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  • 2 months later...


Joe, this one really hits me as "off".

If I've done my job as a sales person, and established right setting from the moment I spoke with them on the phone, or engaged with them at the front counter, they wouldn;t BE looking up a part on their phone.  I am a solution to their problem, not a mechanic, not a whatever.

"We've identified the problem with your vehicle, it's going to be XX time to repair and will cost about XX out the door.  I'd like to get everything on order ASAP and keep you moving towards getting your car back and mobile again."  

If I'm answering questions about parts costs and why I don't install Rock Auto deliveries, well I haven't done my job at all.

You shouldn't be selling when the diagnosis is done, you should be closing.  The selling is established way earlier. 

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I’m not just selling radiators. I’m diagnosing, repairing, inspecting and warranty-ing cars

That is, Rock Auto can’t inspect the customer’s car. Nor diagnose their problem. Nor can they replace the part.

I’ll bet those same people bitch about $7 for of a beer when hanging with friends. “I can get a whole six pack for that price!” But they don’t think about all they get for that $5 markup. They get the experience of hanging with their friends at a fun place, away from the distractions, worries, and commitments of home (no kids or dogs), with sports on the TV, music, the ability to laugh and joke out loud. No preparation (house cleaning) and no clean up after. Not bad for $5.

For our markup, I read we’re supposed to deliver a great “the customer experience,” but most articles leave it at that, with few suggestions.  Oh, a comfortable waiting room. If that’s all it took, I’d be calling an interior designer to increase my car count. Or, “exceed expectations,” again with few suggestions. How do you exceed them at the second and third visit?

I talk life with my customers, because they know that their car is taken care of: I’m going to fix it, at a fair price for both of us, and check out the rest of their car – like I’ve always done. I ask: “So how are you? And the family? And life?” Which I think is a big part of the “experience.”

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/31/2019 at 4:35 PM, newport5 said:

I’ll bet those same people bitch about $7 for of a beer when hanging with friends

That's a good point, similar to the steak at a restaurant example.  When you go to a bar or restaurant, don't expect to get a 6 pack of bud light for $11.99. Expect to pay over $5 a bottle. Your not going to get that same price on the steak you would buy at the butcher's shop either...

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Every bay in my shop is no different than a machine in a factory making whatever they make. I need that machine running to make living. That's why I bought the machine. 

What happens when the customer supplied part is wrong or defective? Now my machine is shut down while I wait for him to get off work, find the time to ship it back and get a new one delivered plus spend time helping him negotiate who's fault the problem was? Who's going to pay me for the lost income while my machine is shut down? The cheap customer? 

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1 hour ago, Old and Tired said:

Every bay in my shop is no different than a machine in a factory making whatever they make. I need that machine running to make living. That's why I bought the machine. 

What happens when the customer supplied part is wrong or defective? Now my machine is shut down while I wait for him to get off work, find the time to ship it back and get a new one delivered plus spend time helping him negotiate who's fault the problem was? Who's going to pay me for the lost income while my machine is shut down? The cheap customer? 

Amen!!!

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We don't see it a lot, but when we do, we keep it simple. We tell them that we cannot install customer supplied parts, that my insurance company will not allow it, and that would put my business licenses, as well as a number of my relationships with outside organizations that require insurance, at risk. It completely eliminates the steak and potatoes conversation, or it's variations like bringing your own needles or stitches to the hospital. It also eliminates the I have to make money conversation. None of those usually go very well. It shows you are open to discussing it, and the customer will see that as an opportunity to sway you their direction. When they can't, they will experience it as a failure. 

Joe, in your opening post, you stated: "I review all the benefits of me suppling the part, the warranty and the fact that if the part is wrong or defective or fails in the future, he will have no recourse and will have to pay to have done all again." You may want to check the laws in your area. There have been quite a few legal cases that have established that you are just as responsible and liable for a customer supplied part as you are for a part that you supplied. You may have to provide the same warranty on their part as you do on one you supply and sell. That's right, you may end up buying a new part out of your pocket, and providing the labor to install it. Even if a customer does not pursue legal actions, they almost always expect that you will "help" them out with the cost of replacing their part, after all, they "already paid you for the repair". 

For anyone who is still installing customer supplied parts, I suggest you check with your insurance agent to see if you have coverage should the customer supplied part fails. Don't waste your time having a customer sign a waiver. These will never hold up in court. This has been battle tested. The courts hold you to be the expert, not the customer. If you agreed to install it, you have given it your stamp of approval, and now it is your responsibility. 

There is a more complete article here: https://www.searchautoparts.com/cust-supplied-parts-liability-again

One interesting extract from that article is: "I know that in my home state of Maryland and many other states, there also is an issue of parts warranties not being transferrable. In Maryland, any installed part has to be given a minimum 4,000-mile/90-day warranty, and any repair facility would be on its own if a customer supplied part fails. Those implied warranties are very serious business, with all of the risk and liability that comes with them, including such little gems as responsibility for property damage or bodily injury. Install a customer supplied part at your own risk."  

Maryland also happens to be where my shop is.   

 

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Same in Jersey! We are responsible for the part whether we supplied it or the customer. I use the same “insurance liability” statement. Shuts it down right there. Works every time. Never had a customer argue the point after that.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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