How to Choose a Auto Body Shop When You Have Been Involved in an Accident – Valuable Information

When you have had the unfortunate event of being in a automotive collision, the last thing you need is to have a bad experience with an auto body shop not doing their job. A good auto body shop will fix your car back to pre-loss condition, both in appearance and in structural and mechanical integrity. A great auto body shop will almost make you feel like the accident never happened. They should start with customer service better then you get at a good restaurant. They should ask if everyone was OK after the accident, generally, they should be more interested in your needs and concerns then their own profit margins. The sad thing is there are many body shops that are just in it for a quick buck and do not have the customer skills or even the repair skills to do the job you, or your insurance company, is paying for. So how do you weed those shops out?

I have been in this industry for over 25 years in the same area, I have worked in high quality auto body shops large and small, and have owned my own collision and custom shop in Portland Oregon for the last 8 years. In my area there are hundreds of auto body repair shops in a very small area, yet I only know a few I would trust with my vehicles. So for the most part you have to be as informed as you can, and ask a lot of questions.

I am going to give you some information about the industry that will hopefully help to make that informed decision a little easier. First, do not let your insurance company tell you where to have your vehicle repaired, in most cases they have contracts with the shop to save them money in exchange for sending them your vehicle. in this case the insurance company saves money, the shop gets the work but has to cut corners to keep the cost down for the insurance company. And you, the one that pays the insurance company all those inflated premiums, and pays the body shop your deductible gets a substandard repair. The insurance company may say “if you don’t take the job to our repair shop we can’t guaranty the work”, the fact is any and all good auto body shops guaranty their work for as long as you own your car, if they don’t, go somewhere else.

Next thing to do is be sure to question the person who is estimating your damage, smaller shop owners will usually take care of you personally, and in most cases, actually be involved in the repair process. In most of the larger or chain shops the person writing the estimate on how to fix your vehicle is a salesperson, usually having absolutely no experience repairing cars, not to say that the techs working at that shop wont fix your car correctly, but they may just not feel like rewriting the estimate the way it should of been written to begin with. Just be aware and ask the questions. Also small shops may not have all the fancy lasers and computer operated equipment of a large shop, Then again lasers and computers don’t fix cars in most cases they are sales tools and rarely used. Even a frame rack although necessary is nothing more then a few well placed trees, they don’t fix cars, the tech is the most important part of the repair.

Ask if the body shop is on any insurance programs or DRP,(direct repair programs) if they are ask why? the only reason I know why a auto body shop would agree to be on a DRP would be to get work that they couldn’t get on their own. Again this does not mean just because they have a DRP they are not a great shop, but if they have 20 DRP’s then I would be a little concerned? Ask them to explain.

And by far the best resource for finding a good body shop is word of mouth, a friend that’s had work done and is happy to let you know about the auto body shop he had good luck with is a good sign they were treated well. If you have no friends or coworkers that have had resent repairs, you can try the local automotive paint supply stores in the area, they visit shops large and small every day and may be able to help you out.

I hope this gives you a starting point, there is so much more to information on this subject and I will try to keep writing more articles in the near future.

Tips To Hire An Auto Body Repair Shop

The need for auto body repair shop is much more than any other repair shop. Since the demand for such efficient auto body repair shops is high, it is evident that there are many companies which offer such services. As a common man, it becomes really tough to choose a car body shop which shall offer the best of services at the most affordable rates. Thus, you need to take a very smart decision and make the most of the deals when you are choosing such a shop. Here are some easy tips which shall help you to choose a car body shop:

  • Try to find out about the experience of the body shop company and the kind of services the shop offers to its clients. This shall help you to understand if such a shop shall be suitable for your needs and if you will actually benefit by using the services of such a shop.
  • If you stay in Huntington Beach, you shall be flooded with options and in such a case it really becomes very difficult to choose a company of your preference. If you have several options and you find it extremely complex, it is best to take help from your friends and relatives who have already hired the services of such a shop. Any leading Huntington Beach auto body shop shall have an online presence and in such a case it shall be very easy for you to judge the shop because you will be able to view happy customer reviews and testimonials. Huntington Beach auto body shop online portals are the best ways to learn about a company.
  • Try to find out about the special features of the body shops. There are many shops which specialize in car collisions or others which specialize in car body paint. In such a case it becomes very easy for you to choose a company of your choice, because it is evident that when a company specializes in a particular service, it is surely going to offer such services much better than others. Hence, suppose you are looking just for body painting services, it is best to hire a body and paint shop which shall make it very convenient to choose a property of your choice.
  • Do not forget to check out the rates offered by such companies. It is better to choose any Huntington Beach Body paint shop after making a comparison of its features and prices, so that you can make a right choice. Discounts are often offered to customers to attract them and to gain a competitive advantage over others.

No matter which type of company you choose, it is always recommended that you make a choice as per your requirements and not just by checking the services offered by the company. Any car body shop might offer you a gamut of services but you may not be in need of all such service – hence it is important that you make a comparison of the services and its pricing before picking a car body shop as per your choice.

