It happens to all of us at one point in time. We get into an automobile collision and need the best auto body shop in Maplewood. Hopefully, it is not too bad and we are not seriously injured. But usually the car does not fare as well and comes away with significant damage.
What is the next step after your collision and you need an auto body shop?
Likely, after informing the insurance company you take your vehicle to one of their “approved” vendors.
Here is what happens next. You tell the insurance company what company you choose. By this time they have already taken phones of the car and know how extensive the damage is. If you need an expert to take a look, make sure you go to a repair shop in Maplewood.
They have a computer system that gives them a printed estimate stating what the replacement parts and labor will be based upon a set hourly rate.
This statement is given to the body shop. It comes with a break down of what the labor and parts “should” be and the company has to usually be able to totally fix the car for that price.
Wheel Alignment and Tire Pressure
Keep in mind that what is printed out represents the best case scenario and doesn’t allow for items on the car that was missed or problems that come up.
Now here are some things to watch out for. a local auto body shop in Maplewood is operating under very, very thin margins and the incentive to “cut corners” is huge. Getting an extra $300 off a job can really add up over the course of the month when you are talking about doing at least 3-5 vehicles every week.
How to Heat an Auto Body Shop
Replacement Parts in Auto Body Shops
Make sure the parts being used on your car are OEM parts. These are replacement auto body parts in Maplewood are sent directly from the car manufacturers and are designed with the same specs as the vehicle came with.
Aftermarket parts can be significantly cheaper yet are not the same quality and make not hold up the same in the event of another accident.
No Realignment? Talk to Your Auto Repair Team!
The frame is usually somewhat bent when a car goes through an accident of any kind. It needs to be properly realigned. You need a serious all hands on deck auto body shop to take care of you here.
Unfortunately, because the money made off one car can be very little the propensity to skip this step is very high. Later down the road this will cause your car to not drive straight but at a tilt and your tires will wear prematurely. So if you need to brush up on some tire repair, ask your mechanic straight away.
Using Bondo (Fillers) Instead of Replacing the Part
Filling any damage in with bondo is not bad in itself. If you know what the auto body shop in Maplewood is doing, they tell you, and this is what you are paying for then it is fine.
The problem comes in when you think you are getting a vehicle back that is 99.9% the same as before it was wrecked and it is not. Filling a damaged part in with filler rather than replacing the expensive part is a common tactic and you want to make sure it is not done on your vehicle.
What to Look for in an Auto Body Shop
All damaged parts should be replaced unless you are paying a lower price for the car to just be fixed (in the case you want the cheapest price and do not care about having a car exactly the same as before). Again, you should really speak to your best auto body shop nearest you!
Keep in mind that most auto body repair shops are honest and are surviving in a tough industry.
When you think of auto body shops, the first thing that pops into your mind is usually a place where you bring your car to after you an accident that needs some sort of collision or damage repair done; you might also think that an auto body shop is a place where you would bring your car to for some minor touch up work for various scratches or dents that have mysterious migrated onto your car. Thinking these things is by no stretch wrong but another thing that auto body shops perform is custom car modifications.The realm of things that can fall into the category of custom automotive work are endless. Everything ranging from body kits to mufflers and even paint jobs can be perform by your local body shop providing they have the proper supplies and equipment for the job. As with all things, some auto body shops have a better reputation then others when it comes to do custom work. A good thing to keep in mind is the workload of the garage you are planning on visiting on any given time. If the body shop you are trying to use is full of customers, they might very well be able to do the work but the turn around time would be long. If the reputation of the shop is good enough then it is worth the wait and going through the hassle of making other plans while your car is being worked on.After you have decided on the type of work you would like to have done to your car, you should specifically ask one of the auto body shops you have in mind if they can perform the job. If you have a fancy car that requires special tools of mechanical knowledge then it might be out of the realm of possibility for certain garages. It is also well worth it to research the auto body work shop you are planning on visiting in terms of any complaints filed against them before you bring your car in. The best way to do this is by looking on the Internet for reports filed against the shop you are interested in.Before any custom work is done to your vehicle you should ask upfront for a clear cut estimate and to be telephoned if any extra work needs to be performed that is vital to the success of the original job request. If you have found a good garage, they would not do any extra work without your prior consent or agreement.
Wheel Alignment and Tire Balancing: Why Are They Important?
The insurance companies nickel and dime them at every turn and they are made to give them at time ridiculous discounts to get any business. That’s why having an auto body shop in your corner can’t be stressed enough.
