Jump to content

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

Start LLC for $0 at IncFile

Serengeti - - - In the wild, bargain hunting has a different meaning than bargain hunting for car parts


Recommended Posts



Out on the Serengeti a lonely lioness is stalking its next meal. Crouching down in the tall grass she keeps a close watch on a herd of wildebeest passing by. At the end of the long procession a weak calf that appears to have lost its mother is barely keeping up with the herd. A perfect ambush and a quick strike will keep the other wildebeest from interfering with what the lioness is going to do. She has studied the terrain, judged the wind, and has found her bargain for the day. From here out it’s up to nature to take its course. Will the wildebeest be the next meal for the lioness and her cubs or will it escape the claws of the huge lion?

In nature, it is generally considered that the strongest will survive, or at least it seems that way. I tend to think of it in a different way. In nature, the opportunist has the advantage. We all shop for bargains, we’re all opportunist in a way just like the lion. In the concrete jungle bargain hunters come in all shapes and sizes, but we are all after one specific thing… price. We search thrift stores, auctions, garage sales, box stores, and buy at a discount, even auto parts and services. But a bargain is one thing, weak knock-off automotive components is completely different.


The lioness out on the Serengeti shops with one thing in mind, and that’s hunger. The bargain automotive shopper shops with one thing on their mind as well, and that’s price. A weak, second grade component is the most likely choice. The lioness searches out the weak so it doesn’t have to work as hard, while the bargain shopper buys the weak component because it’s cheaper. Snatching up some of these bargains can have some side effects too.

As I watch these automotive bargain hunters on their quests for the cheapest deal, I’ve noticed they seldom take in account their cheaper part is lacking something… “quality”. A lot of parts come from the same manufacturer, but not all the components are built to the same specifications. It could be a weak version of the original, it could be a part that barely limped its way through quality control and ended up in the back of the pack. There’s something that makes it a cheaper buy and not just because it’s at the discount store. We all know… cheaper parts are cheaper for a reason, but during the frenzy search for the bargain those thoughts are forgotten.


It could be the quality of the part wasn’t up to the quality level for a certain manufacturer so that particular piece was sent along its way to the next wholesale bidder down the line and put on the shelves at one of the discount parts stores. That’s where you’ll find the bargain hunters looking for a replacement part. Keep in mind, the quality part on the top shelf has a price to the end consumer which is not (obviously) what the manufacturer sold it to the store for, and there are several ways to buy quality parts and avoid the different markups as the part goes from wholesaler to wholesaler and store to store. A cheaper part on the shelf starts out the same way… so…how much lower was the price when “it” left the manufacturer?


Being in the repair business I see a lot of discount parts day after day. They usually coming in from off shore manufacturers. Places like Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, China, and several others. Years ago one of the most common components I would run into was the external regulators on the Fords. If you took a good quality regulator and placed it next to one of these bargain brands you really couldn’t tell the difference. But, pick them up, you’d know. The cheaper one was as light as a feather, while the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) part had a bit of weight to it. These days it’s fuel pumps, HVAC control heads, window motors, engine parts, body parts and more that keep showing up as the weak link. Body shops have complained about these second rate components for years, now it’s creeping into mechanical/electrical repair side even more than before.


Again, it’s simply price, not quality that the bargain shoppers (Insurance companies too) are looking for rather than a top of the line components. They assume it will work just as well as the OEM part… but it hardly ever does. Unlike the lioness that takes what she gets and waits for the next opportunity some of these bargain shoppers in this wide expanse of the concrete jungle get rather irate over the cost of repairs or replacement parts. (Sometimes I think I’d rather deal with the lioness instead.)


Let’s face it, we all like a bargain, and when we find one, we all like to tell everyone about it. Next thing you know there’s a stampede to the parts store. Cheap car parts have been a mainstay of the automotive repair business for as long as I can remember. They’ve made me quite a living replacing cheap parts for good ones. Sometimes I feel like a game warden, part of my job as the professional mechanic is to distinguish between those weak parts and the good ones.

East to west, and north to south the herd of cars run up and down the nation’s highways, traveling along like a wildebeest at times. A little traffic jam here, and a little mishap there. It’s all in the nature of things. So the next time you’re buzzing down the highway amongst all the other cars and trucks, just ask yourself one question, “Is that bargain part I installed really all that great?”


You might want to slow down, and get to the back of the pack… just watch out for the hunger lion… they can spot the weak ones.


