Five Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

Choosing an auto body shop doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. Estimates from different shops will likely fluctuate, sometimes to the point where you wonder if you are getting quotes for the same repair on the same vehicle. Consider these five tips to help guide you in making your decision:

1. Get Multiple Estimates

This one is obvious. Not only will multiple auto body shop quotes give you some idea of the “middle ground,” you’ll feel better knowing that you did your homework and you aren’t simply going with the cheapest… or worse yet, the most costly proposition.

2. Are They Certified and Insured

Do they seem reputable and carry all the appropriate certifications insurance?

Is the location a direct repair facility for your insurance company?

If you are completely new to the facility and going in with very little information on them, check for appropriate licensing hanging on the wall near the register.

Things can go wrong with any repair shop and your vehicle will be living there for a while, so you want to make sure that the repair facility you choose is protected in the event of fire, theft, or natural disaster.

3. Parts and Warranty

What is the warranty on repairs? Depending on whether they are a direct repair facility for your insurance company, you will likely get anywhere between 1 year and a lifetime warranty. Comparing warranties between locations can be a big indicator of the quality of parts and workmanship. You want to hire someone willing to stand by their craft.

Do they use aftermarket or used parts? Used parts don’t necessarily mean quality is bad, but when comparing quotes, you want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If one location is offering used parts and another new, and their estimates are the same, look closer. What is making up the extra cost in the estimate for the shop offering the used parts? The per-hour labor costs may be higher at that particular shop.

What kind of paint matching technology do they use? You want to be sure that they can make an exact match of the paint code for your vehicle, and that they are using a high-quality coating.

4. Reputation

Do they have a good local reputation? Are they part of a social network where you can check for reviews? Ask around to friends and family; almost everyone has used an auto body shop at some point, and you’ll be surprised how much information you can gather by listening to other people’s experiences.

5. Trust Your Gut… and Relax

If you are searching for an auto body shop, you and your car likely just went through a stressful experience. Trust your gut after visiting the location; you want to leave feeling that the customer service seems knowledgeable about their industry and genuine about service. If anything about the experience seems not above board, keep looking, and use the tips above to guide you until you find a professional you can feel good about.

Choosing A Local Auto Body Repair Company

Ah, you have been in accident! Not a favorite experience of many people. Whats even worse than the actual fallout of the automobile accident itself is getting your vehicle repaired.

If you go through a reputable and ethical auto body repair shop you will end up with an automobile that drives and looks just like its was never wrecked. If you go through a shady company you will have a substandard vehicle that will have a really low re-sell value in the future. Here is what you can do to prevent the latter from happening.

Make Sure The Estimate Includes Factory Parts

How can one body shop give you an estimate that is half the cost of another? The answer usually is that one will use aftermarket parts that cost half the price.

This is very important to know! Aftermarket parts are usually not high in quality and many times do not fit exactly like original ones made from the actual manufacturer. Shops usually have to play and bend aftermarket parts to work and they do not usually last a long time. They can also compromise a car’s tolerance to withstand another wreck. A bumper for instance made by the manufacturer is made to withstand a certain impact. Its made to bend and crumple a certain way so that the people in the car absorb as little shock as possible. An aftermarket part may look genuine but it is probably made out of inferior materials and its threshold is a lot lower.

Demand that original parts be used to rebuild your car.

Check the Better Business Bureau for Any Complaints

Look up a company in the BBB and see if any complaints have been filed in the last year. If so try to inquire why. If a certain business has high stars and a high satisfaction rate then you have a good idea of what company you are dealing with.

Ask For A Couple References

Ask them to supply you with the name of recent customers who they have serviced. Call them up. See if these individuals were happy with the work that was performed for them. If an auto body shop is hesitant to supply with at least three names then I would go somewhere else.

Warranty

Any service like this should stand behind their work and offer some type of guarantee. They should back all their parts and labor with a warranty that lasts at least a year. If something falls off or if the paint fades after only a month then you want to make sure that they are willing to fix their mistake.

