What is DentBetty?
DentBetty is the world’s leading Internet site for auto body repair estimates by photo. Why drive all over town to get repair estimates when you ding your car? Now you can just upload a few photos and let them compete for your business without having to leave the comfort of your own home.How does DentBetty work?
- Upload photos of your car’s damage and type in some brief information. We also ask for your VIN number to improve the accuracy of the estimates you receive – they want it so they can match the paint and parts exactly – but it is not currently required.
- Receive notification whenever an auto body shop makes an estimate. They have up to 7 days to respond to your request but you can pick one at any time. You can view all of your estimates online.
- Select the quote you would like to accept, and schedule an appointment directly with the shop without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Can auto body shops really estimate repairs by photo? It isn’t done this way. Don’t they require a physical inspection?
DentBetty is your convenient choice for dings, dents, scrapes, and scratches. If you have significant structural damage to your frame or undercarriage or you have mechanical issues like motor or transmission problems, you should really go in and let them have a look at it. Many cosmetic repairs can be estimated by photograph, however.By selecting a shop, am I making a financial commitment? What happens if I select an estimate and then change my mind?
No problem – this is just a convenient communication and scheduling tool. You have no obligation to use the vendor you chose and we do not ask for your credit card. However you should know that the estimated price you were quoted is only valid for a limited time period and you will not be allowed access to DentBetty to collect new estimates for two weeks. This is to prevent people from continuously shopping the system.Will my insurance cover the cost of DentBetty?
DentBetty is free to use! Whether your insurance will pay for your dent repair bill is between you and your insurance policy: it depends on your deductible, who is at fault, and so on.Why doesn’t my insurance company do this?
Severe collision repair, mechanical and structural damage cannot be estimated by photo alone. Most insurance policies do not cover cosmetic damage, which is generally less expensive to repair than your deductible anyway. And for many problems, claims adjusters may recommend you use DentBetty to save on an out of pocket payment rather than expensing it through their system which would cause an increase in your premiums down the road.Can I choose my auto body technician before the seven day window closes?
Yes! You will be notified immediately when estimates come in – often people receive an estimate within just ten minutes. The first auto body shop to give an estimate tends to walk away with the business, so the most eager repair specialists generally reply right away. Today the local auto body shops are permitted a week to reply however, this way they can make all of their estimates on a single day of the week if they prefer while our service is still new and not well known. (In time, as we grow and iterate, we hope to tighten this window to within seven hours). There is no reason that you need to wait for all the quotes to come in; if you see one you like sooner, you can take it and not wait any further.Which body shops are invited to reply to my inquiry?
Every shop in your neighborhood that makes professional customer service a priority is welcome on DentBetty, and our basic offering is free for them!
A shop must join BettyNet (the DentBetty repairs network) to actually make estimates. Before any shop is approved for membership, we review a variety of criteria including certifications, years in business, capabilities of operation, local reputation, and other information. We approve only those that we believe meet high professional standards for quality and consumer service, and we actively police the network to make certain this continues to be true.
While we do our best to make certain each shop is outstanding, it is conceivable in rare cases we may make a mistake and approve a subpar shop. It simply is not physically possible for us to visit every single shop in person, and even if we could, personnel at these shops can change over time so of course results may vary. However, the most active shops on DentBetty have the opportunity to build a reputation of quality on the “DentBetty Quality Scoreboard” and we make every effort to present you with a variety of other information so that you can verify for yourself that the vendor you choose meets your standards for excellence.
Our membership is growing rapidly right now. When you submit your inquiry, a unique personal directory is provided to you on your Estimate Page which enables you to review which shops were within driving distance and currently participating at the actual time of your request, as well as detailed profiles and other information.
As a customer service, we also provide public directory listings to any shop – whether or not they are active DentBetty participants – in the general Shop Directory. Premium profiles with videos and photos are an added feature that is reserved for “Pro” member shops.
