Given that 66% of car owners don’t know whether their auto body shop repair is accurate, getting a repair estimate is important. Even if you’ve known your auto repair shop for years, getting an accurate auto body repair estimate can help you budget. If you’re only thinking about parts and not about labour, you could suffer some sticker shock when you see the bill.
While lots of small repairs for cars can be done in your own garage, there is some work you need to call in a specialist for. The delicate hammering out of dents and the smooth repainting of scratches takes the work of an expert.
After an accident, body repairs done by an expert can leave your car looking brand new.
While you want your car back in tip-top shape, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg. Here are 8 tips to ensure you get an accurate auto body repair estimate.
1. Learn About The Shop
If you’re working with a new shop or you notice some new faces at your old shop, hop online either before or immediately following your estimate. While you should take any online reviews with a grain of salt, they can help you make decisions about working with a shop.
Look for specific criticism relevant to your own repair job. See if they got an auto body repair estimate and if it matched up with the final price. Read carefully to see how much people trust that shop.
Take notice of details regarding getting online or texted updates about your car. Look at whether or not they provide details online. If a shop is vague about details online, you can expect them to vague in person.
2. Find Out If Repairs Have A Warranty
If you drive off the lot and notice that a repair wasn’t completed as discussed, you should be able to bring your car back to the shop. If you paid for a certain repair and don’t see it made at all, your auto body shop should provide you with some kind of coverage or an agreement to fix your issue.
An auto body repair shop that offers a warranty is one that believes in their work. If they have confidence in the quality of what they do and value your business, they’ll offer a comprehensive warranty.
3. Find A Shop With Loaners
If your car is your main transportation to work or school, not having a car can be more than a minor inconvenience. It could completely disrupt your ability to make money or to succeed.
If you’re about to pay thousands for a repair, the best repair shops will help you figure out how to get a supplemental vehicle. Courtesy vehicles can get you to and from work or give you a ride to a rental facility.
If you’re signing up for a rental, make sure you read all of the details before you sign anything.
4. Get A Time Estimate
Any auto body repair estimate should include an idea of how long your repair should take. Your work and your personal life could depend on your access to your vehicle. It’s only fair that you know how long you’ll be without it.
Your estimate will depend on how severe your accident was and how good your auto repair specialists are. If they need to special order parts or get parts for a luxury car, it could take significantly longer than if they can call a junkyard.
A repair shop with a clean and tidy interior speaks of a certain amount of efficiency. If you see cars just sitting on lifts while repair mechanics smoke cigarettes outside, take this as an indication that you might be waiting longer than you’d like.
5. Check Their Paint Plan
If you need to get any parts of your car repainted, you could be talking about a much higher ticket price than you’d planned. If the paint job isn’t done right the first time, you could end up paying for the same job twice.
Make sure that your repair shop knows how to match the exact colour of paint for your car. Getting a “similar” colour just isn’t enough. The next time you’re parked in the sun you’ll notice the difference and so will other people.
6. Check For Certifications
A good estimate will depend on the quality of the shop and how certificate granting bodies regard them. If your mechanics and repair specialists are certified, you’ll be sure to get an accurate estimate and a quality repair. They know their reputation is on the line with every estimate.
7. Get Everything In Writing
If you’re happy with your estimate, get it sent to you officially. Get an itemized bill for the work done afterwards and make sure you compare. If the two don’t match, you should be able to ask about discrepancies.
The best auto repair shops will explain the differences without you having to ask. Many shops will even call you before moving forward with any unplanned work.
8. Ask About Payment
While most repair shops won’t give you back the keys to your car without a full payment, many shops will be patient with you. If you need to pay in instalments, let them know in advance. They may not be able to predict labour down to the minute, but many shops are willing to work with you.
If you don’t think they’re charging you fairly for labour, call around before you cry foul.
An Accurate Auto Body Repair Estimate Is A Right
You’re totally within your rights to ask for a repair estimate before any work on your car begins. While your insurance company might have paid to tow your car to the nearest body shop, it might be worth your while to have it towed to one that you trust more.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to find a shop that can give you an accurate estimate, contact us to find one that works with your budget.