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Customers not picking vehicles up after repaired.


smittysgarae

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Wanting some opinions. I have been having a problem the last couple years with customers approving repairs and when we get the job done and call them for them to come pick up and pay they either don’t have the money all of a sudden or say they will come get it and don’t. It may sit there for months, I had one sit for two years that owed 3000 dollars. Finally got my money! Just wondering what some of you guys do? Thought of charging storage after so many days? 

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I've had this happen also. We have more regular customers than not, so I can guess who may put me in this position. If I have doubts and out of pocket parts costs will dent my pocket, I will consider asking for a deposit on higher jobs, if they're not my regular customers, especially for special order parts. We are a small business, I can't carry these comfortably. I have implied that I will charge storage fees, that does help speed up the pick up. Kindly stated, customers should understand that we have to carry these costs. Reminder phone calls can't hurt either. 

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On 12/17/2019 at 10:08 PM, smittysgarae said:

Wanting some opinions. I have been having a problem the last couple years with customers approving repairs and when we get the job done and call them for them to come pick up and pay they either don’t have the money all of a sudden or say they will come get it and don’t. It may sit there for months, I had one sit for two years that owed 3000 dollars. Finally got my money! Just wondering what some of you guys do? Thought of charging storage after so many days? 

This has not been much of a problem for us over the last 30 years, but right now I have 3 cars sitting on my lot that have essentially been abandoned. One of the customers passed away unfortunately while the car was here. After about 9 months, I filed for mechanics liens. The first thing the lien companies do is send out a certified letter. Quite often, this alone will motivate people to come get their car. If they don't, the car becomes yours to do with as you please. 

I don't necessarily like doing this, but there has to be a limit to how long I will keep a car around. I make sure I have given them every opportunity to get the car, and use liens as the last option. 

Scott

   

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had the problem several times. I have a $10 a day storage fees after 3 days sign posted, but have never actually charged the storage fees. One customer had always been a good paying customer. Last car repair had to wait till next day for parts. He had a doctors appointment he needed to get to, so we finished the car, I had my mechanic and service writer take car to his house along with bill. He claimed he would be in the next day cause he needed to use his card to pay. He finally came in and paid $50 on a $400 bill and told me he didn't have the money because he had to put new tires on his car (which he didn't buy from me). Next time he came in with $50 and a story about his cat with cancer and a thousand dollar vet bill. Last week he came in with another $50 and then asked if we could do more work on his car this week. He still owes me money from work we did in July that we still haven't been paid in full for and I don't really like cats.  Every time I try to be a nice guy I seem to get burned, so it's back to payment in full or the car stays on my lot.

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I have posted that after 3 days of the car being repaired or i provided and estimate storage fees will be charged. We have a daily maximum set by our state so I charge what I can. If I don’t hear from them I document it, make a note on the R/O and leave a message stating that i will be starting to charge storage fees after the 3rd day.

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I charge $25 a day.  I only impose this if it's been one week after repairs are completed.  The most recent one the customer cooked the engine and was from out of state.  The storage charges started on Dec 23rd, she called her bank and surrendered the vehicle.  The bank called and arranged to pick up the vehicle and pay the balance, including storage.  This worked out great, THIS time.  

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Set a limit for requiring a deposit on jobs.  A $3,000 job should MOST certainly have had a deposit on it.  Most states require you have clearly posted signage in order to charge storage fees.  Make a nice looking notice, frame it and mount it on the wall in your office that is clearly seen when a customer comes in.  Check with your state on the rules you may need to follow. 

Asking your customer to pick their vehicle up within 72 hours is well within reason.  Remember you are not being a jerk, you're trying to run a successful business.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         0 comments
      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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