Similar Forum Topics
EGO vs. Ability For some reason, especially in the auto repair business, there’s a tendency for the ego to overshadow the actual abilities for a lot of mechanics. Sure, I can say my ego has stepped over the line a time or two, but for the most part, the ever changing industry usually keeps a person humble. For some guys, there’s no stopping their ever-unchecked ego from stepping out beyond their tool box. Especially, if they’ve landed a position that is far above their abilities. Some of them reach beyond the typical, “I know more than you do” level, to a status where their ever-enlarging ego has no boundaries, regardless if they are even qualified for such a position. If you ever have wondered if you’re that type of person or not, take this little survey and let’s see. Answer the following questions as truthfully as possible. Answer each question – yes or no. 1.I know all there is to know about cars. 2.All the other mechanics are below my abilities. 3.Customers come to me because I’m the best there is. 4.Have you ever said to another mechanic, “Get out of my way, I’ll take care of this.” 5.I don’t need to take advanced classes, I should be teaching them. If you answered any of these questions with anything other than ‘NO’, you probably need to check your EGO at the door. It’s not hard to spot these egotistical mechanics though. We’ve all ran into one at some point in our careers. You know, that one guy that runs his mouth all the time, or walks by each service bay shouting louder than everyone else while making claims he could fix that problem faster than you can. That one guy who, when given some authoritative position, turns into a ‘mini-Hitler’. Or, the one who can’t seem to finish his own work, but at the same time, he’s awfully chummy with the boss. The kind that swings into action if the boss says ‘jump’, but never actually accomplishes a thing. Yes, we all know ‘that’ guy. Worse yet, is when these type of individuals break their ties to the tool box and move to other aspects of the auto repair industry. Like the front office. When I was first starting out, I worked at a small local dealership as a helper. I wasn’t even what you might call an apprentice because I wasn’t assigned to a mechanic or strictly to the mechanic shop. I was more the guy who cleaned up the bays, held tools, and brought parts from the warehouse to the service bays. Everybody was great, and encouraged me to learn more and more. All but this one guy. It wasn’t long before it was universally known throughout the entire building that ‘this’ was our egotistical wrench head of the shop. This guy had something to say about everything. You couldn’t even sweep a floor or roll up a hose without him saying something demeaning or repulsive. But, it only got worse. Apparently, his boisterous attitude made it all the way to the front office. But, being the ‘non-car-front-office-people’ that they were, and since this guy couldn’t stay in his own bay long enough to finish anything, they made the assumption he must be their gift from the wrench gods. Which, in turn, must mean he deserved a promotion to bigger and better things. They made him the shop super. Now, his ‘little-Hitler’ mentality came out with a vengeance. Nobody was safe from the torrential down beating this guy dished out. Even with numerous complaints, the dealership head honchos still believed he walked on water. His greatest skill was not wrenching, or diagnosing, but getting rid of anyone that said anything against his ideas, or even remotely showed any signs of intelligence beyond his mental capacities. (Didn’t take much by the way) It wasn’t long before his ever oppressive antics started to affect the quality of work and the number of customers that used the dealership service department. Soon, every tech that was left had had enough. They were all packing up their tool boxes and heading down the road. After a while, even the need to have some young kid sweeping floors and running parts back and forth wasn’t needed, because there were more empty bays than full ones now. This egotistical maniac even thought he could teach the other mechanics and helpers something about the auto industry that apparently … only he understood. His method of instructing was appalling. It usually consisted of him shouting at the top of his lungs from the front of the room, while showing the aspects of some out of date process. He even had his own homemade jargon and squirrelly nicknames for these long forgotten components which only fit a cars that haven’t seen a service bays for decades. All the while, pointing a three foot long piece of dowel rod like if it were some sort of magic wand. It was more like watching a circus clown trying to explain advanced quantum physics. His true attitude was even more apparent if you asked for help on something. Instead of helping, he would come over and take whatever it was you were working on and rip it completely