What to Look for in a Good Body Shop

Finding an honest repair shop that you can rely on to provide quality service is key to staying safe on the road and keeping money in your pocket. Unfortunately, choosing a reliable body shop is harder than it should be. Mechanics and body shops have a reputation for overcharging and recommending unnecessary maintenance services, and for car owners who don’t have a lot of experience with auto repair, it can be tricky to identify red flags. 

Luckily, there are steps you can take to screen a potential body shop so that you can be sure you’re working with someone who will get the job done right for a fair price. We’re here to provide you with a comprehensive guide to finding a good local body shop you can trust.

spring car maintenance

Finding a Good Honest Body Shop

Researching and choosing the right body shop can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’ve sustained a recent collision and need to find a place fast and for a fair price. But doing your due diligence is extremely important, especially when some shops make a habit of overcharging for repairs.

When it comes down to it, quality customer service is one of the most important elements of an honest repair shop. That’s why it’s a good idea to call around so that you can ask questions and get a feel for how they operate. Avoid shops that talk down to you, don’t give you enough information, or don’t take the time to answer your questions and understand your needs. Being overcharged by an auto body shop is never a good feeling, especially if you’ve suffered from a collision, so be sure to do your research and follow your gut.

Researching good mechanic shops


6 Things to Look For in an Auto Body Shop


1. Good Reviews & Word-of-Mouth Recommendations

While reading a body shop’s website is a great start, you’ll really want to hear from existing or former customers when looking for an honest place. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers if they have an auto body shop they use and trust. You can also find reviews online on sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and Carwise.

If you have an honest mechanic you’ve worked with in the past, it’s also a good idea to ask them to give you a recommendation; in all likelihood, they deal with local repair shops on a regular basis and know who to trust.


2. Comprehensive Services

Some body shops specialize in one or two types of work. For example, you might find a shop that primarily does painting or windshield replacement. While there’s not anything necessarily wrong with this, it’s important that you find a shop that will tell you the truth about what needs to be repaired – rather than simply offering you the services they specialize in. A shop that provides comprehensive auto body and collision repair services is often the best bet.

At Mackin’s Auto Body, we’re always upfront and transparent about the repairs your car needs, and we offer a full range of services to ensure we can thoroughly restore your car and get you back on the road as soon as possible:

  • Auto painting
  • Bumper and fender
  • Panel and frame
  • Dent removal
  • Fiberglass repair
  • Undercarriage repair
  • Hood repair or replacement
  • And more!


3. Specific Certifications for Your Car’s Make & Model

Cars are all pretty similar for the most part, but there are some differences between the various makes and models. When you’re looking for an honest repair shop that will know exactly what to do to repair your car, it’s a good idea to seek out shops whose technicians are certified for your vehicle. For example, a Tesla-Approved External Body Shop is certified to perform collision repairs specifically on Teslas.

In general, auto body shops who hold these kinds of certifications will display them on their website and/or on the walls in their customer waiting areas. You can also ask for a shop’s certifications over the phone when you book an appointment or visit in person. Not only is Mackin’s I-CAR Gold-Class certified (which is a standard only reached by the top 10% of shops in the industry), but we’re also trained and certified to repair Teslas, Hondas, and Subarus.


4. A Willingness to Answer Your Questions

It’s a good sign when an auto body shop is willing to answer your questions in depth. Untrustworthy repair shops rely on you not understanding the process so that you’ll be more willing to agree to unnecessary (and often expensive) services. A good shop, on the other hand, will not only answer your questions, but do so in a way that’s easy to understand no matter your level of knowledge.

If a shop is avoiding your questions, using unnecessarily complex terminology, or being alarmist about the state of your vehicle, it’s probably a good idea to walk away.


5. Estimates & Warranties

When you first go into an auto body shop, don’t go in with your wallet open. Make sure you get a detailed estimate for the work your car needs (which should include an estimate for the cost and timeline), and be sure to ask any specific questions you have about the repairs listed in the estimate. 

Never trust a shop that doesn’t offer estimates and written warranties for the work they perform. Depending on your time and financial constraints, it’s often a good idea to take your car to a couple of different shops and compare the estimates they provide. Not only does Mackin’s offer estimates – which only take about 15-20 minutes to perform – but once the estimate is complete, we’ll work directly with your insurance company to get your repairs covered, including any hidden damages we find after disassembling your car. 


6. Convenience & Location

Getting repairs for your vehicle can be inconvenient and stressful, and you definitely don’t want a long drive to your auto body shop, especially if your car is already in poor condition. That’s why it’s important to choose a local shop that you can get to quickly. This means that you can get minor repairs done efficiently without having to leave your car for too long, and you can more easily keep an eye on the process when extensive repairs are necessary.

Mackin’s has 9 locations in and around Portland to help ensure we’re easy to get to!


Honest mechanic


Mackin’s Auto Body: Transparency & Quality Collision Repairs in Portland, OR

Mackin’s Auto Body has been providing quality collision repair services for more than 75 years. We understand that being involved in an accident that results in extensive car damage is difficult and inconvenient. That’s why we prioritize transparency and efficient, reliable services at a fair price.

Contact us online to get a free estimate and be sure to check out our FAQs for more information.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts is the Director of Operations at Mackin’s Auto Body, where he has been making an impact since 2018. With a career in collision repair that started in 1999, Chris brings a wealth of experience and dedication to his role. Before stepping into his current position, he served as the Assistant Operations Manager at Mackin’s Auto Body from 2013 to 2017. Chris holds a BA from Northwest Nazarene University. When he’s not ensuring everything runs smoothly at Mackin’s, you can find him skiing down snowy slopes, wake surfing on sunny days, or cheering on his daughter at her soccer games.