Friday, June 16, 2017

How to shop for auto collision repair shops: Part II

In the last River City Auto Body article, we gave you the first three of six tips that’ll make your collision repair an easier even that heading to the DMV or the dentist. (Sorry again, dentists) Here's the rest of our list of things to look for in a reputable facility to return your car to you with the fewest headaches. Both articles are combined in a downloadable flyer from our website at this link.

4) Get more than one estimate. You're not required to get several, but it is recommended, and here's why. Some shops will write a lower estimate just to get you in the door. Sometimes, it isn't even intentional: They might not have viewed all the damage.  River City Auto Body encountered that last week.  Another shop had written a repair to buff the headlight…. when the vehicle came here for an estimate, we noticed that the headlight actually was cracked and needed to be replaced, not buffed. When you get quotes…

5) ...Share the estimates. Feel free to show one shop's estimate to other shops. We're competitors, but at the end of the repair day, it's your car's appearance and safe operating condition that matter most. One shop might miss something… like that headlight, or replacing an airbag.

Be wary of a shop that discourages you from sharing their math. There are unscrupulous shops that will write the estimate for all new OEM parts, then get the job in the door and use aftermarket or used parts on the repair to pad their profit… or pay your deductible for you. Certification comes into play here as well:  Shops that are committed to the cost for the I-CAR and OEM certifications have to use the parts recommended by the manufacturer or they lose their certifications!

6) Trust your gut. When you visit the shop, is the staff rude? Is the shop dirty or disorganized? Do you get a bad vibe? If so, walk.

 River City Auto Body is fortunate to be asked to estimate a lot of collision repairs. And we earn the business of a great many of those customers. Attention to detail and customer care are the intangibles that make a difference between a satisfied customer and a happy customer. When you're treated like family, it makes collision repair a lot better than the DMV or the dentist.

 Photo by Erwin Wodicka, used with permission.

Friday, June 2, 2017

How to shop for auto collision repair shops: Part I

Do you look forward to going to the DMV? Or how about the dentist? (Sorry, dentists.) River City Auto Body 'gets it' that you're not necessarily overjoyed to be facing a collision repair either. Here's a short list of things to look for in a reputable facility to return your car to you with the fewest headaches.
1) Don't let the insurance company shop for you. If they tell you have to go to a certain shop, it's called steering, and that's not legal. They can recommend, but not require. See our two articles on steering
2) Ask your friends. Internet reviews are nice, but you don't know those reviewers like you know your friends. Referrals are the life blood of any business. More importantly, referrals tell you who your friends trust.
3) Look for certifications. A shop that keeps fit, finish, durability, value, and safety top of mind is what certifications represent. You'll eliminate 9 of 10 body shops if you search only for ones with I-CAR certification. I-CAR Gold Class shops have current, up-to-date training that contributes to complete, safe, and quality repairs. Only 10 percent of shops currently complete the rigorous training requirements.
You'll also want to see what the vehicle manufacturers, like Ford, certify in the training, tools, and technology needed to provide top-notch repairs. Also, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) certifications are as important as your seatbelt. With all the technology in the vehicles today, you just can’t repair the cars the way you did 10 years ago… even five years ago.  Without knowing current techniques, the vehicle occupants’ safety is at risk.  Certifications show which shops and technicians are qualified to do the repair.   
River City Auto Body invests a lot of time and money in the training and certification of our team. It’s the right thing to do for them professionally, it helps us stand out professionally from competing shops and dealerships, and it is the absolute best thing to do for you and your vehicle. That being said, we’ll have three more tips in the second part of this series, including a real eye-opener on how a repair shop might be paying your deductible.

Photo by Sorapong Chaipanya, used with permission.