We would prefer to build a relationship with trusted professionals such as doctors and accountants. Likewise, we hope to find a quality workshop to care for our second largest investment: our car. This is particularly relevant when our vehicle’s warranty is going to lapse or if we simply want to look for an alternative. Our preferred workshop should take care of our servicing needs as well as be a call away after an accident or breakdown. We should not be scrambling to find a trustworthy tow truck or mechanic in our time of need.
The journey to finding a suitable workshop has been likened to looking for a life partner. Here are ten key factors to consider:
1. Can the workshop do as good a job as the automotive manufacturer or its authorised distributor?
Everyone says they can be trusted but we should do our homework to verify their claims. Do they have a good relationship with automakers? There is no better indication of credibility and expertise than a workshop that is endorsed by car manufacturers.
2. Does the workshop have a proven track record?
A workshop might be qualified but does it have invaluable experience gained over the years? The top benchmark of quality is that they have been appointed by major brands to service and repair their vehicles for many years.
3. Is it truly a “one-stop shop”?
Does the workshop handle the full range of services as an integrated process or do they outsource to unknown parties? They might be good at servicing your car but would you need to look for someone else if you get rear-ended? If they say they will take care of everything, are they simply getting their “buddy” to do the work and marking up the price?
4. Does the workshop have the skilled staff and the latest equipment to service and repair your brand?
Whether you have a premium or mainstream marque, do they have well-trained and experienced staff? Does the workshop have up-to-date equipment and software? Once again, whether they have been appointed by your brand or similar makes for servicing or repairs is a good indication.
5. What do customers say?
Look out for testimonials, reviews and word of mouth. Given the subjectivity of personal experiences, however, be mindful of unrepresentative views if the sample size is small. Read till the end to find out how to complement such customer feedback.
6. What are the workshop’s quality controls and standards for repairs, panel beating, spray painting?
Look ahead: if you trust a workshop to service your car, you should be able to trust them for accident repairs. They should have a quality bodyshop that specialises in body repairs and painting so that your vehicle is like new again. Is there certification by major brands that validates the workshop’s quality? Does their website showcase examples of quality repair work?
7. Can the workshop handle all accident reporting requirements effectively to minimise your stress?
Be prepared for any eventuality by browsing their web pages to see if they can properly assist you after a collision. Do they give you the confidence that you can leave everything in their hands? One important clue is whether major insurance companies trust them to be their authorised accident reporting centre.
8. Is the workshop’s accident reporting efficient whether the paperwork is submitted online or handled at their office?
Try out their accident reporting so that you might be familiar should the need arise. Is their process painful or straightforward? Importantly, do they give you the option to submit documents online? Such functionality is uncommon and a good indicator of their focus on customers. There is less stress if you can initiate the reporting from your office or home before heading to the workshop. You might have good coverage but the insurance company’s processes could be difficult when you want to make a claim. A good workshop should make the claims process easier for you.
9. Does the workshop use genuine parts and provide full warranties?
Do they use new and original parts so that safety and reliability are not compromised? Be wary of used or imitation products. As they often say, “If the prices sound too good to be true, they are.” Is the warranty duration as provided by the manufacturers? Look out for little details like whether they voluntarily return your car’s used parts after servicing.
10. Are the services competitively priced?
Does the workshop provide good value? Are their prices reasonable and comparable to other workshops of similar quality? We should not simply be looking for the cheapest workshop. This is one area where we do not want to be penny wise but pound foolish.
A Bonus Tip
The above might look like a comprehensive list that takes too much time to evaluate. Here’s a pro tip to help you put everything together: go for a “test drive”. Browse their website to assess the workshop on the above points. If it passes your test, book one of their servicing or car care packages. After all, we never purchase a vehicle without taking it for a spin. Still happy after the entire experience? Congratulations! You just might have found “The One”. Remember to save their hotline number on your phone for the next servicing or when you need roadside assistance. This is the workshop that should be right for just about all your motoring needs.