Auto body repair, for some reason, is a subject that most people "shy away" from. It could be because very few of us know anything about it. We bring the car in, take the "loaner" auto they give us (or maybe we have Uncle Bill pick us up from the shop), and we pay the bill at the end. We'd rather just let the professionals handle it; when we drop off the car, we say, "Oh, well", and we're done with it.
But your auto body repair shop is a place that should be open to, and friendly toward, not only your learning but also your inspection. Auto body repair is today a fairly specialized field, and there are certain "given" that should be in place no matter what kind of repair and service station you visit.
First, you should be able to find the auto body repair shop online, and get a complete list of the makes and models they service and the work their technicians can perform. And they better have an online presence; your car is a technologically advanced computer on wheels, and if a repair shop hasn't got enough savvy to have a website, you don't want them banging around on your vehicle.
Second, when you go in to for auto body repair, know what you're looking for and what services you require. You might need something as small as paintwork repairs or body-dent fixes from minor accidental scuffs and scratches; you might need a complete overhaul of the body, the frame, the fenders or the undercarriage; you might even need an estimate to see if your auto, which was in that huge wreck last week, should in fact be "totaled". Whether for small or large jobs, the place you select should be able to handle it, their website, and their customer testimonials, will tell you. They don't have any customer testimonials? What does that tell you?
Third, you should be able to view the automotive technician, his qualifications and the equipment he will use on your repairs. The days of the "auto mechanic", the grease-monkey with dirty tools stuck in a leather belt and a face as grimy as the underside of your vehicle, are pretty much over. Auto body repair tools are computers today, among other things, and include some highly sophisticated machinery. The certifications that the technicians must have in order to operate this equipment should be readily available for viewing.
So should the repair shop. That's the fourth "given" in auto body repair, that the shop, and the repairs that are going on in it, are easily viewable from the waiting area.
What's the final "given"? They should offer, at no charge, an estimate of repairs before they begin work, so no hidden charges or fees pop up at payment time.
Those are the "givens" the elements that should be in place at whatever service center you pick, to take care of your automotive body work. With them, you should never need to "shy away" from auto body repair again.