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I am not sure if this question will apply well to this forum but maybe someone can point me in a direction to get some advice.

 

I own a performance shop in Boise, we cater to high end vehicles which we upgrade and customize.

My question is, we run into instances in which we have recommended a part or parts to be installed on a vehicle that turn out to be faulty and or don't fit as advertised. While we are used to the fact that 'bolt-on' is a loosely used term and adjustments always need to made, when we spec a part, then install it and it fails prematurely I find it hard to decide how to charge to fix said part.

Most times the vendor/manufacturer will honor warranty on the part and replace it. But, how to charge for the diagnosis and re-re?

I feel in order to maintain a good reputation that the proper thing to do is not charge labor on the repair but, unfortunately this is not an uncommon problem in the performance world. As such it can get to be a financial burden.

 

Thanks,

Rory

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I am not sure if this question will apply well to this forum but maybe someone can point me in a direction to get some advice.

 

I own a performance shop in Boise, we cater to high end vehicles which we upgrade and customize.

My question is, we run into instances in which we have recommended a part or parts to be installed on a vehicle that turn out to be faulty and or don't fit as advertised. While we are used to the fact that 'bolt-on' is a loosely used term and adjustments always need to made, when we spec a part, then install it and it fails prematurely I find it hard to decide how to charge to fix said part.

Most times the vendor/manufacturer will honor warranty on the part and replace it. But, how to charge for the diagnosis and re-re?

I feel in order to maintain a good reputation that the proper thing to do is not charge labor on the repair but, unfortunately this is not an uncommon problem in the performance world. As such it can get to be a financial burden.  

 

Thanks,

Rory

Rory,

We dont warranty performance work with a written warranty. If something happens within say 6 month or so we'll stand behind it and address any issues but often manufacturers won't stand behind it. You should have the discussion with the customers that modifying a vehicle beyond stock parameters can cause issues and different effects on other systems and while your technicians are highly trained in addressing these issues it would be financially irresponsible to offer a long term warranty. Or increase your gpm to cover multiple replacements or repairs that are related. Or offer a 30 day basic warranty and a couple "extended service packages" for a percentage of the job that covers a failure.Posted Image That I've found no insurance company cover performance modifications in their basic garage keepers policy which is something to keep in mind.

The picture may be hard to read and I'll post the actual wording later. Our policy is a good faith policy that we'll stand behind our work but theres no actual waeranty. We've had to many folks come in 6 months later with big wheels and tires, programmers etc and a blown headgasket or blow motor and expect us to warranty it. Typically the modified vehicles we see are abused heavily I cant warranty abuse and I can't acuse them of abuse so my policy is in place to protect us.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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ncautoshop,

 

Thanks for the reply. I like your approach.

 

Here is a scenario that we ran into a while back, can you give me your thoughts?

 

We installed a turbo kit from a vendor which we have been a dealer for about 10 years.

After negotiating a reasonable labor cost (vendor states 8 hour install, have done many, many of these, no way it can be done in 8 hours) we installed the kit which fit well. When we ran it on our dyno it resulted in only a 38hp increase. Obviously, this wasn't the desired outcome, we verified our install work then began the long drawn out (4 hours total) phone calls to the tech line.

In order to convince the vendor it was a tune problem with their ecu reflash we ran the car multiple time on the dyno and gathered much data. Finally (4 hours on the phone, 2 hours on the dyno) they agreed that it must be the tune and reflashed it for us.

After re-installing the ecu the car made a 130hp gain over stock but we were stuck with a 26 hour investment on our part, a customer that had waited to long for his car that was expecting a bill for 14 hours.

My biggest issue is WE suggested this vendor based on years of using their products without issue.

We decided to cut our losses and honor our 14 hour estimate.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks,

Rory

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ncautoshop,

 

 Thanks for the reply. I like your approach. 

 

Here is a scenario that we ran into a while back, can you give me your thoughts?

 

We installed a turbo kit from a vendor which we have been a dealer for about 10 years.

After negotiating a reasonable labor cost (vendor states 8 hour install, have done many, many of these, no way it can be done in 8 hours) we installed the kit which fit well. When we ran it on our dyno it resulted in only a 38hp increase. Obviously, this wasn't the desired outcome, we verified our install work then began the long drawn out (4 hours total) phone calls to the tech line.

In order to convince the vendor it was a tune problem with their ecu reflash we ran the car multiple time on the dyno and gathered much data. Finally (4 hours on the phone, 2 hours on the dyno) they agreed that it must be the tune and reflashed it for us. 

After re-installing the ecu the car made a 130hp gain over stock but we were stuck with a 26 hour investment on our part, a customer that had waited to long for his car that was expecting a bill for 14 hours.

My biggest issue is WE suggested this vendor based on years of using their products without issue.

We decided to cut our losses and honor our 14 hour estimate.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks,

Rory

Its important to have good lines of communication and disclaimers in these cases. I see both sides and situations like these nearly put me out of business.

A: the customer doesnt want to.spend a dimenmore than they have too.

B: the business CANNOT be profitable giving that much work away.

 

I saw three options

1: disclaim on signed estimates/ro's that the bill may increase by no more than a locked percentage, this gives the customer a idea possibilities before okaying the job. It also gives you a guideline that hour wise you cant exceed without reevaluation of the job with the customer. 50% is what I had considered.

2: Bill hourly: explain to the customer that the manufacturer suggest 10 hours yet tuning or other problems may arrise which you can't control! In this instance you will be billed hourly (possibly at a discounted rate) until customer satisfaction is reached. Maybe have a limit at which you call and consult the customer.

3: Stop performance work. While its a profitable business the customers often "know everything about their car". They can be a real PITA. Often insurance coverage issues, clientel etc push performance shops to just repair work.

 

 

The key I feel is communication with the customer. Everyone expects the bill to be locked down and with custom work it cant be locked down. Vehicle manufacturers spend hundreds if not thousands of hours of r&d to make the componets all work as a single unit. Some say that those doing the r&d are some of the most skilled engineers in the world. (ive seen some things that make me question that lol)

In the performance market less time is spent, less resources, less financial backing, less testing. Not to mention we're modifying vehicles beyond intended parameters. So when performing these modifications its not straight foward as replacing a starter.

For instance the tuners for the diesels may require multiple updates, some manufactures tried to build a one size fits all tuner which led to us fighting a tuner that was a special order that we intended to update and be done taking hours to update then the manufacturer saying "sorry, that tuner wont work on that truck. We dont know why". We had hours in something that no labor was quoted. The part had minimal markup because the customer could already buy it online for $100 less than our price. Ended up with frustration for everyone involed and me paying shipping. Lost a customer.

Had I set the customer up for those possibilities we likely wouldnt have had any issues amd might have recooped atleast some of that time and financial loss.

I know my ideas may not be the solution to your problem however it was the only things I could come up with. We still do a little I performance work but mostly chose #3.

I'd love to be part of the brainstorming process on this to help me and you both.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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It is very difficult to be profitable and do performance work. Let alone find a vendor that will back you for anything more than that part if something does go wrong. We choose to stay away from this type of work because of so many jobs that have gone bad. There needs to be clear communication with the customer that "anything can happen" and that additional parts and labor may be required to make this upgrade work. I would also say that there should be no warranty on performance work.

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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.
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      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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