Ask To See Pictures

Ask a body shop to see some before and after photos. Do they have experience in doing the work you need done? Have they ever worked on your type of car before? What is the worst wreck they have fixed? These things are good points to keep in mind.

Buy Aftermarket Auto Parts Online and Save!

The internet has proven itself over and over again to be a great source for comparative shoppers looking to save money. The newest internet opportunity to saving your valuable dollars is on costly truck and car repairs. Auto repair savings has historically been limited to the Do it Yourselfer or the backyard mechanic – ultimately the savings came in the form of labor. Thankfully, those days are over, as more individuals are utilizing the internet to source and purchase the auto parts they need online and then bringing them to a local garage or backyard mechanic have them installed. The internet provides bumper to bumper coverage of virtually any and all truck and car parts and can offer significant savings over the local auto parts store. I have heard of savings of over 70% on some aftermarket parts. If you take the old standard calculation of car repair costs into consideration (50% parts + 50% labor) the overall savings could be as high as 35%.

Let’s take a typical 4 wheel brake job as an example. The vehicle I used was a 2001 Chevy Cavalier – 2.4 litre engine with front disc brakes and rear drums. I made a few calls to local auto parts stores (I purposely avoided dealerships and OEM parts to generate a better price comparison). I did not include calipers.

I was able to source front semi-metallic brake pads, front rotors, rear brake drums, rear brake shoes and new brake hardware online for $101.40 which included shipping and any and all applicable taxes – delivered to my door! The same brake parts (I specifically did not select any parts they classified as “Premium” level parts) from a local auto parts store came in at $345.47. To be honest I was a little shocked by the fact that I could save over 70% on aftermarket brake parts. I thought a 70% savings would be specific to parts that were normally “dealer” specific.

Couple of other things to take into consideration, I have heard that garages are starting to charge a higher hourly rate if you bring in your own parts, a corking fee if you will. Not unusual as they typically mark up auto parts that they purchase for you by at least 20%. The overall extra cost to you however is minimal as they usually receive a garage discount from the auto part store.

Another important consideration is to make sure you purchase the right auto parts online – determining with 100% accuracy which auto part fits your vehicle can be very difficult. Most online stores offer toll free numbers and friendly knowledgeable staff that will cross reference your vehicle to ensure you get the right parts. You don’t want to end up with parts you can’t use and have to potentially ship back at your expense (some online stores also charge a re-stocking fee). Another option is to contact a dealer to confirm the part numbers you need before you go online to purchase. Dealerships can use your VIN # and provide another level of accuracy when it comes to identifying the right part for the right vehicle.

Bottom-line, there are significant savings available online for auto parts. The days when the only way to save money on auto repairs was to do it yourself or hire the local backyard mechanic are gone.

All You Need To Know About Quality Auto Body Repair

With always expanding vehicles on the streets, individuals are generally seen attempting to park bigger cars into apparently smaller parking spots and it is not surprising at all that while doing this the cars get little dents and scratches. So, what should you do, neglect those to decrease the resale value of the cars or should you make a move and locate a quality auto body repair shop? Finding a decent auto repair shop becomes a lot easier once you have a better idea of what you are searching for.

  • A Few Qualities Of A Good Auto Body Repair Shop

At the point when searching for auto body repair shop where do you begin your journey to discover quality? The primary thing you might want to see is an auto repair they have done recently, or permit you to, have a walk around their shop. By taking a look at autos getting repaired, you can tell the level of service provided at that garage.

First of all, when taking a look at a completed auto body repair, what would it be a good idea for us to pay consideration on? Take as much time as needed, given your eyes a chance to look over the work done, do you find anything that instantly hop out, is the color coordination acceptable? Everything needs to look normal and untouched.

After that take a look at how it was concealed. Are there any indications of paint on the rubber lines, fabric or around the trims etc? Look down and see the boards and panels, a great auto body repair ought to be level and have no indications of swells or ripples. In the event that it’s not level it’s not done appropriately.

