Let’s face it, accidents happen. And whether or not your most recent accident was caused by another vehicle or just something as simple as hitting a pole when backing up, you’re likely faced with having to find a reputable body shop to repair the damage. However, with so many different body shops in the area, how do you pick the right one? Here are five tips to help you out.
The location of the body shop matters
Have you ever been to an auto shop with nice flooring, comfortable seating, and a welcoming front office staff akin to something you might find at a really nice dental office? It might feel a more comfortable and secure place to take your car, but keep in mind that the fanciness can equate to higher labor rates.
According to Edmunds, body shops in the ritzy part of town can charge around $60 to $65 in labor rates while shops in other parts of the city may charge less. Not only are these larger shops charging more to pay for their upgraded office workers and nicer setting, but they may also charge you more for “gray area” labor items such as the time spent for removing a door or another body panel to fix the main issue. So be sure to factor in the shop’s location and labor rates when picking a body shop.
Get multiple quotes
Don’t just settle on one quote from a single body shop that’s closest to you. While that shop might indeed have a great quote for your repair, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes, at least five, in order to ensure that you’re getting the best rate possible for your car. But don’t take the lowest quote for your car as that can sometimes mean that that particular body shop could be cutting corners in some way. So, get multiple quotes and look up reviews on each shop to help you decide.
While you are shopping around and getting quotes, make sure to ask the right questions so that you know what you’re getting into. For example, you can ask if the shop provides a written warranty and if so, how long is the warranty for? Edmunds says that most shops will provide a one-year warranty on their work or sometimes even two or three years.
You can also ask about what type of materials they plan to use on your car, such as the brand of paint and body panels. Most shops will use aftermarket body parts, as they are cheaper, but you can always ask them to use OEM parts if you wish.
Word of mouth can go a long way
When you’re searching for a body shop, ask around your family and friends, and see if they have any recommendations on who to go with. The best body shop for you could be a local shop that doesn’t advertise online or even have a Yelp page. So ask around, it could not only save you time and money, but it could lead you to a shop you never even knew existed.
Trust your gut
If you do end up narrowing down your choices for a body shop, trust your gut instincts or your intuition when it comes to selecting the right one. Pay attention as to whether or not the shop is busy as people could be avoiding it due to shoddy repair work.
Also, bear in mind whether the shop owner is open to answering your questions or if they’re grouchy and would rather not be bothered. These characteristics could mean the difference between getting your car worked on by a good shop or a bad one.