29 April 2014

Charging to get quote on crash repairs

| JustSaying
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Recently I stupidly backed into a pole and got a scrape on the rear bumper bar – sufficient that I need to get it professionally repaired.

This morning I ventured into a local smash shop to get a quote. I wasn’t too fussed at being told she would book me in for an appointment tomorrow but baulked at being advised there would be a $55 charge for the quote – which would be refunded if I go ahead with the job.

I politely declined the appointment and rang another repairer who advised there would be no charge for the quote. So I’ll take it there.

I realise that repairers spend a lot of time giving quotes that do not result in work but I thought that was the “price” of doing business.

I would have thought a small private job would be cream on the top for these guys – obviously not. Suffice to say I will never return to this shop and will advise friends to avoid them.

I have to confess it is several years since I’ve dealt personally with a smash repairer so I may be out of touch. Just wondering if charging for quotes is becoming the norm these days?

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I had some minor repairs (cheaper than an insurance excess) done to my car last year and was surprised at the number of places that knocked back non insurance jobs or wanted a booking or fee for a quote. I also thought they would be happy to do a quick job for immediate payment.

I was looking in Mitchell and only found 2 places that would do private jobs and quote without a fee or appointment, ACT Auto Bodyworks and Kelley Bodyworks. I ended up going with Kelley even though the quotes were within a dollar of eachother as ACT Auto Bodyworks were a bit vague on when they could fit me in. The job was done a week later by Kelley and I was very happy with the service.

troll-sniffer8:16 pm 28 Apr 14

$55 sounds quite a reasonable figure for the task demanded. Not a businessman myself but aware of how costs eat into business profitability if not managed, and free quoting would possible wipe out a business’s raison d’etre, in which case the owner could probably benefit from getting a cushy APS job and join the whingers whose life experience in business is seeing uni-trained paypackets arriving in the bank account every fortnight.

Most of the good shops do it. It takes time to do a smash quote properly. The guy doing the free one is probably pulling some random figures from his head and whacking them down on the quote. If he under quotes due to not examining the vehicle thouroughly enough then he’ll most likely cut corners to do a crappy job or you’ll be informed halfway through that there is extra work and cost required.

The shops charging know that there’ll be other shops who will quote less, often just to get the job. The other common practice is people who’ve been run into, and don’t actually want the car fixed, they just want a quote they can use to get money out of the other guy, and then they’ll go buy a bumper from a wrecker and do a dodgy fit themselves and pocket the extra cash.

Yeah, I think that’s a “Go away” fee. The provider’s probably busy enough to not bother with your trade (unless you want to pay for the time they would otherwise be earning doing some other work). Giving a “getting out of bed” fee has a better result than just saying “Sorry, no – we’re too busy”.

Personally i wouldn’t bother with them, but wouldn’t feel to cut-up about it, they’re just overrun with demand and are making hay while the sun shines.

I also would expect private (owner) jobs are the least attractive type of work for a smash repairer because the customers have a variably-low technical knowledge, usually high mistrust and put in more effort/time for negotiation/education/arguing to minimise their outlay and maximise their returns.
(But I’m not in the industry, so I can’t say for sure)

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