Even a minor collision can seriously compromise your vehicle’s aesthetic value, safety characteristics and overall utility. The extent of the damage is nearly imperceptible to the naked eye, which can leave you guessing about your vehicle’s actual condition after an accident occurs. Thankfully, you can enlist the help of a qualified auto body professional to assess the damage severity and perform the repairs required to return your vehicle to optimal condition. Before you can have the work performed, however, you must carefully select a quality auto body shop in your area. The time you spend evaluating and selecting an auto body shop will facilitate the development of lifelong relationships with these valuable professionals. Here’s how to best approach the auto body shop selection process.
Ask Trusted Advisors for References
Start your search off on the right foot by embracing the power of word of mouth advertising. No matter the quality of service received, handling vehicle repairs is a very stressful experience that many people would just rather forget once it is finally over. Therefore, when you hear someone singing the praises of their auto body shop, you know they had a truly remarkable experience there. You can find word of mouth advertisements on your favorite social media platforms, forums or community networking sites. You may also go the traditional route by directly asking friends, family and neighbors for a referral to their preferred body shop.
Read Shop Reviews
Once you have at least three auto body shops in mind, go online to read the reviews for those locations. The reviews will tell you about each shop’s quality of service, turnaround time and dedication to customer care. Compare and contrast the reviews to develop a clear understanding of the way each shop operates. Consider making a pros and cons list for each shop to determine which one will best meet your needs. Although online reviews offer a multitude of outlooks about the shops in question, each client experience is unique, so it is important to avoid making a decision using this information alone.
Visit the Auto Body Shops
With your reviews in hand, go ahead and visit the top three auto body shops on your list to talk to your service professionals. You can call ahead to make sure your technician has enough time to discuss your vehicle repair needs in detail.
Upon arriving at the shop, look at the parking lot and shop area to assess its cleanliness and overall arrangement. A clean and tidy shop environment reflects the technicians’ pride in their work. If at all possible, take a peek at the vehicles ready for pickup to verify that they are thoroughly cleaned, inside and out.
When your technician comes out to speak to you, explain your situation and ask how the collision repairs will be approached. During this question and answer session, be sure to also inquire about:
- Body repair certifications for all techs onsite
- Shop warranty specifications
- Loaner vehicle availability
- Part acquisition practices
- Paint matching techniques
- Insurance claims and payment options
If you are comparing several shops, jot down the answers you receive for each of these questions for later review.
Source Multiple Repair Quotes
After talking with your technician, ask about bringing your vehicle down for a repair quote. You should receive at least three repair estimates, so you can look at the proposed repair services and prices side by side. Do not choose your auto body shop by price alone, however, as that figure does little to ensure you will receive the absolute best service and support. Depending on the technician’s availability, you may need to leave your vehicle at each shop for at least an hour for the generation of an accurate quote.
Compare the Estimates
When comparing the estimates, you should review the proposed repair services while paying close attention to the parts and labor categories. The shops will use established standards, part availability and cost considerations to determine the best parts to repair and identify those in need of direct replacement.
The parts category on the estimate will indicate the replacement parts and materials required for the job. The labor category will show the hours required for the reconstruction efforts and part replacement services. Disposal fees and other miscellaneous charges will usually be listed last.
Although the estimates will vary a bit due to the shop policies and the technician’s approach to collision repairs, you should not notice any major discrepancies, such as extra parts or labor hours. If so, you can contact the shop in question to inquire about the overages or simply toss out that estimate to narrow down your choices.
Selecting the Best Option for Your Needs
You must utilize the information you receive to choose the best auto body shop for your vehicle. Once you have made a decision, contact the selected body shop to schedule your repair services. At that point, you just need to drop off the vehicle at the given date and time to have your vehicle’s collision damage rectified. If you are ready to acquire collision repair estimates from qualified auto body technicians, fill out the online form to receive a quote from Badell’s Collision in Aston and Malvern, Pennsylvania.