It’s nerve-wracking enough having an auto accident, dealing with your car insurer and worrying about what to do. The last thing you’ll appreciate is getting the runaround from the auto body shop that will be fixing your vehicle. As with any business, auto body shops offer varying levels of quality, so spare yourself the hassle by doing your homework before picking one.
Car accident repairs are likely to cost big money, and it’s wise to go with an auto body shop that is highly recommended. If your insurance covers most of the repair costs, you may tend to choose the authorized repair facility nearest you, but not so fast.
Although an insurance company will take out a facility if it receives complaints, its list is not tantamount to a recommendation. Instead, obtain the details for different shops from your insurer and then ask people around you for opinions on any of those shops that they’ve used before. Spend a few minutes doing an Internet search on every shop, focusing on customer reviews.
Upon arriving at the shop to get your estimate, take a look around the place and try to learn more about the business. Their license should be hung on the wall, but if you don’t see it, just as them. Inquire as well how long they have been in operation and whether they have always been located in that specific area. The answer you get will tell you much about the shop’s stability.
You’d like to know how long the manager has been working with the company and if he also has auto body repair skills. A background in repair may not be necessary to run a great business, but this knowledge will certainly help ensure good work.
Another thing you should consider is the size of the staff working in the office. More people means a greater overhead. Overhead costs also differ significantly even if the shops are in the same city or town. Sometimes, a shop with a bigger overhead will take shortcuts for the purpose of increasing their profit margin. Or they may charge for a lot of services without actually completing them. Of course, this is true for all shops, which is why you absolutely need to do your homework so you will know which ones are worth considering.
Lastly, as you receive your estimate, ask about the shop’s warranty. This must be given to you in written form and effective for a year, both for parts and workmanship. If possible, you should get two years for the body work and three years for the paint. Beware of those that offer a lifetime warranty though as this is unrealistic and often very restrictive.