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why is it so hard to find a good body shop? #4444446
06/28/17 11:32 PM
06/28/17 11:32 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,698
Chicago, IL
tomcat27 Offline OP
tomcat27  Offline OP
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,698
Chicago, IL
Years ago I had two different friends in the business; and their work was flawless. now? I can't find a good shop; the last two cars I had fixed needed rework. (big run in the clear coat on a Honda; on the Nissan they put on the wrong grill, bumper was crooked, headlamps not aimed; after re-doing the bumper, now one edge of the good is 3/16" higher than the fender)

wife's car just got hit while parked; I'm afraid to take it in!


2019 Cherokee, 2015 Rogue, 2014 Sentra, 2001 Camry, 2005 Starcraft, 1998 Dodge B1500
1996 Sebring Jx, 1984 F150, 1970 Cougar, 2013 XT250, 2010 Vstar, 2014 CTX1300
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444447
06/28/17 11:41 PM
06/28/17 11:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,323
Santa Barbara, CA
bdcardinal Offline
bdcardinal  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,323
Santa Barbara, CA
The good shops are out there but they are expensive. For the most part people don't take pride in their work anymore.


2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

Ford/Mazda Parts Counter
NRA Benefactor Member
Opinions expressed are my own.
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444448
06/28/17 11:41 PM
06/28/17 11:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,699
Phoenix, AZ
Nick1994 Offline
Nick1994  Offline
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 10,699
Phoenix, AZ
Have you looked on Yelp?

When I got rear-ended in the Sonata 2 months ago I found a highly rated shop 2 miles away. They did a fantastic job.


2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L 84k Mobil 1 AFE 0w30 & OEM
2000 Toyota Camry 2.2L 230k Valvoline 5w30 & Fram Ultra
1996 Jeep Cherokee 4.0L 147k Mobil 1 HM 10w40 & Fram Ultra
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444450
06/28/17 11:44 PM
06/28/17 11:44 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,897
Utah
CKN Offline
CKN  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,897
Utah
We don't have the problem here. There are many good shops. I would suggest using the reviews that are online. Google reviews/Yelp, etc.

Either your experiences are isolated or your area has a real problem hiring people that care. Equipment is state of the art-but there still has to be a caring employee operating the equipment.

However-insurance companies have driven down what they are will to pay to have body work done-perhaps this has something to do with it as well.


One has to inspect the car before picking it up. Don't sign off until your happy. Getting something corrected after sign-off is difficult.....at best.

Last edited by CKN; 06/28/17 11:47 PM.
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444456
06/28/17 11:51 PM
06/28/17 11:51 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,323
Santa Barbara, CA
bdcardinal Offline
bdcardinal  Offline
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 11,323
Santa Barbara, CA
One thing to try, stop by some of hte local car dealers and ask the parts department who they use. I say parts since we are the ones that write the purchase orders. That being said we use one that is cheap and does alright work, but I tell people if they want it done like show quality, go to certain places.


2014 Ford Mustang GT Track Pack
1995 Ford Mustang GT

Ford/Mazda Parts Counter
NRA Benefactor Member
Opinions expressed are my own.
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: bdcardinal] #4444467
06/29/17 12:25 AM
06/29/17 12:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,897
Utah
CKN Offline
CKN  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 3,897
Utah
Originally Posted By: bdcardinal
One thing to try, stop by some of hte local car dealers and ask the parts department who they use. I say parts since we are the ones that write the purchase orders. That being said we use one that is cheap and does alright work, but I tell people if they want it done like show quality, go to certain places.


Very few family cars warrant that.

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444472
06/29/17 12:32 AM
06/29/17 12:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12,903
Northern Kentucky
901Memphis Offline
901Memphis  Offline
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12,903
Northern Kentucky
I'm guessing the majority of car owners aren't as picky as most enthusiasts so the shops get by with what the can most of the time to save money


2012 Chevy Cruze LT 1.4T - 50k
2002 Buick Century 130k - Built 4T65e(Maxlife) - Edge 0w40 + Fram XG3980
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444474
06/29/17 12:39 AM
06/29/17 12:39 AM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,743
North Carolina
rooflessVW Offline
rooflessVW  Offline
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 4,743
North Carolina
I always take my car to a high-end body shop. Whoever repairs BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Aston, etc... gets my business.


"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444486
06/29/17 01:35 AM
06/29/17 01:35 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 583
Under the hood
Carmudgeon Offline
Carmudgeon  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 583
Under the hood
Unfortunately, the business has changed, and not for the better.

Sadly, it's like healthcare now; instead of old family practitioners whom you knew and trusted with generations of your family, things work line an assembly line now -- impersonal, get people in/out as quickly as possible, most importantly for what the insurance company is willing to pay.

Due to an inattentive driver (texting), last year was the first time I had the need for a body shop in over 15 years.

I had expected to go back to a shop I had used earlier -- well-known by enthusiast/club members for quality work. They weren't cheap, but despite that, appointment books were full, and there was some waiting involved.

