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Ok guys, I just need to vent . Had a customer come in Monday with a Suburban needing a state inspection. Turns out, he has no brake lights and so he leaves it to have us look at it. Later on that day, my tech does the nessasary testing and so forth and determines he needs a multi-function switch. My SA makes a quote and calls his house and talks with his wife and gives her the quote. She says she will relay the info to her husband and get back to us. By now, it's close to closing time, so I'm not expecting to hear back from him today. I leave the shop and stop at a local national-chain parts store to pick- up some hose we will be needing first thing in the morning. Now this store is one we never have dealt with much over the years for various reasons, but their outside sales rep has been coming by a lot over the past several months trying to drum up business. So I've been warming up to them and "testing the waters" so to speak. I get out of my truck and run into, you guessed it, the owner of the Suburban! He tells me that he just can't afford the price we quoted him and he felt it was just to much. I talked to him about how we used only quality parts and insure trouble free operation and such, trying to build some value, but he keeps insisting that he feels it is too much. I told him I understand how he felt and if he refused the repairs, all he owed was a testing fee. Then he asks if he supplied the part, how much would I charge him to install it. I told him what the labor would be and that there would be no warranty. He agreed and handed me a new switch from said national-chain parts store and said to call him when it was ready. Then he said, " I know your in business and such, but your price for the switch is just too much. It only cost $162.00! " This is the part that ticks me off. My cost from the same part store is $184.90. That's right, they sold it to a guy off the street for less than I could get it for. I'm sorry, but if you want more of my business, this is not the way to do it. I'm cooling off some before I say anything. Should I take it up with the store manager, the sales rep, or call the owner of the company? :angry:

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Be wary of customers, they are not known for always telling the truth lol. I've given my parts store a earful in the past, and then without asking the manager looks up the transaction and it turns out the customer wasn't being truthful.

 

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

 

 

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Ok guys, I just need to vent . Had a customer come in Monday with a Suburban needing a state inspection. Turns out, he has no brake lights and so he leaves it to have us look at it. Later on that day, my tech does the nessasary testing and so forth and determines he needs a multi-function switch. My SA makes a quote and calls his house and talks with his wife and gives her the quote. She says she will relay the info to her husband and get back to us. By now, it's close to closing time, so I'm not expecting to hear back from him today. I leave the shop and stop at a local national-chain parts store to pick- up some hose we will be needing first thing in the morning. Now this store is one we never have dealt with much over the years for various reasons, but their outside sales rep has been coming by a lot over the past several months trying to drum up business. So I've been warming up to them and "testing the waters" so to speak. I get out of my truck and run into, you guessed it, the owner of the Suburban! He tells me that he just can't afford the price we quoted him and he felt it was just to much. I talked to him about how we used only quality parts and insure trouble free operation and such, trying to build some value, but he keeps insisting that he feels it is too much. I told him I understand how he felt and if he refused the repairs, all he owed was a testing fee. Then he asks if he supplied the part, how much would I charge him to install it. I told him what the labor would be and that there would be no warranty. He agreed and handed me a new switch from said national-chain parts store and said to call him when it was ready. Then he said, " I know your in business and such, but your price for the switch is just too much. It only cost $162.00! " This is the part that ticks me off. My cost from the same part store is $184.90. That's right, they sold it to a guy off the street for less than I could get it for. I'm sorry, but if you want more of my business, this is not the way to do it. I'm cooling off some before I say anything. Should I take it up with the store manager, the sales rep, or call the owner of the company? :angry:

 

 

Sorry to hear this! Biggest reason I have a problem with parts suppliers that also sell to the public. It is a losing battle if you are marking up your parts then your customer see you walk into the same parts stores. I never do business with the Advanced Autos, Pep Boys, Auto Zone type. Hate to say this but they really are the enemy. They bring the industry down and makes life harder for guys like us.

 

Now in terms of this customer its your call if you want to use his supplied parts. I have let customers go when they don't want to play by my rules. My rules are that we provide a service which includes parts AND labor. We provide warranty and stand behind everything. The way I look at it even if you servicing 3000+ cars a year that is such a small percentage of the market. That being said there are plenty of good customers that will pay your price, follow your rules and be happy with the quality of service they are getting.

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Some customers are not your customers!

 

Just another story in the #shoplife that loosely pertains to this topic.

 

Had a guy call up today 2006 530XI. Wanted to bring the car in today for a battery. Gave him some possible times to bring the car in but got right down to why he thought he needed the battery. "I brought the car to the dealer a few months ago and they had told me I needed a battery" FIRST RED FLAG! "Also I have been having to jump start my car with a booster pack for a while but now thats not even working" SECOND RED FLAG! Anyway I schedule the guy in. He ends up canceling the first appt and reschedules for later on in the day. Customer drops the car off for a few and leaves. Before he left I told him I would take a look into his battery situation a bit further because the electrical and charging sys on newer model BMWs are very sensitive to voltage. Turns out as expected that he really needed a new alternator (leaking diodes), IBS cable and a new battery. Gave the guy some options on what we could do for him today which was either an IBS + AGM battery or IBS + Lead acid battery. Both options were north of $600. His response was "wow thats expensive, about the same price as the dealer" and finally "I think I am going to decline both" BIG SURPRISE! At that point I said, "ok sure no problem we can have your vehicle back together for you in 10 minutes. We normally charge a diagnostic fee however we are going to waive that for you today." He came 15 minutes later thanked me and left. Before he left he had mentioned he had called a few weeks ago and got an approx price of $300-400 for a battery. Yep a phone shopper and the worst kind. My fault for giving out prices over the phone.

