It’s important to do your homework before you choose an auto body repair shop. The stress of an accident may make you feel like you just want to get it over with, but it’s best to look at all your options and make an informed decision. Doing the proper research before you choose a shop to repair your vehicle can save you from possible hassles down the line.
The 10-Point Checklist for Choosing an Auto Body Repair Shop
1. Get Additional Information About the Shop
Look around online for customer reviews. Jeff Rieger of The Simple Dollar blog recommends paying the most attention to thought-out, well-written reviews versus “nasty one-liners.” Every business can get an unhappy customer, but the thoughtful reviews will give you a better idea why without emotional subjectivity clouding the information provided.
2. What is the Warranty on the Repair?
Rieger also makes sure to mention that all good repair shops will offer a lifetime warranty on their repairs. Ask about the warranty and make sure that there is one to begin with.
3. Do They Offer a Loaner Vehicle?
Some auto body shops will provide you with a loaner or courtesy vehicle while yours is in the shop. Other shops might have a recommended car rental place nearby, or even in their shop. Make sure to ask, because being without a car is a significant inconvenience.
4. How Long Will the Repair Take?
Many factors will affect how long your car repair will take. For instance, the shop might be particularly busy at the time you need repairs, or the extent of the damage might require a lot of work. Find out how long each shop you’re checking out will take to do the job, and factor this time into your decision depending on your needs.
5. Is Your Car Covered from Fire or Theft While in Their Care?
This is a good thing to check if something happens to your vehicle in the shop.
6. Will the Paint Match the Rest of Your Car?
This should be a no-brainer for any good repair shop, but if you ask and they say they will use a similar color, go elsewhere. According to Tom Moor of Angie’s List, cars have a paint code that will tell the shop the exact manufacturer paint color for a perfect match.
7. How Soon After You Will You Be Able to Wash Your Car?
This will help you retain the integrity of your fresh paint job. Some paint jobs will not withstand abrasive cleaners or brushes when the vehicle is fresh from the shop.
8. Do They Have Any Certifications?
Certifications from organizations like I-CAR are an excellent way to tell if an auto body repair shop is reputable, knowledgeable, and safe.
9. Will They Be Putting Anything in Writing?
If you’re getting any special deals or services, ask for it to be put in writing so you’ll have proof that the deal was promised, according to The Simple Dollar blog. Also, ask to get your estimate in writing as well as an itemized receipt, after all is said and done – this lets you check for discrepancies and make sure you got the services you were promised.
10. What is Their Payment Policy?
This lets you understand how the shop is charging you – labor, materials, guarantees, etc. It also allows you to know what the shop considers acceptable forms of payment.
If You Didn’t Do Your Research…
Let’s say you already had work done at an auto body repair shop, but you didn’t do your research and made a poor choice. Maybe the shop made mistakes, and your car doesn’t look brand-new, or the paint color wasn’t matched perfectly. In cases like these, if you need help fixing these mistakes, New Look Collision can come to your rescue.