Nevertheless, all an auto body shop should be on is your side and corners should not be cut at your expense and being watchful is just a smart way to go.
Your Auto Body Shop In Maplewood Should Help You With What Car Needs Exactly?
- Hey Youtubers, Donnie Smith here, and welcome to my videoseries on auto estimating.
This series, we're gonna talk about how to write estimates on cars, you know, cars that have been in a wreck or has got a dent.
How do you write an estimate? (screeching) (boom) So to kick this video off, I'm gonna start it with a quote.
It says "organization is what you do before you do something,so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.
" So in this first lesson we're just gonna talk about estimates, what are estimates, supplements, how they're generated,who needs estimators, and kinda setting up yourestimating environment.
As an estimator, it'simportant to fully understand what all the purposes an estimate serves.
And it's also important to properly set up your estimating environment to become efficient at generatingthorough auto estimates.
And this also includes the ASE A1 Position thevehicle for inspection.
So what are estimates? I mean estimates, they'recalled different things, like a damage report, damage estimate, auto estimate, but they arebasically the same thing.
A damage estimate however, is more than just a sheet of paperlisting the total cost of the repairs.
An estimate is a contractor a mutual agreement between two people.
As with real estate,the owner and the buyer, they must agree on a price,and they sign the document, the contract and it's a mutual agreement, and a auto estimate, youknow, it's the same way.
There needs to be an agreement between the repair shop and the customer and the customer shouldsign that agreement to authorize the repairs.
Now one thing that the estimator needs to explain to the customer, and this is somethingthat's really misunderstood, is the estimate, it is just an estimate.
It could change, it'snot the final invoice.
A lot of things could factor into this.
Maybe there was some hidden damage.
Well, of course, they wouldneed to contact the customer and let 'em know, but it isgonna change the estimate total.
Maybe there was a price increase on parts, maybe that changed.
There's a lot of things that may make the finalinvoice a different price than the estimate was,and you as an estimator need to explain this tothe customer up front so they understand.
Any additional charges, you're gonna need to write a supplement.
The customer needs to understand this, and a lot of times you're dealing with insurance companies as well, and of course, they arefamiliar with the process.
And not only do you need to have good communication skills with the customer, you're also gonna have to work with the insurance, in many cases.
Not every job is an insurance job, but a big percentage of 'em are, so you need to be able to communicate well with the insurance company.
Now every insurance company,that's gonna be different, the way they do it.
Do you pick up a phone, call 'em, are you a direct repair show for 'em, that is gonna vary a lot.
But whatever procedure you do use, your shop, the insurance company, whatever relationship you have, it's gonna be your responsibility to make sure that the insurance company and the customer, that you communicate with them and they allknow what is going on.
Now the insurance companymay be paying for everything, everything except the deductible in some of these jobs, but keep in mind, the owner of the car,that is your customer.
That's the one that's gonna bring it back to you if they have problems, have another accidentor anything like that, so keep in mind that you'reworking for the customer, the car owner.
It's your responsibilityas the repair shop, to repair that car back to its pre-accidental condition.
So once everybody agreesto the supplements, the additional charges,the insurance company and the customer, now you can include these additional chargesinto the final invoice.
So there's different methodsfor writing estimates.
For a long time, Iremember whenever I started writing estimates, it was all by hand, using Mitchell manuals is what we used.
I'm sure there was other books as well, estimating guides, but we'd have to look up the car, then we'd have to look up the part, and we'd manually write all that in, write the price in, the labor for it, andthat took a lot of time.
Nowadays, they have computer estimates.
It's a lot faster, youput all the information into the computer, and it'smore of a point and click.
But even though they haveall the computers today, I still think it's important, if you're interested in estimating, I still think it's very important to learn to write one by hand.
Now the reason I say this is, you wanna understand the process cause a lot of the computer systems, they will deduct for overlap, for example.
They'll just automatically put that in.
Well you don't have to worry about it because it puts it in, but if you never understandthe process and why, you don't wanna look dumb to the customer.
Maybe the customer says "Well, what's this deduct for overlap?" You don't wanna just tell 'em.
"Ah, don't worry about it, the computer puts that in there.
I don't know what it is.
" You can honestly sitthere and explain to 'em, because you know the procedure and why it deducted for overlap.