It turned out that, like a lot of formerly independent, family-owned businesses, they had sold out to a larger chain, Caliber, in this instance. Between partner retirements, and the loss of a valuable referral stream, the 45-year old business was having a hard time, and selling out became an attractive option. The shop was now a "preferred" provider for an insurance company.

I had them write a quote anyway, which was high, and it didn't help that the estimator was generally dismissive, if not condescending.

So, I went in search for a new shop, and must have visited 10 or so. Most were obviously production-line shops, doing "good enough" insurance company work on frequent visitors like rental cars. That, I wanted to avoid.

I finally narrowed it down to three -- a one-man shop, and two still independent shops with a family or employee lineage. I think the one-man shop would have done good work, but when dealing with sole proprietorships, it can work out good or bad when things go wrong, depending on the person involved.

I didn't want to chance that, so it came down to the two indies, and I had a hard time choosing. In the end, I chose the one that had more Yelp reviews (50+, almost 100% 5-star FWIW), and "nicer" cars in their shop. The other shop had the most fantastic estimator I encountered (who was in line to buy the business once the owner is retired), but since I happened upon them late, the comfort level didn't quite match that of the other.

The result -- disappointment. Despite the work being confined to the replacement of the rear bumper, it was poorly aligned, and clear coat had surface contaminants.

The owners had been great, and worked with me to ensure OE parts, and allay my OCD fears. In the end, the work was let down by sloppiness and lack of quality control. They had no problems working with me to rectify the issues, and in doing so probably cost them money on the job, but that could had been entirely avoided if they had a better handle on the work their employees were producing.

I do wonder how the other shop would have done, but at least I know I've found a good candidate should I need body work in the near future. I hope I don't.

Like a lot of other businesses, indies are selling-out, or disappearing. Personal attention, time, and pride/quality of work are the victims. The insurance companies can guarantee a steady stream of referrals, but at their fixed costs, allotted labor periods, and whatever parts they can get cheapest. That's how things run now.

The other thing that struck me is the sheer volume of work that takes place. I've only had to make use of body shops three times in all my years of driving, and all were the result of someone else's actions. W-T-heck are people doing?

Last edited by Carmudgeon; 06/29/17 01:35 AM.
Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444509
06/29/17 03:44 AM
06/29/17 03:44 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 593
Margate England
Claud Offline
Claud  Offline
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 593
Margate England
That's how business is done nowadays.
Most people want cheap. It doesn't matter if the job is c##p, it's cheap c##p, that's what counts.
Noticed how many dollar stores have shown up everywhere?, selling junk, but it's cheap junk, stores that want to take pride in their products and services are going to the wall...

Roger.

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444525
06/29/17 05:06 AM
06/29/17 05:06 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 21,633
Orlando, FL
Mr Nice Offline
Mr Nice  Offline
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 21,633
Orlando, FL
Quote:
Sadly, it's like healthcare now; instead of old family practitioners whom you knew and trusted with generations of your family, things work line an assembly line now -- impersonal, get people in/out as quickly as possible, most importantly for what the insurance company is willing to pay.


Yep and the low paid guy doing the work only wants to slap things together and move onto the next car.

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444554
06/29/17 06:22 AM
06/29/17 06:22 AM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,194
New York City
SeaJay Offline
SeaJay  Offline
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 1,194
New York City
Perfection cost $$$$.

Lots of folks want it, but few want to pay what it really costs to get it.

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444567
06/29/17 06:49 AM
06/29/17 06:49 AM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,628
Dallas,Tx USA
aquariuscsm Offline
aquariuscsm  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 18,628
Dallas,Tx USA
All bodyshop work I've seen is shoddy,and looks like total [censored].


1996 Nissan 300ZX 5-speed,Arctic Pearl(#175 of 300)
Quaker State Ultimate Durability 10W30
2012 Honda Accord Coupe EX-L 2.4,auto,San Marino Red
Quaker State Ultimate Durability 5W20

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444579
06/29/17 07:21 AM
06/29/17 07:21 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,352
MI
doitmyself Offline
doitmyself  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 6,352
MI
My experience pretty much reflects Carmudgeon's. Spend a bit of time trying to choose an indie shop, only to end up with mediocre results and wondering if the other shop would have been better.

Maybe ironic, but the best work I had done in the past was by dealer body shops. It's like shopping for a Dr., surgeon, or dentist. Very difficult to collect good information.

Re: why is it so hard to find a good body shop? [Re: tomcat27] #4444611
06/29/17 08:12 AM
06/29/17 08:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 29
KY
pburchett Offline
pburchett  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 29
KY
1. Most people don't care as long as it will start and go
2. When a deer ran into our car the insurance co payout was $1000 under the body shop estimate. Insurance only wanted
To pay for used/refurbished parts. I did most of the work and had the best local shop to do the paint. They sucked on bondo work and paint finish. They were highly recommended by other body shops. Oh well

Last edited by pburchett; 06/29/17 08:13 AM.
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