An experienced auto repair professional ought to utilize a sanding block at all times. Investigate the paint work, to search for any fine scratches or small pin openings. These are known as mapping out, and if they’re present then the job hasn’t been done properly.

You should also take a look at the general composition of the paint work, does everything match? An expert auto body repair professional will try his/her best to coordinate the texture of the spray work as good as a new one. This should be made possible by altering the spray pressure or changing the blend of the paint, yes, it’s a bit difficult job to do, but keep in mind that low quality repairs will affect the resale cost of your auto.

The above mentioned tips will help you find renowned auto body repair shop. If you’re willing to keep your vehicle’s body in the top-notch condition, then visiting the best auto body repair shop is quite important.

What Can Your Auto Glass Shop Do For You?

It has happened to most of us. You’re driving along, usually behind a truck, and a rock hits your windshield. When something happens to your car, even a minor “ding” to the windshield, it becomes abundantly clear how important glass is for visibility and a safe operational environment. All auto glass items are literally your windows to the world. So, don’t let auto glass repair or replacement problems go. What may seem minor, like that small crack in your auto windshield, or if you notice side windows that don’t go up and down smoothly anymore, can quickly escalate into much bigger problems that can cost a lot more.

What can your glass repair shop do for you? Let us count the ways!

Auto Glass Today

Today’s shop can rightly be called a “glass center” because of the full range of services, including:

  • Cracked windshield replacement
  • Chipped windshield repair
  • Power window repair
  • Side view mirrors
  • Car trim repairs
  • Glass replacements to meet industry standards
  • And even assistance with insurance claims

If you have been in an accident, call your local auto glass shop. Ask questions and find out how that shop can help with damage control and work with you to determine whether you should file an insurance claim. Your auto policy’s comprehensive section will usually cover damage and some shops will actually file the claim for you and handle all the paperwork too.

What else can your local glass replacement center do for you?

Residential Glass – The Big Bonus

Did you know the auto glass shop can actually help you with creating phenomenal customized looks for enhancing your interior and exterior home d├ęcor? This is a real glass shop bonus that many folks never even think of. There are more and more glass related products that can add comfort and beauty to your living space:

  • House window replacement
  • Insulated glass replacement
  • Single pane window repair
  • Storm windows and screens
  • Mirrors
  • Furniture/Table tops

For example, when you start looking and asking questions, you will discover many glass shop items that can be special ordered and customized to reflect your own home decorating ideas. For instance, protecting your furniture with glass tops makes sense to add to and retain the beauty of fine wood. Look for a glass shop that can create the shape, size and thickness you need and can meet your requirements for beveled edges, and seamed or polished edges. When your glass desktop or tabletop is cut to size and ready, it will present a shining surface, can be cleaned with ease, and best of all, it will be protected for the long haul.

Custom mirrors can make a dramatic impact too. Having mirrors created to your own specifications by the local glass shop you thought was only good for auto repairs is the new way to go. Now, you can create mirrored walls, size little mirrors to fit small spaces, bevel the edges, and have everything custom installed to add style and glamour to your home.

The New Glass Centers

The moral of this story is that once small local auto glass repair shops have now evolved. Replacement, repair and installation of auto or home glass now requires special training and techniques to meet challenges that have become more and more complicated with time. The little shops of the past have been transformed and radically changed with technological advances. The result is they are not just shops anymore, but could be called advanced “Glass Centers” because they offer services only offered by larger companies less than 20 years ago. They are the little shops that could – and do!

Help the Environment With Auto Body Repairs

We all live, breathe, eat, sleep, and enjoy our lives on the planet earth. Even though we do so much here and depend so greatly on our earth we continue to harm it by harming the environment. There are many things that we can do to help the environment and keep it clean for a long time. Things like not wasting water, recycling, not cutting down trees, not polluting the earth and getting auto body repairs. Yep, you heard right! You should get auto body repairs versus replacements parts or new vehicles to help the environment. Helping the environment is easy, find out how you can do your part by getting auto body repairs!

