Body Shop Estimates: Everything You Need to Know
Follow these simple guidelines to get your vehicle back to looking its best – without the run around. Properly prepared body shop estimates are a huge benefit for both the customer and the shop. The customer has a close approximation as to the time and cost to fix the vehicle, and the auto body shop has a clear understanding of the job’s requirements and customer expectations.
1. Avoid Generic Online Body Shop Estimate Sites
Real body shop estimates from actual body shops are usually free…why not get the real thing!
Online tools are rarely accurate. The real purpose of these tools is to obtain your personal information and relay that information to body shops in your area. In other cases, these sites serve to generate advertising revenue. Either way, serving you with accurate information is not the main objective.
These tools are attractive at face value because they provide you a quick way to get a range of what the repair might cost. But do not expect the results to be representative of real estimates once you start calling shops in your area. Again, they are just a guide.
2. Obtain Estimates from Shops with an On-Site Estimator
Many times the damage on the surface does not show the entire picture. The trained eye of a body shop estimator knows how to identify any hidden damage that will add time and cost to repair the vehicle correctly. The reverse can also be true. What might seem a like major issue may be easier and cheaper to fix than you think. Again, it is the training and experience of a professional estimator that will be able to answer these questions for you.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- In some cases you can text pictures of the damage to a shop
- Estimates should be free
- The estimate should clearly separate parts versus labor
3. Read the Estimate Detail Carefully
If you are going through insurance you might be required to gather multiple estimates. If you are paying out-of-pocket, then you will have more freedom in choice. Either way, read the estimate carefully and consider the following:
Compare the hourly labor charge across vendors. This is where padding usually occurs. Overall, most shops should be able to complete the work in roughly the same amount of time.
Compare the warranty offered by each shop. Quality Assured Collision Center offers a lifetime warranty on all work.
Read reviews and use judgement. Does the shop you are considering have reviews that are positive and seem genuine? One way to spot genuine reviews are the before and after pictures. Pay close attention and try to verify the location from the pictures. You may have spotted a fake review if the shop is located in Chicago, but you see palm trees in the background!
Example Body Shop Estimate
Quality Assured Collision Center has been serving the Long Beach, CA community since 2004. We specialize in collision repair, body work, dent repair, car restoration, and mechanical work. Quality Assured Collision Center is iCar Gold Class certified, a certification met by only approximately 10% of shops. We can offer towing, drop-off and pick-up and even perform a free 15-point inspection on your vehicle. As experts on all insurance situations, we will help guide you through the process and we work with all types of financing situations for those paying out of pocket.
Call us now or text us a picture of your vehicle to (562) 599-0766