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Grahams Custom Body Shop 1121 Jensen Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23451 757-422-1966

As a large majority of the general public drives an automobile, it is important to have certain resources on hand which relate to the car. Things such as insurance companies, auto dealers and automotive parts stores are all important businesses to have close by should an individual need their assistance. However, perhaps the most important business contact an individual should have is an auto body shop. As a good auto body shop is important for your car repairs and pocketbook there are a few ways an individual should go about selecting the best auto body shop in their area.

Consider Recommendations Since many individuals use auto body shops, it is highly likely that one will know someone else who has also used a local auto body shop. As a result, asking for recommendations from friends and family members is a great way to select the perfect auto body shop. There are a few different reasons why considering recommendations is a good step to take prior to settling on a particular body shop. First, friends and family members will be able to state whether they have had a favorable experience with a particular auto body shop or not. Not only will they be able to comment on the overall cost of services but how the staff handled their automobile situation as well. This is a great point of reference when you are trying to find a shop that does good body work while charging a fair price. Another reason to consider asking for recommendations from friends and family members with regard to choosing an auto body shop is to make sure that the company you are considering dealing with will treat the customer in an honest and fair manner. As any individual who has to put their car in the shop wants it to go as smoothly as possible, asking for recommendations with regard to auto body shops will help because you will be able to find a good shop with reasonable prices. Have an Auto Body Shop Picked Out Before it is Necessary to Use One Because an inoperative car, due to an accident or otherwise, is already a stressful situation, one does not want to face any additional stress by having to find an auto body shop to fix their car at the last minute. For this reason, it is a good idea to have an auto body shop picked out before one even needs the assistance of one. This is also beneficial as the individual can check out the shop beforehand and ask questions of the staff, such as do they offer towing to their facility, for example, and receive answers to other important questions. Warranties Another factor to consider when wondering how to choose an auto body shop is whether or not the auto body shop offers warranty on any of its parts or services. Since warranties are frequently offered in auto body shops, if one shop doesn't offer many warranties or any warranties at all, then that prospective customer may very well wish to keep looking for an auto body shop that does offer warranties on its parts and/or services. When a shop offers warranties it makes the customer feel as if the shop is confident in their work and will do a good job. Payment Accepted Another factor which may be a determining one when choosing an auto body shop is what types of payment the shop accepts for auto body repair. If the auto body shop only accepts cash and checks in limited instances which must be paid up front, then perhaps considering another auto body shop which accepts many different forms of payment, such as a variety of credit cards, may be the best bet. In addition, auto body shops may sometimes offer installment plans which can work out well for those who are on a strict budget yet need to have their automobile repaired as soon as possible. Choosing the right auto body shop is a very important decision to make. By considering the previously mentioned tips when choosing an auto body shop, it may just help the individual choose the best possible one.

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Auto Body Review for Grahams Custom Body Shop

Choosing an Auto Body Shop that Works for You and Your Insurance By Jeff Rieger Last updated June 05, 2014

