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  #1  
Old 09-28-2010, 01:19 PM
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Why is Maaco so cheap?

I got three estimates to my car painted (85 300SD). Shop #1 $3000 Shop #2 $2500 Shop #3 (maaco) $1089.95 . I want to get my car painted, like anyone I want to save money and get a good job. Maaco undercuts everyone by so much its crazy! How good of a job do they do?
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2010, 01:29 PM
MattBelliveau's Avatar
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The paint job is only as good as the painter.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2010, 01:30 PM
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Maaco has a lot of detractors on here and other "high-end" car enthusiast sites...

A lot of the quality depends on each independent Maaco as they're a franchise and can be independently owned/operated...

The cost cutting comes into play with the paint they use and the prep...

If you don't pay a lot...you end up with paint on the door seals and such...taping might not be done well...and it might be a single stage...

Maaco can do good work if you:
1)Find a Maaco in the area with good reviews
2)Tour the shop and get a feel for what the end product will look like and for the employees
3)Do a lot of prep - removing trim etc
4)Go with a base/clear job

There are other variables...but that's a good starting point
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2010, 05:31 PM
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Maaco is a production shop. They have standard packages (enamel, single stage urethane, base / clear) which dictate the type of paint that they will use but they limit the prep work to just a couple of hours worth of scuffing and then masking.

The prep work is where the majority of hours will be needed, especially if you have dings or want to pull the trim off.

If you do the prep work yourself and have them paint it, then you could come out with a very nice paint job. The painters are usually pretty decent at what they do. I suspect that a Maaco painter paints more cars in a week then a high end paint shop will paint in a month.

If you plan to use a Maaco, micro manage the heck out of them. Make sure that after each step, they stop and they call you so that you can inspect the work.

If you follow this model, you will come out with a pretty decent job.
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2010, 08:52 PM
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hard to say..ive seen some really nice maaco paint jobs and some garbage maaco paint jobs. when i had a psycho girl kick my car up all the shops wanted 6-8k to fix the body work and paint..where as maaco wanted 1600. i was clueless as to how they were gonna fix the dents let alone paint the car as good as they were trying to tell me. i ended up fixing the car myself which cost 3 grand wihtout the paint. its hard to say..its s dice roll if you ask me.
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2010, 09:06 PM
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My local MAACO does a decent job, but I tested them out with a few smaller parts first before I asked them to paint my SDL.

I paid $1700 for the two tone paint in 2 stage (metallic). They had to completely strip the top surfaces of the car due to the paint checking. They also filled a ding on my passenger door.

I saved money by not having them do the cut and buff. I'll do that step myself and it saved about $1500.
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2010, 09:54 PM
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My car has no visable rust but few spots that the paint has more or less chipped away (the front of the car due to the large bugs we have in Kansas). HA HA The prep work looks to be easy and it only has one door ding. I just could not get over how much cheaper they were. It almost scared me away.
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  #8  
Old 09-30-2010, 04:58 PM
jmk jmk is offline
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Here is one of the other reasons Maaco is cheap.

Their paint quality is not as good. The materials they use are at a lower price point that what you would get in a high end shop. Now, an expensive shop can use cheaper paints (some times w/o telling you). Frankly, the materials for a high end job cost more than what Maaco charges out the door.

You have to decide if the car you are painting is worth the extra expense.
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  #9  
Old 09-30-2010, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmk View Post
Here is one of the other reasons Maaco is cheap.

Their paint quality is not as good. The materials they use are at a lower price point that what you would get in a high end shop.
I'm not sure that I agree with this comment. I'm friends with an owner of a Maaco and he uses Sherwin Williams paint system.

As a matter of fact, while he advertises enamel paint for $299 paint job. He only uses Urethane and Base / Clear because he feels that it's too much work for his painters to learn multiple paint systems so you actually get a better quality paint then what you pay for.

He has his own paint mixer on site and can pretty much mix up anything. I know of one other Maaco in the area and they use Dupont paint.

Because they mix their own paint, their costs are far lower then what it would cost you or me to get paint from a paint jobber.

The high end paints that will run into thousands will probably be used by restoration shops that perform $10,000 paint jobs and not the collision repair shops that paint cars for $2000-4000.

If I had a gullwing, then sure, a $10k paint job is worth it, but not on my 91 560SEL with 240k miles.

Paint is a small part of the equation, the big part is labor. As Maaco is a production shop, you need to either prep the car yourself and make sure you have your boot on their neck so that they don't cut corners in masking or painting.
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Check out the W114, W115 enthusiast website.
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  #10  
Old 09-30-2010, 06:10 PM
jmk jmk is offline
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Trust me, I know. I used to make this stuff for a living.

Again, it is how much you want to pay.

