What is a panel beater?

Panel Beating and panel beaters explained

Published on Wednesday, 26 January 2022 at 00:00

What is a panel beater?

Matilda Douglas-Henry

Panel beaters, also known as smash repairers, are essential to ensuring that your car is repaired back to roadworthy condition in the event of any sort of incident that has damaged one or multiple panels. This article will unpack what exactly a panel beater is, including: 

  1. How to determine your need for a panel beater
  2. What a panel beater does
  3. How much panel beaters charge per hour 
  4. Factors that affect panel beater costs
  5. How to save costs on panel beating services

What is a panel beater

What does a panel beater do?

Panel beaters are masters of their craft, and have spent years refining their skill set to effectively remove both cosmetic and internal damage to the panels of your vehicle. For this reason, all panel beaters have a slightly different approach, but in general they all serve the same overarching mission to restore vehicles to the condition they were in prior to experiencing damage

The first thing a panel beater will do is assess the damage, and the areas of your vehicle that require repairs; this will allow them to give you a quote, as well as an estimated timeframe of how long the repairs will take. Then they will remove the affected panels from the frame and get to work—or, if the damage is too extensive and beyond repair, the panels will need to be replaced. 

Panel beaters are familiar with a variety of procedures and techniques that allow them to restore your vehicle. 

These include: 

  1. Applying special fillers to repair dents and scratches; 
  2. Filing and sanding so the damage is smoothed out and blends in with surrounding panels; 
  3. Installing any body hardware that may have been damaged, like locks or sensors; 
  4. Using dent removal or Paintless Dent Removal (PDR) techniques to eradicate certain dings, dents and scratches without requiring the need to repaint; 
  5. Repainting the repaired panels to match the colour of the car and surrounding panels
  6. Reassembling and refitting the repaired parts

How much do panel beaters charge per hour?

The average hourly rate for panel beating in Australia is $35/h. This covers general panel beating practices and does not include the possible need for replacement parts*.  

Panel beating can cost anywhere between $350 and $6,500; the margin is so vast because of the many iterations of damage that warrant the need for panel beating services. A light scratch, for example, might cost around $100, but a deeper one is more in the $1,000 range. Similarly, large dents can cost anywhere between $600 and $1,200

It’s no surprise that smashed car parts cost most of all, particularly when that damage covers multiple panels. If you have a massive dent on the whole front section of your car, expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000

What are the factors that affect the cost of panel beating services?

There are many factors for a panel beater to consider before they give you a final quote for repairs. As is always the case with car maintenance, the make and model of your vehicle plays a huge role. If your car is decked out with customised features, or has advanced and specialised technology built into it, it will cost you more than a standardised vehicle. 

There’s a high chance that your vehicle may require new parts due to extensive damage. This is another expensive cost, because panel beaters will always send for replacements from the authentic manufacturer. It may seem tempting to go the cheaper route and settle for non-genuine car parts, but it will only cost you more down the line. 

Then there is the matter of paint. A high-quality paint job is always going to be pricey. It’s certainly worth it, because cheaper or isolated paint jobs will fade and scratch over time. Panel beaters will use PDR techniques when they can, but if painting is required you want to make sure you’re getting the good stuff. 

Can I save money on panel beating?

Yes, and the best way to do this is to do your homework. As we mentioned earlier, all panel beaters are different, and some will naturally be more qualified than others. Panel beaters will be able to assess a certain extent of the damage by a photograph, but make sure you get an in-person consultation too: it’s the only way they will be able to determine whether there is additional internal damage, and you don’t want that to be a nasty surprise later. 

After you’ve shopped around and found a panel beater that you trust, ensure that the quote they give broken down. Talk through it with them if necessary, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions that you may have. Panel beating can be a lengthy, expensive process, and you want to make sure your vehicle is in the right hands . 


Finding a good panel beater will give your car the service and care that it needs to look good and help keep you safe. Here at DingGo getting your car back looking new again is our top priority, and we couldn’t have made it easier for you, simply use our quick quotes service to find quality panel beaters in your area. 

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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