For More Free Online Car Insurance Quotes, Visit Our Car Insurance Resource Center. If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to know that auto body shops have your best interests in mind – and the same goes for doctors. Unfortunately, some body shops and doctors – the ones that tend to favor insurance companies – will routinely downplay claims, minimize auto repair costs, use cheap parts, or even neglect to fully treat ailments. These practices can devalue your vehicle or prevent you from a full recovery following an injury. Auto Insurance Questions Pocket Sized Print this out and bring it with you as you investigate possible body shops and doctors. Click to enlarge. To the left is a quick guide to establishing whether a doctor or auto body shop is truly independent, or if they’re really in the back pocket of the insurer. Protect you and your wallet by printing out TSD’s, “How to Sniff Good and Bad Service Providers.” Auto Damage Claims This section provides some basic principles on what to look for when choosing a auto body shop, as well as tips on how to be an active participant in your car’s repair to ensure that it comes out looking great and costing you no more than your deductible. Research Before You Repair, and Google reviews are useful sources to get a sense of a shop’s quality based on customer reviews, but take the online reviews with a grain of salt. You’ll want to pay attention to well-written, thought-out reviews – not nasty one-liners, since even the best businesses can end up with an unhappy customer from time to time. You may also be able to find discussion forums specific to your vehicle’s make and model where forum members can recommend good shops in your local area. some body shops and doctors – the ones that tend to favor insurance companies – will routinely downplay claims, minimize auto repair costs, use cheap parts, or even neglect to fully treat ailments…Sniff out good and bad service providers Choose a Shop with a Warranty Some auto body shops offer their own independent warranties on their repairs for fit, finish, functionality, and overall quality. Request to see their warranty and ask some questions about it before agreeing to do business with a given shop and make sure it doesn’t have a time limit. A good shop will offer a lifetime warranty. Keep Your Existing Manufacturer Warranties Intact Ask your chosen auto body shop if any mechanical repairs will void or alter any existing warranties you may have on your new or recently purchased car. Factory warranties on engines and accessories may be compromised if your car needs mechanical repairs following a collision, so be sure your car’s factory warranty isn’t being compromised with aftermarket or used parts, or repairs that otherwise aren’t manufacturer-approved. If your insurer is trying to “mandate” aftermarket or used parts that will void your factory warranty, demand that the insurer give you a written warranty identical to your factory warranty. Nine times out of ten they’ll simply pay for original parts, instead of giving you the runaround. pay attention to well-written, thought-out reviews – not nasty one-liners, since even the best businesses can end up with an unhappy customer from time to time Get More than One Estimate According to’s tips for car maintenance and choosing a body shop, it’s best to get estimates from several different shops. After your first estimate, show their estimate to the second shop and the third shop, and ask how they compare with the first shop’s quote. You might find that one or the other is skipping over a lot of important items. Don’t simply compare the final estimated cost, since one shop may be quoting for an entirely different method of repair than the other. You’ll want a shop that is both thorough and friendly. Be Picky – and Let Them Know It Make it clear to your auto body shop that you want all brand-new, factory-original parts used in your car’s repair. In some states, the law allows for used or aftermarket parts to be applied, but if they don’t fit properly or if they don’t match quite right, you have the right to demand new replacement parts that will restore your vehicle to its original condition. Let the shop know that you’re picky and expect high quality work. If you leave them with the opposite impression, your car might end up with some ill-fitted panels after the work is done, leaving your car devalued and in poor cosmetic condition. Go to a Shop Specializing In Your Car’s Brand Choosing a shop is like choosing a restaurant – you wouldn’t order Mandarin chicken at an Italian restaurant, so don’t try to get your Volkswagen fixed at a Honda specialist’s shop. It might work out fine for a basic repair, but it’s best to go to a shop that knows your car inside and out. Different car brands have a lot of nuances, so it’s best to go with experienced technicians. If your insurer is trying to “mandate” aftermarket or used parts that will void your factory warranty, demand that the insurer give you a written warranty identical to your factory warranty Get It In Writing When your insurance adjuster or auto body shop representative promises to “pay for everything,” “restore your car to its pre-accident condition,” or “completely cover the rental car,” make sure you get these types of commitments in writing. Even after a phone conversation, send an email to your adjuster or auto body shop to officialize the agreement or promises made and ask them to respond to clarify that everything is accurate. You’ll thank yourself later if you happen to lodge a complaint with their manager in order to get the service you were promised.

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Auto Body Shop

Grahams is the right choice for all your Auto Body Shop Repairs and Car Painting in Va Beach VA

It's not uncommon for estimates from different body shops to vary wildly. One shop might give you an estimate for $500 while another wants $2,000 for the work. What's the difference? And when is it OK to choose the cheaper shop?

John Mallette, owner of Burke Auto Body & Paint, in Long Beach, California, knows better than most people how to choose a reliable shop. Mallette started working on cars when he was 12 years old and has been in the body shop business for 24 years. Here are some of his tips for choosing the right shop to work on your car — particularly when you're the one paying the bills.

