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Story you guys might like from 2 friends!

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I have been talking about this since last night still trying to wrap my mind around it...



So I have 2 friends, 1 that owns a shop (SUPER mismanaged) and another friend that needed work done on his 1994 Toyota MR2. They both do not know each other. The MR2 was brought over to the shop 2+ years ago. My shop owner friend was hired to partially build an engine, transmission, modify the trunk to fit an intercooler and install the engine. The last piece of the puzzle was creating a wiring harness for an aftermarket engine management. Yes I know all work we cringe and turn away! Anyway, for one reason or another the car say for 2+ years waiting on parts at times or various other reasons. At no point was any price established. Recently the shop owner friend called it quits on the car said he couldn't finish the harness and he really needed the space (3 bay shop, 1 car taking a whole bay for 2 years). My MR2 friend went to pick up the car and all the while kept asking "do you have a price for me?" The response he got was, "Oh most of it is in storage fees." Keep in mind at no point was any price established. Well the car was released to the owner and towed out of the shop. After asking multiple times the bill was finally presented.... $12,500! Now I am sure the work was painstaking and took a ton of hours but how do you charge someone that kind of money without ever establishing any sort of pricing? Also you let the car go losing all your leverage! I don't know what the outcome will be but I just can't wrap my mind around how it got this far and how you can justify trying to charge $12,500 without ever establishing any pricing. Keep in mind, no paperwork was ever drawn up, nothing was ever signed, no verbal agreement was ever presented or reached.


I'd love to hear some comments, I am trying to not get involved but I can't stop thinking about what a shitshow this is.

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What a nightmare. Looks like shop owner buddy is going to be looking for work soon. You hiring? Lol.

That's a real mess. One of the key reasons we stepped out of performance and custom work, the customer has his idea of what it's worth and the shop has their idea of the worth of the job. Neither are ever close. The shop always wants more and the vehicle owner always thinks it should be a "couple hundred".


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The sad part is the guy works 10-10 Monday - Saturday all by himself 3 lifts. He works Sundays I think until 5 or 7. Been doing it for nearly 10 years or around there. Charges well below the average labor rate (last time I think it was $65) in Queens which is a borough of NYC. He also doesn't charge enough margins on parts as well as allows customers to bring their own parts. There is also a auto parts store on the corner where I've seen customers walk to the parts store and come back with a starter with my friend having no objections. Hes put 2 kids through private school by doing this but I have to imagine hes living on a shoe string.


Both are my friends so its a tough thing to give any advice out however being a shop owner (and a logical human being) I can say without a doubt my shop owner friend Effffff'd up big time by not establishing pricing and allowing the car to be released without getting payment.

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Hit the nail on the head Joe.


You have to recognize when you need help and also where to seek it. I have offered to pay for a 1 day class just to open his eyes on the possibility. He and his wife are wrapped up that they don't even feel like they can give up a day to go to the class!


Its a sad story.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      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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