October 23, 2007I recieved an e-mail with a person's experience at a local Mustang Resoration place regarding getting an estimate on painting their car. I was a little disturbed to find that the shop would not even give the person an estimate on painting the 1988 GT since the shop had said it wouldn't be profitable for them to do so (not very good PR). On the flip side I know where the shop is coming from when they say it "wouldn't be profitable."
I have had similar experinces with getting paint and body estimates. Of course people want to get the most affordable paint job they can, but painting a whole car is a lot of work (www.feponypower.net for my car) So when you take it to a place that does high end work, they won't touch cars that "just want a paint job" unless you are willing to shell out $10,000 since your car is a rolling advertisement for the quality of work they do. I am even friends with a guy who does paint and body work for a living and HE wouldn't even give me an estimate as to how much my body work was going to cost until he had the car in his possesion and started working on it.
Then there are the local everyday body shops. They get paid by insurance companies to crank out cars for minor body damage which is quick turn around profitable work. Painting a whole car requires a lot of time and is once again not profitable.
Then we go to the other end of the spectrum... places like MAACO or other "chaep" paint shops. These shops get a bad reputation because people think they are going to get a great paint job for $99.95. This only covers the shooting of the paint and VERY cheap materials (might even be extra). This doesn't include the hours of prep and body work required to make your car look good and have a paint job that is not going to start flaking off in a couple of years. If a person is willing to do the prep work prior to taking it to them and speciy what they want from a paint shop like that (such as only PPG materials, epoxy primer sealer coat, two shots of base and 3 clear coats, wet sanded, cut and buffed), MAACO can shoot paint fine. Otherwise you will be shelling out a lot more than $99.95 for a paint job. This is where the average consumer should educate themselves at least on the steps necessary for painting their car before having someone do the work. A little knowledge goes a long way.
I've heard these stories a lot. There really isn't a good place for "affordable" paint and body work. This was the biggest reason my brother and I painted our cars ourselves (understanding that not everybody has access to a place to paint a car). With our experiences in buying materials and all of the nuiances of painting we now understand why paint jobs cost a lot of money. The base coat color for my car was $500 a gallon alone for a plain red paint!! (1 galllon BARELY was enough to paint my car so I ended up getting and extra quart.) There is a lot of time involved in prepping a car and making certain the whole car has a good "pallette" for painting. Any flaw on the car will show up like a sore thumb. My car was an extreme case, but I would say I had 80 hours in my quarter panels alone.
So bottom line is this, if a shop won't give you an estimate people need to understand where they are coming from. On the other hand, shops need to explain better as to the reasons why they will "cherry pick" cars or at least just lay their price on the line and a person can take it or leave it. It is a frustrating situation without an easy solution.
My best advice is to talk to anybody who has had a paint job done by a shop and find out their experience. The shop may turn out to be one willing to take your car on.
Oh, and by the way, if you paint your car yourself; wet sand it shortly after painting it since it will be much easier.