Key Points to Keep in Mind When Picking An Auto Body Shop

By law (at least at this writing) insurance companies can’t dictate to you which auto body shop to use. However, when it comes to selecting one, what criteria should be used in determining which shop to pick? Here are some valuable tips for chosing a qualified auto body repair shop:
1. What kind of guarantees/warranties does the shop offer? Most will offer guarantees or warranties on parts but what about labor? If they don’t offer guarantees for defects in workmanship, consider looking elsewhere. If they do, how long and what work is covered with the guarantee or warrantee?
2. How will your car be stored while in the care of the shop? Will your car be inside a locked bay or is the whole shop gated? What kind of security measures do they have in place?
3. Does the shop have a good reputation? Ask friends and family and neighbors who they’ve used. Be cautious about only using companies referred to you by your insurance company. They may be very good or the they may be on the insurance company’s side and not yours. At a minimum, check with the Better Business Bureau under both the shop name and the owners name. If the owner has had a series of auto shops that have closed or sold, you may want to consider going elsewhere.
4. Does the shop operate in accordance with all all local, state and federal regulations? Do they have licenses and permits such as Business licenses, Sales Tax I.D. Number, Federal Tax I.D. Number, Fire, Electrical Code and EPA Compliance, Workers Compensation Insurance, OSHA requirements, EPA Number, etc. and operate? Usually, these are prominently displayed where customers can see them. If they’re missing, ask to see them.
5. What are the shops procedures for getting authorization for any additional services performed on the vehicle and price adjustments that may occur prior to the repair or replacement. You should always ensure that they will need written authorization for additional services and price changes.
6. You want to find out if the shop just opened up a few months ago or if it has been in business for a while. What is the overall experience of the staff along with certification for your praticular car maker? Who will be working on your car and what are their certifications?
7. Does the shop have a defined and written customer handling process in the event of a disagreement or dispute? How do they go about doing business? Again, reviews from your friends and actual experiences with this shop are important to find if possible.