back apart, then telling you that you did it wrong. Ya know, if you already ‘knew’ you did something wrong, how is starting over from the beginning ever going to help? Two wrongs don’t make a right, and you ‘still’ don’t have any clue what you’re doing. But, as with a lot of these ego driven socket jockeys and little Hitler attitudes, it’s just a matter of time before upper management takes notice. However, for this dealership, it came bit too late. The place closed due to lack of work. Like ya didn’t see that coming. So, why am I bringing this up? It’s not funny, it’s not technical… what gives? What’s the whole point of this story? It’s for you to consider the results of your actions when you’re talking with a customer or for that matter another mechanic. The fact that a customer or fellow mechanic doesn’t know what you know, is probably the very reason your customer or that mechanic was asking you for your advice. You may find that technology is starting to pass you by because you’ve spent way too much time telling everybody that you know it all, instead of studying that very technology you claimed you knew. (You can only BS them for so long) Maybe, it’s time for you to eat a little humble pie and accept the fact that you need to advance your training just to be able to do what you thought you already knew how to do. It’s easy to find yourself in this business thinking you’re above reproach. But, honestly, we all can learn a lot about the make-up of today’s cars and even more about helping other technicians and mechanics without going to the point of becoming the next little Hitler. Years ago a mechanic’s job was all about turning bolts, twisting screws, and adjusting cables. Today, the stereotypical mechanic doesn’t really have a place in the service bay on a daily basis. Tomorrow’s tech is here today. That’s the guy or gal that is heavily involved with advanced electronics, data lines, and computer strategies, but they still need to turn those nuts and bolts just like before. Above all, the auto repair business is on the brink of being so sophisticated of a career choice that the shade tree adventurer will be hard to find. Every mechanic needs to learn and understand today’s vehicles to be profitable and to be respected in the industry as well as with their clients. It may take a while to bring the world of automotive repair up a few notches from that old stereotypical mechanic we all knew. But, we could all start by showing a little more respect to others, as well as ourselves and especially to our fellow mechanics.
View full article
New member here seeking advice. How does everyone handle a warranty issues with your techs? Do you pay them warranty time via alldata? Don't pay them at all? If a part fails, then the supplier covers the parts and depending on the supplier, sometimes labor. Do you make up the difference to the tech? Or is the techs responsibility and duty not to ask for the warranty pay? Any suggestions would help. Thanks in advance
By Joe Marconi
It’s easy to get sucked into the drama and the negativity of your worst customers. For some reason, no matter how hard you try, there will be some people that you will find impossible to please. My advice: stop trying.
I am not suggesting that you ignore all problem customers. That goes with the territory. What I do suggest is that you don’t ignore your BEST customers. Pay a lot of attention to them.
Educate your customers; explain the reasons why you are suggesting certain repairs or services. However, you will find that devoting your time and energies to your best customers will bring you a lot more happiness and add a lot more to your bottom line.
I've been tossing this around for years and I'm very close to pulling the trigger. It'd be something like for an additional 20% the repair will have a 2 year warranty and for 30% we'll do a 3 year warranty on parts and labor. I've always taken care of customers after the 1 year warranty anyway so this could be a good way to recoup that and a great marketing tool.
There are warranties, and then there are lifetime warranties. Some people won’t buy anything, unless it has a substantial warranty attached to it. My dad was one of those guys. It didn’t matter what it was as long as he could get a warranty with it. He would be as proud as a peacock when he got the chance to use one of those warranties. But, for me, it could be rather embarrassing. Especially for a ten year old kid carrying a broken toilet seat into the hardware store where dad had bought it with a lifetime warranty years earlier. I can still picture it today, dad with his big grin on his mug, marching up to the return counter with his ancient receipt showing the date, the store manager’s name and of course, the warranty. While I’m cowering behind him carrying the broken toilet seat in shame. I did my best to hide my face the whole time, in fear one of my classmates might spot me with the family throne in tow.
