While there are certainly lots of honest mechanics and repair shop establishments out there, the reputation in general has been a bit sullied. Let’s face it…it’s pretty easy to rip people off in this arena because the average person knows jack squat about cars and what labor and parts are supposed to cost.
Then there are the issues of shoddy work, and repairs being delayed. Like any line of work, there is the good, the bad and the ugly, and there are no guarantees. But, with a bit of due diligence, you can minimize the chances of lining up with a winner repair shop. Here are just a few tips to get you started on your mission:
Word of Mouth
One of the top ways local businesses get new clients is good old word of mouth. Happy customers share their experiences, and the recommendation of someone trusted who has actually dealt with the business means a lot, and people feel comfortable patronizing it.
So, a good place to start is asking people you know if they can recommend a repair shop. If you are considering using one, ask people if they are familiar with it, and if they have used it before.
Consumer organizations are a great place to start your search. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to inquire about repair shops and their reputation. The Better Business Bureau is another great resource. According to the BBB, auto repair shops rank 12th on its list of businesses with the most complaints. The presence of complaints is not necessarily a problem, as most businesses will come across them at one time or another. The key is to look at how, and if, the issue was resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. You also want to consider the nature of the complaints.
The Internet is Your Friend
Check if a business has a web presence. Their website can tell you a lot about the business, and give you information that can help you decide if one shop may be better than another in terms of pricing, services offered, etc…
For example a gander at the Premier Auto and RV shop, which serves the Falcon and Colorado Springs area, shows this particular establishment offers a shuttle and discounts for certain groups of people, such as military professionals.
Look for repair shops that have the blue seal of certification from the ASE—Automotive Service Excellence. To gain such recognition, at least 75 percent of employees must have ASE certification in all the areas of repair or support where said certification is offered. At the very least, look for repair shops where the technician who will be working on your vehicle has received the certification, which is a nationally recognized standard of auto technician competence.
Follow Your Gut
Last but certainly not least, don’t discount your intuition in the process. If you are getting a bad feeling about a location, or the person you are speaking to, don’t just dismiss that. There is a reason you feel uncomfortable, and it is best to just keep looking.