As if the stress of being in an automobile accident is not bad enough, now you are ready to take your car in for repairs and you immediately realize you are in a different world. We have all heard the horror stories. We want quality work, at a reasonable price. But how do we know what we are getting?

What are the reasons behind the different price estimates offered by repair shops?

If you’ve been contacting some auto shops with the purpose of getting some car repair estimates, you’ve surely noticed how differently each shop calculates their costs. It’s not uncommon to get an estimate for a $400.00 repair, and then to find out that the nearest shop is presenting a whopping $2200.00 estimate. What is happening here? Why such a large difference between companies? Is it because the materials are different, or because the labor work takes much longer in one of the shops? Do not assume someone is trying to rip you off. There are usually very reasonable arguments behind these shops’ estimates. Identifying items and labor you are being quoted for will help you to make a decision based on equal repairs. In other words, you have to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. You need to understand how their prices are being calculated – specifically, if they will be using the standard repair cost calculations and what kind of fee will you be paying (an hourly or a set fee?). These calculations will play a big part in your final repair estimate.

Types of vehicle parts

You should definitely ask the repair shops what kind of vehicle parts were they thinking of using when they calculated your estimate. It’s essential to know if their estimate included brand new parts (which usually include a manufacturer’s guarantee), or if they’ve chosen to work with used or aftermarket parts, because you might be better off in buying a new and more expensive part if the price is not that different from an old one. When you know these things, you have more control over what you’re paying and what you’re getting. The shop may be limited to the types of parts they can use based on your insurance coverage. This is something you need to know. The best way to find out it to discuss it with your insurance company before you authorize the repairs.

Shop location and overall costs

Any store that operates in a popular area must understandably pay higher prices to run the business than stores that are located in less populated areas. These bigger prices come not only from the location of the company, but also due to other factors, such as the size of the physical space where the store is located, the number of employees that work for the company, etc. You should choose the repair shop that fits your needs the best – for many of us, that sometimes means going to a smaller, family-owned business, with a smaller overhead than a superstore.

Warranty specifics

Any reputable auto repair shop will offer a warranty for their services. You’ll find that the majority of auto shops will present you with a standard warranty on the actual labor, and that most of the parts that were used will be protected by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, you should also ask about any warranties that the shop offers on services such as paint jobs.

Business reputation and legal matters

Before asking a repair shop to fix your car, you should absolutely do two things: asking for references and checking the company’s legal status. Your family and friends are the best people to ask for recommendations; after all, if they’ve been happy with the repair shop that they’ve been using, chances are you’ll be happy with their services too. We also advise you to check the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is operating under legal terms, and also to check their insurance.

Throughout Spencer County we can find many efficient auto collision repair shops. We feel confident in recommending two particular shops, because we believe they offer a truly outstanding service. However, you should definitely look into other shops if you believe they fit your criteria better.

Jaw’s Collision Center

Jaw’s Collision Center is a long-term member of the Better Business Bureau and is in good standing in the community. Their technicians are ASE certified and they offer a “new customer discount.”

Larry’s Automotive

If you want experience, you want Larry’s Automotive. This team has a combined experience of over 100 years! Customers and employees alike, stick with Larry’s Automotive. That is a good indication that they treat people right. Their online ratings are some of the best in the state.