Warranties have their place, that’s for sure. However, a decade or so ago when all these large franchised discount auto parts stores started to monopolize the market by offering lifetime warranties on their parts that I’ve noticed a problem. Now, it seems every consumer wants every part for every car to come with a lifetime warranty. It’s not that I think any of the major players in the automotive parts business couldn’t offer a lifetime warranty, but why should they? From my past experiences the failure rate of a quality part is far less than those discount parts with lifetime warranties. But, the average DIY’r doesn’t see it that way. They are still going to go with the cheaper-discount part when cost is an issue, and since it comes with a lifetime warranty that’s all the better. In my opinion these lifetime warranties should come with a disclaimer, “You’ll be changing it for the rest of your life. Because the replacement for the replacement part is just as cheaply made as the first one.”
When I hear someone tell me they changed an alternator five times in a row, because the one they put in stopped working again, I have to wonder is the problem the part or is it the diagnosis? Sometimes, it’s both. Other times, it’s a lack of knowing how the systems operates. Of course, after changing it so many times they’ve got the physical side of removing the bolts or a belt down pretty good. And, I’ll bet they can probably change it out a lot faster than I can. Since their labor is free, it’s a no brainer… go ahead and change it again…and again…and again.
A perfect example of this was the guy who did just as I described; he changed his alternator five times in a row, and every time it would last a week or so. By the time he had enough with the cheap parts he finally asked for a better quality part one. But, a week later it was back to not charging again. This time the counter person had to tell him, “This one doesn’t carry the lifetime warranty.” And now… it’s my turn.
The whole problem turned out to be a melted connection at the voltage regulator plug. Every time he would reconnect it to the alternator it would last a week or so, before the connector worked loose again. When I told him what it was he was not only shocked, but made the same comment they all make when they’re paying their bill. “I should have just brought it here in the first place.” Hmm, imagine that. The real question is whether or not any of the replaced alternators were ever bad at all. I can’t answer that with any honesty, because all I had in front of me was a name brand part that was working just fine with the connector repaired.
HID headlights are another common repair these days. Sometimes they can be rather expensive and time consuming to repair. The failures seem to run in groups, you know, several at a time with the same sort of problems. They all have the same odd aftermarket bulb or ballast installed. (I think the part goes on sale on the internet and then they all jump at a chance to buy them.) They’re definitely not factory parts, but some cheaply made offshore find. The car will come in with the usual complaints that one headlamp or one beam isn’t working, and they already replaced all this stuff. (Ballast, bulbs, etc…) So, I’m supposed to find some sort of electrical gremlin that’s knocking them out. When the entire time, and every time (so far) it’s faulty parts that have caused the issue.
Well, of course it can’t be the part. Why, it has a lifetime warranty on it. Don’t ya know I’ve heard that a few times? Somehow the cost difference between factory original parts, and the aftermarket sideshow parts doesn’t ring a bell as to which ones might be a bit better. Oh, I got it. The difference between the two was that “lifetime” warranty. One has it and the other doesn’t. So, which one do you think carries the lifetime warranty? You guessed it. SOLD! Sold ya right down the river more like it. Needless to say, most of the time the customer doesn’t want to go with the factory parts; they’d rather take their chances with another lifetime warranty from parts unknown.
I’ll bet you can probably guess by now, I’m not all that impressed with a lifetime warranty as a selling point. Or, for that matter changing out one lifetime warranty part with another lifetime warranty part unless it’s properly stated on the invoice and known by the customer that I take absolutely no responsibility for their components. I only guarantee the installation and diagnostic work. How long that part lasts is up to your driving habits and your lifetime warranty.
Maybe I’m just a little one sided in all of this. Maybe I should give these lifetime warranty parts a better recommendation. That’s hard to do, considering the failure rates I’ve seen from them over the years. Mind you, they’re not built like a 60’s toilet seat that finally broke after decades of use with a house full of kids. Back then a lifetime warranty was generally only offered with the better made parts. The manufacturers did it to say, “We’re proud of our product!” It wasn’t just to make a quick sale and a fast buck.
Click here to view the article