1) Pay Attention to Word-of-Mouth
Any business can advertise, but you'll do better with a shop that friends, family or acquaintances recommend. It's a business that has proven it can satisfy customers. And it might not be the biggest or best-known shop in your area.

Mallette went to a shop years ago on such recommendations and found that the owner was a "real stand-up guy.... He doesn't advertise on the Internet; it's a family-owned shop," Mallette says. "But, golly, if you take your car there, you'll get a fair price."

In some cases, you might get a recommendation for a small shop where the owner works on the cars himself. "That's how I like doing business," Mallette says. "To me it seems so much more personal and then you can understand what's really going on with your car."

2) Consider the Operation's Location and Overhead
"Where you get screwed in our business is labor hours," Mallette explains. His shop charges $40 per hour for labor. But in ritzy parts of West Los Angeles, the per-hour labor charge is $60-$65. In wealthy Newport Beach, California, Mallette has heard of $90-per-hour labor charges.

Large body shops with a lot of front-office workers probably have to charge higher rates to pay their staff. While service delivered by front-desk folks, managers and foremen gives some people a feeling of confidence in the business, it can result in estimates that are padded with non-essential work. When they're charging more labor hours at a higher rate, your bill can add up quickly.

In his shop, Mallette says he does things by the book — literally. Body shops and garages use reference guides that estimate the number of hours required to perform common repairs.

"Let's say somebody has damage to their fender, bumper and headlight," Mallette tells us. "I go to my book, I write an estimate and I basically go by the hours mandated by the book."

By contrast, the higher-end shops might decide to charge for everything in "the gray area," meaning those things that they might have to do to fix the problem. In Mallette's example, high-end estimates might include a charge for time spent removing the hood and the door, while his judgment call is not to perform this additional work.

3) Get Several Estimates
Taking your car to several auto body shops for repair quotes is the best way to avoid overcharges, Mallette notes. "I'll tell people to go get some estimates and bring 'em back to me. I'll match estimates if I can."

And while it's important to protect against being overcharged, you shouldn't simply take the lowest quote. "You might get some kind of midnight guy who will say he can do it really cheap," he says. "Stay away from those guys, because there is something they're not doing. You could have major problems down the road."

4) Ask the Right Questions
When choosing a body shop, "you don't go in with your pocketbook open," Mallette explains. "You go in smart," and ask some key questions. Does the shop provide a written warranty? And if so, for how long? What does the warranty cover?

A one-year warranty is a minimum, Mallette says. His shop offers a two-year warranty for body work and a three-year warranty for complete paint jobs. Some shops offer lifetime warranties as a selling point, but that isn't realistic, he says.

"Most of the stipulations and conditions those warranties require are more restrictive than the majority of people can adhere to," he says. "So basically, the warranty becomes useless."

Another key question is whether the shop carries fire and theft insurance. You want to be sure you're covered if your car is destroyed, stolen or burglarized. Don't forget to ask how long the shop has been in business. Make sure it has a business license.

You will also want to know about the materials the shop intends to use. Are new, used or aftermarket body parts going to be used? New parts are obviously the best and used parts are fine, though they don't offer the savings people imagine. Depending on the damage to your vehicle, aftermarket parts can save a lot of money and can be just as good as the ones that come from the original manufacturer. If paint work is involved, ask how many coats of paint and clear coat the shop intends to use.

5) Follow Your Intuition
Finally, it's important to trust your intuition about the shop you're considering. If a shop isn't busy, maybe that's because customers are avoiding it because of shoddy repairs. If the place is really dirty, cluttered or disorganized, this might reflect the kind of work you could expect the shop to do with your car. Is the shop owner or manager a grouch who seems to resent answering your questions? You'll be happier with a shop where the owner communicates well and is straightforward with customers.

"Trust your gut," Mallette says. "If your gut tells you the guy's shady I wouldn't even go there."