Currently we have 172 well-known shops participating nationwide, including many with the very best ratings from Yelp, AngiesList and I-CAR Gold Class Professionals®. We would gladly depend on any of these shops for our own repairs. Why wouldn’t every shop that makes customer service a top priority join BettyNet?What happens if a shop performs shoddy work on my car?
It is Dentbetty’s policy to dismiss any shop that doesn’t consistently deliver the level of quality and integrity that we require. Part of the value we bring to consumers is that if a shop is making an estimate, you can be reasonably confident that it is a legitimate professional operation. In the event that a problem arises, we will look into any dispute and make our own arbitrary decision whether to continue to allow a shop to participate on DentBetty.
However please know that it is still up to you to make your own decision about what factors are important to you before you select any vendor. We provide you with a variety of information about each shop that we believe to be true, but like other things on the Internet, it is up to you to make sure, we do not guarantee information that they have provided us with is accurate or up to date. DentBetty does not take any responsibility for your experience with any individual vendor – we are just a helpful communication and research resource.
Today’s network is populated with shops that are well-known and highly reputable. The best shops recognize that the Internet is here to stay and that DentBetty provides a sensible solution for consumers and body shops alike in a fair and responsible manner. So far 100% of our consumers surveyed report they are absolutely delighted with the quality of the participating shops.Is this an auction? Are these “bids”?
So far, in the five years since we started this company, only one person has asked us this question. The answer is “no” but the distinction has been lost on pretty much everyone (including us at first), but it is actually quite important.
A bidding marketplace – a true auction – works well when the item being bid on is a physical product, or essentially a commodity that requires very little trust between buyers and sellers about specifications and delivery. In those cases, everyone knows what is being negotiated, it is easy to create a transaction where each party is in full agreement of what is being exchanged and there are relatively few disappointments on close.
However, for cosmetic car repairs, there are often many different ways to make the same repair – with vastly different levels of quality and service, and trust is a huge issue; a bidding auction is not the best solution for the majority of problems because it forces consumers to compare apples to oranges. Further, a photo and some comments are not sufficient for anyone to know with certainty what will be required to complete a repair. Physical inspection is always better because there could be hidden or structural damage that the consumer hasn’t seen. This is why even with physical inspections shops give you an “estimate” – an estimate is just that, an estimate!!
DentBetty participants do their best to indicate the likely repair cost using their experience and judgment, but these estimates are not written sheets – they are always presented in combination with a confidence rating of the estimate itself based on the information the shops are given to work with. By creating our marketplace of estimates, not of “bids”, we have been able to satisfy the needs of the highest quality, best reputed shops that actually do want to provide consumers with helpful information without being forced into a situation that can be misleading, or worse, deliver unsafe or substandard repairs without explaining to the consumer what they just purchased.
So no, these are not “bids.” These are helpful estimates intended to give consumers a pretty good sense of what to expect but without any legally binding obligation. It all works on trust and goodwill, the hallmarks of quality operators.
How many estimates will I receive?
It varies depending on the participation of nearby shops, but in general we’ve designed the system so that you’ll receive at least 3 legitimate independent competing quotes, and up to a maximum of 7. We call this The DentBetty 7 in 7 – Get up to 7 estimates in 7 days or sooner!Why did you limit the maximum number of estimates to 7?
Economic studies demonstrate that 7 quotes are enough to create an efficient marketplace as long as the participants are true competitors. Meanwhile consumers have reported that trying to evaluate more than 7 estimates – while seeming like a nifty idea – actually turned out to be overkill. Too many choices! 7 estimates had more than enough detail to satisfy most consumers’ preferences.
The shops also prefer to constrain the total number of estimates that each inquiry receives to 7. They are glad to provide this consumer service, and reviewing your photos is easy for them, but even with just a minute per estimate the work does start to add up. Presented as one of no more than 7 competitors, each can have a reasonable expectation of winning often enough to merit the effort.
