Saving money on an auto body repair isn’t as straightforward as shopping around for the best deal. That helps, yes, but auto repairs are inherently expensive. Body work takes time and car parts are expensive.
By the time cars are old enough to “part out” (disassemble and sell for parts) their bodies are usually too worn to reuse. Likewise, body parts salvaged from car accidents aren’t in good enough condition to resell.
So, to get the best deal on your next car body repair you need to know a few insider tips that most pros won’t tell you. With a few tips, you’ll walk out of the shop with a fixed car and full wallet.
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Car Body Shop 101
Car body shops vary widely in price, services, and other small details that make all the difference in your choice. Some shops specialize in painting while others are more adept at bodywork.
Likewise, some shops work on specific car models while not offering service on others. It’s important to understand that calling one local shop will not yield the best deal.
You’ll also need to recognize that car body repair is a lucrative business. A bumper alone costs nearly $500 to repair on a newer commuter vehicle. Remember that auto body shops have wiggle room. Labor is entirely subjective and they’re buying parts wholesale.
With those two things in mind, you can start working on getting the best deal.
Like any business, shopping around before choosing an auto body shop is the best way to start comparing prices and find the best deal. You need to know your options to ensure you’re choosing the correct body shop.
In today’s world, that means jumping on the internet and doing a quick search for local body shops. One Google search should turn up multiple local results as well as reviews. You’ll get an understanding of which shops specialize at what.
It’s also useful to ask your friends, family, co-workers, etc. if they know of any good places for body repair. People in the community usually have good insight into the local shops and might even know someone working at one.
Once you have a short list of places, start calling around. Ask them questions about their specialties and services. But before you do, you need to…
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Know Your Stuff
Before you start making calls you need to understand a little bit about body repair. That’s not to say you need to know everything about fixing a car, but you’ll want a basic understanding surrounding what repairs you think you need.
For instance, did you know that behind most bumpers is a foam piece that covers your car’s metal frame? In most minor accidents that foam stays structurally sound. Some body shops might do a full replacement as standard, but you’ll save money by having them make that distinction.
You don’t need to become a walking encyclopedia on car body repair. But some basic Google searching, especially surrounding your particular issue, can go a long way to ensure you’re getting only the work done that you need.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
Insurance can save you an enormous amount of money should you end up needing body repair as the result of an accident. After all, that’s why you bought insurance in the first place.
Before you head to the repair shop get a quote from your insurance company. Any quality body shop will work with your insurance company to ensure the work you’re getting done is covered under your policy.
And since auto body repair is typically expensive, the final price usually comes in over your deductible. In most cases insurance is worth the time and hassle.
As we mentioned above, some auto body shops specialize in certain car makes and models.
This helps the shop keep costs down and also put out the best quality work. Experience working on a select group of cars means more repetition and thus better end results.
Consider checking your area, and even the surrounding areas, for a shop that specializes in your vehicle make.
These shops might have better suppliers (thanks to ordering in bulk for specific car vendors) and thus better prices.
When all else fails you can always try to negotiate the price down. High-quality shops are often willing to do business at a reduced price. Happy customers tend to recommend the shop to friends and thus bring in more business.
From the shop’s perspective it makes more sense to make slightly less money now and capitalize on your friends as well as potential repeat business should you need another body repair.
Choosing a Shop
Now that you’ve read through our article you’re ready to choose your own car body shop. And when we say shop, we mean singular shop. Making a connection with one shop can help bring better price over the long term.
Take the above information and go get the best deal possible. While auto body repair is often expensive, it doesn’t have to empty your wallet.
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