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Finding An Excellent Body Shop

Published January 25, 2018

There are several reasons you might need to visit a body shop, and theyíre not necessarily related to having an accident. Your pride and joy might be a little tired with a peeling clear-coat or a lackluster shine and you want to go all in and respray. Or, you might have a bodykit for a sports car and of course a perfect paint match is an absolute necessity. Then again, it could be that a couple of door dings might need rectifying. So, having decided you need to see a body shop, how do you find a good one?
A customer is going to be driven by a few major factors, and that might mean needing to compromise on one or a few of them; quality, price, and time. You probably wonít get an excellent repair done if you pay peanuts, and you probably wonít get your car back in a timely manner if the shop said theyíll squeeze you in around other work going on. That said, if you go into this search with no clue as to what you want or need, you might pay over the odds as well. Going in with eyes wide open and realistic expectations is going to save some embarrassment, possible financial pain, and stress.

Firstly, if your insurance is involved, you can start your search with their recommendations. While you donít necessarily have to go with these choices, you can be fairly certain they will conduct any repairs with great care and professionalism; itís in their interests to not lose big clients like insurance companies. However, it might not be practical to go across town and leave your car for a week, so you decide to look elsewhere.

Making sure they are a registered business is essential, so you have some recourse if the job is not done to a high enough standard. Does the body shop have any accreditations? It goes without saying they should be properly insured for fire and theft protection, but if they cannot prove they are, walk away. If youíre a customer with a classic vehicle, you might already have a list of recommendations, from enthusiasts or car club members alike, of repairers who are experienced with the same models of car you drive. At the very least youíll likely learn which shops are to be avoided. This word-of-mouth advertising is a great resource regardless of the vehicle needing work, and with the internet and the instant ability to review (positively and negatively) a business and their work, it should be easy to rule out the bad eggs. Check online; read reviews, ask for opinions; get out and look at the shop in question if you can and see how they conduct themselves.

Ask questions. Ask lots of questions. How do they match the paint? Will they use filler? Ask how they will blend the respray with the original paint. Ask how long they will need to complete the work. Can they guarantee any repair? Knowledge is power, and unless youíre a paint and panel expert you probably have a lot of things to ask.

However, for many people the figure on the bottom line is the most important factor in any decision, which is how a lot of businesses stay competitive and open, even when the quality is not the same standard. If you want a professional job done, ask for a written, fully itemized quote, outlining the parts needed (any work being conducted should include the use of genuine OEM parts, but some shops may offer the use of aftermarket parts to save the customer money as well), and the hours of labor estimated to complete the work. If they cannot give you that level of detail, they arenít trying hard enough to earn your business and your money.

There is no limit to the number of quotes you get for any work you need done, so donít simply go with the first shop you visit. Even a second opinion might help strengthen the good feeling you got for the first one, or justify the thought of going elsewhere. A high-quality job is probably not going to come at the bottom of the price range, so if you are paying for the work yourself, make sure you are happy with either the price, or the potential compromise that may come with using non-genuine parts or a job that isnít 100% perfect. And if your insurer is paying for the repairs, have them approve any quote before committing to the work.

Does the body shop offer a warranty on their repairs? Is there a drop-off and pick-up service, or even a courtesy car while the repairs are being carried out? These are other things to consider in any choice you make. However, one of the best things you can do is go with your gut; call a shovel a shovel, and if the guy youíre dealing with is trying to sell you something that isnít a device for digging a hole in the ground, walk away.
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