What is a Certified “PRO FIRST” Honda Repair Shop?
When your car needs auto body repair work, getting it fixed right the first time can be a hit-or-miss process. Although there is no shortage of reputable auto body shops throughout the U.S., there are also large numbers that deliver unacceptable quality in their repair work and customer service.
At the same time, today’s cars are far more complex and sophisticated than earlier models. As a result, the repair process requires far more specialized training and tooling in order to return damaged cars to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Nobody wants to go through the time and hassle of finding another body shop because the first shop didn’t properly repair the vehicle. So the dilemma for car owners is this: how do I determine a shop’s quality of work before I take my car in for repairs?
Most people ask a friend or colleague if they can recommend a good auto repair shop. However, just because one person had a good experience with a particular shop doesn’t mean it delivers quality work every time. If you really want to know whether you can trust an auto body shop, the answer lies in their certifications.
At Premier Coach Works, we are proud to be a certified Honda PRO FIRST auto repair shop. This prestigious certification tells Honda owners everywhere that the industry’s leading repair quality evaluators have verified that our auto body repair services consistently meet Honda America’s specifications and the expectations of our customers. These evaluators include:
a leading nonprofit international training organization that works with auto shops to deliver consistently high levels of auto repair quality.
a proven quality measurement system that verifies when an auto shop follows the vehicle manufacturer’s guidelines and best practices for repairs.
In the auto repair industry, earning a rating from these organizations is considered the gold standard of repair quality certification.
The Honda PRO FIRST Program
PRO FIRST is American Honda’s auto body shop certification program. Open to all independent and dealer-owned body shops in the U.S., it’s primary purpose is to promote the correct, complete and safe repair of Honda and Acura vehicles. If an auto body shop is PRO FIRST certified, you know in advance that you will receive the highest quality repairs and customer service.
In addition to certifying a shop’s repair quality, PRO FIRST also supports auto repair businesses in providing superior customer care and satisfaction. As a result, Honda and Acura owners can have full confidence that their vehicles will be repaired in a safe and complete manner and that they will be treated with kid glove care.
Other advantages to Honda/Acura owners include:
- Accurate job cost estimates
- Knowledge that the shop has the tools, equipment, training and expertise to properly and safely repair the vehicle
- Faster repair times
- A less stressful repair experience
Advantages to auto body shops include:
- Enhanced professional reputation
- Increased customer confidence and loyalty
- Increased operational efficiencies
- Ability to attract and retain the best auto repair technicians
- Reduced costs and higher profit margins due to minimal repair “do-overs”
The Proof is in the Pudding
If it were easy, every auto body shop in the U.S could be PRO FIRST certified. However, in order to meet Honda’s demanding certification standards, body shops must undergo a rigorous evaluation process to determine whether they meet a lengthy list of requirements in many different areas.
- Basic Knowledge and Skills. To qualify for the PRO FIRST Certified Program, an auto repair business must be classified as an I-CAR Gold Class Professionals shop or a VeriFacts VQ or Medallion shop. This ensures that the shop has the knowledge, skills and processes required to consistently make repairs according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Training. For an auto body shop to quality for PRO FIRST certification, it must have a minimum of two structural technicians and one estimator who have completed the Honda- and Acura-specific training provided by I-CAR. This training involves a series of 10 separate classes that cover the various aspects of repairing Honda and Acura vehicles. As new training classes are introduced, technicians must complete them within the proscribed time period in order for the shop to maintain its PRO FIRST certified status.
- Tools and Equipment. Safely and completely repairing today’s high-tech cars requires basic and specialized tools. American Honda requires all PRO FIRST certified auto repair shops to maintain a prescribed set of tools and equipment to ensure they can properly perform the repair work. This list is regularly updated when new tools and equipment are developed for working of Honda and Acura models.
- Facilities. PRO FIRST shops must maintain strict facility standards regarding their cleanliness, safety, security, work processes, and customer service. These include providing:
- Sufficient parking for customers
- Safe storage for damaged vehicles
- Procedures for ensuring customer and employee safety
- Processes for ensuring timely and accurate communications with customers during the repair process
- Third-Party Inspections. To determine their initial PRO FIRST qualification, all shops must undergo inspection by an independent, third-party auditor. To maintain their certification, shops must repeat the audit process once a year.
- Customer Care System. To achieve PRO FIRST certification, auto body shops must maintain a customer care system that gathers and evaluates customer feedback in several important areas, including:
- Did the quality of the repairs meet the customer’s expectations?
- Was the customer treated in a friendly, professional and helpful manner?
- Did the time it took to complete the repairs meet the customer’s expectations?
- Would the customer recommend the repair shop to friends and family?
When you see the Honda PRO FIRST certification proudly displayed in our Premier Coach Works facility, you can count on us to follow through on our promise of reliable Honda and Acura repairs combined with unmatched customer service. Isn’t that better than asking someone if they know a reliable auto body repair shop?