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I'm thinking about getting the GTO painted this winter. I stopped by a guys local shop and he gave me a verbal estimate for stripping the paint to bare metal, repairing all the rust and dents (I said I wanted metal, not bondo), putting a patch panel in the passenger floor board, painting the engine bay, getting a guy he knows to freshen up the engine (may or may not be included in his price), and painting the car for around $8000 to $10000. How should I proceed with this? Should I get a written estimate or at least an agreement in writing desrcibing all the things agreed upon? What are some of the lessons learned by other members here? This is not a frame off resto. Your comments will be appreciated (however you spell that).
 

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Don't agree to ANY work unless it's backed up in writing. Don't give the guy all the money up front. Agree to pay as you go. Suggest steps. Once this step is completed AND INSPECTED by you pay the agreed portion until the job is completed. This will give the guy an incentive to be motivated to get the job done on a timely fashion. Pop in on him unannounced too.

The amount stated is not far off what I know others have paid. There have been guys that posted up horror stories on here of what they went through both on "good faith" and agreed on pricing. One guy in particular had his car in pieces before the whole deal went sour he had a hell of a time with the guy.

Get references for this guy too. Don't just rely on pictures. Know anyone that dealt with this guy? Check the Better Business Bureau too. Do your homework. He doesn't have to know your investigating him but the more you know of him, his quality and work ethic the more comfortable you'll be. I may sound leery but too many people have had bad dealings with some.
 

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Don't agree to ANY work unless it's backed up in writing. Don't give the guy all the money up front. Agree to pay as you go. Suggest steps. Once this step is completed AND INSPECTED by you pay the agreed portion until the job is completed. This will give the guy an incentive to be motivated to get the job done on a timely fashion. Pop in on him unannounced too.

The amount stated is not far off what I know others have paid. There have been guys that posted up horror stories on here of what they went through both on "good faith" and agreed on pricing. One guy in particular had his car in pieces before the whole deal went sour he had a hell of a time with the guy.

Get references for this guy too. Don't just rely on pictures. Know anyone that dealt with this guy? Check the Better Business Bureau too. Do your homework. He doesn't have to know your investigating him but the more you know of him, his quality and work ethic the more comfortable you'll be. I may sound leery but too many people have had bad dealings with some.
Yeah, that was my story!!
Get everything in writing, have an agreed upon delivery date with monetary consequences if the due date is not met, and a dollar amount per day or week that it goes beyond that date.
Have it in writing what kind of paint job you will receive, be it 2 stage clear coat, or single stage lacquer etc. Also, that's alot of money, I would expect to have in there that there will be no noticeable flaws or dirt in the paint.
 

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There's two shops I would trust, and I did all the above in addition to stopping in without notice and asking for a tour. There was a third shop, and when I stopped in they had a freshly painted bumper face down on the cement floor (checked that one off).

BBB check, references for high dollar work, and find a place that's ran like a true business (not like a guy's hobby or one man show). Make sure you get some references that are one year+, when issues will start showing.

A good shop, that's proud of their work, will be happy to do this because they'll know you're serious about quality and not just shopping price.
 

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I will chime in here GET IT IN WRITING -- my paint job more than doubled in price from the original estimate- and I had a california car with NO rust and NO BODY work- they just soaked me for more money because they had my car
 

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I found the hidden gem of a body shop. The price gets cheaper as time goes by. I am friends with them now, and I do some of the mechanical work for the shop, so they appreciate me also. They painted The "Jury" car in my garage, and my 99 Corvette. Both came out really good, Corvette is closer to perfect than the Lemans, but Lemans is laser straight with welded in metal, jammed and painted with Sherwin Williams base/clear urethane, wet sand and buff for under $3K. Lemans has a couple bubbles and little things they need to rework, but I didn't pay for a show job and got one anyway! I am giving them all my business and trying to get them work, I can do body work, but hate it and it doesn't come out straight so I'll let them do it, and I'll twist wrenches for them.:cheers
 

