We asked independent auto-appraisers what they could tell our customers about choosing an auto body shop. The following is a summary of what we found. It is very informative and should help you choose The Body Works of Virginia or a shop with our same quality.
Take your time when choosing a body shop. The right choice can make a real difference. Not just for you, but for your car, too. Today's vehicles are highly sophisticated. The days of the backyard shop are at an end.
1. You have the right, in Virginia, to have your vehicle repaired at the body shop of your choice. Some Insurance Companies are becoming very aggressive in their attempt to have you utilize their network of shops. This is fine if this is your choice. If it is not, insist on your own body shop.
2. There are a number of ways to determine the best body shops. One way is to ask the following people. They will probably give you an hosest answer.
Friends and Neighbors.
An independent automobile damage appraiser.
3. Once you have an idea of which shop, go and visit it. Talk to the shop owner. Do not hit him with the following:
"I am getting estimates and you are number three."
"I've got a $500.00 deductible, what can you do for me?"
Treat the man with respect and as a professional and you will probably get the same treatment in return. Do ask him the following:
"So and so referred me to you and said you do excellent work. Can you help me?
You will be amazed at the difference in the results!
4. Take a good look at the shop. To properly repair todays sophisticated automobiles, the shop should have the following:
A paint spray booth.
A frame machine for measuring and pulling the body of the car.
Look inside the work area. If it is clean and organized, it will give an indication of the type of work performed there.
Ask the shop owner to show you around. If the facility reflects his work, he will be glad to.
Look around the office. Do you see any photos of completed jobs? Are there any certificates for special training?
5. Now that you have chosen the shop, you should follow these tips to avoid getting ripped off.
If you ask the shop to cover any part of your deductible, all bets are off. There are many Motor Vehicle Department complaints against shops by owners complaining of poor workmanship. If it is determined that the shop "short cutted" repairs due to saving a deductible, the complaint is thrown out! If you have a deductible, pay it. The independent auto appraisers report that they have seen shops leave off $1500 worth of parts to cover a $500 deductible.
Obtain an itemized estimate or appraisal to determine what work is being done. If there is insurance involved, get a copy of the appraisal. In most cases, you have the right to retain the replaced parts. Ask the shop to save them if you have a concern.
While your car is being fixed, stop in unannounced and ask how things are going. Look at the car. If something does not look right, ask questions.