The only thing more stressful than dealing with car damage is not knowing where to go for reliable help. When you’re searching for an auto body shop nearby for collision repair, glass replacement or car painting, you need to find a business that you can trust to get your car up and running in short amount of time and charge an honest price for the work.
Here is a list of the top six questions that you should ask to determine if an auto body shop is reliable:
1. What credentials does the business have?
The first thing to know before selecting a body shop is how long it has been in business. Repairing a vehicle correctly and quickly takes knowledge and experience.
You should also ask if they have experience with that particular type of repair and your kind of car. Not all technicians are familiar with foreign vehicles or classic models and this could make it more difficult to fix.
An important sign of a reputable body shop are certifications from car manufacturers and industry associations. Good national certifications to look for are the AAA, the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS) and the Independent Auto Body Association (IABA). These certify that technicians have been trained and have the skills to make the proper repairs safely.
2. Can you give me an estimate?
As the car owner, it’s up to you where to bring your car for repairs, even if your insurance company has agreements with other body shops. Don’t feel pressured into choosing from the shops on your insurance carrier’s list.
To find a reliable auto body shop, it’s best to shop around. Get three or four estimates from different businesses near you. Most repair companies provide free quotes and some can calculate an estimate on their website. The lowest estimate is not necessarily the best, however; be sure to take into account the quality of the parts and the expected long-term durability of the repairs quoted as well.
A trustworthy technician won’t have any problem carefully explaining your repair options and putting a repair estimate in writing. Asking several body shops for quote helps you avoid being overcharged. When the work has been completed, request an itemized bill; compare it to the quote and don’t hesitate to ask about discrepancies.
3. What kinds of parts and materials will be used to make the repair?
This is often where you will see the most variation between estimates. It’s important to ask if the repair shop will use aftermarket, used or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. For the integrity of your car, no matter what make or model, it’s best to use new parts, but some body shops try to save money by installing salvaged parts.
If sections of the vehicle will need to be painted, you should ask if the paint used will match the current color. A paint code attached to the car indicating the exact type of paint used by the manufacturer. Ask if the repair shop will match this color and how many coats of paint and clear coat will be applied.
4. Is there a warranty for repairs and replacements?
A body shop which stands behind its work should offer a written warranty. Ask how long it lasts and what it covers. The minimum should cover the repair work, parts and paint job for one year.
Badell’s Collision goes way beyond the industry minimum; we offer a lifetime warranty on all auto body repair.
5. Does this auto body shop have insurance?
You never know when bad luck will strike twice. Make sure that the auto body shop you choose for repairs carries insurance for fire and theft. If your car will be held there for a few days while being repaired, you want to make sure it’s insured from further damage.
6. What are others saying about this business?
Ask around. What do friends, family and acquaintances have to say about their experience with that auto body shop? Do they recommend it? Would they go back? Satisfied customers are the best resource a body shop can have for attracting more business.
You can also get a feeling for the quality of service that a shop near you provides by checking out their ratings, reviews and customer comments online. Read if others have had positive experiences with customer service, felt they received quality repair work in a timely manner, if estimates were accurate and the prices were fair.
Don’t Settle for Less Than the Best
To be sure you get all the services that you’re looking for, here are a few more questions you might consider asking a body shop:
- Can you work with my insurance provider?
- How long should it take to repair?
- Can you provide a rental car while mine is in the shop?
Getting repair work on your car can be a stressful time, but finding a body shop that you trust can help put your worries to rest. Look for a local, family-owned auto body shop where service is bound to be friendly and high quality. Ask the right questions up front and not only will you avoid hidden costs, you will begin to build a relationship with a company that you can rely on today and in the future.
Badell’s Collision is the body shop trusted by thousands of car owners in the Aston and Malvern, Pennsylvania area. We welcome any questions you may have about how we do business, the services we offer and estimates. Visit one of our shops or try the easy-to-use online estimate form.