How to Estimate Auto Body Work Hours

by Christina Shaffer
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Crash on the street. German auto model 2007. image by Dariusz Kopestynski from

When you're not a mechanic, repairing a damaged vehicle can be frustrating and overwhelming. It also can be difficult to determine whether or not a repair shop is giving you a fair quote on parts and labor costs. Labor is affected by the make and model of your car, the severity of the damage and the type of replacement parts a repair shop uses. However, the severity of the car damage directly affects the amount of time it will take to repair a vehicle. In order for ensure that you're receiving a fair estimate on labor hours and costs, it's important to speak to multiple auto body mechanics and obtain estimates from different, reputable repair shops.

Step 1

Determine the locations of your car's body damage by thoroughly inspecting the exterior of your car. If you have a friend or relative who is a mechanic, ask him or her to assist you in reviewing the areas of damage. Take note of the specific parts that are damaged.

Step 2

Bring your car to a reputable auto body mechanic and have him or her provide you with a written estimate that includes labor and parts costs. If you do not know a reputable mechanic, ask a friend, family member or co-worker whether he or she could recommend a specific auto repair shop. Depending on the auto body damage, you might have to leave your vehicle at the repair shop in order to receive an in-depth repair estimate.

Step 3

Get at least two more estimates from different auto body shops and ask the mechanics to provide you with written estimates detailing the costs of parts and labor. Comparing three estimates will help you determine whether or not a specific mechanic is giving you a fair quote on labor costs. Though the labor rate might differ for each body shop, the number of hours should be roughly the same on each estimate.

Review and compare the total amount of labor time among your three estimates. The number of hours should be relatively the same on each estimate and will determine the accurate amount of hours your car repair should take. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the mechanic and ask him or her to review specific details in your repair estimate.

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