I would still find a small operation focused on rebuilt cars.
If you can find one.. That isn't to costly.. Most shops that take pride in their work, won't touch a vehicle that someone else prepped (body worked, sealed primed /etc) as their name is on the finished product and how long it last..
I'm sure there are local "generic " car clubs that put on events for all makes models.. that if you e-mailed or stopped by when they are having a club meeting.. I'd say show but wrong time of year.. The members that run the club,and do most of the leg work will know of body guys that "moon light" painting . My dad got more extra work that way.. And the club members will know a good guy/painter and the iffie ones..
Like mentioned already, Maaco is a franchise and each one is completely different. they are the best bang for the buck at least around here. You CAN get a good job in base/clear for around $2500, assuming theres no damage to repair. Wanting it taken apart will turn a lot of shops off in doing it. I wont do a panel off job myself. On a Fiero, all I need off is 'maybe' side moldings, headlight covers, wing, 'maybe' mirrors, and tail lights. Even on a color change, there is very little jam area to paint...only an inch or 2. Check out some of whoevers work first. Get everything specifically in writing...cost, guarantee including overspray, what theyre going to do, and WHEN it will be done. Orange peel is not a big deal, as you can sand and buff it yourself...based on their cost. Color is also important...colors can run from $30 @ quart to several hundred @ quart. Some are also special in that they are 3 or 4 stages, or they may require a complete base color under the color you want. (ie Corvette yellow must be finished in white first.)
So when you find a prospect you need the following info
1. Color. 2. together mostly or taken apart. 3. color sand & buff or not. 4. do body work yourself, or them. Remember you cant hold them responsible for your bad work. 5. make it clear you dont want any overspray anywhere. They can mask wheelwells and engine compt.
I seen a car recently that had been repainted. It was an 87 Buick GN. It was rustfree and damage free, just paint had went to crap. He also rebuilt everything under the hood with all the aluminum polished to look like chrome and added on all kinds of custom chrome parts, along with lots of colored annodized fittings and tubing. Everything was covered with black & clearcoat overspray under the hood as well as polished/chromed rotors, calipers, suspension, etc. He had to sue the shop for almost $2500 to have it all recleaned and repolished. He came to me for a written estimate to take to court.
I'm curious about something...... For $5k..........what quality of paint would you expect on your car?
The paint itself I hear painters argue about all the time. Some say PPG is best some say its horrible. If you mean the paintjob itself, for 5k if I went were I did last time I'd expect flawless or a lot less than 5k.
Nothing is wrong with PPG. The only issue is its way to expensive. Other name brands are just as good for 1/2-1/3 the price. Your paying for the name. Its like comparing a Suburban to an Escalade, basicly the same thing with $25k difference in sticker. I wont buy PPG for that reason alone. If a customer wants it or buys it himself, thats fine.
ie/ PPG clearcoat is $175-300 a gallon, I use Finish 1 myself for $75 a gallon. It does just as nice and lasts just as well.
I just had my truck painted by Maaco in East Alton, IL. They fixed a rusted area and a bunch of hail dents, then repainted the whole thing back to the factory two-tone for just under $1800. They did all jambs, under the hood and even the front bumper and cover. They used PPG polyurethane base and clear. They even cut and buffed it. Very, very satisfied with them and their services. Got the truck in the shop less than a week after the estimate and got it back in about a week and a half.
------------------ 1986 SE Aero coupe.
3.4 DOHC swap is complete and running, now just have to finish the rest of the car...
I wasn't referring specifically to the actual paint products,to each their own on that issue,I was referring to the quality of workmanship the painter used to apply the paint and the quality of the finished product. For $5,000,and up $$$.....I better be getting calls from numerous auto shows begging me to please,please,please bring the best looking Fiero that they've ever laid eyes on to their show.
2.5 ......I actually just bought a new compressor this past weekend and just might end up painting it myself. Unfortunatelly,I just don't have the proper shop anymore or the time to devote to the one car that it deserves. Life is busy these days and I have 3 other cars to finish up.....
[This message has been edited by MadProfessor8138 (edited 01-16-2017).]
Like mentioned, the cost does not make the quality. Above is someone who paid $5000 and had all kinds of issues, while others had Maaco jobs and were well satisified. Its not always a case of you get what you pay for. You will generally get the best job, for the fairest price from some old fart who runs his own business and works alone. Just make sure hes not a druggie or drunk...they never get anything done...i know some of those. The very best top show quality jobs here in Columbus is a long time friend of mine whos garage is basicly a 2 car lean-to with 4 walls he heats with a kerosene heater...not even really a garage at all. Hes not cheap, but very fair for the quality. He does flawless body work and paint. I envy how well and how fast he can do a job. Ive even had wrecks or restorations needing something I couldnt do myself, done by him. After he did his part, id finish the job and do the paint. Hes now retired too at 75, and has breathing problems so hes not doing it anymore. The Maaco by me does lots of car show cruise nite cars, and for the most part, they look pretty good. They have one regular customer that collects older Cadillacs and they fix and paint all of them. He does like 4-5 a year. They have one good metal man, that im thinking of letting him weld in new rockers on my Caravan. I dont do any welding. Then ill just do the paint job on it.
For the OP, if your going to get 4 done, let the shop you chose know that. Tell them getting the others depends on how you like the first one. You usually could expect a discount too. Some of my regular customers Ive done cars for for 30 years, get a LOT lower pricing.
[This message has been edited by rogergarrison (edited 01-19-2017).]