If you’re looking to apply a new coat of paint to your car, start by shopping around. Look beyond the lowest estimate to find the best auto body painter for your needs.
Auto body painters are not created equal. One shop may quote you $500 for a paint job, while another may demand $3,000 for the same amount of work. How do you know which shop to trust with your business? Do you automatically go with the cheaper estimate or is there more criteria you should pay attention to when selecting the right auto body painter for the job?
Tips for selecting the right auto body painter for your needs
Here are some helpful tips when it comes to selecting an auto body painter:
- Reputation: A positive reputation speaks volumes about a shop. A call to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can help you determine how reputable the shop is. You can also ask around – sometimes your friends, family and other acquaintances may have recommendations for trusted shops you’re unfamiliar with in your area. You may not always want to select the biggest, most well-known shop. Sometimes the smaller, family-owned shops offer more competitive prices.
- Location, location, location: Auto body shops charge labour rates largely based upon their years of experience and location. As a general rule of thumb, the ritzier the neighbourhood the shop is located in, the higher you can expect their hourly labour rate to be (although this is not always the case). It’s because they know their higher-end clientele can afford it.
- Shop around: You should always shop around and get estimates from various auto body shops before selecting one. Just because one shop may offer you a significantly lower estimate, doesn’t mean they’re automatically the best choice. Is that shop as experienced or as reputable as the other shops in question? The last thing you want is to be ripped off by a fly-by-night shop that may not fix the problems correctly.
- Make an informed choice: Don’t go in blindly – be prepared to do some research and ask the right questions. Does this shop provide a written warranty? Most shops should at least offer a one-year warranty. You should sometimes be wary of the ones offering a lifetime one. Does this shop have the proper certifications and years of experience? Does this shop carry fire or theft insurance in the event that your car is destroyed, stolen or burglarized? What types of parts does this shop use for repairs – new, used or aftermarket body parts? How many coats of paint and clear coats does this shop usually use? It’s best to have a clear understanding of all work involved before any work is actually done so you can make an informed choice.
- Always trust your gut: This is an important factor in selecting an auto body shop that is often overlooked. If the shop isn’t busy, do you think it’s because it has a bad reputation? If it’s dirty, does this reflect upon the quality of work they do? How is the shop’s customer service? If you have any misgivings about the shop, follow your gut and select someone else while you still can.