6 Tips For Choosing The Best Panel Beater

These 6 easy tips will help you choose the right smash repairer for your car.

Published on Thursday, 20 December 2018 at 13:36
1. Make sure the smash repairer is qualified and certified

There are a number of professional organisations for panel beaters and smash repairers. The Australian Motor Body Repairers’ Association (AMBRA) is the national body for the specialist motor trade dedicated to smash repairs and the restoration of motor vehicles. Required certification varies from state to state. For example, in NSW, panel beaters and smash repairers must be certified by the Motor Vehicle Repair Industry Authority (MVRIA), so when you are investigating one they should have a Motor Vehicle Repairers Licence number they can provide for you.

In addition to the mandatory repairers licence, those who provide quality smash repairs will also have NSW Fair Trading Qualifications such as the Motor Vehicle Tradesperson Certificates (MVTCs). The most common for panel beaters and smash repairs operators are:
  • Vehicle painter- Paints motor vehicles. The qualification is a Certificate III in Automotive Refinishing Technology.
  • Panel beater- Repairs the structural components, frames or panels on motor vehicles (often called smash repairs).
One of the most widely recognised training standards of excellence is I-Car certifications. This internationally recognised qualification is made up of a series of certification areas that individual smash repairers can ascertain through special smash repairs training. When a shop has a I-Car Platinum certified smash repairer in each of the designated categories the shop obtains the much sort after I-Car Gold Class Professional designation making it an industry leader.

Third party industry verification can also be found for good smash repairers and panel beaters. For instance, DingGo verifies all smash repairers before adding them to their trusted network (find out more about the DingGo smash repairer review process).

Pictured below is the badge smash repairers and panel beaters receive if they have been verified by DingGo.

DingGo Verified Car Repairer

2. Check the smash repairer has a good reputation

Panel beaters and smash repairers with good reputations have built these up over time through hard work, high-quality smash repairs service and treating their customers well. A lot of their reputation lives in word-of-mouth with existing customers or with other professionals in the panel beating industry. Even if you don’t know someone who has used them, you can still get a good read on the smash repairers reputation by reviewing their website and social media platforms for customer reviews and feedback on the smash repairs service they have provided. Additionally, you can also check out the panel beaters reviews on other trusted industry services who capture customer ratings, such as DingGo. You can see our smash repairers and panel beater reviews here.

Some smash repairers may have won awards for their smash repairs service, they awards are offered by reputable industry bodies like Paint and Panel Magazine which runs the Paint and Panel Bodyshop Awards. You can see if a smash repairer or panel beater near you has won an award here.

Pictured below is the badge smash repairers and panel beaters on DingGo receive if they have a 4.5 star customer rating or higher.

DingGo Smash Repairs Customer Reviews

3. Never accept a smash repairs quote without some kind of warranty

Choosing a professional panel beater for your smash repairs can be a challenge. The quality of the smash repairer will vary along with the price. Fixed workshop auto repairers have a lot more equipment to provide more comprehensive smash repairs than mobile repairers. As such they often provide better warranties or guarantees on their smash repairs.

The best panel beaters offer a lifetime warranty or guarantee on their smash repairs, whilst others offer a number of years warranty instead. It’s important to ensure the warranties you get also extend to any replacements parts that were used as part of the smash repairs. You should always get these warranties confirmed in writing as part of your smash repairs quote or invoice. Always check to see if the panel beater you are considering has any stated guarantees on the panel beating they undertake. This is a sign that the panel beater is keen to protect its reputation.

Pictured below is the badge smash repairers on DingGo receive if they offer lifetime warranties for their smash repairs.

Smash Repairs Lifetime Warranty

4. Smash repairs quotes should be clear and detailed

One of the keys indicators of a good panel beater is transparency. Smash repairers often get a bad reputation for being ‘shady’ and not transparent but this is not warranted industry-wide. There are a lot of high quality, transparent and trustworthy panel beaters particularly independents who do smash repairs not associated with insurance claims (as insurance companies drive down their margin and force panel beaters to cut corners).

Take a close look at their smash repairs quote and the information that is provided with their quotes to check if the panel beater is transparent and trustworthy.

A good and reputable panel beater will always provide a detailed quotation before beginning any smash repairs work on your vehicle. When reviewing a quote you should be looking for the following inclusions to know it’s high-quality and trustworthy:
  • Total cost (ideally split by labour and parts)
  • If replacement parts are required
  • If paint is required
  • If additional panel painting and blending is required beyond your damaged panel
  • Any warranties
  • Time to complete the job
  • Available start date
  • Any additional services offered (eg. loan car or lift to nearest train station)
When searching for a price to repair your car it is important that you get a minimum of two quotations from two different panel beaters.The price difference can sometimes be quite substantial, often over 30%, which is why a detailed smash repairs quote is always so important to see exactly what you are getting for your money. If you want to save time driving around to get these smash repairs quotes and want to use an existing trusted network you can trust then just use DingGo to get three quotes from our trusted network of panel beaters local for you. Try our online quick smash repairs quote. process.

Panel Beater Smash Repairs Quotes

5. Check how long the smash repairs will take

Panel beaters’ workshop capacity varies shop to shop and depending on the time of year. That means you can often get quite varied repair times between different smash repairers. It’s important you get a clear repair time when they provide a quote for your smash repairs. That includes both the start date (as it may not always be immediate) and also the repair time which will include the return date when you get your car back.

If you read the reviews on prospective panel beaters you will quickly find out how other customers found the service and if it was long or painful. If you are not sure you can afford to have your car off the road for the time it will require to be repaired then don’t forget to ask the panel beater if they supply courtesy cars for you to use while your car is in the workshop.

Quick car repairs

6. Quality smash repairs and replacement parts will save you in the long run

Most people are surprised by how much it costs to smash repair their damaged car. Often small dents, dings or scratches can end up quite expensive depending on how deep they are, if the paint is damaged and which panel on the car needs to be repaired. It’s very tempting to just look for the cheapest smash repairs you can. Cheap panel beaters can seem like a great deal, but the poor workmanship and non-genuine parts can ultimately cost you a lot more in the long run.

To keep the repair price down, cheap panel beaters often use non-genuine aftermarket replacement parts that do not meet the specifications set by your vehicle’s original car manufacturer. These aren't subject to the same quality standards as genuine parts and can end up costing you significantly more in the long run as they may wear out faster, break easier, or simply not function as required.

Genuine parts are more expensive to buy upfront because they come with a lifetime guarantee from the vehicle's manufacturer and are made to precise fit and finish specifications.

Cheap smash repairers will also often avoid painting and blending the surrounding panels around the damaged area to match the newly repaired and painted panel. Avoiding this reduces the cost but it means your newly painted panel will stick out against those around it, like replacing a single tile in your bathroom. This will telegraph to future buyers that the car has been damaged in that area previously. If you want to know more about what paint blending is and why it’s required you can find out more.

Genuine Car Repair Parts

Still not sure what to do?

Finding the best panel beater is hard and can cost you time and money. These 6 easy tips will help you choose the right smash repairer for your car but if you still aren’t too sure, or thinking it might be too stressful or time-consuming then just use DingGo and we’ll do all the hard work for you.

All you need to do is upload 3 photos of your damaged car and give a brief description of the damage you want repaired, it takes 3 minutes tops. With that we will send it out to our network of trusted workshops and mobile panel beaters local to you. You’ll receive 3 quotes back in less than 48 hours and can choose the right repairer, time and price for you. Want to find out how much your repair will cost? Then get get started today.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. If you want to get your car repaired the easy way then just ask us for a quote. It's free and it only takes 3 minutes and 3 photos of the damage

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