Not everyone has the ability to put out insane custom trucks all by themselves, whether it is a lack of knowledge and skill or the lack of time, tools and the space to do it in.
Those reasons, ladies and gentlemen, are why shops exist. The hardest part is putting your truck and hard earned money into someone else’s hands and trusting that everything will go as planned. For every great shop out there with satisfied customers there are several more shops putting out shoddy work or ripping customers off. The fact is, you never know, something could always happen and go wrong no matter how good a shop’s reputation. The key to ensuring a good experience is, of course, research. Don’t just go with what you hear, talk to actual customers and check the work out on their rides. A good judge of the quality of a shop is the fact that their work stands the test of time, or that they will stand by their work if there are problems.
Wrenching on your own truck is always enjoyable, but it is not always possible. There is also a learning curve on a lot of work required for customizing your truck. Space is always another issue. I recall doing a smoothie bumper swap among other jobs on my Silverado in the parking lot of my college apartment, because I had nowhere else to do it at the time. A shop’s expertise and knowledge also play a huge part in the reason to take your truck to a shop to have work done in the first place. A shop should be open to giving a potential customer a tour, while showing off their work and skills. Any shop unwilling to do so should be viewed with a cautious eye. What do they have to hide except sub-par work, or maybe the sweatshop in the back filled with a dozen kids pumping out Christmas sweaters. Checking out their current work and picking the owner’s brain about their knowledge and ideas is a good way to get a feel for the shop before dropping off your prized truck to be cut apart.
A good rule of thumb to protect yourself when getting work done at a shop is to get an estimate in writing. Most of the time a deposit of some sort is required to cover the cost of parts and money to help cover overhead while working on the truck. Getting everything detailed in writing is a good way to clear up possible confusion, or if the need arises to take an issue to court. Time wise, always be patient and generally add about half the time originally quoted for the build. So don’t get mad when two weeks turn into three, you wouldn’t want the shop staff rushing the work on your truck anyway. If those two weeks turn into two months however, then I would get worried! But most shops are out there trying to run a business, and in this scene, a lot of that is built from exposure and word of mouth. So the last thing a lot of shops want is a dissatisfied customer.
Do your research, ask around and check the place out to ensure a pleasurable experience when having work done to your truck.