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?

Why the difference in price?

Estimates for repairs can vary tremendously. It is mind blowing that one shop gives you an estimate for $400.00 and the next shop gives you an estimate for $2200.00. We do not understand. Can the prices for the materials be that different? That is not likely. Is the labor doubled? There actually are logical reasons why the prices are often so far apart. Do not assume someone is trying to rip you off. Identifying items and labor you are being quoted for will allow you to make a choice based on equal repairs. In other words, you have to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. How do they determine their prices? Are you paying a set fee or an hourly rate? Are they using the standard repair cost calculations? How the shop determines the rates for their repair costs is a major factor in your price.


Ask the repair shops what kind of parts they are using in their estimate. Are they selling you new parts, used parts, or aftermarket parts? The costs of the parts have a direct effect on the cost of the repairs. Further, sometimes the difference in the cost of a new part over a used part is close enough that you may want to pay the difference in order to get the new part if it makes you more comfortable. None of these options are “wrong” but they are something that effects the repair costs and you must determine what you are willing to pay for. 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.

Location and overhead

A business in a prime location is going to pay a higher overhead than a business in a less populated area. The building, number of employees, and overhead cost of the super-store is absorbed somewhere. While large chains often have better prices due to their buying power, that is not always the case. A family owned business that is well established and has a low overhead is often the better choice. Be sure you are comparing like products and services in order to really understand the costs. Remember, you pay for convenience.


The warranty included will make a difference. Most shops offer a standard warranty on their workmanship and most parts come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but ask about warranties on things like the paint job.


Ask for references. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. Check the company’s status with the Better Business Bureau and the complaint record. How long have they been in business? Are they fully insured and bonded? These are standard inquiries we should make with any company we do business with.

In Spencer County, there are many quality auto collision repair shops. Here are two that we feel are exceptional. We encourage you to do your own research and find a shop that fits your needs.

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.