It’s hard to find an auto body shop to put your trust in. While the advent of the internet makes it easier to find the right auto body shop for you in some ways, it can still be hard to look through all of the many options to find the right choice for you — especially in a city as large as Vancouver. Not only can prices vary a large degree between shops, but quality can vary, too.
Whether you’re new to searching or you are looking to make a change, here are five things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the right auto body shop in Vancouver.
Five Helpful Tips For Picking the Right Auto body Shop
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Shop Around
This may seem obvious, but some people may find it disloyal to shop around before settling on which auto body shop you should be giving your money to. Much like it often takes several tries before you find a favourite restaurant or barbershop, a body shop is no different.
To shop around, don’t be afraid to ask for price estimates from several different service providers. While most shops will not be able to give you an exact price, it should be close enough that it will give you an idea of the price range of their services. Some auto body shops may even list their prices on their website.
Important note: just because an auto shop is more expensive than another, it may not necessarily be a reflection of the quality of their services. Overhead, such as the rent in an expensive neighbourhood, maybe just one of the factors that can drive a shop’s prices up, and it’s one that has nothing to do with the quality of service.
Another important thing to ask for is for a time estimate. While one auto body shop may be slightly more expensive, if they are able to turnaround a repair in half the amount of time of another shop, it may be worth the splurge.
2. Ask Family and Friends
Again, this may seem obvious — but that’s only because it is a necessity! There’s a good chance that your friends and family members have had experience using body repair shops around the city. Asking them for their opinions is a great way to point you in the direction of a great shop (or, more importantly, away from a bad shop).
Better yet, if possible, it’s a good idea to ask your mechanic for their opinion on local body repair shops. Chances are that they will have worked with a variety of body shops personally and will possess a great insight into which shops to give your business to, and which auto body shops in Vancouver to avoid.
3. Do Your Research
It may be tempting to save the time and hassle of looking around by patronizing the body shop that comes recommended by your auto insurance. However, by investing in just an hour of your own personal research can help save you expensive headaches.
The reason for this is because not auto body shops are created equal. There are many shops out there that will do sloppy work — and some of them may even come recommended by your insurance.
As we mentioned earlier, though, we are living in the information age, which means that it is easier than ever to do your own research. A simple Google Map can bring up multiple reviews for body shops in your area. While all online reviews should be taken with a certain level of scrutiny (one negative review does not a bad auto shop make), the world of online reviewing is more monitored than ever before which means that fake or misleading reviews have less likely of a chance of sticking around.
If you cannot find applicable information online, it may be worthwhile to ask your potential provider some questions. How long have they been in business? Do they have any references? Both of these are fair enquiries.
4. Certificates and Qualifications are Important
Imagine having dental surgery performed without seeing any of your dentist’s certifications hung on the wall? Would this strike you as odd, or worrying? Much like we only trust those who are deemed to be qualified to work on our mouth, we should only trust qualified individuals to work on our cars.
A trend shared by most top-performing auto body shops is that they all have certifications that go above and beyond the minimum. Some of these may be national certifications, like the Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program, while some may be regional.
5. Follow Your Gut
Even if you do not consider yourself automobile-savvy, chances are that your intuition is still capable of giving you gut feelings about choosing an auto body shop. If you get the impression that a body shop employee is being dishonest or withholding, it’s important to listen to that feeling. In fact, the impression that you get from the customer service of the shop is most likely a fair reflection of the shop’s overall quality.
If you follow these five suggestions, chances are that you will find an auto body shop that has your best interests at heart. Of course, many will start looking for a shop once they have a reason to, but like most other things in life, it’s best to be prepared. Even if your car has not withstood damage, it’s a good idea to start looking for an auto body shop to rely on — so that if the time ever comes, they will have your back.