How to Choose a Repair Shop for Your Car
A car is one of the biggest investments someone will make throughout their entire life. Any time a repair or general maintenance is needed it is important to choose the right repair shop. Not only will this ensure the job is done correctly and on time but it can also help save money. There are a lot of different ways to choose a repair shop but the same basic steps should be the same.
1. Get Started Early
A common mistake is trying to choose the right repair shop when you’re car has already broken down or needs a repair. When it comes to choosing a repair shop time is an ally. Making the right decision takes a little bit of research and preparation in order to guarantee success. Plus, people tend to make better decisions when they are stressed or rushed.
- Get Recommendations
The easiest thing to do is get recommendations. Mechanics operate in a service industry and just like a popular restaurant, word-of-mouth is valuable. Ask family members and friends, and even color employees about the mechanics they have worked with. You will not only get great recommendations but you will also be told who to avoid.
- Go Online
Along with getting recommendations from people you know it is also beneficial to go online and see what other people say as well. Not only can you take advantage of online review websites to see what people are saying but it also provides a simple way to access local consumer organizations. Organizations like the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce can provide a significant amount of information about any given service business, including repair shops.
2. The Facility
The next step is judging the auto repair shop itself. The facility can actually provide a significant amount of insight if you take the time to check it out beforehand.
It may seem obvious but a tidy, well-organized facility is a reflection of how professional the operation is. Additionally, it will give you a chance to check out the equipment in the service bays. Modern equipment is a sign that the repair shop is invested in insuring their customers get the best results possible.
- Similarities and Differences
A benefit of getting started on your research early is the ability to visit multiple garage centers. Many people are surprised at how different one repair shop is from another. This not only includes cleanliness but overall organization and how efficient the employees are. Even simple aspects such as how neat and comfortable the waiting room is can provide significant insight into how professionally facility is. Additionally, this provides information about and operations overhead. The more overhead of facility has the higher the hourly rate will be. While choosing the cheapest option is never a good idea, it is important that you are paying hourly rates based upon the experience and professionalism of the staff and not a poorly managed repair shop.
It is important to take your car to several auto body shops for repair clothes. This will not only help prevent being overcharged but it also provides dedicated repair shops and opportunity to prove they value you as a customer. Many repair shops will let potential customers know that they will match any other estimate if at all possible. Just as importantly, if they cannot match the estimate they will explain why. This could be an indicator that the lowest estimate is either unrealistic or the repair shop will not necessarily do a good job. Labor rates are particularly important to pay attention to when getting an estimate because there is no reason the same task should take five hours in one repair shop and two hours in another.
After getting estimates from several repair shops there is a good chance you will have an idea of what your top two or three options are. Once you are at this point it is important to ask questions. For example, it is more common than ever for repair shops offer some type of minimal written warranty regarding their work. This is proof they stand behind their capabilities. Additionally, asking questions will provide significant insight into how competent the employees actually are. As an added bonus, it will eliminate surprises – such as finding out that aftermarket parts are going to be used if you explicitly ask for OEM parts.
Try Multiple Options over Time
While it may be impossible to use several different repair shops if you need an emergency repair, it is possible to try multiple repair shops over time. The best time to do this is with regular maintenance because regular maintenance is a low risk situation. By trying multiple options over time it will become clearer how professional the service is. It also gives you a real-world opportunity to find out how close the estimates are to your final price. You can then reward the best repair shops by becoming a repeat customer.