Beat Your Panel Beater With The Right Questions
When insurance companies handle different accidents, the main concern for the insurance company is how much money will they save, and the time needed to complete and restore the car back to normal. A panel beater shop has to answer to the authority of the insurance company, if they want to be compensated in a timely manner, and receive the most money. This can mean that your panel beater does a rushed job on your repair work, leaving you with a vehicle that isn’t what it used to be.
To reduce this from happening, there are some general questions that you can ask to make sure your car is ready and looks the same before your accident took place:
1. Time: How long will it take?
Before leaving your car with any panel beater, ask how long will it take for their company to restore your car. When asking this question, remember a panel beater, if employed by an insurance company, is looking at three things:
- Cost – the amount for tools, shipping and materials
- Labour – manpower
- Profit – will there be a gain or loss from working on this car quickly or slowly.
If the price seems high, price compare, and return to them with your own offer. This first question helps you see if the panel beater is truly skilled in his job, or trying to rip you off.
2. Skills: What are your standards?
Generally speaking, this open ended question allows you to listen for waffle or clear answers that earn your trust in leaving your car with them. Ask the panel beater to explain the process of repairing a car that has either light damage (headlight) or more significant damage (frame damage). One good tip to use to compare a panel beaters standards is by having your own personal checklist. For example:
- Doors line up
- Paint matches
- It runs
- Easy to steer
- All lights work
- Sounds the same or better when your brought it in
This is a short checklist to begin looking for opportunities to directly and discreetly check the standards of a panel beater to yours. Make sure they mention all of these during their discussions with you before handing over your vehicle.
3. Paperwork: Who files the paperwork?
Organisation is a key factor when having your car repaired. When beginning to file your paperwork for your insurance claim, asking a panel beater if they file this for you, will save you time. Three simple questions to ask are:
- Do you have your own legal team that helps file the insurance claim?
- Do I personally have to file the claim before the shop begins to work on my car?
- Who do I refer the insurance company to when they call?
Insurance companies, especially at-fault claimants, will look for loopholes, to either not pay for the repair, or reduce the amount they have to pay. Having a clear understanding if your panel beater offers this service is imperative to saving you time, and reducing a much larger headache with paper filing.
4. Transportation: How will I get around?
Depending on your coverage you could be liable for a rental car fee. Before agreeing to having your car repaired or towed, adequate transportation is vital and you should ask these four simple questions:
- Where will my car be towed?
- Will I have to find my own transportation?
- Can I specify where I want my car delivered (home, work, school etc.)?
- Do you offer rental car services, so that I can still carry on with my life?
Having these four questions answered appropriately should be a determining factor in choosing the best panel beater.
5. Testimonials: What are their customers saying?
Customer service reviews on local sites and on the panel beaters site, will give you a fair scope of the quality of work that is being produced. Reading between the lines of what is truly being said by customers can be your guide to choosing a reliable, efficient car repair shop. Always:
- Check the dates of current reviews
- Read specific reviews and see why and how the job was rated, either high/low
- Compare ratings with surrounding panel beater shops
- Compare how many positive ratings to negative ratings exist
- Check that qualifications and compliance certificates are current and displayed
Take the hassle out of looking for a reputable panel beater and choose PJ’s Panels. It’s a family run business that is serving the Melbourne area with over a combined experience of 70+ years. PJ’s Panels offers great quality at competitive prices and will help with every step of the process. Their customer service is principled in being friendly and personal. Remember your time is vital; skills have to meet your standards and beyond, filing your paperwork can easily be manageable, your transportation can be covered – if you start with PJ’s Panels.
Call today at 1300 545 363 and let us help you be on your way.
Image Credit: Robert S. Donovan