August 1, 2018

If you’ve recently been in an auto accident, chances are you’re looking for a quality, reliable service provider to get your vehicle back on the road. But auto body repair can be costly—so it’s important to take all of your options into consideration before you make a decision.

Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between car dealerships and local auto body shops.

What do they specialize in?

When it comes to dealerships and smaller shops, they often have two entirely different goals. Since dealerships are so focused on car sales, the service department is only a portion of their business. Within these departments, several technicians work on hundreds of cars each month—with the car manufacturer in mind.

When you work with a local repair shop, their entire business is auto body repair. Their focus is getting you back on the road safely and quickly. These shops also have loyalty to the consumer, versus loyalty to the manufacturer.

What is the difference in cost?

One of the most common differences between a dealership and a local shop is the price of services. According to AutoMD.com, over 80% of vehicle owners feel overcharged when they work with a dealership. Because of this reputation alone, many customers prefer to service their cars at a nearby collision shop over going through a dealership.

Local repair shops also tend to be more lenient with available options. Where dealerships may have one solution for your vehicle, a local repair shop will usually be more upfront about the options you have when it comes to parts, price, etc.

How important is customer satisfaction?

While price is important, it comes down to knowing and trusting the hands working on your vehicle.

When it comes to customer service, auto body shops are second to none. At dealerships, they may be able to offer manufacturer-backed warranties. But a customer is also seen as just a number in a line of others. At your local body shop, on the other hand, customers are known by name and treated as a friend in the neighborhood. Local shops start from scratch to build relationships with paying customers and work hard to maintain those relationships over many years to come.

What is their experience?

It’s important that the facility you choose is qualified to work on your car. They must be up to speed on the latest training, equipment and certifications.

At a dealership, you’re generally going to work with an employee who understands issues with a specific make of a vehicle (because that’s all they work with). At a local shop, employees may have many more years of overall experience because they’re not restricted to working with one specific type of car. Since this will vary depending on each situation, it’s important to weigh your options.

Locally owned auto repair shops also tend to have a lower turnover rate—which indicates quality of service. If employees have chosen to stick with a company for several years, this speaks to quality of management and positive culture of the shop itself.

What’s under warranty?

At a dealership, you can often schedule routine maintenance and repairs without having to worry about warranty issues or manufacturer standards.

To that same point, a common misconception surrounding car repairs is that you must go to the dealer in order to be under warranty. This is not always the case. In fact, most warranties can be used at a local shop just as easily as a dealership. It’s important to reach out to your local shop during the process so you can accurately weigh all of your options.

Dealerships vs. Local Repair Shops: Which do you choose?

Depending on the type of service you need, both dealerships and local repair shops present several benefits. But if you’re looking for state-of-the-art services at an affordable price, an auto body shop is the place to take your vehicle. Northeast Collision is known for its certified technicians, high level of customer care, and dedication to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

Whether you’re looking for an estimate, already have an estimate, or would just like to speak with one of our professionals, we’re here to help. Stop by any of our locations (no appointment needed) or contact us today to learn how we can help.