How to Work with an Auto Body Shop for Non-Gearheads

auto body shop

Your First Time at the Auto Body Shop?

Are you the kind of person who gets nervous at the thought of dealing with an auto body shop or mechanic? Then this article is for you. For starters, anything wrong with the body frame, window, door, bumper, or any other non-mechanical will need the attention of an auto body shop. Unfortunately for non-gearheads, the auto body shops that charge the highest prices do not always offer the highest quality of services. Read on to learn how to work with auto body shops in a manner to get great services at reasonable prices. If you are in the Long Beach area, then visit us at Quality Assured Collision Center!


Compare Prices

Auto services are typicall charged by the hour. When you call the shop, feel free to ask their hourly rate. Unlike spending on a material good, like a new bycycle, auto serivices have many variables and auto body shops and mechanics can not quote a flat price over the phone. They will usually need to inspect the damage or diagnose the problem. Then they will provide you with an estimate. You should also read this article about estimates: Everything You Should Know About Body Shop Estimates.

Once you find and auto body repair shop or mechanic with a competative hourly rate and good reviews, then go in for that estimate.

When you get to the shop you will then

  1. Give them basic details on the make and model of your car
  2. Describe the problem that you are experienceing
  3. Negotiate either dropping off your vehcile for a few days or setting an appointment when the service can be done while you wait

Nothing is worse than leaving your car at the auto body shop for a few days, but many shops have a relationship with a rental car company and will help you get a rental at a reduced rate. At least this way you will have a car!


Do Your Due Dilligence

So as we discussed, you will be calling around and getting some hourly rates. But you also need to vet the shop to make sure that they are honest professionals. Sometimes the cheapest rate may lead to other disasters when the mechanic charges you five hours for a one hour job!

  1. First impressions are huge! Does the person answering the phone seem reasonable and knowledagble?
  2. Read the shop’s reviews and especially be on the lookout for fake reviews
  3. Ask if the mechanics are ASE certified

We also have a great article about reviews and how to rely on reviews: How To Choose the Right Auto Body Shop.


Consider the Type of Auto Body Part the Mechanic Wants To Use

Is the auto part new, used or remodeled? If new, is it OEM or aftermarket? The differences between these auto part variants may account for the variation in prices. Here are the differences between OEM and aftermarket auto parts.

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)

  • The car manufacturer makes the part
  • They typically cost more
  • They are designed specifically to fit the car model you have

Aftermarket Auto Parts

  • A third party makes them
  • They typically cost less
  • They are designed to fit several car models

Aftermarket parts are usually cheaper because makers of aftermarket auto parts have a wider market share; hence they enjoy economies of scale.



Vehicle owners do not have to be auto gurus to receive reasonably priced high quality services from auto body shops. They only need to ascertain the quality of auto body parts and service corresponds to the price quoted.

We are one of Yelp’s highest rated mechanical repair shops in the Long Beach area. To-date we have over 200 honest reviews from real customers. Many of our reviews offer real pictures from real customers. These people were not just satisfied, they were so happy they wanted others to see for themselves. You can check out our reviews for yourself here.