Quantcast
Jump to content


    • You can post now and register later. Already registered? sign in now to post with your account.
    • ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

        Only 75 emoji are allowed.

      ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

      ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

      ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


      Once you submit your question, a new topic will be created for you in our forums. Our moderators may move your topic to a more suitable forum category if one exists. Members will see your topic and be able to respond to your question.

    • This will not be shown to other users.
Gonzo

Article: Parts, Prices, and People - - - All three have to be in sinc, or there's going to be trouble at the service counter.

Recommended Posts

Parts, Prices, and People

 

There’s one thing that never changes in the world of auto repair, and that’s change. Every model, every year has some slight difference from the previous one. Even though functionally, the same results are achieved, the newer version will undoubtedly accomplish it with a slightly modified or different component than the older version. The big issue is usually cost of those replacement parts, and sometimes that’s a real shocker to the consumer when they get the estimate for repairs.

 

One rather hectic morning a lady came in with a headlight problem. The diagnostics came to an abrupt halt when the dimmer switch lever was found dangling from the steering column. A pretty straight forward repair, tear down the steering column and replace the switch, then see if there was any other problems down the line. But, it wouldn’t be much of a story if that’s all it was, now would it?

The part in question was not just a dimmer switch, but the entire combination switch: turn signals, cruise, etc… and the part, oh boy, was it outrageously expensive. I’ve had many of these seemingly insignificant components that you would think wouldn’t break the bank turn out to be so expensive. Some people can’t cope with the reality of the cost, and take their anger out at the front desk. This was no exception.

 

When the parts supplier quoted me the price on the phone I was already shaking my head, knowing what was going to happen next. I said to the parts guy, “You know, the price of this part is going to be the deal breaker on this one. How in the world am I going to sell this gold plated dimmer switch to this lady? I know it’s not your fault, and I know you’re just the messenger… but you probably know what I’m going to be dealing with next.” He laughingly answered, “Yea, I know. I get the same reaction from shops all the time… sorry bud, but you know how it goes.”

 

I realize the cost of some of these parts and components is enough to sink a battle ship; it’s just something you have to deal with as the mechanic.. or the consumer. Just to be on the safe side I called all my other suppliers and the dealer parts department to compare prices. Everybody had about the same price, give or take a little.

 

I’d like to think that I’m very sympathetic to the unknowing consumer’s pocket book. I really feel sorry for them, but I just can’t do anything about the cost of some of these parts. At this point, it’s out of my hands, it is what it is. Now the fun part, I have to break the news to this lady.

 

“This is highway robbery. You’re gouging me! It shouldn’t cost that much for a dimmer switch! I had one changed on a car I had several years ago, and it didn’t cost this much! I’m not paying that, I’ll take it elsewhere, and I’m never coming back here again!” said the lady. (You know, I actually expected that kind of response.) Stands to reason when a customer has a thought in their head as to how much something should cost, and you throw a number at them that is completely off the charts, they’re going to go ballistic. Calming this lady down wasn’t going to work, she had made up her mind that this wasn’t right, and was bound and determined to let me know just what she thought of the whole thing.

 

The more I explained, the angrier she got. It’s not like this lady was a new customer, quite the opposite. She had been in several times for other repairs, and I never had a problem before, but now I’ve got a situation that isn’t going to end happily no matter what I do.

 

Customer reaction to the cost of parts is nothing new, typically they’ll make a few calls and find out it’s pretty much the same anywhere they go. Sometimes, they’re so ticked off at the thought of spending that much they won’t come back. Pride I guess. They’ll go to another shop just so they can avoid a face to face confrontation with the original shop that gave them the quote. I totally understand that, even though it does seem a bit foolish.

 

I may diagnose it, find the problem, and write the estimate up, only to have the cost of the part become the dagger that kills the deal. The sad part of it is, there are lots of components on today’s cars that are quite frankly… way overpriced. (We all know it, but again…we can’t do anything about that.) Try explaining the cost of replacing HID headlights and ballast to someone who just came in thinking they needed a new bulb. YIKES!

 

Comparing one car to the next doesn’t work anymore either, and if for some reason a customer calls a parts store and the right information isn’t passed to the counterperson by the caller, chances are the quoted price will be for the wrong application. Nine chances out of ten when that happens the price is likely to be for a cheaper component that doesn’t fit, or is the wrong part all together. Now my job at the service counter becomes even more difficult.

