It happened again! Another in a long line of Colorado mid-afternoon summer hailstorms, and your car got pummeled. Ping-pong-sized hail has severely dented the hood and roof, and your trunk did not come out of the brawl unscathed. You wince every time you approach your car, and while you don’t want it tied up in an auto body shop, you know that’s what it’s going to take to get those deep dents and gashes out of your vehicle.
How do you go about deciding which shop to trust with your car? You don’t have the time to run around getting estimates from a bunch of shops, and you already dread interfacing with your insurance carrier. To cut through the confusion and overwhelming options, put your focus on three key questions.
1) What is the company’s reputation?
Does anyone that you know and trust use this auto body shop? If not, are there reviews and testimonials on their web site that you can peruse? How about user-generated ratings on Yelp.com or Google Reviews? Check referral sites such as Angie’s List or Tom Martino’s referralist.com. Look at their Better Business Bureau rating.
When you phone, are you treated with patience and respect? Are all of your questions answered with clear and specific details, and are your concerns acknowledged in an authentically compassionate way? Will they pick up and return your car to you? Provide a shuttle?
Look for a company with a long list of happy, repeat customers who mention:
Great communication during the whole process
Honoring their word about when the car will be finished
Interfacing with your insurance company for you
Offering you multiple repair options at different price points if you are footing the bill out-of-pocket
2) How long has the shop been in business?
Did you know that there is a notorious group of paintless dent repair (PDR) “storm chasers” who travel the country, hoping to capitalize on other people’s misfortune? Some body shops subcontract with these transitory companies to repair the vehicles brought into their own shops, hoping to net a larger profit. Needless to say, the work can be sub-par, damaging the value of your vehicle for life.
You want to be sure you use a trusted facility that specializes in auto body repair and PDR with a long and stable history in the community. Look for established business people who have raised their families in this area and are actively engaged in civic causes. If the shop provides employees with ongoing training and education and can boast that their technicians qualify for esteemed industry certifications, that’s the shop you want to do business with.
3) Do they offer a warranty on their work?
Any contractor you do business with should offer a warranty on the repairs, materials, and workmanship that they provide you. This should be a given. If they offer you a lifetime warranty, you know they are in it for the long haul and will always have your back.
A final note of caution
Be very wary of any auto body repair shop that offers to pay your deductible for you. You are contractually and legally bound to pay the amount of your claim up to your deductible. To attempt to trick an insurance company by producing an inflated, inaccurate estimate is considered insurance fraud in most states, and the penalties are stiff. Anyone willing to engage in fraud is probably not someone in whose hands you want to place your welfare.
If you’re dealing with hail damage or other mishaps that have left your vehicle damaged, contact us at Colorado Auto Body, (303) 361-6942. We’d love to help you explore options to come up with the best plan for returning your vehicle to pristine condition.