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I did a free trial with them a year or two ago. I don't remember much about it honestly. So it must not have been something I saw as worthwhile. EDIT, I was thinking this was a labor guide and repair data thing like all data. I agree with Mspec, it's a terrible thing for the industry. They can sign up some lowball shops, then people can check those prices and tell you that your too high.

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Whether it is the worst thing or the best thing for the industry it is here. We are going to have to deal with these type of sites. Find a way to make it work for you and your business.

Edited by Tires Too
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I use it periodically to make sure I'm charging enough. I find some times I'm under charging for some things, even though I might be hitting my margins. I never lower my prices to match it though. My warranty is better than what they call for

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Whether it is the worst thing or the best thing for the industry it is here. We are going to have to deal with these type of sites. Find a way to make it work for you and your business.

 

 

I don't believe that is necessarily true. I have not seen these sites/service gain much traction. I have only heard RepairPal spouted once in 10 years of operation.

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Work's great for me. Well worth the $200 a month I spend. I get 8-10 new customers a month. I don't know if any of my customers use the estimator. I use it a few times a week just to make sure I am charging properly or if someone questions the price.. They are a review site and they will get you some reviews to start out with. They will vet your shop. Verify training and equipment. They will also call your customers to verify you are on the up and up. They will ask those customers for reviews as well and then publish them for you. If you don't have a lot of reviews out there, this is a great place to start. They are partnered with AARP and now USAA. I never got an AARP member, but I have got a few from USAA. They record all of the customers calls they send you (which you can listen to) and send you an email as well. Very easy to track what they are doing for you.

It probably works better in metro areas where there is a lot of competition. Maybe not so well in small towns or rural areas.

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we have it as well and have the estimator on our website as well. what yall afraid of? the way you talk would make me fear going to some of your shops.

 

Is price the only deciding factor in where you get your car serviced or does trust play into the decision? Repairpal trains customers to focus on the price and assumes that the car has already been PROPERLY diagnosed and that all repairs are the same.

 

I was a Master Lexus Technician, ASE Master Certified with my L1, and have over 9 years experience working exclusively on Lexus vehicles. I will tell you that the dumbest thing I can do is act cocky enough to give a price before properly inspecting the car. That's a sure fire way to piss off a customer. Quote them one price, then have them leave paying more, and that is exactly what repairpal does.

 

*Oh, wait, they will also charge you to do it if you're willing to sign up.

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so you deal with the customers too? Yall sound like you never talk with your customers, if you want clarity, discuss it. If you take a job in and they got a quote are you just gonna do it without discussing anything with them?? Plus, have you even seen what it says on their site? Here is what it says on a water pump.

 

Best Practices

When replacing the water pump, the drive belts and/or timing belt may need to be removed. The belts should be replaced if they show signs of wear or coolant damage.

The entire cooling system—including all the coolant hoses and fittings, radiator, coolant fan(s), and fan clutch (if equipped)—should be inspected when replacing the water pump.

To help prevent future issues, we recommend replacing the thermostat when the cooling system has been opened for repairs (e.g. water pump or radiator replacement) or during a system flush.

Common Symptoms

Water pumps require replacement if they begin to leak coolant or become noisy. Leaking water pumps can result in damage to the drive and timing belts.

A failed water pump can be caused by problems in the cooling system, such as a failing thermostat, radiator, or head gasket.

So, it seems to me you just need to talk with your customers, we do and dont have problems, we are also priced to be within their ranges, if you want to price your repairs out of their range then thats your business.

You want to make this confusing or so detailed people dont understand it or what? i dont understand the concept of what exactly are you going to do that makes this a really bad thing? i bet i know :)

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Sorry, I just don't understand all of the angst going on in this thread. How they come up with estimates. They poll several shops in your zip code or immediate area (that's why they ask for the zip code). They find the lowest shop rate and the highest shop rate in that area. They take OEM list parts prices for the high end and available aftermarket parts list prices for the low end. Hens your high and low end. Theory is you should be in that price range cut and dry. If your too high on your quote there is not much to say, your going to have to sell the difference.. Too low, you may be leaving money on the table. It's no more perfect then the flat rate guides. It's just a tool for the customer to try and gauge if their getting a fair shake.

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Sorry, I just don't understand all of the angst going on in this thread. How they come up with estimates. They poll several shops in your zip code or immediate area (that's why they ask for the zip code). They find the lowest shop rate and the highest shop rate in that area. They take OEM list parts prices for the high end and available aftermarket parts list prices for the low end. Hens your high and low end. Theory is you should be in that price range cut and dry. If your too high on your quote there is not much to say, your going to have to sell the difference.. Too low, you may be leaving money on the table. It's no more perfect then the flat rate guides. It's just a tool for the customer to try and gauge if their getting a fair shake.

 

There is a huge fallacy in polling shops in your area. For example my area is some of the highest cost of living in the country however we have some of the lowest labor rates for independents. We also have some of the lowest competencies when it comes to technicians. The dealerships do charge appropriately for the cost of living as well as the training and competency their techs have. With that being said if we are to be "within range" of the shops around us we would have to lower our labor rate and pricing on parts which would not allow us to provide the level of service and afford to have my techs well trained. There is just such a huge variance in many factors such as cost of living, state of aftermarket industry per area, competency of shop owner/business/technicians.

