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DIY

If you've always wanted to work on your own cars and think you'll continue after your first, then the investment in the space and tools to DIY is certainly worth it. But if this is the only time you can see yourself using it....you may want to consider those costs again.

Materials alone to paint you own car will run about $2000-$4000 (grinding discs, sandpaper, primers, sealer, fillers, paint, polish and more). A spray gun can be $100-$200. Compressor? $500 minimum. Grinders, Sander, maybe a couple hammers...$300. Welder: $400-$1000. And we haven't even brought up your work space yet! A cold, cinderblock, open-rafter garage is atough place to stay motivated in, while a big, bright, warm, well-appointed shop can be EXPENSIVE!


Repairs and preparing a vehicle for paint can be a lot of fun - depending on your idea of fun! It's mainly a TON of dirty, dusty and repetitive manual labour. Definitely not for everyone. Lots of guys start jobs and then don't finish them because they couldn't stay motivated through all the stages involved. It all starts with the fun part: disassembly. Then you get into the metal work (cutting, grinding, shaping welding), the crappy part: filler work (grinding, applying fillers, sanding, repeating as necessary), then the  really hard part: "paint prep" (sanding, primer, more sanding, more primer....), then - finally - comes paint (including final sanding, wet sanding, cleaning, preparing the booth, masking, painting and color sanding or buffing)....and then....finally.... re-assembly (the fun part again!). A 'decent' repair and paint can take upwards of 150 hours. A nice job will take 300 plus hours!

About to restore your first vehicle? Check out this TRUE story:
 
I took on a 56 Chevy stepside for a friend this winter. It has been in their family since new. Lots of sentimental value here. A lovely truck. They had taken it to 2 major body shops, where it sat for a total of 4 years - untouched. Disillusioned with shops who would rather do collision work when it comes than rust work already waiting, they finally took it home to do it themselves. Over another 2 years they managed to get it stripped down (the fun part - remember?!) and one sill/step welded in....before stalling again due to work and family commitments. Then they foundme me and asking me to help them.  

So I took it into my shop and over 3 months finished dismantling it, sandblasting the frame and inner panels ($1500), doing the metal work, then bodywork and got it ready for paint for them ($12,000). They can now take it to a licenced shop to have it painted ($2,000 -$4,000), then either re-assemble it themselves (over 3-12 months), or have me do it (about $5k).



All in, you'll about $20,000-$25,000 for labour like this, which is still much less than had one of those other shops taken it through to completion. They chose to have me do it - and once completed, it won 1st place at major shows - twice!

That gives you some idea of the time and expense to restore a vehicle a couple of different ways. Mind you that's for a very nice job. You could certainly cobble a job together yourself for MUCH less. As well, if you DIY, you spend $$ on tools which you'll have forever, along with the experience - which some guys value and some don't!

Hope that helps in your decision!


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