Are you an enthusiast of classic cars? A hobbyist? Have you finally acquired the perfect make and model that you’ve had your eye for years?
No matter what category you fall into, from professional collector to weekend road warrior, one thing is certain, you’ll eventually find yourself working with a classic car restoration shop or custom car builder.
We’d all love to work on our own cars, but, not all of us have the requisite skills, experience and tools to properly and safely restore classic cars. Yet, with thousands of car restoration specialists just a Google Click away, many car owners find themselves frustrated, not knowing who to trust with their “baby”.
You’ve no doubt invested time, energy and a lot of money in finding the perfect set of wheels and you’re not about to trust just any shop with your ride. But how can you make sure you’re making the right choice?
This guide will help walk you through key steps in finding the best shop for your classic car restoration project, as well as what questions you need to ask before signing a contract and putting your hard-earned money to work.
At this stage, putting in the work can pay off in spades later on.
Experience (but not just any type of experience)
When it comes to background, training and good old fashioned hand’s on experience, nothing beats a demonstrated track record and understanding of your particular make and model. Classic cars run the gambit, requiring specialized knowledge, tools and familiarity in order to get the job done right, on time and on budget. Be sure that any shops you’re considering have experience with your particular classic car.
That said, some jobs require less specialized knowledge as it relates to your vintage car. For example, chrome plating and painting, although specialized skills, are two restoration services that may not require specific knowledge of your particular make and model.
Demonstrated Track Record of Positive Outcomes
There is a reason most custom car shops and classic car restoration shops take so many “before, during and after” photos and videos. The end results are a direct reflection of the care, passion, dedication and craftsmanship that goes into each project. Always ask to see the documentation of previous work to make sure what they do is in alignment with your goals, style and expectations.
Ratings, Reviews, and Customer Feedback
Ratings and reviews are a good way to learn more about not only the work a shop does, but in how they treat their customers.
When Vetting Reviews Consider:
Look a the dates of reviews and filter based on what aspects of service is most relevant and important to you and your project.
One of the most reliable ways to find a shop that does good work is to have one recommended to you by someone in your network who knows them personally, or has used them in the past.
Where to Find Recommendations
Were They Recommended to You? – ask these critical follow-up questions
A recommendation is great. But it’s just the start. You still need to do your homework and ask the right questions to make sure they will be the right fit for your classic car restoration project.
Ask the Person or Company Recommending them The Following:
Before signing the dotted line and moving forward with your project there are several key questions you need to ask.
Questions to ask the Shop Owner / Manager:
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, its time to commit to the best shop on your list and let them do what they do best. By following the tips in this guide you’ll be well on your way to finding the right man/shop for the job and towards a finished product that exceeds expectations.