You have spent lots for a car... so now's a good time to make sure you spend a little time finding a good auto body shop. You don't want to have to look for one when you're panicked.. because you just got into a wreck!
When it comes to finding an auto body shop nothing beats good old fashioned word of mouth. Ask someone who recently had body work done about the place they went to. Also ask your mechanic who they'd recommend - and if you have insurance, ask your agent which company's been a good one to work with in the past.
Any reputable shop should be able to give a pretty good estimate on the completion date. Make sure you ask what happens if it takes longer - is the body shop going to call you if any delays come up? I liked the answer John Puckett's gave to me today... they said there are times when they fall behind, but what they're doing is offering customers a rental car when that happens, or 25 dollars a day off their total bill - WOW! That's a great gesture of customer service.
I would also ask a body shop what training their techs have been through. Many times you'll notice their certificates hanging on the wall. As complicated as cars are nowadays, be certain the person working on yours knows what they are doing.
Also, ask the body shop to give you their guarantees in writing. A good body shop will stand behind their repairs.
And ask them for an itemized list of work that was done... a reputable company will have no problems doing this.
And finally, trust your gut!!! If you walk in and the people are rude - leave. If they don't want to show you a picture or actual car they're working on or have worked on - leave. If for any reason you feel uneasy - leave and find someplace else - because chances are your instincts were right!