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All great advice. The main thing is to NOT PAY IT ALL IN ADVANCE. Pay for the materials at the most. A good friend of mine paid up front and the guy waited TWO YEARS to get the car done. When he finally got it, it was sub-standard, and there was no guarantee and nothing in writing. Get a written estimate, a written timeframe, and ask to see his work and ask for customer referrals. Everybody is doing 2 stage base/clear these days...I don't care for the glazed ham Barrett Jackson look myself. The clearcoat peels off and looks like bad sunburn after a few years. I've yet to see a two stage job that held up for 15 years. My '65 was painted 25 (going on 26) years ago with single stage enamel, and my '67 was pained almost 18 years ago with the same thing. They both still look good. The '65 was not garaged until the paint was 10 years old!!! Good luck, and do your homework. This is the most costly part of a restoration, and it's what everybody looks at!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice, sounds like I need to get everything in writting. I checked the BBB, there are no reports. When I spoke to the guy, he said that he would ask for the payments at certain steps and that it should take him about 3 months. I am a little concerned about the endura nose and how much if any experience he has with them. He did point to it and say "those are hard to work with just so you know up front". Kind of implied to me that it may not look the greatest when done. I will try to get him to give me some references.
I still have some time until I can get it worked on, I am waiting until my workplace hires me on full time now that my 90 day temp period is over.
I can post his website if anyone is interested, but I don't know if that breaks any forum rules.
 

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as an owner and operator of an auto body shop i have restored many vehicles. do you have any idea how difficult it is to write up an agreed estimate on a classic car? it is almost impossible. my shop is in wisconsin so rust is a huge issue that most times can't be truly seen until after the strip session and basic teardown are completed. how can a shop honestly peg a number before the the vehicle is truly inspected? i have seen many cars roll onto my floor looking halfway decent just to find all sorts of creative bodymen long before my time have hacked something into a thing of beauty(filler is amazing when applied properly). what do you do then? suck it up and work 6 months for free? i think not. what i do is write up a sheet to the best of my ability before the repair begins and always ask for at least half of the money up front. after the basic teardown is complete we come to a new agreed price. it also seems that everytime the customer stops in they produce a new part or idea that i am supposed to install or complete for free. how is that fair? before everyone starts bashing shops think about some of the customers shops deal with. i have had more than enough customers tell me 3 months in when i am about to spray that they ran out of money. wtf? what am i supposed to do? store your car for free wasting valuable shop space while you convince your wife to let you spend some more money on your midlife crisis machine? i think not. my best advice is to find a small honest shop with a good reputation. the large shops tend to treat people like #'s. if you are going to drop some serious money ask to speak to a few of their past customers(any decent shop has more than a few people bragging about finding you first) or get some small work done first and see how they operate.
the price thing can't be gauged at a set price for all cars. i do quite a few corvettes and a complete can range anywhere from 5 grand up to over 20. all cars are different. if you see a really low price and think you are getting a deal. you are not. they need work. they are slow for a reason. you will soon find out that reason. an average midwest car over 40 years old seems to be a steal completely restored for under 10 grand. how do those techs pay their bills? on average most shops in my area charge 50 an hour. so minus parts and materials(which all customers think we must make in our backyard). that is 200 hours of work. an average resto takes me and my guys 4 to 5 hundred hours from start to finish. so after materials i am making a little over 15 dollars an hour on a 10 thousand dollar job. what is the point? why pay someone to paint their car? i don't have a single tech making under 20 dollars per hour. to get good work you have to pay for it. i remember the type of work i did when i was making 10 bucks an hour. not very proud of many cars i did at an early age. all i am saying is there are quite a few decent shops out there. do your research. plain and simple. if it is done right you should never have to do it again. if you are in the midwest look me up. i have a trailer.:rolleyes:
 

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Works both ways. Guys taking a car in for work with a quote then the stories of highballing. Working with a customer through contracts specifying what if scenarios then when finding surprises unbeknown to the owner having the owner come in to see for themselves before doing the work and not informing the customer after the work is done or in the process of being done then the price inflating with the owner NOT knowing. That's when problems begin and distrust sets in.

I believe the references in this thread are suggestions to the OP to get everything in writing and I suggested pay as you go, this gives the body guy $$ to work with in stages and keeps both parties more at ease, along with communication, which many take for granted. Suggestions given are from those who experienced less than upstanding shops or of others who have got caught up with less than honest body shops or techs holding their car for ransom, not everyone who wants their car restored have a blank checking account yet there are some who think they do.

NO one here knows you, your business, or practices, you may very well be an upstanding guy, its those in the business who aren't that give guys like you a bad rap. Those are the red flags we wave at someone seeking advice so they don't end up in many stories we've heard on here over and over. :cheers
 

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i think the point is not so much to have an agreed price down to the penny. instead have an agreed plan in writing so that down the road nobody gets hit with any unexpected bills. i like to settle up every couple weeks. this way they can see what the latest $1000 paid for and at any time if something happens we can call it quits and nobody gets stuck. although that hasnt happened yet.
 
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