1. There is a big difference from shops that do auto body/ collision. Restoration is a big difference from that business and to be frank collision pays more then restoration so more then likely your project will go on the back burner. You want a shop focused on classics.
2. Look out for what we call “Bolt on Bettie’s” these shops by aftermarket parts bolt them on throw paint on it and call it customized. You will see it a lot on motorcycles, big wheel in front, bolt on fairing and bags and paint. If you see this ask to see real fabrication, restoration. Before and after pictures.
3. Do they believe in there product? If you go to a restoration/ classic car shop and the owner drive a late model car or truck it should send up red flags. It means one of two thing and neither is good. 1. They don’t believe and trust there product. 2. They do not have a deep passion for old cars. Both are needed for this business and many people do not think of this but would you use a plumber that has a out house, dentist with cotton teeth, Electrician with no electricity of course not so why would you bring your classic car guy that doesn’t have a passion for classic cars.
4. Get time frames on past projects, that will give you realistic time frames on your build.
5. Work with shops that get a deposit and progress payments once the work is finished. Giving 50% or most the the money up front gives very little leverage on progress getting done.