You are probably surprised that auto body repairs help the environment. Well, they do. Auto body repairs involve using the existing materials on the vehicle and repairing them. With means there is less trash to go to the dump. Whereas with auto body replacement there is a lot of waste going to the dump from the old part being thrown away and the packaging that the new parts come in. Also most auto body shops recycle what materials they do have to discard, which is a big help and keeps a lot of build up at the dumps. In case you don’t know there are many auto body repairs that can be completed on all vehicles. Some of these repairs include paint touch up, auto body repair, bumper repair, windshield repair, wheel rim repair, paintless dent removal and more. Also another plus with auto body repairs is that they can be completed quickly, usually within two to six hours. The best part is that they are affordable for most people and auto body shops will work with insurance companies. Make sure that you choose an auto body shop who is part of the “Go Green” campaign and that it is doing their part to help the environment.

Also, if you are thinking of getting a new vehicle because your current vehicle has a few damaged areas, you should reconsider. With so many different auto body repairs that can be completed there is no reason to just give up on it and get a new vehicle. Many times old vehicles end up in the dump if no one will buy them. So many cars go to the junk yard and the dump too soon. So, getting auto body repairs will keep less vehicles from being sent the dump too soon and filling it up. Also remember that new cars cost a lot of money. Auto body repairs can cost you some money out of your wallet, but not nearly as much as buying a new vehicle.

So, join everyone else with the “Go Green” campaign and do your part to help the environment! Doing something as simple as getting auto body repair instead of replacement. You will not only be helping the environment but you will be saving money and get your vehicle looking great for less!

7 Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

We rely on our vehicles to get us where we need to be. This means long hours on the road and lots of wear and tear on out vehicles – so by rights, auto repair services must be a part of our anticipated expenses. However, these vehicle repairs don’t have to a constant part of life. There are a number of proactive things we can do to keep the time spent at the mechanic’s shop to a minimum.

If you have never considered being proactive about auto maintenance, then now is the time to do so. Better yet, you don’t have to be an auto repair service specialist or have a huge garage full of tools to do these simple tasks. Rather, just some basic knowledge and tools will suffice. Let’s get started.

Tips for Minimizing Auto Repairs

1. Read the manual. Your vehicle manual will tell you things like how often to change the oil, what to watch for in how your engine is running and many other useful facts. Knowing and following them will save you a great deal of aggravation.

2. As soon as your engine light comes on, take it in for a diagnostic check. Taking care of small problems will prevent larger more costly ones.

3. Change the oil, add water, maintain the anti-freeze and keep up with any other liquids that need to be added to the car. This will keep its performance better and minimize risk of damage to other parts of the vehicle.

4. Keep your tires at the correct weight and amount of air. This information will be listed in your owner’s manual. Also, be sure to get them rotated as recommended. Failing to do any of this can result in a blowout.

5. Pay attention when you drive. Watch out for items on the road that can damage the wheels, or kick up into the workings of your vehicle.

6. Get your transmission serviced. Talk to the people who change the oil to find out how often this is recommended for your particular vehicle.

7. If you notice unusual sounds being made by your vehicle while you are driving, or if it seems to be shaking unnecessarily, take it in for a checkup. It’s always best to be told it is nothing to stress over than to ignore the sounds/shaking and find out there was serious problem or repair that could have been prevented.

When you take the time to maintain your vehicles, then you can minimize the time and money spent on auto repair services. To learn additional ways to get more out of your particular vehicle(s) talk to a local auto repair service team today.

Auto Repair Marketing – 4 Auto Repair Advertising Ideas

So, you want to get more cars in your shop to increase your revenues is that correct? Auto repair marketing via the internet is a great way to get more local customers into your shop! Online marketing has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years, and with phone books and Yellow Pages fast becoming obsolete, internet marketing is where the real profits are for auto shops. Here I want to share with you 5 auto repair advertising ideas that you can implement into your business to drastically improve the number of cars you service on a monthly basis!

