No doubt about it, dealing with a fender bender or – worse – a full-on, car crash, rates right up there with having anything from a root canal to – well, maybe not open-heart surgery, but it’s not a pleasant pastime. Possibly the worst part of the whole process is the initial start up – just finding the right body and repair shop to do the work correctly, for a reasonable price! We work hard to gain our customers respect and trust, and our repeat business and word-of-mouth is a testament to this, but we still advise you to do your due diligence when it comes to getting your car fixed properly. Your car is, after all, your biggest investment after your home, your kid’s college, and your kid’s teeth, so we feel that you should give it the attention it merits. What follows are some questions we think you should be sure to ask, and some things you might need to know:
It’s a good idea to get three appraisals and estimates for your car’s repair work, but how to find the places to call? Ask around, talk to your friends, co-workers, your kid’s friend’s parents – you will get plenty of information about who to go to – and even more important – who not to go to. Or you can look for shops on Angie’s List.com, Yelp.com, and Google.com – and then take their ratings with a grain of salt. Know that you can go to any body shop you please!
If the three estimates are very different, ask why. It may be because one is doing a visible estimate only and does not include all the repair work necessary, or not using genuine manufacturers (OEM) parts.
- Ask them if they guarantee their work, and for how long.
- Ask them what kind of written estimates they provide; ask if they have additional fee structures.
- Ask them how they estimate how long the labor for each repair takes.
- Ask them what kind of credentials their technicians have.
- Ask if the garage is an affiliate of the Automotive Service Association (ASA).
- Ask if they handle your make and model of car, or what kinds of cars they specialize in.
- Ask if they use OEM or aftermarket parts.