And I think the better understanding of the procedures you have, the better estimator you're gonna be, the less un-includeditems you're gonna miss, and I think it's gonna make you a much better estimator, to understand the full process.
Now there is a sequence to estimating.
Most guides, like the Mitchell, the guides they have.
We use use CCC now, thecomputer system, CCC 1.
There is a sequence thatmost of these follow.
Now I don't know every system out there, but all the ones thatI use have a sequence, and it starts with the front bumper cover and ends with the rear bumper cover, so it starts from front to back.
So when you're writing an estimate, of course, you wanna startwith the front panels and move backwards, so youcan have the same sequence, so when you go to the computer, or if you're using an estimating guide, you can just follow that sequence, make it much easier forya, not flipping' around.
So follow that sequencefrom front to rear.
Now there's also anothersequence that it follows, and that's from outside to inside.
So for example, the front bumper cover, of course the bumpercover's on the outside, that's gonna be first.
Well, what's underneath that bumper cover? Well there's a impact absorber.
There's a reinforcement bar.
And it just kinda goes from outside to in for each part group.
So who needs estimators? Well, basically every repair shop.
Every body shop, dealershipthat repairs cars, they're gonna need an estimator and they need someone thatcan write the estimates, they can go talk to the customers, they can look at the car, and be able to writethe estimates for them, and also insurance companies, they also need a, theymay call 'em appraisers or estimators, they need people that will go and look at these cars and write the damage report for 'em.
Now smaller shops, you know, body shops, it may be the owner, itmight be the manager, the foreman that writes these estimates, but a lot of your larger shops, they have people just for estimating and some shops have multiple estimators.
And again, the title for this, it varies.
There is tons of them, customer advisor, a lot of dealerships and body shops call 'em different things, but it's basically someone that visits with the customer, you'reusually the first contact, that sees the customer, and you go and look at the car, andyou basically communicate with them for the entire process, from the time you write the estimate to take the keys and givethe keys back to 'em.
So it is very, veryimportant for this position if you're considering this as a career, it's very important to havevery good communication skills.
Now let's talk about settingup the work environment.
As with any workenvironment, it's important to be set up properly.
If you wanna be able to write estimates, generate estimates,thoroughly and efficiently, you need to be set up properly.
Now I remember when I usedto write a lot of estimates, I just wrote 'em out in the parking lot, and I'm sure there's still a lot of shops that do that, but if you have a stall set up for estimating, it's really gonna simplify the process and it's really gonna minimize the amount of supplements that you have.
And I think whenever inspecting a car, good lighting is very important and even if you have good lighting, or you're out in the parking lot, you know sunlight, that's good lighting, but there always are gonna be areas in these cars, maybe you gotta look up under the dash, or maybe you need to crawl up under the carand look at something, you really need aflashlight, a good flashlight to look at these things.
Because if you can't see inthose dark areas too good, it's really gonna be hardto determine what's wrong, and probably this is gonnalead to a supplement, once you tear it down, and that's something you wanna eliminate The less supplements, the better, which we'll talk about that more later.
And many times, the estimator's gonna need to inspect underneath the car.
Now if you have a stall set up, and you have a lift and everything, that works really good.
But not all shop estimatingstalls have that, but you do need to have a, nearby, in your stall, you need to have to have a jackand some jack stands, that if you do need to lift it up, that you can crawl under there to look at some suspension parts or something that may be damaged.
And it's also important to be well organized in your work area.
Be organized, clean, andprovide a easy workflow, to move cars in and out.
It'd take up a lot of time if you have to shuffle cars around, you pull a car in, you're in the middle of estimating it, you have to back it outto let another car out.
If possible, you don'twanna be in that situation, so have your stall setup to where you can pull a car in there and leave it, and it does not disturb the rest of the workflow with the rest of the shop.
And also stay organized.
You need to have the tools that you need.
You don't wanna haveto go through the shop, borrowing tools fromdifferent body techs in there.
Have the tools that you need.
You're gonna just need some basic tools, if you might have to do alittle bit of tear-down, but have your own tools set up in there, have your jack stands, your jack, for the things thatyou're gonna need to do.
Cause it's not gonnalook very professional if you're trying to write an estimate and you're running through the shop or going to grab a technician to come and jack the car up and all that.
So just be sure that you havethe things that you need, and make sure in your estimating area that everything has aplace, and that's it's in place when you're not using it.
So what tools do youneed in your work area? Well this is really gonna vary, depending on your shopand the shop's procedures and how they do write their estimates, it's gonna vary, but I'm gonna give you some common tools that most of you will have to use.
