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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop Posts: 10,059
edited May 2017 in Editorial
image5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

An industry expert explains how to find a body shop that can repair that dent or repaint your car the right way.

Read the full story here


  • Not sure who Phillip Reed is, but he should have done more research instead of just speaking to “ONE” shop.
    Phillip does not address anything about safety, resale value, technician qualifications, training, or equipment.
    If "as" Phillip indicates one shop charges $500.00 and another charges $2000.00 then there is something the $500.00 shop missed, or just is not going to fix. A correctly repaired vehicle invoice will not vary more than 10% from East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast. In actually the labor rate per hour has little bearing to the final repair cost. Areas with higher labor rates per hour tend to have less chargeable hours listed.
    Phillip needed to address the “overhead” issue in real terms. Body shops that are meeting all the “New” EPA rules and keeping their employees updated on training and using the appropriate equipment and materials will have an exponentially higher “overhead”, compared to a poorly equipped, poorly trained facility.
    Quality, safety, and protecting the valve of your investment, should be your top three tips......
  • barrettflbarrettfl Posts: 3
    edited January 2015
    Unfortunately this article appears to provide some information which may indeed prove detrimental to consumers.

    Getting “Several Estimates” is surely not the best method to select a competent collision repairer. The collision industry is a highly competitive industry and as in most professions, not all participants conduct themselves ethically.

    First of all running around getting estimates is time consuming to both the consumer and the repair professional and is at best a waste of gas.
    Secondly, one gets what they pay for! If free estimates are offered; well expect to get your monies’ worth. Lower estimates often overlook important procedures (e.g. corrosion protection) and some repairers may intentionally omit such costly procedures and materials to keep their “estimated costs" low as to “seize the keys” only to up the price after they have the vehicle dismantled in their shop and when the consumer is powerless to combat overcharging.

    Know that all body shops are not alike! Consumers should do their research and due diligence (i.e. get personal referrals, check with Better Business Bureau, tour the facility, interview management, obtain references etc.) before making a decision; once they select a repairer; then and only then should the consumer request a written estimate.
    The estimate should be explained and be thorough and contain all the procedures necessary to properly and thoroughly restore the damaged vehicle to its pre-loss condition in safety, function, reliability and value to the best of human ability.
    Today’s vehicles are highly technical and an improperly repaired vehicle can pose serious safety concerns for unwary consumers and their family. Poor and insufficient repairs can also economically harm the consumer due to loss or diminution in value of the vehicle.

    After Market Parts: Remember: Cheaper is Rarely Better and Better is Rarely Cheaper! Aftermarket (non-original equipment manufacturer or non-OEM) parts are indeed cheaper and for good reason; these parts are counterfeit copies and often made overseas and are not crash tested. It has been found where parts such as hood latch components have failed and the ability to transfer collision energies as the originals were designed remain questionable. The use of such non-original manufacturer (non-OEM) parts can and does lower the desirability and value of a once damaged and repaired vehicle.

    Warranty: Most consumers would agree that the longer the warranty the higher the quality of repair. Today’s higher quality automotive finish manufacturers (i.e. DuPont, Sherwin Williams and others) offer “Lifetime” warranties. Why then, if they use high quality products wouldn’t a quality repairer offer such warrantees? A “lifetime Warranty” will protect you for as long as you own the vehicle. If a repairer provides a "lifetime Warranty" it illustrates their committment to quality.
    When it comes to your family’s safety and economic wellbeing, what is the value of peace-of-mind? Most would agree… it’s priceless!

    Finally; a wise man once said: Never Take Advice on How to Collect Money by Those Who Owe it to You”!
    If your repairs involve an insurance claim or someone else is paying for the repair; select a repairer of your choosing! Do not allow the insurer to choose one for you. Most state laws agree: It’s your vehicle and your choice of repairer!

    Hope this offers assistance to those who may have a need.

    [non-permissible content removed]
  • cj082388cj082388 Posts: 1
    I have to agree with both of these comments. After reading through this article I felt lost and slightly irritated. I work for a collision center in Arizona and I have trusted them with my vehicles many times. We offer free written estimates, however, it is not for us to "Seize the Keys". The estimates here are time consuming and complete. Also, using high quality paints allow us to offer a Lifetime warranty. This is not a gimmick or anything else, it is what it is. We are family owned, and the owners want their customers happy. This article really put me off, as it left out a lot of extremely important points when choosing a body shop. It mentions nothing about tech certifications or body shop certifications. It does not talk about a shops turn around times, or their current insurance contracts as well. This article seems to not have been researched at all. Also, when he says that many body shops add part removal time to make the estimate higher, I would highly disagree. The removal of many parts is necessary and often times does not increase the estimate by more than a few dollars. There is not a 200 dollar mark-up for removing a hood. This ultimately seemed like a promotion for Mr. Mallette more than anything.
  • Thank you for these great tips. I need to find a body shop to fix up something in my old car, and I also need to find car dealers to get a new car. I definitely want someone that has a good name since I'll be going alone to make the purchase. I definitely don't want to be taken advantage of. Thanks again!
  • Last time I went and got my car worked on it was a nightmare. It was supposed to be done that day and for some reason I had to go three days with out a car. Now that we've moved I'm looking for an auto shop in Naples but I want to make sure it's someone I can trust. Thanks for sharing, I'll keep these tips in mind as I look.
  • mikelintromikelintro Posts: 1
    edited January 2015
    I agree that using a spray gun in a necessity. I can't imagine what a paint job would look like on a car, if you didn't use a spray gun. I had to redo the stain on my wooden fence, and even spraying that, versus rolling, made it look better. Don't underestimate the power of a a spray gun. Even spray paint. [non-permissible content removed]
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    It doesn't have to be difficult to pick a quality body shop! Read the Yelp reviews! Ask questions and try to size up the owner of the shop. There are skilled body guys and "bondo bandits". This is a tough business in which to survive! The Insurance Companies dictate to the shops what to charge and turnover is VERY high compared to regular auto repair shops. Finding a good painter is key too and there are a lot of good ones out there.

    This is a business that is getting away from mom and pop shops as they continue to fall under the umbrella of the Mega Shops.
  • I used a service called "BumperBuddy." They basically let you upload a couple photos of your car and automatically send it out to all bodyshops in your area. In 24 hours they guarantee you will have at least 3-5 quotes to choose from. Easiest process I've used. Here's the link:
  • mrgrtt123mrgrtt123 British ColumbiaPosts: 7
    I hope that a new content will be created since this is an old article, but it is still helpful.
    A web designer at PetStreetMall, a place to find quality and affordable pet supplies.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,292
    Another good source for finding a good body shop is a local garage/maintenance shop that does things like general repairs and state safety inspections, but does NOT do body work. If they have a customer who needs body work done to pass inspection, they'll usually have a shop or two to recommend. And they're not very likely to steer you to a bad shop because that would hurt their reputation.

    One of the first times I needed a body shop here, my insurance company told me which shop to use. The job was OK, but nothing spectacular. The next time I was in need, I asked a local tire shop/garage that has been in business here for over 50 years where they send folks. Sure beat going door-to-door to get a bunch of estimates that ought to be pretty close to each other anyway.

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