You’re a great driver. You’re cautious, you follow the rules, and you keep a well-maintained vehicle. Unfortunately, these traits are not always enough to prevent collisions and other types of accidents. And when your vehicle has been damaged, Googling “body repair near me” may seem like the easiest thing to do.
Here’s the problem: The auto industry is huge, and countless companies are competing for the attention of car owners. So, when you search for nearby body shops, chances are you will see a lot of large national chains that care about the bottom line more than anything else. And if you’re looking for top-notch service, quality parts, and honest prices, auto body chains are not your best bet.
Granite City Collision has been providing customers in Surry County and surrounding areas with reliable, safe, fast auto repairs for more than 50 years. Below, we’ve outlined the benefits of choosing a local body shop, what kind of services you can expect, and more.
REASONS TO KEEP IT LOCAL
So, how can choosing a local body shop over a national chain serve your best interests? Let’s discuss a few of the most significant ways staying local can work in your favor:
Local body shops like Granite City Collision rely on customer satisfaction to remain in business. Without the resources of a large corporation powering our operations, our emphasis must be on providing high-quality service that won’t be found at a national chain. It all comes down to maintaining longstanding relationships with customers, a solid reputation in the community, and people spreading the word about our services.
On the other hand, auto body chains are powered by quotas, as is the case for any kind of big business in a competitive industry. In order to stay in business, these shops have to meet quotas, which are typically set by managers who know nothing about local customers and have never even been to the town where the shop is located.
This means that such shops are required to service a lot of vehicles in a short amount of time. The requirement to make a predetermined turnover drives technicians to work faster and order cheaper parts. In this case, rather than prioritizing quality, the bottom line and profits are in control.
When you take your vehicle to a local body shop, you’re much more likely to be met by friendly faces. Not only are accidents dangerous, but having to get your car fixed is inconvenient, and you may run into some unexpected costs. The entire experience can be frustrating and stressful. In other words, it’s not the best moment to have to deal with impersonal customer service. You don’t want to hear a technician or a worker at the front desk tell you about how this is against company policy or how that will require them to talk to their manager.
This is not a problem you’ll run into at Granite City Collision or many other local body shops. Rather than being restricted by rigid managerial structures or policies, we try to meet customers where they are. You can expect customized estimates and invoices for your repairs, and we won’t sneak in any unnecessary expenses. When it comes down to it, we will tailor our services to your needs and work with you in any way we can.
There are tons of auto parts on the market for every kind of repair and replacement. It matters which ones you use. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are hands down the best for any type of repair or replacement because they will provide a perfect fit for your specific make and model. Cheaper aftermarket parts will not. In fact, they can hinder your vehicle’s performance, cause a wide array of new issues, reduce the resale value, and lead to the loss of your manufacturer’s warranty.
Your vehicle was designed with certain parts and equipment. So if you think about it, won’t your vehicle function best when it’s using the parts that were designed for it? However, auto body chains will often opt for cheaper aftermarket parts. They have many of these parts on hand, which means they don’t have to spend time ordering a product and going through the shipping process.
While the bottom line and profits are important for any type of business to thrive, it’s usually not the primary focus of local body shops. We know that building a sterling reputation, forging strong customer relationships, and earning positive word-of-mouth advertising happens from prioritizing quality over quantity.
Overhead costs tend to make their way to customers in one way or another. And large companies have lots of overhead. They have an extensive staff, and those workers must be paid. This includes managers, directors, CEOs, CFOs, HR representatives, marketing teams—the list goes on. Not only that, but these companies must maintain office buildings that often cost a fortune. All of these expenses must be paid for, which is why it’s common for an auto body chain to charge more for labor or fill customer estimates with unneeded services.
Smaller body shops like Granite City Collision don’t have that kind of overhead structure to sustain. Having a smaller team typically means that each worker is responsible for many different roles. But it also means that the workers possess a broader understanding and expertise of the work they do, leading to more efficient services.
Unaffected by Insurance Companies
Body shops that are part of a national chain tend to make many of their decisions under the influence of insurance providers. That’s because these shops get a lot of referrals and work sent their way from such companies.
