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Customer supplied parts


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I am seeing more and more customers coming into the shop with their own parts or wanting us to estimate labor and they will bring the part. We had a car in the shop today with an overheating complaint. We found the cooling system low and pressure tested the system finding a leaking part. We have had a bad experience replacing this part with aftermarket in the past and now only use OEM. We priced this repair to the customer on the phone and they agreed to the repair. They called back a few minutes later and said they had called a parts supplier (I wont mention the company) 25 miles away and could get the part for almost 1/2 of my price and wanted to know what the labor would be. My wife explained to the customer that we had previous problems installing this part aftermarket and only installed OEM with a 1 yr parts and labor warranty. She advised her that sh could bring her own part but their would be no labor warranty. The lady was upset but stated that she wanted the labor warranty and to go ahead with the repair. How do you guys handle this type situation? Customers supplying their own parts (usually wrong) are killing me. Thoughts and comments?

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I almost never use a customer supplied part unless I know what they have (example: I installed the customer supplies AC Delco plugs since this is what I would have used in the vehicle anyway). One of the things that I am learning the hard way is if you install a customer supplied part, you lose all the way around. If they bring you the wrong part, you are waiting on them to provide the correct part. You lose money on the parts markup which means you lose on the payment of your overhead. I don't give the customer the option. I tell them I would rather get the part then I know its correct, especially since most people don't have any idea things like engine size, year, trim level, and ect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am seeing more and more customers coming into the shop with their own parts or wanting us to estimate labor and they will bring the part. We had a car in the shop today with an overheating complaint. We found the cooling system low and pressure tested the system finding a leaking part. We have had a bad experience replacing this part with aftermarket in the past and now only use OEM. We priced this repair to the customer on the phone and they agreed to the repair. They called back a few minutes later and said they had called a parts supplier (I wont mention the company) 25 miles away and could get the part for almost 1/2 of my price and wanted to know what the labor would be. My wife explained to the customer that we had previous problems installing this part aftermarket and only installed OEM with a 1 yr parts and labor warranty. She advised her that sh could bring her own part but their would be no labor warranty. The lady was upset but stated that she wanted the labor warranty and to go ahead with the repair. How do you guys handle this type situation? Customers supplying their own parts (usually wrong) are killing me. Thoughts and comments?

 

We are also seeing an increase of people asking to supply their own parts. I think it’s a combination of economic conditions and the Internet. I also question why some part suppliers would sell to the consumer the same price we get the parts for; that bothers me. Most part stores give some sort of discount for walk-in trade, but the public should not receive the same discount as a professional.

 

As for allowing people to bring in their own parts, I avoid it. I don’t want to go down that road. It’s a road to failure because you lose too much profit. We earn a living on labor and the profit we make on the parts, taking away the part profit will most definitely hurt our bottom line.

 

Are there exceptions? Of course: People buy tires through Tire Rack, some people will buy struts and attempt to do it themselves and find out they can’t do the job, people buy a set of plugs and realize the job is too big for them, etc, etc. For these customers I will make an exception, but all in all…I supply the parts, the labor, give the customer a great warranty and that’s it.

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You are right, people are using the internet for pricing and because of economic times. We try never to use their parts. We explain that we can't warranty the part and they would pay twice for the repair. Years ago, we did use a customer's starter. We ended doing it three times. She had purchased a really cheap inferior part. I can't say we never use customer parts, but usually only bulbs or wipers. Another instance, yesterday a customer came in and had a problem that another shop had done. As usual, we tell the customer to take it back to the shop that did the repair. He said I can't they are out of business. He was not happy that we were going to charge him $100. for diag. Service Writer explained that shops that don't charge for diag and markup on parts, can't stay in business. Shops have to make a profit on parts and labor and to take care of the customer's problem, then with a good warranty. Another instance customer with a BMW brought it in for a check engine light. We read the code and did the 1st step of diag. Tech said it could be several different items, we needed to go to additional testing, pin point testing. Customer refused. He went online and said he could get the parts for a 1/3 of our cost. We told him without further testing, we couldn't be sure which parts were absolutely necessary. He took the car and said he would do it himself. He ordered the parts and did the repair; it did not fix the problem. He called back complaining that we had diag the car wrong. Service Writer explained that is why we needed more money for diag time, which he had refused. He said now I have to package the parts back up and pay shipping and my car is still not fixed. These are just a couple of stories. After many years, one learns that there are some jobs you don't want. You can't win. You are in business to solve the customer's problem. Shop owners must pay for the overhead, employees, equipment, schooling, all the rest and still make a profit for the owner.

