A car accident is a nightmare. Even if the damage is relatively minor, the insurance headaches, the possibility of being without a vehicle during repair, and expensive fines or higher premiums are all big hassles in your already hectic life. Add to those hassles the likely chance that you really do not know a good body garage, or even what to look for in an auto body repair shop, and your nightmare just became worse.
A simple and logical first step is to contact your local Better Business Bureau to see what shops have had complaints lodged against them. Bear in mind however, one or two complaints should not necessarily disqualify a particular auto body service. At some point, it is likely that a business is going to have a disagreement with a customer, and that customer then files a complaint. However, several complaints within a year or two likely means that the shop’s work is inconsistent and management is not responsive to customer concerns.
Looking online can also assist you in your search for crash repair. The auto body repair industry is an extremely customer-sensitive business, and consumers often post reviews on the web. Again, read reviews with a grain of salt and do not disqualify a garage for one or two bad evaluations.
A truly professional auto body shop will give you options to consider for your repair. Rather than insisting upon replacing all of the damaged components with entirely brand new parts, the service writer or manager presents you with an estimate that outlines the cost of using guaranteed reconditioned parts. Some auto body service managers are hesitant to guarantee any work done with other than new parts, even if the reconditioned parts themselves are guaranteed. In those cases, the shop should present you with an option of repairing the parts, rather than purchasing new. Obviously, repair is not always possible or cost-efficient if the damage is severe enough or the labor required would make repair more expensive than replacement.
Remember that a professional auto body shop should go beyond simply being a garage that fixes dents and paints cars. When your vehicle is delivered it should be washed, freshly shined, and the interior at least vacuumed. After all, you took your car in so that it would look better, and a real pro service will take the little extra steps to guarantee that. It is also a wise idea to physically stop by the auto body service and try to observe how things are done. If possible, get a glance at the area where the work is actually performed. Is the floor relatively clean and tidy, or are tools and trash scattered about? Are the technicians themselves behaving in a manner that appears they have respect for their work? An honest appraisal of your own gut feelings is often a good guide.
If getting crash repair performed as cheaply as possible is your objective, keep in mind that many of the large chain shops that advertise incredibly inexpensive paint and body work often use very inferior paint, sealers, and other cheap materials resulting in a poor finish that will likely fade or peel soon. These shops also have a reputation for advertising a low price but then charging high fees for small repairs or extra work.