How do I Choose a Reputable Auto Body Shop?

Choosing an honest and reputable auto body repair shop is important. Over the years some collision repair facilities have given the industry a bad name. Professional auto body repair shops are customer service oriented and working to change that perception.

Q. How Can I Tell if an Auto Body Shop is Honest?

A. The first step in collision repair is often the estimate. Is the staff friendly? A personable and attentive staff is often an indicator of good customer service. Is the waiting room clean? Did the estimator take the time to view the damage with you and print out a detailed estimate using professional collision repair software?

An estimate detailing parts and labor will allow you to make an apples to apples comparison with other auto body shop estimates. Look to see if one facility is repairing while another may write to replace parts. Are the parts OEM or aftermarket? Also, when comparing, look to see if any procedures are listed on one estimate but not the other. I encourage consumers to examine more than the price. Making an effort to compare labor and parts will help you choose wisely.

Q. What Criteria Should I use When Choosing a Collision Repair Facility?

A. Besides a clean waiting room, and a computer generated estimate, look around to see what age and brand of vehicles the facility is repairing. Newer vehicles or premium brands mean the facility has the latest equipment and level of technicians that will produce proper and safe collision repairs. Also look to see if the auto body shop is certified by I-Car (this is the highest certification in the industry.) It is impossible to earn any additional certifications without the I-Car Gold Class distinction. In addition to what you see and experience, check reviews on multiple sites. If a collision repair facility is only on one or two sites you might question the authenticity of those reviews.

Q. Where is there a Cheap Auto Body Shop?

A. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you are looking for honest, you are probably expecting a job done right for the money spent. Collision repair cost is based on materials and labor. Quality materials are expensive and the repair is often very time consuming (if you are using proper repair methods).

Here is an example, you have a dent on your door and you are looking for a cheap repair. One shop will remove the door from the vehicle and complete the repair (using proper industry procedure) then send to the paint department to paint the entire door (they may even choose to blend the fender or quarter panel to ensure the color match.

Compare this with a shop that will pop out the dent and spot paint. You can expect the repair to look bad or peel with in the year. I know this is true because we fix bad repairs that were cheap and repaired incorrectly. Airpark Collision Center is not cheap or expensive. Since 2006 we offer fair prices for quality work with a lifetime labor warranty for as long as you own the vehicle.

Q. Can I Keep the Old Parts if they are Getting Replaced?

A. Simply ask when you drop off your vehicle if the technician can save the old parts. There should be no reason why anyone would have a problem accommodating your request. This is just another example of good customer service.

Collision Repair FAQ’s

Q. What are Sublet Repairs?

A. Sublet repairs are services the auto body facility is not trained or equipped to handle. This could include window tint, customized striping, and alignments. Sometimes certain procedures such as working on a steering rack or vehicle calibration can only be done at the dealer.

Therefore, the vehicle is brought to a sublet vendor or the vendor comes to the collision repair facility. Many sublet vendors work with only auto body shops and dealerships because they are the very best in the area. An auto body shop focused on customer service always hires the best sublet vendors to ensure a complete and quality repair.

Q. How Much is it to Fix a Dent?

A. I receive several phone calls a week asking this question. The answer is, there is not one price or even a range. Auto body repair prices are based on labor time. Therefore, the estimator must see how big the dent is and where the dent is located. If you have a small door ding and it’s easy access it could be only $90. But what if the paintless dent technician can’t access the dent without taking off the door panel? Now that is more labor.

What if the dent can’t be accessed at all or it’s too big? Well, now that would require traditional auto body repair involving disassembly, filler, sanding and then sending to the paint department for refinishing.

What if it is cheaper to buy a door skin and paint rather than repair? A dent estimate will require an estimator to see the dent in person or in a photo. While giving a guess on the phone may be quick it is not good customer service. Taking the time to properly evaluate the damage and give an estimate is the honest way to tackle a dent repair.

In every industry, there is good and bad. If you choose a collision repair shop based on some of the criteria I suggested you should have a pleasant experience. Good customer service is always a solid indicator. The staff should take the time to answer your questions and appear genuine. Airpark Collision Center is locally owned and operated since 2006. Since opening our focus has been on quality repair and excellent customer service. Our customer reviews support that we are meeting those goals. We welcome you to stop in or click here for an estimate.

Tina Small has been part of the Airpark Collision Center team since 2006. Working directly with customers, her goal is to share frequent customer questions, and proper methods of collision repair.

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