Whether it's routine maintenance or a dented fender, vehicle repairs are a fact of life. While locating a qualified auto repair shop like Vince's Auto Service typically isn't difficult, locating one that is affordable can be. However, many vehicle owners don't realize that they can negotiate the price of repairs just like you negotiate anything else. While you shouldn't expect to walk away with rock bottom prices, you can expect significant savings over the initial quote.
Take it to the Right Facility
While there is room for negotiation at almost any repair facility, dealerships and franchises have far less ability to negotiate than smaller independent repair shops. Keep this in mind when choosing where to take your vehicle or when having it towed. Once you are there, ask for an estimate of all repair costs including parts, time and labor. This gives you the information that you need to start doing research.
Get the Facts
Using the initial estimate, look up the average cost of parts and vehicle repairs online at reputable automotive sites. Then, call at least three other repair locations in your city and get estimates for repairing the same items that are on the estimate. Again, ask them to break out the parts, time and labor costs.
Contact the initial repair facility and ask them if there is room to negotiate on the price that they quoted. Let them know that you have spoken with other facilities that are coming in lower. Be friendly as you do this. You don't want to alienate the repair person, you just want to get a better price. If the person says they aren't authorized to adjust prices, ask to speak to the person who is. Show them your research and ask why their price is higher. They will most likely come down in order to keep your business. You shouldn't expect too much reduction in the cost of parts. However, repair facilities have leeway to reduce the labor and other markup costs.
If the repair isn't urgent, use one of the new car repair apps that allow you to list the service you need and then gets mechanics to bid on the job. This is an efficient way to get the best deal, but it only works for simple jobs like oil changes, tire rotations or alignments. If you do use one of the app's mechanics, get the price in writing before you allow repairs to begin.
Now that you know you can negotiate your next auto repair, there's no reason to pay inflated prices ever again. Simply review the initial estimate thoroughly, do your research and have confidence as you enter into the negotiation process.