Let’s face it—accidents happen. If your car has been damaged in a collision, you want to find an auto body shop that will perform the repairs quickly, affordably, and reliably. How do you narrow down your options in the Chicago area? Follow these expert tips to help you make your decision.
Listen to Other Customers
Any business can advertise, but the customer experience is what really matters. You have the best chance of finding a reputable auto body shop if you base your decision on word of mouth.
First, look up car repair shop testimonials online. If you see plenty of five-star reviews, this proves the business can satisfy its customers time and again. You may find that the highest-rated shops are local, family-owned businesses rather than national chains.
Next, ask around to your friends and family. Where have they had positive car repair experiences in the past? Is there anywhere they would avoid returning to because of a negative experience? Taking the time to request recommendations is a great way to find out about lesser-known auto body shops in the area.
Seek Multiple Quotes
It’s understandable—you’ve been in a car accident, and you want your car repaired as fast as possible. Still, don’t settle for the first quote you receive. Even if the price seems right, it never hurts to get multiple estimates.
As a word of caution, consider not choosing the lowest bid, especially if it’s significantly lower than the rest. While you want to avoid being overcharged, there could be hidden costs at such a low price.
For instance, an offer to repair your car dirt-cheap probably doesn’t include a warranty and is likely performed by an amateur who likes tinkering with cars but isn’t a certified mechanic. Since you count on your vehicle for transportation and trust it to protect your very life, never go with a low-ball car repair estimate.
Consider that Location Can Affect Costs
While collecting estimates, you may receive a quote for $800 from one shop and $2,000 from another. Many factors go into estimating a car repair, so check the itemized list if you can. You should see a breakdown of parts and labor for each aspect of the repair. Even if the two shops use identical products, the estimates could differ because of labor charges.
Labor often comes down to overhead costs. If you choose a shop in an expensive part of town, or you notice the lobby looks like a five-star hotel, the company’s overhead is bound to be higher. To offset these costs, the shop may charge higher labor fees. If an extravagant setting is important to you, the extra cost may be worth it. Otherwise, consider finding a shop a little more off the beaten path.
Pose the Right Questions
Never walk in the door with your pocketbook open. Instead, enter with questions in mind. After all, costs aren’t the only factor you should consider—you also want to ensure you receive a quality auto repair. Here are some key questions to ask your mechanic:
- How long have you been in business?
- Have you worked on my make and model of car before?
- Are you ASE-certified?
- Do you use aftermarket or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts? Are these parts new or used?
- Do you provide a written warranty? If so, for how long? What does the warranty cover?
- Are you licensed and insured?
Go with Your Gut
Chances are, if you have done your research, you have found a handful of the best auto body shops in your area. With your options narrowed down to two or three businesses, trust your instincts as the final determining factor.
When you call the shop, does the representative on the phone treat you respectfully? Is the waiting room clean and tidy? Does the shop have time in their schedule to work on your car promptly? These are all signs that you’ll be pleased with the service you receive.
Contact B&L Automotive Repairs for a Free Estimate
Family-owned and operated for over 30 years, B&L Automotive Repairs can handle any bodywork or mechanical repair. We provide our staff with ongoing training and utilize state-of-the-art equipment for high-quality results. Our team can perform major factory repairs, paint matching, frame straightening, and much more on any car make or model—all with 100% customer satisfaction in mind. Stop by, give us a call at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule collision repair in Chicago.