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Auto Body Estimates: What You Should Know

Ever wonder why collision and auto body repair estimates can vary between 10-30%?

If you’re like most people, you’ll shop around for the best prices. Everybody does it, but the biggest mistake everyone makes is comparing only the bottom line. What is the difference if one estimate totals $900 and the next $1200. Of course, that’s a 25% difference. But, what you need to do is compare each estimate to know exactly what you’re paying for.

For example: an auto body estimate average bumper repair runs anywhere from $500 to $600. If somebody tells you they will fix it for $400 – you should question why. Will the shop remove the bumper from the car? Will they de-trim the bumper from all the lights and moldings, or will they mask with tape and leave tape lines which will highly reduce the quality of repair. No manufacturer masks panels or parts during refinishing.

You as a customer with an untrained eye will not notice the difference when you pick up your car. Problems will occur months down the line. The clear coat will show deterioration and will start peeling. With this the value of your car will drastically go down. You just spent $400 on your car and you think that you got a good deal. In reality, you lost $400 and to correct the repair you will have to spend another 50%.

Keep in mind that any business will not succeed if they can’t make money. Profits must come from somewhere. For some collision repair shops, the only way to cut costs to the customer is to cut corners on the quality of repair.

This is just one example of a small repair. When it comes to larger scale repairs which may require structural work you are technically at the mercy and honesty of the collision shop. Many shops will get you in the door and make you sign an authorization for repair by showing you a low ball estimate.

What they won’t tell you upfront is that there may be thousands of dollars worth of hidden damage. Once your car has been disassembled you will hear the bad news. What will you do then? Your car is in pieces and it is not cost effective to tow it to another shop. Your frustration hits the roof. Plus, shops may charge you an administration fee and for time spent on disassemble.

Another important question you should ask any collision shop before giving them the keys is: Does the shop follow manufacturer guidelines during the repair process?

Ask for an actual copy — if the shop can not produce it … run as quick as you can. Safety and quality should be first on your list of priorities, second getting the best value for your dollar. That is the foundation of business principles at Southwest Collision.

We will take the time to educate you and give you all the options. We will explain the effect your decisions will make. It is your car and it is your decision to make, but it is our obligation to make sure you are making an educated decision. We are here to help and serve you the best way that fits your situation and circumstances.

Call us or stop by for a FREE computerized, detailed inspection and estimate.

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