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Thanks AutoZone…well actually thanks for nothing. Your quest to sell parts by offering FREE Check engine light scans has successfully changed the way consumer perceive check engine lights. In the mind of the average consumer, there is no difference between a reputable repair shop accessing check engine light codes and a part’s house.

 

At a recent business EXPO in my town, which I attended, dozens of consumers were questioned about the check engine light and if they would take their car to an AutoZone or other parts house if the check engine light came on. Many said they have and would, and many said, “Is there a difference?”

 

So, I guess for you, congratulationsis in order.

 

Obviously I am being funny.  But this is no laughing matter. Once the consumer perception is set, it is set in stone. This will make increasingly more difficult for us to explain diag charges.

 

Your thoughts?

Auto zone commercial this week said something to the tine of "fix your own car, you'll be a hero".

Reminds me of cigarette commercials when I was growing up. We don't care about the effects on consumers, we don't care about the effects on companies like ours or any other issue unless it effects our profits. They give consumers false hope, and it's almost like their providing the parts cannon and allowing the end user to fire it!

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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We need to let the "Retail Parts" Houses know how we feel. DO NOT BUY FROM THEM. Joe, I know you have been in contact with Advanced Auto and their purchase of Car Quest and World Pac, but I'm having a hard time continuing to buy from them for the same reason. These Retail parts houses continue to put the perception out there that they can buy an alternator for $49.95, brakes are $19.95 etc. They make it seem like it should take 5 minutes to diagnose any problem on a car. Either they are with us or they are against us. They can't have it both ways!

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There is an AutoZone located up the street from my shop. I have 2-3 people per week referred to me from AutoZone. Of course, after their free scan and part sales that have failed to repair the condition. When I explain to the vehicle owner the process, equipment & experience needed to complete an accurate diagnosis they usually understand. If not I use the analogy of would you hire contractor or a real estate agent to build your home? I then explain they are PARTS SPECIALIST and are quite good at it, however I am a DIAGNOSTIC & REPAIR SPECIALIST. I will then state it takes both of us to meet their needs and neither of us can replace the other in the process of repairing cars.

 

Another increasingly common problem I am finding is big box parts stores selling & installing batteries. I have several vehicles per month come in with strange odors from the car. Upon walking up to the car it is clearly a battery issue. I often find a new big box brand battery installed and the programming/battery reset procedures were ignored. In vehicles that are so electrically dependent with sensitive and very expensive electronics this will become a serious issue in the very near future. Not to mention the potential vehicle damage caused by acid boil over or possibility for battery fires and explosions, especially with batteries mounted on the cars interior.

 

It is a shame that due to corporate greed a persons second most expensive investment is put at risk by these stores.

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I have a repair shop in Raleigh NC. I agree that this misconception is a concern, but not a big 1. I allow customers to bring their own parts if they wish, and do their own diagnostics if they wish. I carefully explain the difference in about 2 sentences. I hand the "print out" back to them when they give it to me and ask them which part they want me to fix. Also give them option to pay me $85/hr to find out problem. Either way i get paid. You are a "know it all" and just want me to replace YOUR PARTS....PAY ME. You want to TELL ME what to fix...PAY ME. You want me to DO MY JOB and thoroughly diagnose the issue...PAY ME. It actually creates an opportunity for me to show the customer why im worth my $85 when i solve a problem that the autozone machine couldnt. And for the customer that is just too cheap to pay me to diagnose the issue...well thats not the customer im targeting anyway...so nothing lost. And the battery thing...i like that too. So many times a customer comes in because car wont run right or at all after battery replacement. Thats fine. My knowledge of relearn procedures makes it the easiest diagnostic fee ever and i look like a hero to a new customer...WIN WIN AGAIN! I like DIYERS, they make me money on the hard problems or come backs bc they were so called "mechanics". Send them all to me :-)

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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.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      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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