The best way to start is to do some preliminary research. Visit websites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or any of the multitude of repair shop review websites to scout for prospects. Check with friends or colleagues to see if they would recommend a shop they’ve used in the past. Often, the best advice comes from someone in your social network who has seen the shops work first-hand.
Next, check with professional organizations. The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and America’s Collision Repair Association (ACRA) are both useful resources to use when looking for a dependable shop. Shops typically have to maintain rigorous standards and uphold a code of ethics to gain membership. To go a step further, once you have narrowed down your search, you can check to see if their repair technicians are certified by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). These technicians have undergone specialized training which sets them apart from the rest.
When you visit the shop, make sure that it is clean and has a professional appearance; this is a reflection on their work. Confirm the shop is licensed in your state and, if needed, ask to see a copy of their license. Make sure they can do work on your make and model of vehicle. Show them your appraisal and find out if they will have any problems ordering the necessary parts. If everything looks good, get a timeframe for when you can drop off your car and when the work should be completed. Ask to be kept updated on the repairs as they progress. Also, take this time to discuss any deductible you may be responsible for and make sure that everyone is on the same page as far as what will be owed upon completion.
When the time comes to pick up your car, give it a good once over. Closely check the area which was damaged. See if the body panels line up and the paintwork matches. Check that the hood, trunk, and doors all open and close properly if they were affected by the impact. Bring up any concerns you have before taking your vehicle. It will be much easier to get them addressed on the spot rather than days or weeks later.
If an issue does come up down the road, call the shop to report it. Most will address legitimate complaints and work to correct them. If they don’t, report them to the professional organizations to which they belong. You can also contact your county or state consumer protection agency to report the situation and also file a complaint with the BBB.
If none of this gets the shop moving and the faulty workmanship issues persist, consider pursuing a claim against the repair shop’s insurance company. If you followed the above steps and chose a licensed and reputable shop, they will have an insurance policy which should cover you if they did a shoddy job on your repairs.
If you are considering expanding your mobile car wash business clientele and customer base this year perhaps you should look into the washing of Rent-A-Car agencies. What you may not realize is that some Rent-A-Car agencies are huge corporations where each outlet, store or location is owned by the company. But there are large franchised Rent-A-Car companies where each location is independently owned and operated and where the actual Corporation may only own larger airport locations.
If you are considering expanding your clientele to include large franchised Rent-A-Car companies you may want to learn a little bit more about the history behind them before you go to make the sales call. Now then, when doing business with Dollar and Thrifty Rent-A-Car you must understand that they operate differently than other rental car agencies. You see, Dollar and Thrifty have the same parent company. They are head quartered in Tulsa, OK.
Dollar is an interesting company with 441 locations in 26 countries. They have about 100,000 cars in the US in their rental fleet. They were started in Los Angeles, CA in 1964. They were bought by Pentastar Transportation Group in 1990. Along with Thrifty Rent-A-Car, General Rent-A-Car and Snappy Rent-A-Car. Snappy was sold in 1994. They closed General Rent-A-Car in 1993. General Rent-A-Car was pretty much a duplication of the others and it had non-Chrysler cars in it. Once they ran out the company was closed.
Pentastar Transportation was a subsidiary of Chrysler to sell them cars to compete with Hertz owned by Ford and GM’s Rent-A-Car acquisitions of the 80s. Chrysler divested themselves of the company, which was then called Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. Thrifty and Dollar are franchisors that license out their brand names for independent businesses. Dollar has over 260 suburban locations and is also in most all major airports. Dollar predominately rents only DaimlerChrysler cars, mini vans and pick-ups. Their President, Gary Paxton at one time was the first franchisee outside the state of CA. He now ran that entire company of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. Gary also was formerly the president of the ACRA – American Car Rental Association.
Thrifty Rent-A-Car has 1300 locations all franchised in 58 countries. They have 60 dealership agreements to sell their cars after run out of miles. They are planning to get another 300 car sales lots by 2005. Thrifty and Dollar together pack a wallop. Thrifty Rent-A-Car has 66% of its business in airport markets and 34 % in local suburban markets. Thrifty car sales was only started in 1999, but already has 60 locations and is growing fast. Thrifty has also purchased airport parking lots across the US owning 40 of them with some 14000 spaces. In many of these lots they have a car wash to wash their own cars but also for customers parking.