(So much academic research has explored what factors affect human decision making – including an interesting white paper on the psychological notion of “channel capacity” published in 1956. Here’s a fascinating program on the subject of choice and the number seven.)
Why do I have to drive to the body shop at all? Why can’t they make an estimate by photo, pick up my car, fix it, and then deliver my car back to me dent-free?
YES! Pickup/delivery is a consumer service option that was not widely available before the DentBetty revolution. You see, before photo uploads it wasn’t economically practical for most shops to offer this service because previously there was no way for them to triage large and small repair requests from a distance. It is very expensive for them to come get your car at your home 30 miles away if only once they get there they find out that the job is fairly small. However now with DentBetty, any shop can selectively provide this added service.What do you mean by body shops can offer pickup/delivery “selectively”?
With DentBetty, shops don’t have to tell all of their customers that they are willing to make a house call, just the job requests that are near enough and large enough to justify the expense when they aren’t too busy with other clients. Consumers – you want the best possible service for your repair? Come to DentBetty!Do you mean that if I call a shop or go there in person they will tell me that they don’t provide pickup/delivery, but on DentBetty that very same shop may actually provide this extra service?
Yes.I am a media buyer. Who do I contact about sponsorship programs?
We welcome inquiries – please email us at: email@example.comHow big is the market that DentBetty serves?
In the US roughly $36 billion is spent on collision repair each year. Approximately 40% is insurance related, falling under Direct Repair Programs (DRP) by insurance companies. Much of this collision repair market is under the hood however and cannot be estimated by photo alone. So our addressable domestic market is probably closer to the $10 billion spent annually on Paint and Body Repair. Out Of Pocket Car Cosmetics is $3 to 5 billion (and growing in part because of DentBetty). We estimate that the total available market for DentBetty including some premium services we haven’t announced yet is roughly $5 billion. Today some shops are starting to accept emailed photos because consumers are demanding it, but less than 1% of the market is shopped online. DentBetty was the first to market with a viable competitive estimation platform using actual consumer photos at a time when digital cameras became ubiquitous, a leader of its kind. What percent of consumers will migrate to shopping online for these services in the next five years? (And a better question, why on Earth wouldn’t everyone do it this way??)What effect will estimation by photo upload technology have on the shape of the overall marketplace?
Today the average shop writes 127 physical estimates per month. It takes roughly 30 minutes for the technician to write down the details and hold hands with the consumer. Less than a third of these estimates will close. The average ticket is $2,000. Meanwhile on DentBetty a shop can make a ballpark estimate that is good enough to get the consumer in the door in under 2 minutes. This means more estimates at a radically lower cost. Now that $500 keyed car is profitable business whereas in the past the cost to get that customer and estimate the job precluded it from being worth going after. We expect the total number of estimates to rocket upwards tenfold and the average ticket to go downwards.
Another phenomenon worth noting: consumers have told us repeatedly that they would like to get their dented car fixed, but they don’t have the time to run around town to get several estimates right now. The convenience we are introducing will support the growth of the overall out of pocket dent repair market as well.How did you build DentBetty? Will it scale?
The system is architected on a secure distributed server platform primarily coded in Ruby on Rails, Haml, MySQL, jQuery, ImageMagick, Fireworks, Photoshop, elbow grease, and a little bit of secret sauce. Our project management style is a variation of Scrum and Agile known as ZI. We use Redmine and Git to manage our ever-growing feature roadmap, bug stomping, and version control. We are big believers in TQM and TEM. (Why are you asking? What kind of geek are you anyway?) In short, yup, we have a rated capacity of helping to rid the world of a bajillion of dents. Just you wait ’til you see v3. We are gonna kick dent butt!I am with an auto body shop – Can I buy a sponsorship or own stock in DentBetty? It is awesome!