 

As the lady stormed out of the lobby full of other customers she had to spout off one more time about how much of a crook I was, and how she was never coming back. She made it a point to tell all the other customers waiting on their cars that they should think twice about having me work on their cars. Seriously lady, ya made your point… now leave.

 

The next day I got a call from a shop on the other side of town. He said he just had a very disturbing, very demanding lady show up to his shop. (This particular shop is one that I’ve done business with for more than a decade.) He told the lady that he doesn’t do electrical work, but refers that type of problem to my shop.

 

The lady sternly told him, “Well, I just left there. They are way too expensive, and I’m never going back there. So you fix it instead!”

He promptly told her, “Well, ma’am, he’s the best in town, and I don’t do that kind of repair. That’s why we send everything there.”

“Who else would you recommend?” she asked.

“Nobody,” he replied.

“Well I need it done, and I’m not having them do it.”

“I guess then, if you’re not going to have them do it, it ain’t getting done… you’re on your own lady.”

 

I got a laugh out of that one. (Thanks for sticking up for me partner… appreciate that.) Of course, I haven’t seen the lady again. I’m sure she found somebody to change out the dimmer switch by now. But, I doubt it was any cheaper. Parts and their prices will constantly change, and will always challenge our perception of what things should cost. On the other hand, some people’s perception about the prices of car repair… may never change.

 

Click here to view the article

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


We allow visitors to read the first post of each topic. To read this post, please login or register for a membership. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Topics

    • By AutoShopOwner
      The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition today announced it has turned in 102,000 signatures to ensure an initiative petition to enact an update to the Commonwealth’s Right to Repair law before it reaches the 2020 ballot. The Coalition – a group of Massachusetts independent repair shops, auto parts stores, trade associations, consumers, and drivers – said that a lack of progress on an update to the law in the Legislature led them to pursue an initiative petition so that Massachusetts car owners will continue to have access to the repair and diagnostic mechanical information produced by the vehicle they own.  
      By 2020, advancements in vehicle technology and increasing restrictions by automakers will result in more than 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers, which could threatening Massachusetts consumers’ rights to choose to get their cars fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work themselves.  
      The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition supports bipartisan legislation filed in January by 12 State Representatives and two State Senators to update the Commonwealth’s Right to Repair law. The bills generated 55 co-sponsors, and if the bill is enacted into law by the legislature in 2020 it would eliminate the need for the ballot question to proceed.
      “We need to update the Right to Repair law before wireless technologies remove the car owner’s right to get their vehicle repaired at our local, independent shop because the automaker would rather steer them toward one of their more expensive dealers,” said Alan Saks of Dorchester Tire Service. “This is a common-sense reform and we’d love to see the Legislature move forward and fix it so that we don’t have to go to the ballot to protect consumers’ rights to shop around for car repairs.”
      Said Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition Director Tommy Hickey, “Independent repair shops across Massachusetts are proud to reach this milestone of more than 100,000 signatures. Our independent shops are increasingly facing the prospect of having limited or no access to diagnostic and repair information now that automakers are restricting access through rapidly expanding wireless technologies in vehicles not covered under current law.” 
      The ballot initiative would give car owners access only to the diagnostic and repair data generated by their car, and they could opt to provide access to any dealer, repair shop, or automaker that they choose during the lifetime of their car.
      The Coalition delivered its signatures to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office on Tuesday and Wednesday. The initiative petition filed is entitled An Initiative Law to Enhance, Update and Protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law. The key provision of the initiative is as follows: 
      Commencing in model year 2022 and thereafter a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in the Commonwealth, including heavy duty vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds, that utilizes a telematics system shall be required to equip such vehicles with an inter-operable, standardized and open access platform across all of the manufacturer’s makes and models. Such platform shall be capable of securely communicating all mechanical data emanating directly from the motor vehicle via direct data connection to the platform. Such platform shall be directly accessible by the owner of the vehicle through a mobile-based application and, upon the authorization of the vehicle owner, all mechanical data shall be directly accessible by an independent repair facility or a class 1 dealer licensed pursuant to section 58 of chapter 140 limited to the time to complete the repair or for a period of time agreed to by the vehicle owner for the purposes of maintaining, diagnosing and repairing the motor vehicle. Access shall include the ability to send commands to in-vehicle components if needed for purposes of maintenance, diagnostics and repair.  
      The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition now has more than 4,000 members statewide. In addition to independent repair shops and Massachusetts auto parts stores, members of the Coalition include the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA) and the New England Tire and Service Association (NETSA). Further information may be found at massrighttorepair.org 
      Source: https://www.aftermarketnews.com/mema-responds-to-fcc-plans-to-split-the-spectrum/
    • By Joe Marconi
      The mild fall appears to have caused a slow down for many shops. We have seen this before.  But, winter tempertures are here, and the threat of snow will boost repair shops.  
    • By AutoShopOwner
      RALEIGH, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2019-- Advance Auto Parts, Inc. (NYSE: AAP), a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, has launched a new learning management system designed to provide training programs that grow an automotive professional’s knowledge and skills throughout their entire career. Advance regularly serves more than 26,000 individuals in North America each year with training courses offered through the company’s Carquest Technical Institute (CTI) and Worldpac Training Institute (WTI) programs.
      Training from Advance now combines courses available online and in the classroom from CTI+WTI into an integrated training solution, giving aftermarket professionals access to a robust library of technical training and business management education. Career Pathways, which feature a structured set of online and classroom events to establish mastery of technical and business competencies, are currently targeted to the General Service Technician and Professional Technician, with Senior Technician, Master Technician, and a number of specialist programs coming by the end of the year.
      “Delivering quality training is critical to addressing the technician shortage facing the automotive industry,” said Chris Chesney, Senior Director of Customer Training at Advance. “Integrating the expertise and curriculum of CTI+WTI into a centralized, easy-to-use platform enables Advance to go to market with an unrivaled training program. No matter what stage a person is in the life of their career, training is crucial to their long-term success.”
      Shop owners can track the progress of their technicians and staff through Career Pathways specific to the type of work they perform at their shop. Training participants receive certifications within the CTI+WTI platform as they complete training programs and advance in their career.
      “The advancement of automotive technology requires that our industry has access to leading edge training to keep pace with modern vehicle systems,” said Rob Morrell, Senior Director of Customer Training at Worldpac. “CTI+WTI’s new learning management system enables national accounts and independent shops alike to help attract, retain and grow talent.”
      CTI+WTI have hosted more than 45,000 training events in the organizations’ 20-plus year histories. For more information, visit CTIonline.com or WTIonline.com.
       

