Why Do Body Shops Take So Long?

If your car has ever needed any type of body work, you might’ve asked yourself, “Why do body shops take so long?” The short answer is that there are many moving parts involved with getting even the simplest of repairs done, making the process a logistical nightmare. Here’s the long answer:


Body shop wait


Inspection/Estimate

The shop has to inspect the damage, prepare an estimate, and send that to the insurance company. Depending on whether or not the body shop has a relationship with your insurance company, this can take from a few hours to several days. The insurance company may need to send their own estimator out or need extra documentation.

Total time: 1-7 Days

Estimate Approval/Order Parts

Once the initial estimate approval is complete, it’s time to order the necessary parts. Some parts are available right away, while some may take a week or longer to arrive. Often parts show up damaged due to poor packaging and/or rough shipping. Or the insurance company won’t authorize the use of OEM parts since they’re pricier. These hiccups can add more time.

Total time: 2-10 Days

Disassembly

Once the parts arrive, the shop can start the disassembly of the car. What often happens at this stage is the shop will come across new issues that need to be addressed which requires a revised estimate to be submitted to the insurance company. This revised estimate requires an additional approval from the insurance company, which further delays the process.

Total time: 1-7 Days

Revised Estimate Approval

Insurance companies will often refuse to authorize replacing a part unless the shop can prove that the part has to be replaced. There’s a lot of back-and-forth with the insurance company, which chews up a lot of time. This may trigger the insurance company to send out their own adjuster to verify the validity of the claims, which adds even more delays.

Total time: 1-14 Days

Repairs

The actual repairs take time. Each part requires a specific process for installation, some of which can be complicated. Some parts are just bolted into place. Others are attached with a series of welds, or may use adhesive or rivets, etc. The repairs have to be made with a lot care and attention to detail. Shortcuts can reduce the crashworthiness of your vehicle, putting you in harm's way.

Total time: 1-5 Days

Paint

Priming, painting, and polishing is the last step! This tends to be the quickest part of the whole process. Body shops do get overwhelmed though and the paint booth can become a bottleneck.

Total time: 1-3 Days

As you can see, the best-case scenario is 7 business days, and the worst-case scenario is 46 business days!

The best way to shorten repair time is to work with a body shop who is affiliated with your insurance company. This doesn’t guarantee expediency, but it does help with the communication aspect and can decrease the repair time.

Another thing to consider is the weather. A major snow or hail storm can backlog a body shop, making these repair times even longer.

With all of these things in mind, it’s a minor miracle anytime a body repair is completed in less than a couple of weeks. A lot of this is out of your control, so a little bit of patience will go a long way.