View full article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Flash Sale + Social Proof

Flash Sale + Social Proof

Flash Sale + Social Proof

Pretty lame attempt at a comparison. My daughter dreamed this story idea up and I fiddled around with it. Probably need to work on this one a bit more, but... I'll wing it for now. LOL

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get the analogy, and I also get the point that everyone is looking for that great "deal". But the truth is, and we all know this, price does not always equate with quality. And, as you mentioned, a lot of what we are buying today is of poor quality. Sorry, I am faithful to the aftermarket, but some of the parts we are purchasing is not the best quality.


I have made many posts on this subject and published articles too. This race to bottom with regard to pricing will end up hurting us all. In fact, it's hurting us already. Part comebacks are on the rise and if we don't do something about it, the motoring public will...they will stop coming to us.


We need to change our mind set about price. Shop owners and motorists alike look for the best price, not always the best part. And, let's face is, shop owners are not getting rich selling cheap parts with low margins.


Great topic...a little fuzzy on the analogy, but it works.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

    • By Joe Marconi in Joe's Blog
      There are many things to consider when creating a marketing plan. Among them are establishing a budget, what forms of media should be used, and whether traditional advertising, such as TV, radio, and print, is still relevant.  And of course, how much should be allocated to social media and digital advertising?
      All the above are essentials to any marketing plan. However, the first step is ensuring that you have a healthy workplace and that your employees understand your company’s culture and the overall mission and vision. 
      We all know that happy employees create happy customers. No form of advertising can overcome a toxic workplace with unhappy employees. If your employees are not creating an amazing customer experience, your marketing plan will not work.
      Advertising and marketing may bring in customers, but the people in your company creating an amazing customer experience will be the most important component of your marketing plan.  It’s the customer experience that sells work and gives the customer a reason to return. 
      Creating an amazing employee experience, which creates an amazing customer experience, is also the most cost-effective part of your marketing plan. In fact, it cost next to nothing.
  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events found
  • Similar Topics

    • By carmcapriotto
      Guest host and shop tour with Lee and Kelli Weatherby, Accurate Automotive, Mesa, AZ. Find out how they are expanding their fleet business. Lee and Kelli Weatherby, Accurate Automotive, Mesa. AZ. Previous episodes HERE
      Key Talking Points 
      Started business in 1994 11 lifts, 16 bays R & D- rip off and duplicate ideas Pivot to recruiting fleet business- keep car count steady and allowed them to work as a team with new energy. Who is servicing fleets in their area? Are they just accepting what they are receiving with repair work? Relationships- door to door building connections in person What are you offering that will tip the scale to your favor? Put on their shoes and address their needs.  “Friends Serving Friends”  
      Connect with the Podcast:
      Aftermarket Radio Network
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partner:
      Dorman gives people greater freedom to fix vehicles by constantly developing new repair solutions that put owners and technicians first. Take the Dorman Virtual Tour at www.DormanProducts.com/Tour

      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By Joe Marconi
      In my 41-year career as a shop owner, I think that at least 80% of that time I experienced what I called, the Unexpected Wake-Up Call at 2:00 am.
      I would go over and over all the things that happened throughout the day, and what I needed to do tomorrow. For me, it was the uncertainty of the next day, and what fire I would need to put out that troubled me the most. 
      I know you have those nights too, so let's share a little.  What Keeps You Up at Night? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      While I am not an Auto Shop Owner anymore, my work with Elite as a business coach puts me in touch with a lot of shops around the country. And while business is still good, there are signs that it may be slowing as we head into the winter season. Perhaps the effect of inflation and the cost of living. 
      What do you see in your market?  And what should we do to maintain business through a potential slowdown? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      A recent Auto Leap Survey revealed that 64% of shop owners are looking to retire in the next 10 years. (Link below to survey) 
      So, I want to take an informal survey of our  ASO members:
      How long have you been a Shop Owner? When do plan on retiring?   
    • Advertise your services or products to passers-by attracting them towards your business
    • By Joe Marconi
      Do you have a formal onboarding, or employee orientation, process?  I know that so many shops these days are looking for employees, and many shops have been short-handed for some time now.  But, is it wise to throw people into the mix without a formal onboarding process?  Many say that the time it takes to prepare a new hire will pay dividends down the road. 
      Your thoughts and comments...

  • Our Sponsors

Flash Sale + Social Proof

Flash Sale + Social Proof

Flash Sale + Social Proof

  • Create New...