car parts don’t fluctuate between shops, expect to see spikes in labor hours. Unfortunately, labor hours are what most car owners end up paying too much if they didn’t do their due diligence before picking the right shop.
Location plays a big part in the cost of labor per hour. For example, a shop located in a wealthy neighborhood can charge up to $90 per hour. In contrast, those in a competitive area may charge you $60 only, all for the same auto body repair services.
Consider the receiving area of the actual shop. Those that have large receiving are with lots of front-office workers usually charge higher rates. These additional costs are for paying front-desk staff, foremen, and managers.
However, unless the repair technicians have good communication skills, it’s still best to deal with a front desk person instead. If they can help you feel more confident about the service you’re requiring, the extra cost could be worth it.
3. Get Multiple Quotes
The best way to avoid paying more than the basic auto body repair services is to ask for repair quotes from different shops. You can also use the cheapest estimate as a negotiation tool.
Let’s say you prefer a particular car body shop to handle your vehicle’s repair, but their price is a little too high. You can show them the lower price quotes from different shops and negotiate for a lower price.
On the other hand, be also wary of shops with very low prices. They might be charging very low for their labor but at the cost of skipping some essential work.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Key Questions
Aside from getting service quotes from your list of potential auto body shops, take it as an opportunity to ask key questions as well. Here are some of the questions you need to ask:
- What type of warranty does your shop offer? Does it differ depending on the type of work done?
- What are the restrictions to these warranties?
- Do you carry any theft and fire insurance?
- What materials are you going to use, new or aftermarket parts?
Getting a car fixed doesn’t always require new parts. Aftermarket parts can perform just as good as the manufacturers at a very low cost.
5. Listen to Your Gut Feeling
Your intuition plays a significant part in choosing an auto body shop. If you feel uncomfortable about the shop, it’s time to look around some more as soon as you enter. Even if the shop looks well-organized, but the manager and staff seemed grumpy and unreliable, you can always find another one.
Choose an Auto Body Repair Shop that Works For You
Picking an auto body repair shop is not rocket science. Just apply these tips when choosing from a list of local auto body shop. Chicago and other states have several reputable shops that can provide quality service to your car at a reasonable price.