For the majority of drivers, going to an auto body shop in Summit NJ is a mysterious experience, a scary encounter with the unknown.
Once you hand over your key, you instantly feel uneasy; will your car be returned as good as new, or will the repair specialists do a shoddy job?
How will you know? How will you be able to figure out if you hard-earned money is just being tossed down the drain?
The best way to know if you are receiving excellent service and professional care is to find a reputable Summit NJ Auto Body shop and then build a relationship with that shop.
However, most people who take their vehicles in to the Auto Body Shop are doing so for the first time. So, how do you know whether or not you can trust an auto body shop?
First of all, it is important to know that most auto body shops are reputable businesses. The majority of Summit Auto Body owners are just struggling to make a living like most small business owners – they want to do a great job on your car so you will return or refer others to their shop.
However, there are a few bad apples that spoil the whole bunch, and you need to be diligent when selecting a shop.
The first thing to do is get a referral or locate a shop online using reviews and testimonials.
One of the most puzzling things about shopping for relatively expensive services (more than $500) like home remodeling, cosmetic surgery, and auto body repair is the wide range of price quotes you receive for essentially the same service. When I ran an auto body shop, we would see quotes from big name shops of $2000 for a front bumper and grille replacement. Sometimes, we could do the job for $1000 and still make a fair profit.
So, was the big name shop's work better? Frankly, yes. Their painter could get a closer color match. Their body man could line up the bumper absolutely perfect...to within a millimeter of factory spec. But...was their work twice as good? Only a body man or painter could spot the difference. From a certain angle, in a certain light, he could see the slightest mismatch in paint color. And with a fine-grade ruler. He could check the gap between bumper and fender and find the slightest differences.
But could a customer perceive the difference between a $2000 and $1000 bumper job? No chance. If I could quantify the difference, it might be (an undetectable) 5%.
I'm not advocating that you choose the lowest bid every time (there are some bad shops out there), but as a former shop owner, I can tell you with confidence that it's seldom worthwhile to choose the highest bid.
You're going to want to choose the most affordable bid from a shop with a good reputation.
Here's how to find that "just right" shop:
1. Get at least 4 bids.
2. Toss the high bid.
3. Do some research on the remaining 3 bids.
4. Check online reviews: Google, Yahoo, Yelp, etc.
5. Check with the Better Business Bureau.
6. Inspect the shop...is it clean and orderly?
7. What about the customer service? Do they answer the phone? Are they polite? Do they answer your questions? Does the manager/estimator create a good, knowledgeable impression?
8. Do they guarantee their work? You will want at least a 3 year guarantee from defects like peeling and discoloration.
9. Usually, the shop will have completed cars waiting for pick up. Inspect the work. Would you pay for that work?
After you've done your investigating, circle the shops you felt comfortable with trusting your car. Trust your gut instinct! Then choose the one with the lowest bid. You'll get a repair that you will be very happy with yet spend hundreds if not thousands less.
Create a list and call each shop to see how well you are treated on the phone.
Select three or four shops that sound good and are in close proximity to your location, and you are ready to take your vehicle in for an estimate.
You should get at least three estimates from three different shops.
The estimate may vary because Auto Body Shops may use different estimating software, but they should all be in the same ballpark. If an estimate differs by a great deal, you should ask why.
The body shop expert should be able to explain all prices on the estimate, including all price quotes and labor charges.
When you get the estimate, you should also be evaluating the Auto Body customer service:
How quickly were you acknowledged?
How efficiently were you helped?
Were all members of the staff polite and friendly?
Did the staff seem knowledgeable?
Be observant during the estimate and you will have a good idea of how you will be treated during the entire repair process.
If the customer service seems lacking, move on to the next place even if the estimate seems reasonable.
If you decide to leave your car, and the shop contacts you later to tell you about additional charges, this may be a sign that it is not a reputable and honest repair facility.
Though additional charges can happen occasionally, it is not a common practice for a reputable shop.
If you do your homework, have some patience, and get a few estimate, the odds are good that you will find a reputable auto body shop.
Once you have found one, it helps to direct all your business to them, and refer them to others.
If you do this, you will have established a good relationship, and you will no longer need to worry about finding an honest auto body shop.
The Results Are In – Who Do You Think is the Best Summit NJ Auto Body in the Area?
Some of the biggest questions people run into deal with the repairing their vehicles. Many times people are confused and don't know how to go about picking the right auto body shop. What process should I run through in picking the right vehicle repair shop? What questions should I consider?