Why choose Grahams Collision Repair in Virginia Beach

Auto Body Shop Repairs Virginia Beach VA

I-CAR® Reports on Data Showing Collision Repair Shops with Gold Class® Designation Save Money for Consumers and Insurers

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HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., May 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Collision repair shops that have earned Gold Class® recognition from I-CAR® are producing significant cost savings for consumers and insurance companies, according to a new I-CAR white paper detailing the Q1 2015 Enterprise Rent-A-Car Length of Rental (LOR) report. Enterprise's data shows that Gold Class shops with well-trained technicians can repair vehicles faster, and as a result, shorten car rental days -- both important factors to reducing total cost to repair.

The analysis examined data for the first quarter of 2015 from collision repair shops in the U.S. with which Enterprise conducts business. Enterprise serves the $35 billion collision-repair industry, comprising over 34,000 facilities. Enterprise compared the market-average LOR for repairable vehicles across all shops in their database versus those shops that have earned Gold Class recognition from I-CAR. Gold Class shops have technicians who earned Platinum® recognition by completing industry specified levels of training, and this contributes to complete, safe and quality repairs that ultimately benefit the consumer.

While the national industry average LOR was 11.5 days, Gold Class shops averaged just 10.2 days, an 11% improvement. Further, the top 500 Gold Class LOR performers turned those repairs around in only 7.9 days, or a 31% improvement. Isolating on the 100 top-performing Gold Class shops, the average LOR drops to 6.5 days for a 43% improvement.

"As repair processes change with the onset of new materials and technology, it is imperative for repairers to be able to adapt to these changes," said Enterprise Rent-A-CAR Assistant Vice President Frank Laviola. "Failure to do so will result in increased repair time and compromised quality. The data shows Gold Class shops beat the overall industry by 1.3 days, and the top shops cut repair time down to almost half of the industry average."

"This new data further supports the significant advantages of Gold Class shops," said John Van Alstyne, CEO and president of I-CAR. "Not only are shops better qualified to perform proper repairs and do so more cost effectively, consumers and insurance companies also are saving money. And consumers also gain peace of mind, knowing technicians with updated industry-standard training are repairing their vehicles, which contributes to complete, safe and quality repairs. This data complements other related I-CAR data that shows the positive impact training has on shop KPI performance, and the further performance benefits that accrue to shops that possess a culture of learning or as I-CAR refers to it, a "Learning Culture."

Reduced LOR means reduced expense for insurers that must provide car rental coverage to policy holders with this provision in their policy. This also means reduced expense for drivers who do not have car rental coverage provisions in their policies, an expense they pay directly.

Knowledge and Training Improve Business Performance

The white paper furnishes details on the Enterprise LOR report and also analyzes the ROI associated with training and the further impact a "Learning Culture" contributes to performance. In research studies involving shops where technicians received I-CAR training, improvements were evident in four key performance indicators:

Shops improved cycle time (how rapidly they completed safe and quality repairs) by more than 14 percent.
They improved touch time (the number of hours a technician worked on a vehicle) by nearly 34 percent.
Frequency of supplements for necessary repairs overlooked in the estimate dropped by 11 percent.
Customer satisfaction increased 5 percent.

Improvements were even greater than the averages in those shops that approach training strategically, or those shops that possess a "Learning Culture."

"A tsunami of new vehicles enter the market each year, that increasingly include significant new technologies and materials as automakers seek to make vehicles lighter to meet tough new mileage regulations," Van Alstyne said. "It is imperative that the collision repair industry embrace an environment in which learning and knowledge are recognized as strategic assets that must be managed, developed and maintained."

To earn recognition as a Gold Class facility, collision repair facility employees must achieve and maintain a high level of role-relevant training, that addresses industry specified knowledge requirements across each of four key collision-repair roles: estimator, non-structural technician, steel structural technician and refinish technician.

About I-CAR

Founded in 1979, I-CAR is a not-for-profit education, knowledge, and solutions organization designed to support the evolving needs of the Collision Repair Inter-Industry. I-CAR is focused on improving the quality and safety of auto collision repair for the ultimate benefit of both the industry and the consumer. Visit to find a Gold Class collision repair shop.

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