After a vehicle accident, many drivers fear their car may never look or function the same again. This fear is caused by the possibility of working with an ineffective collision repair shop. Drivers want the peace of mind that comes from knowing their vehicle is in good hands. Unfortunately, many collision repair shops betray their clients’ trust and use cheap materials, poor craftsmanship, and lackluster customer service. Not every auto body repair shop can return your car to normal after a car accident. As a highly trusted collision repair shop with over six collision repair locations in Washington, Collision 1 Inc. knows what it takes to provide the service needed to properly repair your car after a collision or other car accident causing damage to your vehicle.
If you know what to look out for when searching for an auto body repair shop, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble. In today’s post, we’re going to share our tips on how to choose the right auto body repair shop for those searching within the Bellevue area.
1. Look for Honest Reviews
When an auto body shop doesn’t have online reviews, it’s a red flag. Collision 1 is proud of its reviews and sees reviews as an important part of building consumer trust, and if there’s a lack of reviews, or if the reviews are mostly mixed or negative, it’s usually because of these things:
- They lack experience. Shops with little experience will have few reviews. When you’re dealing with a problem with your vehicle, you need a shop with years of successful experience.
- They do poor work. If you see negative reviews, read them to see if its due to the quality of craftsmanship.
- They provide bad service. Customer service is what separates the good shops from the great ones. A repair shop that provides good customer care is worthy of your trust.
When you look at reviews and testimonials for Collision 1 Inc., you’ll notice our clients rave about our expertise, quality of work, and phenomenal customer service. This is one of the main reasons first-time customers return to us when they need important body work done. Over the years, thousands of customers have reviewed us. Here is a link to a page on our website that has links to the reviews for each of Collision 1 Inc’s six locations, including reviews from Auburn, Bonney Lake, Bellevue, Centralia, Northgate and University in Seattle.
Many of the questions you have about the business can likely be answered if you take the time to read and analyze the reviews. Don’t hire a Bellevue collision repair shop without first checking if they have honest reviews. Too many unsatisfying stories can be shared by those who didn’t.
2. Do They Have a Repair Warranty?
A reputable Bellevue auto body shop will have a lifetime warranty that covers their repairs. Understand that mistakes can occur in a body shop, and if you’re not protected by a warranty, these mistakes can be costly. In some cases, many repair shops add on more issues than the car had before the collision. A lifetime repair warranty can put these concerns to bed. Here are some good tips if you want to find a good warranty:
Get lifetime coverage. Some problems take time to manifest, and if these problems are caused by the repair work that was done, you’d be forced to repair them out of your own pocket if the warranty expires after a certain length of time. A reputable Bellevue auto body shop like Collision 1 Inc. will provide lifetime warranty coverage that can protect you years down the line.
Ensure it covers defects related to workmanship and materials. If your car doesn’t work like it should, or if there are some problems with its appearance, the warranty will cover the costs to repair it. At Collision 1 Inc., we have an ironclad warranty that will cover defects like chipped paint, peeling, cracking, fading and chalking. We’re a Vision One Warranty Center—only shops who are certified painters will have this type of warranty.
Ensure repairs don’t void your car manufacturer’s warranty. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if the correct parts are not used to repair it.
3. Do They Work with Multiple Insurance Companies?
If the Bellevue auto body shop that you’re considering doesn’t work with your insurance company, you will be wasting your time. Dealing with your insurance company after an accident can be a huge headache. If the collision repair shop can work with your insurance company on your behalf, you can save time and energy. Our collision repair shop, for example, has established strong relationships with many of the leading insurance providers, and we have the expertise to handle your claim.
Your auto body repair shop should be able to…
- Help you call your insurance provider (if necessary). Before the shop gets to work, you’ll need to file a claim with the insurance company. While this is something that you can do yourself, it doesn’t hurt if the auto body shop can do it for you.
- If you don’t know how to deal with insurance providers, dealing with them can be a bit complicated. A good collision repair shop should be able to simplify the process, while also getting you the best result.
- Properly appraise the damage. Using digital photos, the estimation is sent to the insurance company.
4. Are They Certified?
Don’t make the mistake of leaving your car in the hands of those who lack the proper certification to legally do business. Make sure their license information is visible and is up to date.
For example, our repair shop has been certified through VeriFacts, and our technicians receive ongoing training through I-CAR.
Dealing with an uncertified body shop can be a costly, unnecessary mistake.
5. Do They Focus on the Finishing Touch?
Cosmetic work is what separates the average body shops from the exceptional ones. When considering an auto body shop, ask the following questions:
Will the paint match the rest of the car? A qualified collision repair shop will be able to color match any part of your vehicle.
Do they use high quality paint? Your Bellevue auto body shop cannot neglect the quality of the paint when they do their work. Before you hire them, ask the shop about the quality of their paint materials.
What’s their restoration process? Getting a car back to how it appeared before the collision takes work. For quality work, the auto body shop needs a process that’s proven to get the job done. As an example, here’s ours:
- Evaluate the vehicle and determine what needs to be repaired.
- Order replacement parts and materials.
- Pressure wash the vehicle. Before we paint, we must ensure the car is fully cleaned.
- Prep, prime, sand and seal the vehicle.
- Tape and mask around the areas that are to be painted. This is to protect parts that don’t need paint.
- Apply paint using a multi-step refinishing technology.
- Reassemble parts that were removed before the painting.
The goal of any auto body repair shop is to have your car look as if it was never in an accident. By answering the questions above, you’ll know if the shop truly cares about the finishing touch.
6. Do They Give You the Terms in Writing?
Unprofessional, fly-by-night shops are notorious for doing work without giving the terms in writing. If the collision repair shop claims they’ll “pay for everything” or “cover the rental car”, you need to get these commitments in writing before you do business with them. Even if you’re on the phone with your insurance adjuster or your auto body repair shop, send them an email that confirms everything that was talked about over the phone. If they give you something to sign, take some time to look it over. Making sure you get the important details in writing can save you if you ever need to lodge a complaint.
7. How’s the Customer Service?
What’s the best way to know if the body shop is a good fit? Talk with them. Are they rude and dismissive? Do they take the time to ask thoughtful questions that can help them better serve you? Working with a collision repair shop with poor customer service can be a nightmare, but you can avoid this by simply talking to them to get a feel for their business. Don’t settle for just any body shop because you want to get the repair done as quickly as possible. Take a little bit of extra time to vet and screen your choice. You will very likely be glad you did so.
A car wreck can leave you wondering how your car is going to look in the future. Choosing the right Bellevue auto body repair shop can ensure that your car reverts back to its former appearance and function. Collision 1 Inc. has locations in Bellevue, Auburn, Bonney Lake, Centralia, and Seattle, and we specialize in getting vehicles road-ready. Work with an experienced auto body shop that has the training, equipment, and expertise to get the job done. Visit our website (www.collision1.com) or call 1-800-348-9085 for your free estimate.