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First Time This has Ever Happened to Me


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Hey all!

 

So I've owned my shop for just about 3 years now. And this has never happened to me in those 3 years or ever, but I guess there really is a first time for everything...

 

A customer came in with an Infiniti G35 coupe. He stated that his 3rd brake light wasn't working. We dug into it and found that the 3rd brake light was malfunctioning. It's a LED light, so we went ahead and ordered one. Customer price for just the light was $246.57. He gave us the go-ahead and we got it completed this morning.

 

When he came for it in the afternoon, he said: "Can I have the receipt for the light." So I said: "Yes sir, it's right here on the invoice." He says: "No, I want your receipt for the light." I actually didn't have one so that's what I said. He said for me to email it to him later, which I just blacked out my price and left the list price. The only reason I did it was because he caught me so off guard, I really didn't know what to do or say since it's never happened before.

 

What would you guys have done?

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Water Proof And Self Adhesive

The light is available aftermarket from Dorman on World Pac for $158.50 my cost, your cost may vary, maybe you could have made more margin or given a discount vs dealer list. I guess if someone wanted to see a receipt & I charged list I would show them also but I doubt most of us charge list when you have to get the part from the dealer & they only give 15% to 20% off to us.

 

All this light repair drives all of us nuts I'm sure. We did a 3rd on a Hyundai, do not remember the model, you had to remove the seat back & package shelf to get to the bulb, 1.0 hour job, of course a big customer argument when they came in after agreeing to the repair because they called the dealer and the uneducated service writer said it should cost $20.00.

 

How about the Acura model that you that you need to remove the bumper cover for 2.0 hours & the customer laughs at you as he leaves saying he will fix the lamp himself!!

Dave

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Lesson learned. You have to be prepared for customers who do this. They don't have a concept on how business works. Just simply tell them politely that you don't disclose invoices to clients. If they ask why not, you tell them that is not something any business would disclose.

 

I am so glad I don't talk to any customers anymore LOL.

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You just tell the customer those are business files. Ask him to go to Wal*Mart and request their invoice on a 50" Television. I have had customers ask those for "warranty reasons". The only thing I give customers are the warranty terms & conditions from used/reman engine/trans I buy and I staple them to the invoice. I tell them if they need a warranty claim we ARE the warranty claim, not the distributor.

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Hey all!

 

So I've owned my shop for just about 3 years now. And this has never happened to me in those 3 years or ever, but I guess there really is a first time for everything...

 

A customer came in with an Infiniti G35 coupe. He stated that his 3rd brake light wasn't working. We dug into it and found that the 3rd brake light was malfunctioning. It's a LED light, so we went ahead and ordered one. Customer price for just the light was $246.57. He gave us the go-ahead and we got it completed this morning.

 

When he came for it in the afternoon, he said: "Can I have the receipt for the light." So I said: "Yes sir, it's right here on the invoice." He says: "No, I want your receipt for the light." I actually didn't have one so that's what I said. He said for me to email it to him later, which I just blacked out my price and left the list price. The only reason I did it was because he caught me so off guard, I really didn't know what to do or say since it's never happened before.

 

What would you guys have done?

I've had this happen several times over the 3 decades I've been standing behind the counter. Here are some of the ways...and the results of my actions. Your results may vary.

 

1/ "Sorry Mr/Mrs Customer, but what I pay for the part is no business of yours. I gave you the price of the part when I called you with the estimate. You authorized the repair and the parts. The price I charged you is your price for the part. Just like a grocery store... I don't sell you the milk for what I paid for it.

 

Results - Never seen the guy again.

 

2/ "I'd be happy to tell you which dealership parts department I purchased it at. You can ask them if the price I chargedyou is correct."(I don't mark up any higher than over counter price for dealer parts).

 

Results - They called AND then had the nerve to use my name to get my discount for the next part they needed. Which they brought to MY shop to have ME install it. Note: no warranty on customer supplied parts even if they bought them from the dealer.

 

3/ "Sir, If you managed to find a cheaper price on the internet that's great. However, I do not have the time or the man power to spend the hours needed to do the searching for a possible cheaper part. Even if I did, I'd still mark it up."

 

Results - Customer said, "Well, from now on I'll buy my own parts no matter how long it takes for me to find the cheapest one. Because you "guys" (speaking of the entire automotive repair industry as a whole) are nothing but rip offs.

 

Results of the results - "Sir, don't ever come back here...EVER! You will not be welcomed at our establishment again. We do quality work with quality parts and nobody is going to bad mouth me or anyone else in this business based on the price of a part. Now take your car and get out!"

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Yup, I had an insurance company come in just last week and try this with me. I got lucky and I left the invoice in my toolbox, so when the adjuster asked to see it, I really couldn't find it (wasn't in the folder where I usually put my receipts). I too was completely caught off guard. Looking back, it really pisses me off people think they can do that in our industry. They bring their cars to us because they have no clue what is wrong with them or how to fix it, but then expect us to fix their cars for next to nothing.

 

Times like that is where you really just want to tell them to GTFO! But you don't, you smile, contain your anger, and give them a response similar to what others have provided here.

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This type of thing used to upset me but it doesn't matter in the end. People are going to take their attitude of 'saving money' to wherever they go and not change the way they think about our industry no matter how we respond. I've had a customer who cancelled an order when he knew we were ordering from the dealer parts store and priced the part. He's never been back but he never did anything but coupon shop us. No loyalty and not someone I'd have a beer with - ever. And I like beer!

