Rave: Body Shop Bids

imageI love how technology has made our lives easier. Even the most mundane of tasks can be made infinitely more efficient when paired with a little internet-fueled entreprenuerialship. Body Shop Bids, a Chicago-based startup, is a company that has made auto body repair almost as easy (and fun) as ordering a pizza.

How it Works

When your car is in need of repair (body work, paint, etc.) you simply go to their website or use their mobile app and upload pictures of the maligned areas. I happened imageto be a customer of theirs last month, the unfortunate mating of my car with a Mitsubishi SUV. After taking a few photos, adding my VIN and a short description, I selected a date for dropping off my car. A little while later, received an email letting me know that I would be receiving estimates shortly. Wow, really?

Behind the scene, the great team at BSB is amassing a catalog of reputable shops, eager to increase their business and willing to use their expertise to assess damages and costs through photos, VINs and customer descriptions. It would seem that the trust factor on their part is significant, but I suspect that’s where their experience comes in handy.

In a few days, I received an email notifying me that I had 3 estimates for my repair. They varied greatly; I began to question whether I’d given enough information, but realized that this is not unlike what I’ve experienced in the past. But this time, I wasn’t driving all over town, wasting time only to give up and just randomly pick someone. Here I not only had the quotes but imagealso reviews from others. Additionally, BSB takes your credit card information beforehand, but waits for your assurance of a good job before charging – a great approach to lowering my concerns with choosing the lowest bid.

3 days after dropping off my car, I got a phone call from the sop that it was ready. Mind you, this was the first time I’d talked to anyone there. I went over, picked up the keys, and drove away. The next day, BSB called to confirm I was happy with the work, after which they processed my credit card for the payment. The car looks fantastic – the body work and paint couldn’t have been better.

To say I was impressed with BSB is an understatement – I’ve spoken with several guys from the team on the phone and over email. And, I stalked them at the Moxie Awards last month, hanging out with them for most of the night. A great idea, well executed, with a group of folks I’ve grown to appreciate for their passion towards delivering a great customer experience in a situation that traditionally has been wrought with angst and distrust.

Are there areas for improvement? Sure. The shop left a fine film of dust throughout my car; nothing a few Armor All wipes couldn’t handle, but it’s the details that make the difference between an A and A+. And, going back to the pizza idea, it would have been nice to have some type of visual timeline that would give an indication as to where in the repair process your car was (parts delivery, repair, paint, cleanup).

But these are very minor – I only list them because I want BSB to stay humble a little longer Smile.  If you ever have the misfortune of needing auto repair, or you own a shop and see this as a great way to increase business with little overhead, I highly recommend Body Shop Bids. I’m rooting for them to be a great success.