Auto Body Blog

Reading An Auto Repair Estimate

If you’ve recently been in a car accident and taken your car to an auto repair shop, you likely have an auto repair estimate in your hands. The estimate will come from an auto repair shop or an insurance company, depending on whether you go through your insurance company or pay for your repairs out of pocket. Either way, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

You probably won’t understand much about the estimate unless you're an auto repair expert. What do all those lines mean? It’s great to understand your estimate. Wouldn’t you like to know exactly what repairs will be performed on your car and what parts will be used? Of course, your answer is yes! And that’s precisely what today’s blog post covers. 

Estimates could include the following items:

  • Itemized parts being used with price and possibly the part number
  • Itemized labor times for repair and replace operations
  • Miscellaneous charges 
  • Sublet charges
  • Flat fees
  • Paint and Materials charges
  • Summary with total estimate

If your estimate lacks any of the following, it’s essential to ask for that information. If it’s not easily provided to you, you might think of going elsewhere. Everything should be clear and upfront. 

Parts Being Used

Knowing what should be on the estimate and understanding each section are entirely different! Perhaps the most challenging part of an auto repair estimate is understanding the terminology in the parts section. 

There are different types of parts that you should know about.

  • New OEM parts are parts made by your vehicle’s manufacturer to fit specifically on your vehicle. These are generally superior to any other parts.
  • New aftermarket parts are parts made by a third-party manufacturer to fit your vehicle. They vary in quality and may or may not fit well on your vehicle, so be careful when allowing those parts to be installed in your vehicle. Find out where the parts were manufactured and whether the repair shop regularly uses them to repair vehicles.
  • Remanufactured or Reconditioned parts are OE (original equipment) that have been rebuilt or reconditioned. Rebuilding them does not indicate diminished quality.
  • Salvaged/used parts, also called LKQ parts on an insurance estimate, are used parts that are generally original equipment parts (OEM). They should be undamaged and of comparable quality to what is on your vehicle now. They may not look new but should be as good as what you have now. These will sometimes be shipped in from out of state, so they might take longer to arrive.

The Other Charges

The rest of the charges on your estimate refer to the time spent repairing your car, flat fees that aren’t included in labor or parts, and miscellaneous charges that don’t fall into other categories. 

Labor Costs

Keep in mind that labor costs are billed in tenths. So, if you see 3.5, you’re reading that 3 ½ hours of labor is being charged for that line item. Miscellaneous charges refer to hazardous waste disposal fees and shop supplies like rags or chemicals. 

Sublet Charges

Sublet Charges are repair operations that may be completed by someone other than the body shop but on behalf of the body shop. Progressive Insurance defines a sublet as a “repair operation that may be completed by someone other than the body shop, but on behalf of the body shop.” 

In other words, your repair shop hires someone to complete part (or all) of your repairs. These repairs might include clear film replacement, alignment and suspension work, or mechanical operations not performed on-site. A repair shop may choose to sublet a job for a variety of reasons, including cost, quality, and time. 

To sublet, the auto repair shop will form an agreement with other repair shops specializing in the types of repairs they don’t cover. 

For example, say your repair shop specializes in auto body repair, but your car’s engine also needs repairs. Some body shops don’t cover under-the-hood repairs. Instead, the body shop may have a trusted working relationship with a mechanic nearby and choose to sublet the engine repair to that mechanic. This ensures the job is done correctly and efficiently. Not only is it convenient for you, as the customer, to take your vehicle to one place, but the auto body shop can support other local businesses by subletting the repair service to a more specialized shop. 

This process of subletting a part of the repairs that are needed is beneficial to all three parties — the car owner, the original repair shop, and the business doing the sublet repairs. In many cases, repairs can be completed faster and with better quality when a repair shop chooses to sublet appropriately. 

Flat Fees

Flat fees are charged for services that aren’t broken down into parts. For example, an engine repair would likely be broken down into parts and labor. But an alignment isn’t broken down that way, so it would be charged as a flat fee. 

Paint and Materials

Paint and Materials charges are based on the paint hours on your estimate and cover the cost of paint, primers, sealers, fillers, and welding gasses.

Your summary of charges should be provided in the total bill. Each category should be broken down into subtotals, like parts, labor, and paint materials. 

Schneider Auto Karosserie Body and Paint

Are you looking for an auto body repair shop you can trust? Look no further. Schneider Auto Karosserie is your ultimate source for everything you need to get your car back on the road after a collision, whether it’s regarding a sublet invoice or a dent in the side of your car. 

Were you in a collision? Have parking lot damage? Were you vandalized or broken into? Did you hit that curb a little too hard? Schneider Auto has you covered.

Get started today with an estimate for your repair services. Call us at 801-484-9400 or send us a message through our website. We’ll get you back on the road before you know it!