What value am I getting for my Auto Body Repair?
The most important question in determining what auto body repair shops is: What value am I getting in repairing my vehicle here? Many body shops out there are looking for unsuspecting customers and ways to pad their bottom dollar. A lot of times body shops will offer the lowest price because they know this will attract customers. Unfortunately, from a customer standpoint choosing the lowest price is not always the way to go.
Daniel T., Vice President of National Auto Parts, in Dallas, Texas, concurs that doing this will only create more car issues in the future. "Repairing your vehicle is always about what you get in return. These days, body shops continue to push the limits of their customers to see how much more they can get away with. At this point the body shop knows exactly what they're doing. Is the customer to know the better?"
What can I do to protect myself?
A solution that's been picking up a lot of traction recently is hiring a third party to assist you in this area. There are a few good car crash consultants out there that will help you figure out what's being put on your vehicle and how the vehicle's being repaired. When looking for a good car crash consultant selecting one that gives you a lot of insight on the repair and product being used is imperative. Using these specialists provides visibility in an area with many questions.
Another way is looking for a detailed report of the work being put into the vehicle and reviewing the warranty the shops offers. When you get into an accident, every insurance gives you an assessment of the damages, take a look at the sheets and read over to see what product they've listed for use. Auto Body Shops sporadically will attempt to use cheaper parts to make more money. Requesting the use of what's listed on your insurance assessment is not unusual and will help protect against this. In regards to warranties, most legitimate body shops will have an extensive warranty and stand by their work.
Where should I look for the body shop?
Driving to the nice plush auto body repair shops off the highway might be convenient, but doing this often drives up the price of the job. "All businesses have costs and are in it to make money. With this assumption, you have to believe any cost a business incurs will be passed onto their consumer," Daniel says. Hanging off the highway, and looking more in-city gives any prospective client a better chance to keep labor costs low. Prices per hour for labor can vary wildly from $30-$100 for the same type of work. Don't misunderstand the shop may not look the best, but you can be guaranteed going this route will provide good value.
Auto Body Repair: Pull on a 2005 Ford Focus
MUSIC HUNDREDS OF COMPLAINTS IN A MATTER OF MONTHS.
PARKING AND NOISE VIOLATIONS.
EVEN THE SITE OF A DEADLY-OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING.
(REPORTER: "AND WHAT IS THE ISSUE IN YOUR OPINION?") DARREN WYDERMYER: "UH, NO FURTHER COMMENT.
" MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, WE FIRST INVESTIGATED THIS AUSTIN NIGHT CLUB, OWNED BY DARREN WYDERMYER -- A BUSINESSMAN.
THESE DAYS, HE'S SWITCHED CAREERS.
OPENING UP TWO GARAGES IN AUSTIN CALLED "D- TOWN BODY SHOP.
"AND THE COMPLAINTS HAVEN'T STOPPED.
ROBERT:THIS TIME, THEY'RE FROM CUSTOMERS WHO TELL US HE'S HOLDING THEIR CARS HOSTAGE - SOMETIMES FOR YEARS!CASHING THEIR INSURANCE CHECKS, BUT NEVER FIXING THEIR VEHICLES.
SYDNEY:TONIGHT, THOSE CUSTOMERS ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO RECLAIMING THEIR CARS.
AFTER KXAN INVESTIGATOR BRITTANY GLAS TRACKS WYDERMYER DOWN.
AND EXPOSES HIS OPERATION.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: CRYING, "I'VE GONE TO THE EDGE AND BACK, MAN.
" WHEN CAMILO MACIEL TOOK HIS BRAND NEW FORD FUSION TO D-TOWN BODY SHOP BACK IN 20-16.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I HIT THE UNDERCARRIAGE OF MY CAR FROM A CURB.
SO, IT WAS JUST MINOR DAMAGE ON THE FENDER.
HE WAS HOPING FOR A QUICK FIX.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "GOTTA PUSH FORWARD AND JUST FIGURE IT OUT.
"LEFT WITHOUT A VEHICLE TO GET TO WORK.
AND SHUTTLE HIS KIDS AROUND.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I TAKE YOUR JOB AWAY AND OK, NOW HOW YOU GONNA EAT NEXT WEEK? AND IT'S NOT ONLY YOU, YOU GOTTA THINK ABOUT YOUR GIRLS.
" MACIEL SAYS HE CHECKED IN WITH D-TOWN OWNER, DARREN WYDERMYER.
