Sometimes at Mid Island Collision, we will get a customer that claims that our estimates are too expensive. Insurance companies love to throw us under that same bus, and in the past, they have even told customers not to come here. If you were to compare our “estimate” to a competitor’s estimate, our price would be higher than theirs. Our estimates will also contain way more lines of things we are going to do than theirs will. There is a valid reason for that which we will explain below.
If you are out there right now shopping around for estimates to fix your car, do yourself a favor and stop. Modern body shops are moving away from the old practice of giving people an estimate. Before starting any repairs, you will need some formal agreement describing what the repairs are going to cover and how much you or your insurance company will be charged. But the old ways of walking out looking over your car, inputting some parts prices and handing you a paper are over, at least for the modern body shops.
And why is that you ask?
A lot of that has to do with how cars get damaged in an accident now versus even just a few years ago. Your vehicle is designed to protect you in a crash by transferring energy around you instead of through you. This is accomplished through the use of multiple materials and various steels that react differently in a collision. As a result, a front end hit could even cause damage to the rear of the vehicle depending on how the structure was designed and how hard it was hit.
The old method of writing estimates to fix what you see on the outside can’t possibly accurately estimate the cost of repairing the vehicle properly. And that is the purpose of an estimate, to estimate the costs thoroughly to return the vehicle to its pre-accident function and appearance.
In its place, we now have a repair plan. This involves a partial teardown of the vehicle to find all the damage, careful research into the manufacturers repair databases for the correct procedure, a summary of all the parts and assembly materials such as clips and sealers, foams and adhesives, and of course the labor.
When you look at a Mid Island “estimate” or repair plan compared to a competitor, you will probably see a few more pages in our plan versus the competitors “estimate.” Our repair price is also going to vary drastically.
Some customers will look at an estimate like ours and freak out. They may think we are trying to overcharge for every little thing, but this is a misconception and the wrong way to look at it. As an example, if you were in need of a life-saving medical procedure, would you feel more comfortable with the doctor who sat you down and explained every single thing they had to do to cure you? Or do you choose the doctor who simply states the diagnosis and sends you to the front desk to schedule your surgery? Collision repair estimates should be viewed the same way. Just as with a life-saving operation, a collision repair can affect your health should you get into another accident in the same vehicle. Improper repair procedures could render your vehicle unable to protect you in that second collision.
We contend that the body shop with the longest, most thorough repair plan IS the only shop you should choose. That is the only shop who has spent the time and effort to research how the manufacturer wants the car repaired, has looked up all the materials and their costs, has planned out the entire repair on paper and prepared all the documentation needed to get started immediately. That is the only shop who you should trust with your safety.
Unfortunately, not all body shops agree with that. Many are still suck in their early 1990’s ways where it didn’t really matter much what the manufacturer said, if they even had recommendations at all. In the early 2000’s cars were still built with the same materials as they were in the 50’s and you could just about fix them all the same way regardless of manufacturer. Those days are over.
If you are shopping on price, you are not getting a “deal” with the other guy. You are most likely getting a death trap that looks like your car did before the accident but is still as unsafe safe as it was after the accident.
Therein lies the difference between a Mid Island Collision “estimate” and one from our competition.
Ready to get your car fixed, right? Click any of the links below to tell us when you want to drop it off.