The estimator's gonna haveto take photos of the damage, photos to help others seewhat the estimate sees.
They need to tell a story.
Photos are documents to prove the extent of the damage to the customers and to the insurance company.
You need to take photosof the overall damage, just a big picture of what happened, but you also need to take photos of the individual parts that are damaged.
Now I've used iPhones, cell phones, they work good, but youknow Larry Montanez, he's a consultant, and he says you really need a better camera, a high-quality camera,one that can zoom in, especially like on someof your individual parts where you need a really good picture, he thinks probably youneed a higher-end camera.
And especially a lot of the repair shops working directly withthe insurance company, just from the photos, soit probably is a good idea to have a high-qualitycamera to take these photos.
And I remember whenever Iwas an insurance adjuster, we used to use a 35-millimeter cameras, and we'd take these pictures, and we would have to go get 'em developed, and that was pretty expensive.
I mean today, it is so simple.
You just take a picture,plug it into the computer, and there it is, and you can send it to the insurance company, the customer, or whoever.
And another good thingabout having a camera.
Most cameras, most cell phones, sometimes you may need to take a video.
I mean a video may tell the story better than just a still picture.
So most cell phones andcameras have the capability to take a quick video clipof what you're talking about, maybe you can point at something or talk about what you'retrying to point out, and sometimes that mightbe the easiest thing to do.
And of course, like I mentioned earlier, you need good lighting, and part of that, you're gonna need a flashlight because some of those places, I don't care how good the lighting is, you're gonna need a flashlight to see some of those dark areas.
Now you're gonna need some hand tools.
You're probably not gonna need a full, roll-around box like alot of your techs have, but just some basic tools, screwdrivers, wrenches,sockets, trim tools, just some of those basic things.
Maybe you need to take a bumper cover off or a door panel, just enough tools to get that off, justsome basic hand tools.
And you're just gonnaneed a paint mil gauge, and this just basically measures the paint to let you know are yougonna have to strip, partial strip, or you can youjust final sand and paint, because that's gonna determinethe cost of the estimate.
And it's also a good ideato have a body filler gauge or magnet to determine the area that you're gonna be working on, has it got prior damage or body filler, that may eliminates some problems that you could run into.
And you're gonna needsome measuring equipment, a tape measure and tram gauge, for sure, and there might be caseswhere you really need to put it on the frame machine, and get a computerized reading of the extent of the damage.
And you're gonna need a scan tool.
A lot of times with yourelectrical components, you don't know until you scan it, so you'll need a scan tool so that you can read the codes.
And you're gonna need estimating guides or a computerized system, so that you can get the parts prices, the labor times and all that, probably just about everybody has moved to computerized systems.
I know CCC 1, Mitchell,and there's others too, but you're gonna need something like that or there might still bea few shops out there that do use the estimating guide, smaller shops that don'tdo a lot of volume, they may use the estimating guides, but you're gonna need something that you can look up the car, get the price of the parts, and the labor time for those parts.
And you're gonna need some office supplies to write customers' names down, and notes that you'regonna take during the day, there's gonna be a lot of them.
You need pencils and pens and notepads, things like that.
You're also gonna need a place for your computer, of course, and you're gonna need a phone.
You are gonna be on the phone a lot.
You're gonna be calling theinsurance companies, customers, updating them on theprogress of their car, so you need to have an area that you can concentrate in and have a phone availablewhen you need it.
And you're gonna need an area to consult with customers.
Now this may be the areawhere you write the estimates and all that or maybe a separate area.
It's just going to depend on your shop and how they're set upand how they do that, but you're gonna need an area to consult with the customers, talk to them, and explainthe process to 'em, and explain the estimate to 'em, and hopefully sell the job to 'em.
And I know there are someshops that even have an area for the insurance adjusters, they have their own areato generate estimates and to consult with customers.
As always, I appreciate youfor watching these videos.
I hope you enjoyed the lesson about auto estimating.
I hope that you learned some from that.
And if you did, if you liked the video, be sure and give me athumbs up, give me a like, subscribe to us if youhaven't subscribed to it.
Share this with your friends and if you have any questions or comments, just be sure and go down below this video in the comments section, and there you can leavea question or a comment.
And remember, if something's worth doing, do your best and have a blast doing it.
Thanks for watching.
Take care, and we'll see you in the next video.