Secrets of the Auto Body Shop

For the majority of drivers, going to an auto body shop is a mysterious experience, a scary encounter with the unknown. Once you hand over your key, you instantly feel uneasy; will your car be returned as good as new, or will the repair specialists do a shoddy job? How will you know? How will you be able to figure out if you hard-earned money is just being tossed down the drain?

The best way to know if you are receiving excellent service and professional care is to find a reputable body shop and then build a relationship with that shop. However, most people who take their vehicles in to the shop are doing so for the first time. So, how do you know whether or not you can trust an auto body shop?

First of all, it is important to know that most auto body shops are reputable businesses. The majority of auto shop owners are just struggling to make a living like most small business owners – they want to do a great job on your car so you will return or refer others to their shop. However, there are a few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch, and you need to be diligent when selecting a shop.

The first thing to do is get a referral or locate a shop online using reviews and testimonials. Create a list and call each shop to see how well you are treated on the phone. Select three or four shops that sound good and are in close proximity to your location, and you are ready to take your vehicle in for an estimate.

You should get at least three estimates from three different shops. The estimate may vary because shops may use different estimating software, but they should all be in the same ballpark. If an estimate differs by a great deal, you should ask why. The body shop expert should be able to explain all prices on the estimate, including all price quotes and labor charges.

When you get the estimate, you should also be evaluating the customer service. How quickly were you acknowledged? How efficiently were you helped? Were all members of the staff polite and friendly? Did the staff seem knowledgeable? Be observant during the estimate and you will have a good idea of how you will be treated during the entire repair process. If the customer service seems lacking, move on to the next place even if the estimate seems reasonable.

If you decide to leave your car, and the shop contacts you later to tell you about additional charges, this may be a sign that it is not a reputable and honest repair facility. Though additional charges can happen occasionally, it is not a common practice for a reputable shop.

If you do your homework, have some patience, and get a few estimate, the odds are good that you will find a reputable auto body shop. Once you have found one, it helps to direct all your business to them, and refer them to others. If you do this, you will have established a good relationship, and you will no longer need to worry about finding an honest auto body shop.

4 Ways to Avoid an Auto Body Shop

As a body shop owner it is not that I want you to stay away if you need us. However, there are several things that you can do to significantly decrease your chances of having an accident and needing an auto body shop. As someone who repairs hundreds of wrecked cars a year I have learned that many accidents are easily avoided if drivers will pay attention to 4 key areas.

The 4 key areas to consider are:

1. Visibility: For those in colder climates, have you ever gone to your car in the morning after a frost and couldn’t find that ice scraper that you swore would still be in there from last year. So you start rooting around the car looking for anything that might break through the frost or ice. You blast the defroster full tilt but you’re in a hurry so you grab your driver’s license or a credit card (where is that “reward points” card when you really need it!) and clear a spot that is just big enough to barely see through if you hunker down in your seat and pray you don’t need any peripheral vision. That is a rough way to start your day! Next you realize that maybe the wiper fluid will help melt the ice but the last few drops of water squirt out and just add one more layer of ice before emptying the reservoir. So now that bad day just got worse. AHA! The wipers… the next secret weapon in your ice war arsenal to the rescue. But wait. the rubber is just about completely worn off. They needed to be changed 2 years ago but somehow you managed to forget repeatedly and now the wipers are not an ally but a highly developed smudging tool.

The lesson: Low cost things like wiper blades, washer fluid (the kind that won’t freeze), and an ice scraper can make a big difference. These things that could save you a costly accident cost merely a few dollars each. The hard thing is remembering you need them before you actually do.

One other thing on visibility: check your mirrors. Make sure they are all in working order and set to where they can actually do you some good. Especially important when cars have multiple drivers and they need to constantly be re-set to the current driver. Again, a few seconds to adjust them can save you from a costly and time consuming accident.

2. Traction: Your tires are among your biggest allies when it comes to avoiding accidents. Check for wear and tear (if you see a metal belt starting to show or excessive wear – or worse still – balding on the edges its time for new tires) and inflation to the specifications listed on the side of the tires. Also, consider having them rotated every so often. Tire rotation during a routine maintenance or oil changes is a good time to take care of this.

3. Brakes: Have your brakes checked during maintenance as well. When your brakes feel spongy or don’t allow you to stop quickly if needed its time for them to be changed.

4. Distractions: Recent studies have shown that drivers are 6 times more likely to have an accident if they are texting. Phone calls and texting are gaining on drinking and driving as the number one cause for auto accidents.

So in summary here’s a list of things to do to decrease your chances of having an accident:

– ice scraper in the glove box at all times
– fill up your windshield washer reservoir with no-freeze washer fluid
– keep your wiper blades in good working order and change them at the first signs of wear and tear
– make sure your mirrors are set for you to have good visibility
– check your tire pressure and make sure it is up to factory recommendations
– check for tire wear and tear or balding
– rotate your tires during routine maintenance or oil changes
– have your brakes routinely serviced and changed as needed
– DO NOT text and drive
– if you’re going to use your phone while driving (which is not recommended) at least get a hands-free ear piece so your hands can stay on the steering wheel
– I’ll just go ahead and state the obvious as well: Do not drink and drive… ever.