The car repair industry is massive and there are a lot of companies competing for car owners’ attention. With so many options, offers and advertised specials, it’s hard to know who to trust.
In recent years, many smaller body shops in Pennsylvania have been bought up or put out of business by large chains. While this may seem like a positive trend because initial estimates for auto repair services tend to be lower, it may actually be bad news for car owners.
Small, family-operated auto body shops offer better service, install top-quality parts, set their own high standards and honest prices without being influenced by insurance companies, maintain low overhead costs and provide friendly customer service.
Great Service is Guaranteed
As with all types of big businesses in competitive industries, auto body shops that are part of a chain must meet quotas. They are expected to service a high number of vehicles in a short amount of time. Service quotas are set by managers who have likely never visited that town or talked to local customers.
As quantity becomes a priority for these companies looking to make a set turnover, quality suffers. Technicians’ work is rushed, and cheaper materials are ordered. Ultimately big businesses care about profits and the bottom line, not their reputation in the community.
For small, family-run body shops, however, providing high-quality service is necessary because they rely on longstanding customer relationships, a strong reputation in the community and word of mouth to bring in a steady flow of business. Quality is absolutely more important than quantity.
Quality is a Top Priority
Smaller businesses are more likely to use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for repairs and replacements, instead of cheaper, mass-produced aftermarket parts that are likely not a perfect fit for your car’s make and model.
A car performs best when it has the parts that were designed specifically for it. Even if they are the best option for repairs and replacements, however, auto body chains typically avoid using OEM parts to save time and money on the ordering and shipping processes. In addition to decreasing performance, installing cheap spare parts can lower a vehicle’s value, result in a loss of warranty by the manufacturer and create new or additional problems for the car.
Local body shops are less concerned with profit margins, quotas and the bottom line. Quality is the most important criteria to gaining positive relationships, reputation and recommendations. At Badell’s Collision, we invest the time necessary to do the job well and install only the parts that we know are reliable and durable.
Less Pressure from Insurance Companies
In general, auto body chains are heavily influenced by insurance providers because they rely so much on the referrals and work gained from their relationship.
Because insurance companies have close relationships with multiple large auto body chains, they are able to negotiate lower rates for their benefit, not necessarily for car owners. Forcing standardized prices for services can cause affiliated auto body shops to look for shortcuts and often result in low-quality, and sometimes dangerous, repairs.
A locally owned body shop isn’t swayed by insurance companies. It has much more freedom and motivation to do whatever is necessary to make customers happy. Read more about car insurance and body repair coverage.
Remember, you don’t have to bring your car to the body shop closely affiliated or recommended by your insurance company. Even if your insurance agency says that your preferred body shop isn’t on their list or that it won’t warranty repairs made there, don’t worry. Dependable auto body repair shops, like Badell’s Collision, provide a lifetime warranty for all their work – including repairs and replacements.
Low Overhead Costs
Big companies have big overhead. They have to pay all of their employees, including managers, directors, CEOs, sales teams, HR, advertising and marketing staff, and so on. Plus, they have to maintain office buildings where their extensive staff work. In order to sustain this high overhead structure, estimates for customers can be padded with unnecessary services or labor charged at a higher rate. Your small repair bill can add up quickly.
Anyone who has worked with a family-run company knows that each employee wears many hats, but staff also quickly gain a deep understanding of their work. Not only can this lower overhead costs for the business, but it increases efficiency.
Customers never want to hear, “I have to ask my manager,” or “That’s against our policy.” When you’re grappling with the inconvenience and unexpected expense of car damage, you don’t need the added frustration of dealing with impersonal customer service.
Small, family-owned body shops are able to ensure customer satisfaction by eliminating strict managerial structures and inflexible company-wide policies. They make customized estimates and invoices for each customer and each repair, leaving out the added price of extra services that are often associated with a particular type of repair but deemed unnecessary in your particular case.
Here are some suggestions of questions to ask when looking for a reliable body shop.
Rather than dealing with standardized service and robotic answers, come into a shop like Badell’s Collision – at our locations in both Aston and Malvern – where you can talk to real people who will work to find actual solutions when you have a car problem. We take pride in our work, doing business with a smile and a handshake for more than 25 years.