 

RepairPal estimator tool creates a price focusing and makes our services commodities. No matter how you look at it our services will always be different and our methods and cost of doing business will be different. My techs and service advisors are highly trained and my facility is better equipped than all the independents in my immediate area and I know this for a fact. We also provide more value, more benefits and treat our customers completely different than other shops. For all those reasons I will not be racing to the bottom with inferior outfits.

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Websites like repairpal, automd and others are not going away.

Customers are using these sites to protect themselves and to
make sure they're not being taken advantage of.

So, those websites didn't create the problem. They're filling a
need the public has.

In regards to using those sites for marketing purposes...

Those sites can send traffic to shops that feel they need more
traffic.

The problem with any form of marketing is:

Unless you know how to convert that phone call or walk-in,
into an appointment...

You've wasted your money (and your time).

Let's face it. Every caller has a pen and paper in front of
them with a list of shops they're calling.

Your service advisors need to be effective at communicating
what sets you apart from all of the other shops that customer
is calling.


Otherwise, you will be competing on price.

So, in most cases, you're better off investing your money
in service advisor training rather than on more marketing.

By the way, any form of marketing based on discounts or promotions...
whether it be a coupon on your website, direct mail, PPC
or any other price-driven promotions means...

You are reinforcing the commodity mindset.

In other words, you're actually training your customers to be on
the lookout for more discounts from you - or to check with your
competition - to see if their discounts are better than yours.

I was doing an onsite training, in a shop recently. The service
advisor said to a long-time customer, in the checkout process...

"Just so you know, if you provide us with your email address,
we'll send you coupons and promotions."

The customer replied, "Wow! I never thought of looking for
coupons for auto repair services! Thanks for the idea!"

When I pointed this out to the shop owner, he realized all of
his marketing methods were teaching his customers to become
coupon clippers and unless his coupons were better than his
competitors' coupons, he was fighting a losing battle.

He was also surprised to discover that even though his traffic
was up, his sales were down, because most of the customers
weren't buying anything other than the promotion.

Since then, he's been able to cut out almost all of his marketing.

Because now, his service advisors are selling almost every
single job because they know how to communicate to the customers
what sets that shop apart from all of the competition, in his area.

Here's a video I did on one of the biggest misunderstandings about
auto repair shop marketing:

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So Imcca you are willing to go to the low end of the quote if that is what the customer wants? As I said it wasn,t the estimate guide that drove me away from Repair Pal. And going off half cocked at the others in here dont warrant much respect. We all have our business models. If you want to cater to bottomers be my guest! Repair Pal DID NOT fulfill all they advertised!

 

You mad bro?

we actually are closer to the high end and have NO problem with discussing it with the customer. We show them why we are there and why we provide better service. Come out of the woods and read Elons post, especially the part in bold, just because you don't like it doesn't mean it wont work.

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I tried Repairpal and decided to not keep paying for the service. On their end, they do a great job. They researched my shop, came up with honest reviews, and put my shop out there in my zip code area. Unfortunately 99.9% of the calls i got from repairpal referrals were " when can I get my head gasket done?" They got themselves a low estimate on replacing just the gasket, ignored all the other advice, and dialed me. We don't do slip and slide head gaskets so it was a lot of rejecting future customers. Ultimately I spent over $1000 in 6 months and got back exactly $83.00 on a diagnosis we did. Your results may vary.

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We usually come on the high side of repairpal.

 

Objectively, maintenance is a commodity service. Intermittent failures and diagnostic work are not well paid if you don't have highly trained techs to bill by the job instead of by the hour. One of the priciest investments has been the four channel PicoScopes for each shop, plus master tech training to catch intermittent and difficult to diagnose problems.

 

Good trusted customer service will keep you in business, but pricing will continue to be very tough with customers expecting commodity pricing.

 

Don't give your work away for free, stay strong, many people will go out of business in this upcoming round. Downsize if you can, cut all needless expenses, layoff the people that you don't need, and take care of the ones that are going to be with you for the long haul.

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  • 4 weeks later...

We have used Repair pal for approx a year and it does bring in calls , You do have to be good on the phone as always to bring clients in off this line - It does attract some bottom feeders which is upsetting due to most of are marketing does not bring the bottom feededer client. The phone recordings our very nice to see how your staff is treating clients and following protocal.

 

Towing side of it we see some , no Arrp which is ok that would cost 10 % any way's . What I have seen we are very competitive when using Repair pal price guides.

We have many features and benifits so if it is a low priced shopper they are short lived.

 

Thanks DanR

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@ Immca..mad...nuttin to be mad about. And I do read/follow Elon. Have spoken to him personally as a matter of fact. Like I said I tried RP w/o success. Overpriced with no guarentees. I tend to be on the high side also. I feel tho that these type of sites "degrade" the proffessionalism (?) of our trade. Oh and I checked out your web site...couldn't find the estimator anywhere?

 

lol, its on the home page

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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