 

Well said! I only wish more shop owners felt this way. Many shop owners do not realize the hit they are taking by not charging what they are worth. Many think that a job is a job, especially when they are slow. That's not true. Doing work that is not profiable is a sure way to go out of business.

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Well said! I only wish more shop owners felt this way. Many shop owners do not realize the hit they are taking by not charging what they are worth. Many think that a job is a job, especially when they are slow. That's not true. Doing work that is not profiable is a sure way to go out of business.

 

 

Some very good points in this blog. One point that wasn't covered is the customer... the customer "type" that feels it's necessary to go to the internet or find the cheapest part. These folks are the kind of customers I'd soon never see. You can never be profitable if your customer is bring his own steak to the resturaunt.

 

I'm always amazed at the lack of respect and professionalism that the "customer" brings to the front counter. We, as the shop owners and mechanics/techs are expected to be professional, but when the customer seems to think that we are incompetent and can't figure out which part is cheaper or the fact that futher testing is needed we... as the "independent automotive industry" take a back seat to the customers problems. They... the customer... become the problem.

 

I think our years of experience and knowledge in our field makes us more aware of which parts are better, which car may need additional labor time over and above book time... which diagnostic procedure may require more labor hours. But that all falls on deaf ears when you're talking to this type of customer... their mind is already made up... long before they ever got to the front door.

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We are running into this more and more , We tell the customer up front that the labor will be increased by 40% if they supply the part , we also tell them that our hoist time is $2.00 per minute if the part is wrong and they have to go and get another part. Also there is absolutely NO warranty for any labor. This stops most people from wanting to supply their own parts. There is a few exceptions like someone that broke off a spark plug or stripped the threads out then we will install their spark plugs. I do not like supplying or installing used engines but due to the economic situation I install a few of them , I give the customer a list of which wrecking yards have an engine and let them buy it from them. I also still charge 30-40% more for the labor with no warranty. By us not supplying the engine the ball is in their court if it does not work.

 

 

I won't raise the labor to them, but I will explain the "ropin = a - steer" approach... No warranty, no redus... when I put the last bolt on I throw my hands in the air and say "TIME" I'm done... I couldn't care less if it works or not... the customer became the tech and parts buyer at that point I'm just two hands and a box of wrenches... If, it doesn't work and it needs redone... well, we start all over with a new invoice and treat it like a brand new job. Diagnostics and all.... Oh, when it comes to used parts... I make them get them... not me... Sooner or later they'll get tired of driving back and forth to the scrap yard trying to find a good part or the correct part. And, reliaze they should have let me handle the whole thing in the first place.

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We are running into this more and more , We tell the customer up front that the labor will be increased by 40% if they supply the part , we also tell them that our hoist time is $2.00 per minute if the part is wrong and they have to go and get another part. Also there is absolutely NO warranty for any labor. This stops most people from wanting to supply their own parts. There is a few exceptions like someone that broke off a spark plug or stripped the threads out then we will install their spark plugs. I do not like supplying or installing used engines but due to the economic situation I install a few of them , I give the customer a list of which wrecking yards have an engine and let them buy it from them. I also still charge 30-40% more for the labor with no warranty. By us not supplying the engine the ball is in their court if it does not work.

I havent raised my labor rate for used parts but may look into that. The hoist or bay time is a big issue with us if we tear it down and it is stuck in our bay while they take their time looking for the right part. I learned the hard way to never supply a used engine or tranny. I will install them but no warranty and the price quoted is done when the engine is installed. if it doesnt run, has a problem we stop call the customer and advise them additional time is required

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We sell a lot of used engines and transmissions but 9 times out of 10 we buy them from LKG and they give us a 12 month 12,000 mile parts and labor warranty. The only time we don't use LKQ is where the price difference is large and the labor time is small.

 

LKQ in our area offers reman for some units. We intalled a reman manual transmision from LKQ on a Subaru. It worked out great. Saved the customer a lot of money, greater value and we maintained of profit margin. Win, Win.

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