Truth about Auto Body Shop
Customers always find auto body shops to be an inconsistent thing because the good ones will bring back your beloved car to all new look while the bad ones will cover up the problems and pass you a big fat bill.
We consulted few experts in the auto body industry as well as one who runs a collision repair shop and another who has good connections in the industry. However we will like to keep the sources anonymous they were able to give us hints on how to reduce costs and avoid getting ripped off and how to ensure your car gets the best treatment.
Understand that Body Shops vary immensely in quality
One of our sources says that no matter where you live at least 4 out of 10 Body Shops do not deliver good quality work; they would do a very demeaning job and charge high prices for it.
When it comes to repairing the car choosing the rite shop and having a good relationship with shop owner is a critical point. The body shops will vary from fly-by-night Body workshops to guy who works mobile fixing dents in cars. However customers are better off to hang with solid shops that have been delivering customer satisfaction for more than few weeks
According to our sources most of the body shops are family businesses owned and managed by family members.
Since there is high competition in this market the shops have to rely on getting recommended by their past customers, the word of mouth recommendation always attracts more customers than the traditional advertising.
After choosing the correct body shop getting the job done in the correct price range depends on getting an accurate estimate.
Comprehend the Estimate
The estimates you get from different body shops will wary significantly. However this should not happen, because according to our experts all the shops carry out a standard set of estimates in order to come up with the estimates for the job. This means that the same job cannot vary highly in the estimate from couple of body shops.
Since the auto makers are constantly changing the design of the cars it is hard for the Body Shop owners to come up with an accurate cost estimate while keeping a steady profit margin as well. Since the new models include Aluminum and ultra-hard boron steel these material come at high prices.
The customers will expect the body shop to repair the car to the original equipment manufacturers standards. However most of the times the body shops don’t even contact the original manufacturers they continue the work with time-tested ways. This method is neither safe nor complete for the car.
Due to this reason always going for the lowest estimate does not become accurate. Yet the difference might be due to the difference in the profit margins of the shops, making the process of decision making even harder for the customers.
Get detailed estimates
There are some decisions that the body shops make which might make a huge difference in the price. For an example suppose a car has a dent in the quarter panel, to fix this one shop will decide to simply repair and repaint giving a small estimate, and another shop might decide to remove the taillight and bumper and fully repair the dent there by giving a bigger estimate.
If the customer didn’t get the detailed estimate and understand these decisions then the estimates are meaningless. There are some shops that do not explain the process to the customers, it is better to go with a shop whose staff is willing to explain the estimate and what it comprises of.
There is another scam by some shops, they originally give a small estimate in order to get the job, after they dismantle your car they would call you in and add additional details requesting more money claiming they came across more problems in the car while they were dismantling it.
Do not accept the “save the deductible from your insurance” offer
Do not accept this offer because the Shop is simply trying to get you to scam the insurance company. The reason to give this offer is because the shop is not about to do the job to the expected quality or charge higher price than necessary. All the Shops are businesses trying to make a profit therefore if they are offering a chance to save the deductible from your insurance then you should always be cautious
Get further details about parts
Some Shops try to enhance their profits by using used parts and charging the customer for new parts, also sometimes they just repair the parts in the car and give a bill containing charges for new parts for the job.
It is not easy to protect your selves if you do not pay close attention to details. A good way to get around this to ask for the original documents of purchase of new parts. In almost all the states the companies are required to provide the purchase invoices and estimates by law.
Don’t get manipulate to use the “preferred” Body shops always
Since most of the repair jobs are paid for by insurance claims they try to steer their customers on to their preferred body shops promising they provide good quality work. However according to our experts this maybe in order to get higher estimates for simple jobs.
In most of the states the customers are allowed to choose the body shop they are willing to get the job done according to the law. The insurance companies will go as far as to say they will not cover the expenses if you do not choose one of their “preferred” body shops.
However in many cases when the customer had to pay with his own money due to the insurance company not paying after the customer did not choose one of their “preferred” shops we have seen that the insurance companies have been forced to pay by the department of insurance after a filing a complaint.
Do not reply on any one but your self
The experts we talked to from the body shops and insurance companies alike said that the customers should not reply on the body shops or the insurance company. You should act on your own interest in choosing the best body shop and being alert for overcharging or any under quality work.