       
      About Advance Auto Parts
      Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers. As of July 13, 2019, Advance operated 4,912 stores and 150 Worldpac branches in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Company also serves 1,250 independently owned Carquest branded stores across these locations in addition to Mexico, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and British Virgin Islands. Additional information about Advance, including employment opportunities, customer services, and online shopping for parts, accessories and other offerings can be found at www.AdvanceAutoParts.com.
      View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20191101005436/en/
      Source: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.
      Media Relations:
      Darryl Carr
      T: (540) 589-8102
      E: [email protected]
      Investor Relations:
      Elisabeth Eisleben
      T: (919) 227-5466
      E: [email protected]
    • By Jonathan Ganther
      Hey guys. I'm new to the forum and was looking for this subject but couldn't find it. Sorry If I'm posted something that's already been discussed. I own a brake shop in Austin, TX. We do anywhere from 10-20 brake jobs a day. We only do brakes so I don't know how much full service auto shops deal with this problem but... Customers are constantly calling in claiming they've bought the best parts or they want to provide their own parts because they've done research and know what is best. This drives me crazy. First of all they don't know whats best. Then after being told no they get offended and act like tons of shops allow this. What is the best way to handle these customers? Just send them away? I'll quote them a price using our parts and they act as though its a rip off. What shops are doing this for their customers? I feel like I'm letting jobs get away from me. Any experience with this?
    • By Dakotaj96
      Hello everyone 
       
      I am looking to open up my new shop within 3 months and honestly feel a little in over my head, I’ve spent days reading on here and while it’s awesome I feel I need something more formal. The main 2 things I’ve found has been the RLO training course or the Ron Ipach fast lane training program. Has anyone one taken either of these courses or have a different one to recommend? 


  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×
×
  • Create New...