1. You must have a website, and it needs to be designed using the WordPress platform. Most websites are basically just “flyers,” but with WordPress you can create great looking websites, integrate a business blog, install a form that automatically acquires leads for you, and integrate your website with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and other online marketing channels. Sounds pretty cool huh? The sad part is that typically an automotive repair shop will hire a web designer, and he will design a website as cheaply as possible and charge a large sum for the work. The web designer is not a marketing consultant, so instead of designing a marketing machine based on tested internet marketing principles, he simply designs a static site that is not conducive to internet marketing. I see it all of the time when I am look at people who are pushing auto repair marketing services.

2. One of the best auto repair advertising ideas revolves around social media. Websites such as Twitter and Facebook are really taking off, and smart auto shops are using these auto repair marketing platforms to promote their business and acquire new customers. The obvious question is “how can an auto repair shop benefit from Twitter and Facebook marketing?” Those sites are for kids right? Wrong! Facebook has millions of adults logging in on a daily basis, as does Twitter. By being on these sites, you are instantly in front of a large portion of your local or regional audience. Guess what happens when Sally needs a new transmission, brakes, etc. and she sees your businesses profile on Facebook? You have a new customer! Do a good job repairing her vehicle, and she comes back time and time again. This one person seeing your business profile on Facebook or Twitter could easily be worth thousands of dollars to your business!

3. Your website needs to appear in local search results on Google. It is not easy to get listed on the first page of Google and Yahoo, but with some good marketing it can be done. For instance, I am an independent marketing consultant in Atlanta, and I rank #1 on Google for the term “Atlanta independent marketing consultant.” In addition to this, I rank #2 on Yahoo for “Atlanta marketing consultant.” Trust me, having your website ranking highly for local keyword phrases can bring you a ton of new business! This is auto repair marketing at its finest! I have beat out over 2,000 websites to get those rankings, so don’t you think I could help your auto repair shop marketing efforts?

4. Another great auto repair marketing idea is writing information articles and press releases. I imagine you do not have the time to write articles, and certainly do not have the time to put together a well written press release. The good news is that you can get marketing firms to do this for you at a very reasonable price. I have written hundreds of articles promoting by marketing consulting business, and I can tell you it is an impactful and very affordable method to market your auto repair shop online.

These are just a few auto repair advertising ideas that you can add to your auto repair marketing arsenal. The best thing is to hire a professional marketing consultant who can come in and show you step by step exactly what you need to do to turn your internet marketing efforts into a cash generating machine for your automotive repair business!

What to Look for in an Auto Body Shop

Without knowing what to look for, choosing a quality auto body shop is tough. It’s important to select the right auto shop to ensure the vehicle is fixed correctly the first time. It’s also the best way to make sure the shop is honest and reliable. There are many important features of a good shop, including an experienced staff and certifications. It can also help to read customer reviews before making a selection.

A Certified Shop

A good body shop is certified by the largest auto organization. Facilities that gain the approval of the organization have proven their abilities as certification is often a lengthy process. To become approved, an auto shop must demonstrate it has the latest equipment, qualified technicians and a proper facility. It must also show it offers above average training to its employees. Larger associations always collect feedback from prior customers as well before issuing an approval. Auto shops can also receive certification from parts manufacturers and organizations like Autobody Alliance, which requires the shop to meet certain qualifications.

Qualified and Experienced Staff

A good auto body shop has qualified staff with a number of certifications. Certification from ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) is especially important. ASE is a non-profit organization that offers certifications to automobile technicians that show proficiency in their trade. Technicians may also have certification from car manufacturers like GM, Chrysler, Toyota and Nissan, showing their knowledge and experience dealing with particular car brands. Some auto technicians also receive aftermarket training from Bendix, Moog, or NAPA. Most training requires a great deal of knowledge and experience and demonstrates a technician is a professional in their field.

