Q: How many coats of paint will you put on my car?
A: "Most late-model cars are two-stage painted, which means they have a base coat and a clear-coat finish. The base is the color, and the clear is what makes it shine. Generally, we do five coats of color and three coats of clear. Back when we were using lacquer, it wasn’t uncommon for a car to need 30 to 40 coats of paint. But now, our paints are so high-quality that one clear coat equals seven to 10 lacquer coats."
Q: Are you going to put aftermarket parts on my car?
A: "I always use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts unless somebody asks for an alternative. If someone is paying out of pocket and trying to save money, I’ll go with an aftermarket part, but that’s often harder on me because they take longer to fit. Sometimes, a customer’s insurance company will authorize only aftermarket parts, so our hands are tied in those cases. Check your policy to be sure that it includes OEM parts."
Q: What’s your warranty on paint jobs?
A: "As long as you own the car, if the paint ever cracks, peels or otherwise malfunctions, we’ll redo it for free."
Q: How long will it take you to repair my car?
A: "It depends on the damage, but generally I stay pretty much on track. If it means staying at the shop until 1 a.m. to finish a job, I’ll do it…and I’ve done that many, many times. That’s something you won’t get from a big shop—they’ll just call and tell you the job’s been delayed."
Q: Will I be charged more if your estimate is more than my insurance company’s?
A: "I always negotiate labor and material rates with my customers’ insurance companies. It seems that, especially these days, most insurance companies’ rates vary across the board. I’ve never told a customer, ‘Your insurance company is only paying $67 an hour, and on the 77th hour you’ll have to pay the difference.’"
Q: What if you find more damage after the initial estimate? What happens then?
A: "It is very common to find additional damage once a body shop performs what they call a "tear-down" of a vehicle. When this happens, we contact your insurance company and explain the additional damage. Generally, your insurance company will authorize the additional repairs. This is called a "supplement". This does not usually delay your repair. However, in rare circumstances, additional parts may need to be ordered, which could cause a delay in the delivery time. And, of course, we will keep you informed every step of the way".