Thank you! That’s tricky. We purposely designed this system so that we remain as neutral as Switzerland. It only provides a valuable service if consumers know that we aren’t a front for any particular vendor, and all BettyNet players are confident that we will not use our market facilitating role to give unfair advantage to any single participant. So with that goal in mind, DentBetty is precluded from accepting special compensation or sharing controlling ownership with any existing or prospective BettyNet member (or any of their affiliates). We are like “Got Milk” for this industry – every participant large and small benefits if our message of Love Your Ride is spread. We certainly appreciate your enthusiastic support – please feel free to tell everyone that you are wild about DentBetty!What is your management philosophy? What are your corporate values?
We view human relationships as a privilege that has significance well beyond financial considerations and therefore we expect as much respect, integrity and diligence from our partners as we demand of ourselves. While of course there are many outstanding management guidebooks out there, we request that all of the associates of DentBetty appreciate the literature of two leaders in particular: Edwards Deming and Howard Schultz. And a tip of the hat to Ze Frank for giving us the courage to win the War on Braincrack. We are continually learning and draw inspiration from many sources – business media, technology circles, academia and elsewhere.
I want to be on the DentBetty Team! How do I get to work there?
All employees are required to demonstrate certain Betty or Eddie character traits. If you think you are Bettylicious then send us a resume with your qualifications and we’d love to make your acquaintance.
Who is DentBetty?
The current DentBetty that you see all over our site is none other than The Sensational Mrs. Emily Wade Adams (except where you see photos of DentBetty Emeritus, Jennifer Rost, that haven’t been taken off the site yet but will disappear magically soon. Farewell and thank you LeadJen! We’ll always be grateful for your generous contribution to this project and your wonderful spirit).
Emily is lead singer of The Cosmo Alleycats, San Francisco’s hottest contemporary swing band. Their debut album “The Late, Late Show” makes for fantastic roadtrip listening, a real knee-tapper. Buy it now and rock out to Emily’s sweet nothings! When she isn’t delighting lindy hoppers and lindy loungers, Emily enjoys munching on organic kale. More info on Emily soon!
The photos of Emily you see all over the site were taken by celebrity photographer Eric Carter, whose book The Beauty in Light is receiving rave critical reviews and dizzying fans. Purchase your copy today!I think DentBetty should be [insert your favorite hair color, body shape, race, age or other demographic preference here] … Emily is too hot for mainstream America …
Um, that’s not a question but thank you for your generous input. We too have considered asking a variety of spokesmodels if they want to play with us, including Rhianna, Fergie, and Christie Brinkley but have been taking our sweet time interviewing candidates, there are so many celebrities we adore out there. We have reached out with no success to Rebecca Black as someone who we think would inspire parents not to let their teenager kids borrow the car keys, as well as Toni Tennille… Picture Toni and the Captain as Betty & Eddie, driving off in the sunset in their beloved de-dented shiny convertible which they have so many happy memories in … Love really can keep you (and your car) together. (We’re sorry to report that William Shatner has never been considered as a possible DentBetty due to his close association with Priceline, our apologies Bill, you would look great in a wig.)
We adore Emily but that doesn’t mean others can’t try their hand as the Dread Pirate DentBetty.
;) We fully intend to have a lot of fun with the DentBetty brand – it lends itself well to a ton of marketing sizzle – stay tuned sportsracers … maybe you could Be The Betty!Why did you name the company DentBetty?
We chose the name DentBetty because it resonates strongly with our consumers and because America has such a long and proud heritage of loving the Betty name. There are so many endearing Betties in history – Betty Crocker, Betty Cooper (from Archie Comics – the cute girl next door who is an expert auto mechanic and a great cook!), Betty Boop, Betty Page, Betty Davis, Betty Grable, Betty Ford, and of course the delightful Betty Rubble for whom the generic term for women “betty” was coined. So our DentBetty is in good company. Also the association between photos, beautiful women and beautiful cars is so longstanding we just had to go there. DentEddie and DentFabio did occur to us too, btw, perhaps they will find their way onto the site someday as well …