Positive Customer Reviews

When possible, former clients should be consulted about their experience with the shop. Some resources to find reviews are online, making it easy to decide if a body shop has good feedback from the public. Reviews should mention that the vehicle was fixed properly the first time and work was completed in a timely fashion. Positive reviews should also discuss whether a warranty was offered by the body shop and if the facility was clean and orderly. A facility that has the approval of a large automobile association has shown a history of positive feedback from customers, although it’s always a good idea to check into a shop as much as possible.

Accepts All Insurance

Another important aspect of a good body shop is its acceptance of all forms on insurance. An auto body shop that accepts all insurance providers demonstrates it has experience working with insurance companies to settle claims quickly. A shop that is hesitant to accept major insurance providers is a red flag that something may be wrong. This is also a matter of convenience and makes it easier for the vehicle owner to select a shop they feel comfortable with.

Selecting the right auto body shop requires a bit of patience and consideration. For example, choosing the first shop available can be a disaster if the employees aren’t trained properly. A good auto shop is clean and up-to-date with a friendly and knowledgeable staff. The shop should have positive reviews and a range of certifications for both the facility and technicians. It should also accept all forms of insurance, making repairs easy and convenient.

Auto Repair Sales – How to Sell $1,000,000 in Service

An auto repair sale is a popular topic with most shop owners. One million dollars seems like a magic number for a lot of shop owners. They’re either struggling to hit it, or they’ve made it and now they want two million or three million. Whatever the goal, fantastic auto repair sales performance is really quite simple (not always easy, but simple). To achieve outstanding auto repair sales performance you have to consistently do four things.

1. Listen carefully to the customer and quickly build rapport and relationship.

2. Ask for the largest possible sale while offering the greatest perceived value.

3. Get the work done. Quickly and correctly.

4. Lock the customer into a long-term relationship with your shop; repeating steps one, two and three at least three times per year.

In step one the key is quickly. To sell one million dollars (or more) in a year, everything is going to have to happen FAST! The rapport building process doesn’t have to take a long time. You can build a strong connection with a new client very quickly just by getting them talking about themselves.

Question: So, how long have you lived here?-What kind of work do you do?-How long have you owned the car?-Where’s your favorite place to go on vacation?-Tell me about your kids/pets… All these questions get the customer talking about themselves and give you plenty of opportunity to identify and comment on common points of interest or experience. None of this takes more than a few minutes, but during this process the vital process of trust building is occurring.

In step two, the key is asking for the LARGEST possible sale. Fear stops most salespeople from asking for the large sale. Instead they convince themselves that the customer will only accept a much lower figure; a figure that they (the salesperson) are comfortable with. This is why I spend so much time in the Advanced Service Writer Sales Training Class working on the closing question. The closing question is the key to overcoming the fear. With it memorized and practiced the fear subsides and the service writer is able to ask for much bigger sales than ever before. I’ve seen this tool add more than $300 per RO to a shops RO average. It is that POWERFUL!

The first two steps are pure auto repair sales step. Step three is a management step. The first two steps are all about the service writer controlling their actions. Step three requires them to motivate and lead someone else to action. The best way to do this is MBA “Management By walking Around”. It simply means you can’t forget about a ticket once it’s in the hands of the tech. You have to get out in the shop regularly (usually every 5-10 minutes on a busy day) and make sure that the work is moving forward. You have to quickly remove any obstacles to success such as parts problems, bad attitudes, or unexpected difficulties with the repair. This is a vital and often overlooked part of auto repair sales.

In step four we’re back to sales. The biggest missed opportunity in most shops is the opportunity to commit the customer to their next visit while they are checking out from this visit. All you have to do is tell them when their next visit is and most people will say ok. Notice I didn’t say ask them when they could make their next visit; I said tell them when their next appointment is. The key is assuming that they are going to return and doing them the favor of scheduling this. I teach several simple techniques in the Advanced Service Writer Sales Training Class that make getting this commitment very easy, simple and natural.

So, there you have it, the four simple (not necessarily easy) steps to selling one million dollars (or more) in service. If you consistently follow these steps the million bucks is yours! An auto repair sale isn’t difficult if you know the steps and have the tools.