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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

How to Assess a Classic Car Restoration Shop

Assess a Classic Car Restoration ShopIt can be tough to select the right classic car restoration shop. If you are in need of restoration shop, it’s best to ask these questions to find the right one for you:

What’s your experience? Know how long the shop has been restoring classic cars. Do they focus on classic car restorations or is restorations a sideline business? Ask where the technicians went to school and their professional credentials. Understand the types of restorations the shop works with (do they work on full restorations or just partial restorations, do they do cars and trucks, do they focus on specific models?).

How will you take care of me? Learn how the shop will work with you. How will they take care of your car while it is in their care? How will you see and be informed on progress being made on your project? Find out the common business and customer care practices of the shop.

What is my car’s current condition? The restoration shop must give you honest feedback concerning your car’s current condition to set the right expectations for your project. The shop needs to clearly identify the actions, costs and timeframes needed to restore your car.

What’s the plan? Make sure you are aware of the shop’s restoration project strategy and that you are comfortable with it. What will be the final outcome? Where will they start, and what will be the order and timeframe of activities? Shops should develop a written project plan that meets the unique needs of each project.

How long will it take? Understand how long the shop will take to do your project. Find out when they will start your project and how much time they will spend working on it each week. Know the frequency and form of updates you will receive, especially with reporting of restoration progress. Ask about what types of things could delay the project, and the contingency plans the shop has in place should delays occur.

How many restoration projects are currently being worked on at your shop? This helps you gauge the amount of time the classic car restoration shop will spend with you and your project. Is the shop spread too thin?

Do you work alone? Find out if the restoration shop handles everything alone or as part of a team. If the shop uses a team approach, find out who else you may deal with, under what circumstances you may deal with them and their areas of specialization.

Can I see your references? You’ll find these online. If you don’t, ask for at least five written references from projects completed within the past two years. When screening references, focus on things like the shop’s accessibility, personality of the shop owner and employees, results, communication, professionalism and overall customer satisfaction.

How much do you charge? Restoration shops generally charge for the cost of the parts and charge for their services in relation to the value they bring to the project. Rates may vary widely, even in the same community. Understand how you will be charged, what you will be charged and when and how you will be expected to pay. Ask about their hourly billing rates and charges for common services.

What else should I ask? Ask the restoration shop if there is anything you should know about them that you haven’t asked. Use your judgment to ask follow up questions that aid in your assessment process.

It’s important that a prospective restoration shop takes the time to answer your questions and make you feel comfortable. This is not a relationship to rush into or take lightly. Note the shop’s observations about your vehicle and their efforts to explain your restoration plan in detail without excessive jargon.

Most of all, assess the shop’s genuine interest in helping you reach your help objectives.

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