If your car has damage on the body, you should look for a panel beater whose vehicle-body restoration services you're likely to be pleased with.
They won't make promises they cannot keep
Panel beaters can often work miracles on exceptionally damaged vehicles. If, for example, you present a reputable panel beater with a car whose body has been left to rust for years, or which has been subjected to a huge impact that has left it covered in dozens of dents, they will offer a realistic appraisal which sets out how likely it is that they'll be able to make the vehicle look similar to the way it did prior to being damaged.
If they suspect that even with weeks of working hard to fix the body, they and their team might not be able to fully repair the vehicle, they should be completely upfront about this and explain in detail what level of restoration they expect to achieve. They may, for example, show you images of car with similar damage and the results their team delivered after working on these vehicles.
Working with a panel beater will mean that your expectations will be realistic from the outset and you'll know what condition your vehicle will be in when it's returned to you if you proceed with using this service. With this information, you'll find it easier to plan ahead. For example, if you're having a vintage vehicle restored with the aim of selling it, knowing which small imperfections might be impossible to fix will help you to set the right price and search for buyers who are unlikely to be deterred by these flaws.
They'll provide you with an extremely detailed record of the repairs they do
Rather than just returning your vehicle to you in better condition, a panel beater will also give you a detailed record of the exact of the repairs they did to the vehicle's body and which tiny issues were not fixable (if there were any). Knowing, for example, how many dents they repaired and which shade of paint (or customised paint mixture) they used to restore a big scratch could be very helpful.
If you have any encounters with reckless motorists or careless pedestrians in the future that lead to your car being damaged again, this record could enable the auto body shop to repair it faster, as they'll know which type of paint they need to use to match your car's paint colour. They'll also know the location of previously-dented areas on the body; this will mean they'll know which areas they'll have to be extra-delicate with, to ensure these fragile sections are not weakened any further.
For more information about working with panel beaters to restore your car, contact a local mechanic.