 

I don't charge what the dealer tells me is the list price. I have my own price formula and if I pay X for a part I'm going to mark it up Y and the customer can decline or approve. We are fair, honest, and reputable. If they're mad about a part being too expensive in their opinion then they're free to take that opinion to my competition up the street. I've also instructed my staff to not even bring up 'dealer parts' and use manufacturer instead of dealer. And besides, the customers don't care where the part came from unless they're a typical PIA customer. Thankfully, most of our customers are nice and understanding people that trade great service for a fair price.

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A customer recently called us for a price on a battery my wife answered. He also caled the dealer. I dont know what information he was giving but both my wife and the dealer quoted him $40 less then it should have been.

 

He came to us because we were another $5 less. When I looked it up by vin and found the corect battery/price he became irate saying how we wasted his time and he could have gone to the dealer. He insisted I price match. So I did.

 

When he came in he comlained some more. I told him he did not have to worry about it in the future. I said we are changing our business model and will no longer be open to the public (him). He asked why and I said it was too much hasle. We will be working for dealers only now. I do not know if he saw through it or not but I am pretty sure we will not have to deal with him again.

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A customer recently called us for a price on a battery my wife answered. He also caled the dealer. I dont know what information he was giving but both my wife and the dealer quoted him $40 less then it should have been.

 

He came to us because we were another $5 less. When I looked it up by vin and found the corect battery/price he became irate saying how we wasted his time and he could have gone to the dealer. He insisted I price match. So I did.

 

When he came in he comlained some more. I told him he did not have to worry about it in the future. I said we are changing our business model and will no longer be open to the public (him). He asked why and I said it was too much hasle. We will be working for dealers only now. I do not know if he saw through it or not but I am pretty sure we will not have to deal with him again.

 

Often times we have to go through BS to learn a lesson. Clear lesson is don't quote over the phone. If you do quote over the phone and you get a nasty customer, FIRE HIM! DO it nicely so he walks out feeling like he won. This way Mr. Nasty doesn't bother you anymore. Next time he needs your services, you tell him you are completely booked in the nicest way possible. BYE!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The easiest way I handle this, is I tell the customer that I have a credit account for the parts, and I am billed at the end of the month. I then give them a list price list of the part, from the supplier I acquired it from. Regardless, you are not in the wrong. It is common practice to mark up parts, and common knowledge that we get a discount on the parts we purchase. Customers also know that they cannot attain said prices on these parts. I guess an argument can be made if you markup above list price, it can look a bit greedy, and unethical, but again, this commonly happens in our industry.

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The easiest way I handle this, is I tell the customer that I have a credit account for the parts, and I am billed at the end of the month. I then give them a list price list of the part, from the supplier I acquired it from. Regardless, you are not in the wrong. It is common practice to mark up parts, and common knowledge that we get a discount on the parts we purchase. Customers also know that they cannot attain said prices on these parts. I guess an argument can be made if you markup above list price, it can look a bit greedy, and unethical, but again, this commonly happens in our industry.

 

 

If you are using a proper parts matrix you may be over list price on parts. There is nothing unethical about that if the vehicle is being serviced at your facility, your experienced technician is performing a superior job and you are backing the work with a long and iron clad warranty. The nerve of someone to ask about what my price is LOL

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You speak of what the dealership typically uses, Matrix pricing which is typically 10-15% above list? It must be a market thing. Here in my area, you will not last a month giving customer's matrix pricing. Too saturated, too much competition. I typically markup my prices where I make a decent return, and my customer still saves a bit. It's win/win everyone goes home happy.

 

Now yes, that doesn't mean there are not ppl out there who expect to receive the part at your cost no markup which is ridiculous.

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Yup, I had an insurance company come in just last week and try this with me. I got lucky and I left the invoice in my toolbox, so when the adjuster asked to see it, I really couldn't find it (wasn't in the folder where I usually put my receipts). I too was completely caught off guard. Looking back, it really pisses me off people think they can do that in our industry. They bring their cars to us because they have no clue what is wrong with them or how to fix it, but then expect us to fix their cars for next to nothing.

 

Times like that is where you really just want to tell them to GTFO! But you don't, you smile, contain your anger, and give them a response similar to what others have provided here.

Insurance company's don't ask for the invoice to check the price, they don't care, they understand how the industry works. They ask for the invoice to ensure you actually bought a part they can not see when doing a supplement. If the adjuster only thought XYZ was bad and you also replaced ABC they want to make sure you actually did it and didn't just say you did. Like I said, they understand the industry.

 

On the OP's topic, as others have said, the answer to the customer is just no. Politely no, bus still no.

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You speak of what the dealership typically uses, Matrix pricing which is typically 10-15% above list? It must be a market thing. Here in my area, you will not last a month giving customer's matrix pricing. Too saturated, too much competition. I typically markup my prices where I make a decent return, and my customer still saves a bit. It's win/win everyone goes home happy.

 

Now yes, that doesn't mean there are not ppl out there who expect to receive the part at your cost no markup which is ridiculous.

 

No, he's referring to charging a higher markup on low price parts and lower markup on high priced parts to achieve a desired overall profit margin.

Some of your prices will be above list and some will be below. Don't forget that you're adding your warranty to parts and inspecting them for defects/counterfeits.

 

Here is a sample of what a matrix could look like (this should yield about 50% parts GPM):

$Part cost Gross Margin Divide By

0.01-5.00 70.0% 0.30

5.01-10.00 60.0% 0.40

10.01-75.00 55.0% 0.45

75.01-200.00 50.0% 0.50

200.01-500.00 42.0% 0.58

500.01-750.00 35.0% 0.65

750.01 and up 30.0% 0.70

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