Why Use An Independent Auto Body Shop Versus a Dealership?

Why Use An Independent Auto Body Shop Versus a Dealership?

When you get into an accident, you have two options for collision repairs: visit the dealership or go to an independent auto body shop. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a straightforward decision, so it’s essential to understand the distinction between dealerships and independent shops from every aspect of the repair process. Both options come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately your decision will boil down to personal preferences. 

What to Consider with Dealership Body Repair

Surprisingly, when you entrust your vehicle to a dealership for body repair, there’s no guarantee they will handle the work themselves. Unlike an independent shop that specializes in collision repair, dealerships have to juggle multiple tasks, including sales and fulfilling maintenance warranties. 

Dealerships are under immense pressure to expedite their services; it’s the nature of their business. So when they become too overwhelmed with the workload, dealerships will often outsource collision repair to one of the auto body repair shops they partner with. However, not every body shop is in as much of a hurry or rush to complete the repairs. For independent shops like Cline Collision Center, quality repairs are more important than the number of vehicles that pass through the shop. 

Although dealerships excel in standard repair work, they tend to prioritize the speed of repairs rather than the correctness of the repair when it comes to performing bodywork after a collision. This is often because service fees and repair work are frequently linked to the dealership’s estimate of the time it will take to complete the repair.

What to Consider with Independent Body Shop Repair

Technicians at independent body shops often receive the same factory training as those at dealerships and may even be more proficient than dealership technicians, depending on their experience. While dealerships specialize in repairing a specific brand, technicians at independent shops work on a wide range of makes and models, which gives them a broader range of experience and technical expertise to repair any vehicle more effectively. 

In addition, independent shops have the option of obtaining Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) certifications for specific brands and models. This certification means the shop has been officially recognized and approved by the respective automaker to carry out repairs on their vehicles. OEM certification is especially important for brands that require specialized training to perform specific repairs, like FordHonda, and General Motors.

Choosing Between a Dealership or an Auto Body Repair Shop

Here’s a breakdown of some of the factors you should consider when deciding between the dealership and an independent shop:

1. Quality of Repair

  • Dealership: Dealerships may rush repairs due to high demand, which can potentially affect the quality of the repairs you receive. In some cases, the work may be outsourced to an outside shop that may or may not care about quality. 
  • Auto Body Shop: Reputable body shops often deliver superior repair quality.

2. Price

  • Dealership: Dealerships tend to have higher repair costs.
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent body repair shops typically offer more cost-effective repairs.

3. Experience

  • Dealership: Technicians at dealerships specialize in specific car brands and models.
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent shops work on a wide range of vehicles, and many have certifications indicating their expertise on specific brands and models. 

4. Customer Service

  • Dealership: Dealerships tend to offer more impersonal service and limited interaction with mechanics. 
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent shops focus on providing personalized service and building relationships with their customers. 

5. Location and Facilities

  • Dealership: Dealerships have larger facilities with more amenities but higher expenses—which get passed on to customers.
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent shops have smaller facilities with lower overhead and costs. 

6. Warranty vs. Non-Warranty Repair Costs

  • Dealership: Dealerships are typically less expensive for warranty repairs but pricier for non-warranty repairs.
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent shops are generally cheaper for non-warranty repairs. 

7. Warranties and Insurance

  • Dealership: Dealerships often accept manufacturer-backed warranties, which can provide peace of mind for warranty repairs. However, be prepared for potentially higher prices for repairs that aren’t covered by the warranty.
  • Auto Body Shop: Independent shops don’t accept warranties, but insurance may cover repair costs.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to each option; when making a decision for your vehicle, think about what’s most important to you. If you’d like more cost-effective repairs, industry expertise, and personalized service, an independent body shop is your best bet. If you’re concerned about warranty repairs or have a specific make that needs specialized repairs your local auto body shop isn’t trained for, you may want to consider going to the dealership. It’s important to do some research and compare your options to find the best fit for your needs. 

At Cline Collision Center, we take pride in being an independent OEM auto body shop that puts our customers first. Safety and quality are our top priorities, and our team of experienced technicians is dedicated to providing exceptional service and high-quality factory-level repairs. If you’ve been searching for expert collision repair that focuses on customer satisfaction, contact us today at 
(707) 591-9909 to schedule an appointment. Your vehicle is always in excellent hands here!