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No more complimentary vehicle inspection? Charge for inspections? Opinions


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Just read another interesting article from ratchet and wrench. This particular one was about a shop in Denver that so happens to be a German Specialty shop.

 

In the article the General Manager states that they do not perform a complimentary vehicle inspection like other shops, but rather they charge for them ($90-$120 depending on the age of the vehicle). It is in the opinion of this shop that this "pre-qualifies" the customer as someone who is willing to spend money as well as softens the blow when they get hit with an estimate since they are already expecting to spend money. He also says it gives the technician added incentive since now they are actually getting paid for their inspection time. To add value, all technicians write out their recommendations as if they were telling a story. Instead of write up that the strut mount of broken, they write about their test drive and when they heard the noise and their whole inspection process of that particular problem.

 

I understand that shop's clientele may be different that some of us on the forum however I'd love to hear some opinions.

 

 

Here is the whole article if you'd care to read it:

 

http://www.ratchetandwrench.com/RatchetWrench/October-2014/Building-a-Better-Shop-Atmosphere/

 

 

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Maybe in the Eurocar world, but not in my soccer-mom commuter car world. It's all about good will. The courtesy check gives the SW a tool to establish a relationship with the customer. If properly presented, it lets them know you have their best interests at heart. We typically perform free CCs on 80% of our car count.

 

On check engine lights, we scan for free, give the customer a quick briefing on the implications i.e. safe to drive, might damage cat, and we turn the light off if appropriate. ANYTHING beyond that, the diagnostic clock is ticking, usually in half hour increments. My experience is that folks are really alienated when you tell them you are going to charge them to just hook up your scanner.

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I'll do a little "let me lookie see" for customers, but I draw the line at free code checks. Because every time you do a free code check they always want to pick your brain for what the code means and what the most likely cause of the code is. AND, of course, they say, "Thank you... you've been so kind to help me." ... ... ... then drive off never to be seen again. That is until they need the next "freebie - lookie - see"

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We do free code checks and complimentary inspections. I agree flacvabeach, doing a 'free inspection' builds a sense of value and starts a good relationship with the customer. My labor rate, insisting on using factory oem parts, and loaner car program is usually a good 'pre qualifier'.

 

Our free code check is just that, we tell them what the code is. If they want to know what it probably is, we tell them we will GUESS. Guesses come with no warranty, no guarantee, exactly what they get at the parts store with their free code check.

 

Free courtesy checks have sold me too many steering racks, brake jobs, timing belts, and fluid flushes... You'll see how this works with the 'mobil manager' inspection process

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I agree also with Joe. Spending 10 minutes or so on a preliminary inspection in all areas, general maintenance, diagnostics, leaks, AC work etc. helps to build rapport with the customer and allows us to see what needs to be sold. I also strongly agree that we give way too much away in comparison to our investment in what it takes deliver outstanding service.

 

Tablets are great. It will take time to implement, be patient and try to show your techs the value it provides in the sale at the counter and the trust that it builds with the customer.

 

How many are paying their techs for the inspection? I think the tech should be paid for his time regardless of whether or not you charge the customer.

Edited by Gary A
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I do not pay my tech specifically for the inspection, however I pay well enough for oil changes and tire rotations (I probably pay the best in town), so it makes up for a 5 minute inspection.

 

Plus, when you can look and see that RO's are increasing 35% after inspections are performed, that usually translates to a 35% increase in tech hours. Beats sitting around, waiting for the next car.

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      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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