RV collision repair is a very specialized industry as you can imagine. There are probably one RV collision repair shop for every ten auto body repair shops. Even though RV’s motorhomes and motor coaches are factory built, they are still custom built, meaning that most of what you are buying is made by hand one at a time, and their repair requires the same set of skills.
Most of the time when you search for an RV collision repair shop, you will end up finding a lot of RV dealerships who claim that they do collision repair, and in some cases they do perform those services. The trouble is, this is not often their bread and butter, and collision repair on a RV will always take a back seat to new and used RV sales at an RV dealership.
Even among those who do claim to be RV collision repair facilities, as with any service provider, there are those who do it, and those who do it right. Here is how to avoid common time delays from RV dealers, or ill equipped RV collision repair shops.
As you read the reviews of an RV repair shop, you may see people writing bad reviews because a repair took longer than was quoted. Here are some of the reasons why this can sometimes happen:
Unseen damage, also known as supplemental damage.
When you take your RV motorhome or motorcoach in to get an estimate the estimator can only really write a first estimate based on what they see. Sometimes, depending on the wreck, it is impossible to see underlying damage until the RV motorhome or motorcoach is disassembled.
Wrong parts shipped.
All of our RV motorhome or motorcoachs come with options that may or may not be included from model to model. Your RV motorhome or motorcoach may have options that are no longer available or change slightly from model year to model year. Great shops have smart parts guys who notice when the wrong parts come in before they become a major delay.
Parts don’t fit properly.
Sometimes in the manufacturer of your RV, the few aftermarket or OEM parts that are available might not fit as intended on your particular RV. There could be defects that are not seen until attempting to put them on the RV motorhome or motorcoach. This is not frequent, but it can lead to some extra downtime.
If a wrong part is ordered, that can cause a delay, and add in the unavailability of the correct part and you have just tacked on a couple of extra repair days.
Employee accident mistake.
We are al human beings and sometimes accidents happen inside the shop. An employee could accidentally break a taillight while reinstalling the original ones, or scratch a bumper, or break a bracket. Any time this happens, you can figure on an extra day at the shop.
The paint booth is the heart of any shop, and RV collision repair shops are spraying RV motorhome or motor coaches all day every day. The best shops take great care of their paint booths and ensure the filters are clean, and the booth is dust and dirt free. But filters are expensive and some shops can cut corners here. Dirt in the paint looks like a raised surface, or sometimes some leftover solvent is on the RV motorhome or motorcoach creating a depression or “fisheye”. The fix for this is the let the paint dry, wet sand and repaint. This can add another day or two.
Insurance supplement issue–
Let’s say the shop found some more damage during the repair. The next step is to write a supplement to fix the repair, and submit it for approval to the insurance company. Sometimes the Insurance company needs to send out an adjuster. This could add some delays.
Shop is too busy–
Sometimes especially during the peak RV-ing and vacation months when more accidents happen, shops can get busier than they can handle. Great shops have ways of overcoming this such as special scheduling or adding a second shift, but if a major weather event happens, I have seen even the best shops develop a waiting list of as much as 15-30 days. This is not a problem if your RV motorhome or motorcoach is repairable, but it can be a big pain if yours is sitting on their lot just waiting to get repaired.
Communication error at the shop-
Shops are dealing with several customers and RV motorhome or motorcoaches at a time. Great shops have great communication procedures with their customers, but everybody makes mistakes. Even the best shops can forget to make a call, or get a signature from you, or any number of internal communication errors could tack on a day or two to the repair.
Short on staff-
Holidays, and sick time effect every business and a body shop is no exception. Also these employees are working with sharp metal, dangerous tools, and heavy equipment. Accidents can and do happen. If a shop is down a body man due to illness, or an accident, it could really slow down production adding days to not only your repair, but also everybody else’s.
So as a consumer, how can you avoid some of these pitfalls?
Well you can start by thoroughly researching your shop. Use customer reviews and look over the customer review history for a couple of months. If you see a lot of complaints about a RV motorhome or motor coach taking longer than promised, that should be a red flag to you. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the shop, or that it is a bad shop, but it is an area you can address when communicating with this shop and making your purchase decisions.
Of course if you are in or near the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area, we will be happy to accommodate your RV collision repair needs at our shop or any of our three drop off locations.