Finally we are on the third and last installment of this three-part series to help you find good body shops and the one right for you.
So how do you pick- the best collision shop?
Here are a few tips to help you pick the right one from your list.
To recap, on part 1 of the series we spoke about body shop bad business practices. In part 2 we looked at 6 ways to help you spot good body shops. In this last part we share 6 tips to help you decide on the best shop for you.
As the owner of your car, you have the right to select the collision shop of your choosing. Insurance companies and collision repair facilities often forget that you are responsible for selecting the repair shop, even with repairs involving insurance claims. Of course as I have mentioned on my previous blogs you don’t want the lowest estimate to be your sole deciding factor.
“As in any type of skilled work, the least expensive estimate is not always the BEST estimate.”
Many body shops that have state of the art equipment and trained technicians compete with unlicensed and unprofessional shops. When you take your car to a body shop your main concern should be the shop’s ability to make a safe and quality repair.
*Note. If you have an insurance claim your insurance company will most likely recommended a repair shops but you are not obligated to take your car with them. Insurance companies have a special rate agreement with these shops called a “Direct Repair Program”. By law you are not obligated to use these DRP shops (some might even call it conflict of interest), you have the right to look around to find the best shop for your vehicle, and not for the insurance company.
6 Tips To Help You Decide on the Best Auto Body Shop for You
Tip #1 | CONTACT THE SHOPS
With your list of a few shops, you can now shop around. Contact your top three or more shops and make sure they offer the services you want. Many shops specialize in certain vehicles, makes or models. Check that the shop has experience in servicing your type of car or specialize in the repair that you need.
Music to Your Ears?
When you call the shop get a feel for their customer service. Is the person on the other line friendly and ready to help you or rude and quick to hang up. Do they listen to your questions, concerns, needs, and expectations? This tells you a lot about the shop’s attitude towards work and clients.
Tip #2 | VISIT THE SHOPS
When you bring in your car to be repaired, you shouldn’t feel afraid to ask questions. Do you have their full attention? Do they make you feel comfortable? Is the technician or owner willing to explain thoroughly how they will fix your car and solve any concerns you have? Do they pay close attention to detail? Though you’ve already done your research by this point, double-check on anything you are unsure about. You should feel confident that you’ll come back to a pristine vehicle after you hand over the keys.
Love at First Sight?
When you arrive at the shop, first impressions are everything. Of course, don’t expect to find a shop clean as a whistle, it’s an auto body shop for goodness sakes, not a doctor’s office. A professional auto shop should look clean, organized, and busy. Look for the facility’s skills aka certificates, licenses, and permits on the wall. Some shops display plaques, awards, and pictures of satisfied customers (if not already on their website).
Tip #3 | GET ESTIMATES
Get at least three estimates for the repair you need. We recommend that a collision center see the vehicle damage in person for a more accurate estimate. Be wary of shops that say they can give you an estimate over the phone, or via photos alone. You can find a lot of ballpark prices and information online through Google orEdmunds, and then ask the body shops from your list for their estimates.
Remember you can’t base your final choice on price alone, you need to consider that a shop with a higher estimate may be using higher quality parts, a better method, or more experienced technicians. Low estimates can also be misleading sometimes being inaccurate to simply get your car in their shop.
Tip #4 | ASK ABOUT PARTS
Ask about what parts will be replaced on your car. Factory parts are the safest and highest quality but can be expensive. Aftermarket parts are cheaper, but may not fit your car perfectly. Make sure you know what to expect when you get your car back from the shop.
Tip #5 | ASK ABOUT WARRANTIES
Ask about warranties that the shop offers. Most body shops will offer one to three-year warranties, and some will have lifetime coverage. Lifetime warranties can sound nice but can be too specific to be useful. Read through the specifics so you can feel comfortable in case you have to claim a refund.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Any shop without a warranty should raise red flags. Get all warranties in writing. Either get a signed copy or have the shop email any agreements and contracts in case you need to file a complaint. Make sure you understand everything in the estimate in case something goes wrong.
Tip #6 | USE COMMON SENSE
Don’t ignore your initial feelings while walking into a body shop and speaking to the staff. If you don’t feel comfortable handing over your keys, then find somewhere else. If the office is disorganized and the owner or employees are rude, there may be more issues beyond what you can see.
Trust Your Gut
Finding an auto body shop can be difficult and stressful, but with research, some shop visits, and your common sense you can find somewhere trustworthy to have your car serviced at a great price.
That’s it! We hope these tips help you get your money’s worth. In the auto body shop business consider West Coast Body and Paint your insider helping you navigate this industry.
Many people come to our body shop with no idea on how to deal with their insurance company but at West Coast we enjoy helping people. Once at our shop we explain in detail what is wrong, how all the repairs will be done, as well as options and prices. We keep our clients informed every step of the way by email, text or a short phone call. That way our clients leave knowing they can trust that everything will be repaird properly.
Should I add something else? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. If there is something you want me to write about let me know, I will do my best to write about it. If you ever need any auto body or paint work and you live in the Van Nuys or Los Angeles area call or text me 818.793.7728.
-Jaider, West Coast Body and Paint owner.
“I was referred by a co worker who is obsessed with his cars as much as I am. Jadar is the owner here and he is a fantastic person, genuine and honest. The process was so easy I was almost skeptical LOL. These guys know exactly what they are doing! True professionals.
Something else I noticed that is rare – his employees all have smiles on their faces and good attitudes. That says a lot. I can’t imagine going anywhere else for paint or auto body work after this.”
-Lucky S, West Hollywood, 2019
As of Monday, November 15th, 2021 we are NOT accepting any new work or estimate appointment requests, because…
WE ARE MOVING! Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. If you would like to know our new location, please fill out the form below and we will notify you once we settle in and are ready to accept work.
Ourestimates are always free and you are welcome to come by our shop anytime or make an appointment. We know that many clients like the convenience of sending pictures of their car and request an estimate; but, in reality an estimate by this means is not really reliable. Why? Because the estimate will either be too high or too low. In order to assess the damage and give an estimate, a car needs to be seen by a professional and in person. This insures that the estimate is as accurate as possible, not too high or too low. For more information click here.
If you are not able to come by our shop during normal working hours, you can give us a call or send us an email, and make an appointment when you can come, in most cases we are able to accommodate our clients.
***FILL OUT TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT FOR A FREE ESTIMATE***