You need to pick the right repair shop to work on your car. The collision may have been out of your control but picking the repair shop is not; it’s your decision so make sure you pick the best one for you. Why make the situation worse by picking a shop that does a bad job and takes weeks to get your car back to you? To help you make the best decision, however, you need to know the ins and outs of collision repair.
The key points you need to consider are:
1. Quality: This is very important to realize from the start. Call a shop and have a look around. Does everything look as expected? Does the staff seem friendly and helpful? Is the shop tidy? Does it look as if the staff are hard at work? Is the shop busy? If you have doubts about the answers to any of these questions, you should reconsider using that shop. If you find the staff unfriendly, remember that you will be dealing with them while your car is being repaired.
2. Factory Trained and Certified Specialists: You need the right people working on your car. Factory certification is only earned by a shop over time. The shop has to prove to the manufacturers that they can do the job according to strict factory specifications. They should be happy to show you their certificates. If they are not displayed on the wall, ask to see them. Ask if the technicians working on your repair are fully trained as not all staff in every shop are. Make sure their training is up to date. The insurance company paying for your repair work will want only certified staff on the job and so should you.
3. Experience: This is a key factor in any repair job. Employees at a high quality shop will have seen, and experienced, it all. They will know what to expect when they look at your car and their experience will show when working on your repair job. Experienced staff will see problems before they arise and be able to give you an accurate estimate of costs and the time involved. You can only benefit from another’s experience, and the more they have, the better for you.
4. Communication: This is key to your peace of mind while the car is in the shop. Ask how long the job will take and how often they will keep you informed. Will it be every day or every couple of days? A shop that communicates well will tell you of any problems that arise, such as unexpected work and any changes in timeframe. They will also tell you in advance of any changes in cost. If a shop cannot guarantee regular communication, then you should consider taking the job elsewhere.
5. OEM Parts: A very important part of every repair job. If a shop has factory certification it is very likely that they will use only original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, parts. It is a good idea to ask and make sure you are getting the best parts for your car. Ordering OEM parts may take longer and be more expensive than non-OEM parts, so be sure that all of this is included in your repair estimate. Make sure, too, that the shop will use OEM parts on any further problems that are found and that they will communicate this to you.
6. Timeframe: Experience will tell a shop how long a repair job should take to complete. Ask when you can expect your car back on the road. The timeframe will give you a good idea of what to expect and a high quality shop should keep you informed every step of the way. A good shop will know, even before disassembly, what to expect on every job.
7. References: Ask for them. A repair shop is only as good as its work. If the shop does not supply references, walk away. Ask your friends or work colleagues who they have used. Ask them if they have heard good stories about the shop you plan to use. A good shop will always be proud of their work and will readily supply you with references. They will also show you before and after photos to prove the quality of their work.
There are many considerations when picking a repair shop. If you are happy with these points in the Ins and Outs of Collision Repair, then you have found a good shop for your car.