Be a smart shopper when it comes to having auto body work performed on your vehicle, whether for it’s for major collision repair or minor. Choosing the wrong shop can cost you money, time and aggravation. If the work is done poorly, you may actually lose value on your car when it’s time to it trade in. Don’t Google and pick the first auto body repair shop that pops up. If you can afford the time to do a little homework before making your selection, it will be worth it.
- CHOOSE CAREFULLY: It’s always a good idea to start by asking friends and family for referrals, or visit Missouri’s chapter of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, of which Spirit West is a proud member. You can also check reviews on Google+, Yelp, the BBB or Angie’s List for ratings and comments about the shop’s qualifications, experiences and past history. You can also contact the or the for background information and certifications.
- ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS: Once you’ve narrowed your search to one or two shops, it’s time to play 20 questions (figuratively). Is the shop certified? Do they give free estimates? Has the staff been trained or certified by your vehicle’s manufacturer? What about a warranty—what will it cover? Do they offer loaner cars while work is being performed? Do they use genuine manufacturer’s parts or salvaged parts? How long will the work take?
- GET MORE THAN ONE ESTIMATE. If the work to be done is a part of an insurance claim, some insurance companies offer references for shops they do business with, and in turn, may give you a price break. But don’t feel pressured to use these shops, find one you are comfortable with and one you trust.
- GET ESTIMATES IN WRITING: Don’t leave anything to chance, or your memory. Make sure you have, in writing, an itemized list of all the work that will be performed and the date of completion.
- ASK FOR REFERRALS: There is nothing wrong with this question. The only caveat is that the shop may give you contact information of only loyal customers who would never say anything negative. But, it is still worth the effort. By talking to at least three different customers you can usually get a pretty good feel for the shops abilities and their customer service.
Following these simple suggestions will make your auto body shop search less painful. The more information you having going in, the better the outcome, and the nicer looking your car will be.