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A General Guide to Selecting a Paint Shop for your Car

The prices can really range from production type paint shops $500 (Maaco or Earl Scheib) to the high end show car only stuff (about $5000 - $7000 -- paint job only without body work). What is really important is that you feel comfortable that you are going to get the results that you desire.

Some good tips for anyone looking to get a paint job at a shop:

  • Ask to see examples of their work -- in progress stuff in the shop as well as a catalog/pictures of their previous work (good body shops will not be afraid to show you their work and should be more than happy to show off their shop as a means to earn your trust and respect). Get a friend who knows body work to go with you.

  • DO NOT be intimidated by the *professionals* and let them tell you how it needs to be done and that you should butt out -- maintain an active role in the entire project.

  • If you know someone who had body work done there, contact them and ask how the customer service was -- time frames/adherence to deadlines (good body shops take longer usually), if there was anything unacceptable upon initial completion, etc.

  • For meticulous attention, try to stay away from 'repair' shops (like dealerships) because their primary concern may be more to satisfy the insurance company, and not you. Instead, try to find smaller 'restoration' shops as they are more likely to be doing the business because they have a passion for it and like to do the work they are doing. This is not to say that it isn't possible to get a good paint job from a dealership or collision shop, but rather you may not want to use them as your first choice. If you know some place personally, or have it on good authority they do excellent work, by all means utilize the resources available to you.

  • Take an autobody class from your local community college -- nothing will give you a better understanding of the entire process of refinishing a car than to go through and actually do it. Community colleges may offer 'restoration' type classes that teach everything from metalworking to painting.

  • Attend local car shows. See which cars look *really* nice and find out the name of the shop where the body work and painting was done. If these places are too expensive, they may be able to refer you to a good body shop that isn't so 'show' oriented.

These are just some guidelines that may help you in finding a shop to repaint your car. These are not hard and fast rules, but may help you in making a choice as to your what your own project requires. Your mileage may vary.


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