Good Things Are Hard to Find
Good Things Are Hard to Find
by Jennifer LB Leese
Blaine's Body Shop in Hagerstown opened in May of 1993. Blaine Grove is the sole-proprietor and has been in the industry for over 14 years.
Blaine likes where he is situated - tucked away in an alley at 42 E. North Avenue in Hagerstown.
When asked if he ever thought of expanding and getting a larger shop area, he said, "A bigger shop will only make you lazy, if you ask me, cause then you have more space to store things and before you know it you have cars piled up everywhere." "Our motto is 'Get 'em in and get 'em out.'"
Grove knows his customers put trust in his repair shop. His life and the lives his trained technicians depend on them doing quality work. Grove wants potential customers to know that should they get in a wreck and choose his body shop to do the repair work, he will be one of the guys fixing their car. After all, his name IS on the business. Grove admits to having plenty of business. They are a small company but they are good at what they do. Customers go to Blaine's because of their quality and speedy service.
"Customer satisfaction comes first," said Grove, a business owner who enjoys seeing locally-owned businesses.
Counting Blaine, there are 3 employees- 2 full-timers and 1 part-timer who are able to knock out 3 to 10 cars a week. During the summer they usually take on a 4th guy. "We can do the same job if not better than any dealership." At smaller independent body shops, customers get to deal with the owner unlike working with big body shops where you don't know who is working on your car."
At Blaine's Body Shop you can have that new car for an old-fashioned price.
Not affiliated with a particular insurance companies and refuses to be. Blaine says that being an affiliate only makes it so that you have to do "their" work as first priority over anybody else's. He enjoys being the owner of his shop and he wants to keep it that way.
Managed Care, or Direct Repair, is not something just for the health care industry. For several years now, auto insurers have "directed" their customers to auto body repair shops by compiling lists of "preferred" auto body repair shops. Depending on the insurance company, Direct Repair comes in different "name" or "club" forms such as "Circle of Dependability", "Blue Ribbon," or "Service First".
The reason? By "directing" their customers to "preferred" auto body shops, they hope to accelerate the repair, cut costs, and ensure that the repair is of high quality. Insure.com says, "Preferred shops can make your life much easier by removing the time-consuming ordeal of finding a reputable body shop. Customers overall costs, say insurers, are kept to a minimum, thanks, in part, to preferred repair shops. Insurers get discounts on parts and labor, thus keeping overall auto insurance costs low."
Direct Repair- "that pretty much says we're directing you to our direct repair." That scares people. The independent shops are getting less work and the big shops are getting a whole lot more."
Blaine Grove feels that this is a practice that shouldn't be practiced. "The law stipulates that you are allowed to take your car to any body shop that you choose. Your insurance company cannot and should not choose for you." ... "Say you call and tell your insurance company that you want to take your car to Blaine's Body Shop, and they say, 'Well he's not on our list' - they are redirecting you, which is against the law. What they're doing then is giving you "their" list of body shops to work with - that is fraud against you the customer and me and my body shop," Blaine said. "Insurance companies will not tell you that they are redirecting you, but they are."
Until speaking with Mr. Grove, I used to think that I had to go with the body shop my insurance company said was on their list. Now I know different. If your body shop is NOT on your insurance company's list...that does NOT mean they will NOT pay for the job to be completed. It also does NOT mean that they will drop you as their carrier. "They cannot cancel you out for that reason," said Grove. "That, I think, would be the biggest lawsuit in the world if they did that."
Many insurance companies will say, 'We offer you a lifetime guarantee if you go to one of our shops. Ask them to see that guarantee," he said. "Insurance companies can't give you a guarantee - the body shop can."
"After 14 years in this place, I haven't had a day off due to lack of work and I don't do assigned work from insurance companies. I do a lot of insurance work from my customers. Although I've lost a lot of customers with that language they're (insurance companies) using now."
Simply put: The insurance company cannot change your mind of who you want to take your car to.
Blaine's Body Shop specializes in fantastic paint jobs because they do a lot of custom paint jobs, pearls, metal flakes - "anything like that", and "we specialize in collision and restoring antique cars at the rate of one at a time. We have a waiting list of over 20 cars right now and I only do one every six months. I'm not a restoration shop, but I do that as a filler. When we get everything done, we'll play around with the old cars," Blaine said, who has been a painter since he was fourteen years old. He says, "I've been the man behind the gun for over 30 years."
Blaine's Body Shop offers you quality work, lifetime guarantees, at a competitive price.
Blaine wants our readers to know: "Tell the insurance company you are dealing with that if they tell you 'he's not on our list' then say, "well he should be.
"Just because your insurance company tells you that I'm not on their list, don't be afraid to choose who you want because you still have your rights to go to Blaine's Body Shop or any body shop of your choosing."
When asked how they are "different" than the larger shops out there, Blaine said, here it's "more one on one and we're not here to...we're not here to get rich, I just want to do my 40 hour week and go home and be with my family."
Blaine appreciates what he's been given and even though he loves seeing his shop full of cars (work), he enjoys his time off. His favorite pastime is fishing or sitting on the deck - "chillin'"
At Blaine's you are sure to find what you need everything from frame pulling to painting to welding to dent repair. They do it all. "It's a body shop and it doesn't matter how hard the car's hit, we can fix it," said Blaine.
"We give fair deals to everybody; we give discounts where we can give discounts. We're worried about safety, reputation...we want to make sure that you're going to come back and that you're going to tell your neighbors about us."