These days, most of us spend many hours in our vehicles, driving to and from work, carting kids here and there, running errands, and often, just taking a leisurely drive in the country. It goes with the territory that at some point, most of us will experience the need to find an auto body shop to do some repairs. In most regions, there is no shortage of repair shops, so make sure the one you choose meets these top five requirements.
1. Make sure the auto body shop is willing to work with your insurance company. Even if you’re not filing a claim on this particular repair (say, for example, it wasn’t a collision-related repair), you still want a company that is professional enough to be willing to work with the insurance company in case you do have to file a claim for a collision or other incident in the future.
2. Get testimonials from customers. Finding out what other people have experienced when working with the auto body shop that you are considering will tell you volumes about what you can expect. Often just going to the shop’s website will let you read testimonials. If the shop doesn’t have a website, or if they don’t have testimonials posted on the site, ask for some references. Most reputable shops will have some customers that will speak on their behalf.
3. Be sure you feel comfortable with the person giving you the estimate. Does he or she smile? Look you in the eye? Is he or she friendly, and willing to talk over the various items on the estimate?
4. Confirm that the auto body shop is a licensed and insured place of business. You will not only be entrusting them with your repair, you’ll likely be leaving your vehicle in their hands for several days, if not longer, and you want to be sure that you can trust that should there be any incident in the shop (such as a fire or burglary), they have the ability to compensate you for any potential losses.
5. Get your estimate in writing. Even if it’s a small job, such as just touching up the paint on a bumper or installing a power-window motor, you want to be sure that the shop is comfortable standing by their word. A written estimate is a must-have when choosing a body shop.
Whether you’re changing body shops due to a bad experience, or just looking for a new shop, chances are you’ll be starting a long-term relationship, because most of us need an auto body shop more than once. It’s worth doing the homework up front, so that you’ll be glad you did, instead of wishing that you had!