This close relationship with large auto body chains allows insurance providers to negotiate the lowest rates possible, which often benefits the insurers and not the customers. When the main focus of auto body shops is to uphold standardized prices for services, they will often search for shortcuts and perform low-quality repairs.
On the contrary, local body shops are more likely to perform whatever services each vehicle really needs (and at a higher level of quality). Essentially, local body shops are not bound by the demands of insurance companies, leaving them free and more motivated to satisfy customers.
Granite City Collision is the direct service repair company for many insurance providers. And we are committed to working with insurers who are not in our network. The difference is that we remain customer-focused.
CAN YOU TAKE YOUR VEHICLE TO A SHOP OUTSIDE OF YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER’S NETWORK?
If you have the appropriate coverage in your policy, your insurance provider may pay for the auto repairs needed after an accident. Insurers will often request that you take your vehicle to an “approved mechanic,” which essentially means a mechanic that is within your provider’s network. Every insurance company has ongoing relationships with certain body shops, and this results in an easier and cheaper process for the providers, but not always for the customer.
Your insurer will probably tell you to go to a specific body shop. While you are free to follow their request, you are also free to choose whatever shop you want. Sometimes, the shop your insurer suggests is the best way to get the fastest service, and if the shop is locally-owned, then you can also receive high-quality service.
However, if your insurer does not present the option for a reputable local shop, then you should consider going rogue! Otherwise, you could end up with subpar repairs that must be fixed later or that could even prove dangerous.
Here’s another thing to consider: If you already have a local shop that you trust, then you are likely familiar with the mechanics who work there. And the mechanics may even be familiar with the exact vehicle you are bringing in. This can lead to faster, higher-quality service than taking your vehicle to a mechanic who is unfamiliar with it.
It’s important to note that if you choose to take your vehicle to a shop outside of your insurance provider’s network, you may need to negotiate with the insurer. Your insurer will probably have to spend more time verifying costs and filling out paperwork, and you should plan to be involved in the process. Also, pay close attention to make sure your insurance company is not downplaying the damage to your vehicle or trying to save money in any other way. As long as you are willing to negotiate, you should be able to get your vehicle all the necessary repairs.
PRIMARY SERVICES OFFERED BY A BODY SHOP
Establishing a long-term business relationship with a local auto body shop can make your life much easier. When you have trustworthy professionals you can turn to after an accident, you can rest assured that your vehicle will get the care it needs. At Granite City Collision, we treat each vehicle like it’s our own, and we’re known to throw in extra perks here and there—wiper fluid or coolant anyone?—just because we can!
Moreover, going to a reputable body shop in your community will ensure that you receive the best value for your dollar—the highest quality of work with no hidden price gouging. Your local body shop should also be able to provide a wide range of auto body services. To give you an idea of the extent of work performed each day at a shop like Granite City Collision, here are a few examples:
Small and medium-sized dents are one of the most common types of damage to a vehicle. A qualified auto body shop can make these dents disappear without the added costs of painting. Rather than taking the hit on your resale value, get your dents fixed!
Extensive damage to your vehicle’s frame not only looks bad, but it can also prove dangerous for you and other drivers and lead to more accidents down the road. As long as your vehicle is salvageable, professional auto body shops have the technology necessary to measure and restore your vehicle’s frame to its perfect alignment.
No matter what kind of vehicle you have, you want the right color for all of its parts. You don’t want a door or a bumper that is noticeably different than the rest of your vehicle. By using computerized color matching, a trusted auto body shop can replace sections of your vehicle and paint them to the exact color needed. You won’t even be able to tell where the work has been done!
Auto accidents are stressful. And taking your vehicle to the first auto body shop that pops on Google or to whatever shop your insurance company suggests may seem like the easiest, quickest solution. But that’s not always the case.
Among other benefits, choosing a locally-owned body shop will ensure that your vehicle gets all the attention and care it needs, that quality parts and materials are used and that you receive friendly and professional service throughout the process. The next time you have the need for auto body repair, don’t hesitate to give Granite City Collision a call! (336) 786-2119