WHO HAD ALREADY COLLECTED HIS INSURANCE MONEY.
AND WOULD BEGIN CHARGING HIM A STORAGE FEE FOR KEEPING HIS CAR.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "I NEED MY CAR BACK.
WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE IN? AND HE KEPT SAYING NEXT WEEK, NEXT WEEK, NEXT WEEK.
" WEEKS WENT BY.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "MY CAR WAS THE SAME.
SAME WAY IT WAS THE DAY THAT THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED.
SO HE STOPPED BY AGAIN.
CAMILO MACIEL, CAR OWNER: "THEN HE SAID YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU NEED TO GET OFF MY PROPERTY, CALLED THE COPS.
I SAID NO, NO, NO WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?""CALLING THE COPS" ON CUSTOMERS.
IS PRETTY COMMON AT D-TOWN.
HUNDREDS OF TIMES IN RECENT YEARS, ACCORDING TO POLICE RECORDS AND 9-1-1 AUDIO.
BRITTANY GLAS, REPORTING: "HI DARREN, MY NAME IS BRITTANY GLAS WITH KXAN NEWS.
I'VE BEEN TRYING TO REACH YOU.
HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY OF MY MESSAGES?" BRITTANY GLAS: PHONE MAKES END CALL NOISE.
"ALRIGHT, SO HE HUNG UP.
"WHEN WE SHOWED UP TO HIS SHOP IN SOUTH AUSTIN, HE LOCKED US OUT.
DARREN WYDERMYER, OWNER, D-TOWN: "YOU'RE NOT WELCOME.
" BRITTANY GLAS, REPORTING: "WE JUST WANTED TO TALK TO YOU BECAUSE A NUMBER OF CUSTOMERS HAVE REACHED OUT TO US, SAYING YOU'RE HOLDING THEIR CARS HOSTAGE.
"JEAN PELISSERO, LANDLORD: "I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY WORKING HERE.
"WE FOUND NEARLY TWO DOZEN OF THOSE CARS.
DUSTY AND STILL NEEDING REPAIRS.
ACROSS TOWN AT D-TOWN'S NORTH AUSTIN LOCATION.
JEAN PELISSERO, LANDLORD: "I SENT HIM A LETTER ASKING HIM TO TELL ME WHICH CAR BELONGED TO WHOM, BUT NEVER HEARD FROM HIM.
"THE BUILDING'S LANDLORD EVICTED D-TOWN LAST MONTH FOR FAILURE TO PAY RENT.
AND IS NOW WORKING TO GET OWNERS THEIR VEHICLES, INCLUDING MACIEL'S.
WE FOUND HIS - STILL UNTOUCHED.
MORE THAN TWO YEARS AFTER HE DROPPED IT OFF.
CAMILO MACIEL: "IT'S JUST UNBELIEVABLE THAT THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE GONE THROUGH THAT AND THAT NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE.
THEY'RE STILL IN BUSINESS.
"CAMILO MACIEL: "IT DIDN'T JUST AFFECT ME.
IT AFFECTED MY FAMILY.
IT AFFECTED EVERYTHING.
"SO WHY CAN'T THE COPS DO ANYTHING HERE?WELL, IT'S A CIVIL CUSTOMERS HAVE THE OPTION TO SUE, BUT THAT CAN GET EXPENSIVE.
AND HERE'S THE THING -- THE STATE DOESN'T REGULATE BODY SHOPS.
BUT WE'VE BROUGHT THIS CONCERN TO A CENTRAL TEXAS STATE LAWMAKER, WHO WANTS TO LOOK INTO CHANGING THAT NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION.
TOMORROW NIGHT ON KXAN NEWS AT 10.
WE'LL SIT DOWN WITH HER TO FIND OUT WHAT RULES COULD CHANGE.
TO PROTECT YOU FROM PLACES LIKE THIS.
KXAN BRITTANY GLAS.
SYDNEY:THE CAR OWNER IN THIS INVESTIGATION TELLS US - HE DIDN'T DO MUCH RESEARCH BEFORE TAKING HIS CAR INTO D-TOWN.
A SIMPLE CHECK WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU SHOWS THE BUSINESS HAS AN "F" RATING.
AND FAR MORE COMPLAINTS THAN OTHER BODY SHOPS IN THE AREA.
THIS INVESTIGATION ALL STARTED WHEN VIEWERS REACHED OUT TO US.
IF YOU SEE SOMETHING YOU THINK WE SHOULD INVESTIGATE, EMAIL.