Labor is the bigger part. But with cars, the paint is not cheap. Good paint is quite expensive. I just looked up a high quality primer from my painting days and it was priced at 25.75/pint. Not gallon, not quart, pint. And that was primer.

There are very good reasons that systems like your friend uses at his Macco shop cost a lot less, but I cannot give the details because I do not want to reveal any company's trade secrets.
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  #11  
Old 10-23-2010, 10:00 AM
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Most shops mix there own paint now days. But maco chain probably gets a huge discount. I can't remember but a aircraft painter was telling me they purchased Imiron in the old days for what boiled down to $20/gallon. They got it in 55 gallon drums.

A paint job is absolutely NOT the painter. It's 99% prep work. You can remove trim and then mask the car before the paint it. Beyond that- if you want it stripped to bare metal(best), it's a messy job you can probably do.


M
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  #12  
Old 10-23-2010, 10:03 AM
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Yep, everything he said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by samiam44 View Post
Most shops mix there own paint now days. But maco chain probably gets a huge discount. I can't remember but a aircraft painter was telling me they purchased Imiron in the old days for what boiled down to $20/gallon. They got it in 55 gallon drums.

A paint job is absolutely NOT the painter. It's 99% prep work. You can remove trim and then mask the car before the paint it. Beyond that- if you want it stripped to bare metal(best), it's a messy job you can probably do.


M
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With best regards

Al

Check out the W114, W115 enthusiast website.
http://www.stroke8.org

http://www.w108.org

Join the Mercedes W108 group
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/mercedesw108/

My 280SL restoration

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  #13  
Old 10-25-2010, 11:06 AM
jmk jmk is offline
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That was probably true (if it was Immron, that was a long time ago! BASF bought them out decades ago). $40/gal was an average price for car paint in 1994.

It doesn't work like that in refinish. There will be discounts for a Maaco based on volume, but the price differential isn't through the volume, it is the quality. It is much less expensive to make what Maaco sells than what a premium supplier sells. Again I cannot get into the details, but volume is not the issue.

No refinish shop goes through the volumes of paint that an OEM manufacturer uses. That level of discount nevers occurs within the refinish world, even the refinish that the OEM's use for spot repairs.
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"cash for clunkers" took the van (at 18 yrs, 270,000mi)

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  #14  
Old 11-01-2010, 03:40 PM
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I personally wouldn't let Maaco paint a garbage can, but I'm prejudiced. I have a couple friends in the business and used to help them out in the early days, so I've spent my time in a body shop. Everything from basic collision repair to award winning restorations. Everyone here is spot on about their advice on prep work, especially if there is any body work to be done. If you do it yourself, it'll get done - if you don't its a crap shoot.

If you've got any rust repair or significant body work, I wouldn't trust that to maaco.
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  #15  
Old 11-22-2010, 01:20 PM
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Had Maaco paint my '83 300SD about 10 years ago.

The car was worth $3000-4000 so I wasn't interested in paint jobs that were over $1000. I got quotes similar to yours (2000-3000, Maaco quoted $900)

They charged me $900 to fix up 4 dents, found some previous Bondo and removed it/repaired the panel, car had been previously painted (badly) so there was some prep work there too.

Here's what I did, and ended up with a GREAT paint job. Not a dealer-brand-new paint job, but I'd say 80-85% of what a new car looks like. Remember that to get a paint job in the 90-100% range will cost you MINIMUM $2500. And I'm picky... I told people this and they said "looks perfect to me.. why don't you think it's perfect?"

1. Took 1/2 day and pulled off ALL the stuff I didn't want them to mask/paint. On a W126 it doesn't take more than 4 hours to remove:
-four interior door panels
-lower body cladding
-window scraper chrome (base of each window)
-chrome trim on windshield and back window
-all door handles
-grille/headlight/taillights

I loosely put on the headlights and taillights, and drivers door handle so I could pull them off when I got to the shop and put them all in a box in the trunk. When the car was done, I quickly reinstalled and drove home.

I painted the lower body cladding and bumpers myself once the car was done.

Note that I didn't remove the bumpers as it was too much work. I figured if they got overspray on them, it was OK as I was going to paint the bumpers myself.

Bumpers and cladding were done with proper plastic primer and paint. Cost me maybe $30. Threw a plastic sheet over the entire car and painted the bumpers while installed on the car. Painted the cladding while the car was at Maaco being painted.

Reinstalled everything in a couple of hours.

2. (KEY to a good paint job!) Left a case of beer in the trunk. Told the Maaco manager that there was a token of my appreciation in the trunk for the guy who sprays my car. I think it was totally worth it


The key is to remember that you should remove everything you don't want painted. Assume they will paint everything and not mask (assume worst case scenario). Assume your tires will have overspray, etc. (as an example, I sprayed 3 coats of 'tire gloss' on the tires before having the car painted. Any overspray would have wiped off)
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