I have some minor rust around the rear side windows of my 94 suburban (paint is starting to bubble). There is also a small dent in the left rear fender where the metal is actually punctured and, of course, starting to rust. I have some other minor cosmetic issues - very slightly bent hood, clear coat on roof starting to peel, minor rust on rocker panels, stone chips that are all adding up to: I want to get this thing fixed because where it counts (reliability and comfort) the truck has been an absolute trooper and deserves to be maintained. Yeah I know the gas mileage is terrible but seeing as how I only put about three to four thousand on it per year now and it otherwise costs me so little to operate, this is not an issue. Oh and the frame and underside of the truck are pristine and have been oil guarded on a relatively regular basis. Anyway my question involves finding a body shop in this throw-away society that is the least bit interested in doing a non insurance related, cosmetic repair on a vehicle that already draws compliments (even with the above mentioned ‘flaws’). Having worked in the property and casualty business many years ago I am very familiar with the ‘too high’ estimate as code for ‘We don’t want to do this work’ and/or we only restore 1930 Duesenbergs and w/o that Powerball win you simply cannot afford us.
Aside from a basic willingness to quote, what are things to look for in a body shop, other than avoiding those that have more than one free roaming rottweiler or ‘coach works’ in their title and a nicer reception area than my doctor’s office? Would asking to see examples of workmanship or to contact other satisfied customers be considered too anal for what probably amounts, in an insurance collision repair revenue generating universe, to be a fairly modest job?