 

GOOD RIDDANCE! Customers like that have no respect for themselves and the vehicles they drive. He was jump starting the car with a booster pack for months and he expected to get away with a $200 battery. GTFO. These types of people are a danger to themselves and you are better off wishing them well and sending them down the road. I didn't even bother charging him and its the best money I never made. Who knows what kind of vindictive nonsense would have came out of that if I would have charged him a charging sys diag. Wouldn't have been worth it. Instead I threw a smile on my face, shook his hand and sent him down the river.

 

 

Point of the story is there are plenty of people out there that will appreciate you and your service. Those are the customers to give your attention to. Send the yo-yos away.

 

Of course there are people out there that have to decline work due to economical situations. Totally understandable and i have bent over backwards for a lot of my customers. The problem with bending your own rules is what if that person comes into a better job and their financial situation changes? Do you think they will magically start paying you for your parts and not bring their own? Hell no. They got away with it the first time so that is now their expectation.

 

Anyway that is my rant on crappy customers which wasn't really the main point of your thread but I hope to have entertained some of you guys with that story.

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xrac, red flags all over the place. I know the battery swap is a rather expensive endeavor on a newer BMW but seriously what do these people think they are going to do? Change the game? It is how the vehicle was designed and it is the ONLY proper way to repair. Dealer told them first. Then I told them. Probably off to auto zone to get whatever they can get and throw it in there unregistered and bound to fail again.

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Mspec, we do little European work for that very reason. People buy these cars at a bargin at a local used car lot and then don't understand why a repair costs more than it did on their mom's ford Taurus. Part of the problem, at least in a rural area like mine, is that almost everyone has a brother, father, uncle, cousin, or some other relative who works on cars and knows more about it than you do! These are usually the same people who don't want to pay a testing fee for their check engine light because "autozone told me it was an oxygen sensor" .

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Great forum! We have had encountered this in the past as well. Customer came in for a quote on plugs for an Expedition. Quoted her a total amount. The first word out of her mouth was "Wow!" I immediately thought to myself, heres another one of those customers <_< . She then gave me a long talk of how the auto parts store down the street said the parts were only X amount. At that point, I kindly told her heres our number, feel free to call and make an appointment. I proceeded to attend to my other customers who do not question price or compare us to part stores.

 

In regards to pricing customer supplied parts, we upcharge our labor to make up for the loss in parts (which is usually the amount we upcharged on the parts). We also document accordingly that the customer supplied the part and there is no warranty. One thing I have learned the hard way it is NOT WORTH the overall headache of customer supplied parts.

 

I would definately speak with your sales manager for the local auto parts stores. In our area our pricing is based off of tiers- which depend on how much you spend a week or month.

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I know it's difficult to not get worked up when this happens. We recently had the same situation happen with our local NAPA sore where the customer could buy the part cheaper on line than we could. We are a NAPA Autocare center so I was livid when it happened. The part that they could buy cheaper was a third line ball joint that we do not sell and NAPA corporate had put it out as an online special. The "customer" asked if we would install the parts if he purchased them from NAPA because we are a NAPA Autocare, we refused.

I have kicked around the thought of changing my labor rate to around $140 per hour and lower my parts matrix to around 20%. We might not have the same conversations with customers who want to bring in their own parts, because we would be charging close to what they can buy the parts for at the parts stores.

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Russ, the increasing labor rate and reducing parts costs has been discussed. I personally think it would open up a slew of other problems. At the point of a customer complaining, there would be less justification as to why your labor rate is $40 more than everyone else whilst for parts we can fall back on warranty, sourcing, procurement etc.

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Well,

I talked with the store manager today. I just asked if someone bought a particular part # on a particular day and how much they paid for it. I just said I had a warranty issue I was trying to work out with a customer and wanted some facts before I proceeded. He told me the time and date it was purchased ( which was correct ) and that he paid in cash in the amount of... wait for it.......$184.90! That's right, the same as my cost. He apparently ran it through the company he used to work for ( a county school bus garage ). I guess it goes to show that customers don't always tell the whole truth. Thanks ncautoshop. But you guys are right. I need to concentrate on the customers who recognize the value in the service we provide and not worry about the rest. My lot is packed as we speak with customers who value our work and know that it is a small price to pay. :D

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Ok guys, I just need to vent . Had a customer come in Monday with a Suburban needing a state inspection. Turns out, he has no brake lights and so he leaves it to have us look at it. Later on that day, my tech does the nessasary testing and so forth and determines he needs a multi-function switch. My SA makes a quote and calls his house and talks with his wife and gives her the quote. She says she will relay the info to her husband and get back to us. By now, it's close to closing time, so I'm not expecting to hear back from him today. I leave the shop and stop at a local national-chain parts store to pick- up some hose we will be needing first thing in the morning. Now this store is one we never have dealt with much over the years for various reasons, but their outside sales rep has been coming by a lot over the past several months trying to drum up business. So I've been warming up to them and "testing the waters" so to speak. I get out of my truck and run into, you guessed it, the owner of the Suburban! He tells me that he just can't afford the price we quoted him and he felt it was just to much. I talked to him about how we used only quality parts and insure trouble free operation and such, trying to build some value, but he keeps insisting that he feels it is too much. I told him I understand how he felt and if he refused the repairs, all he owed was a testing fee. Then he asks if he supplied the part, how much would I charge him to install it. I told him what the labor would be and that there would be no warranty. He agreed and handed me a new switch from said national-chain parts store and said to call him when it was ready. Then he said, " I know your in business and such, but your price for the switch is just too much. It only cost $162.00! " This is the part that ticks me off. My cost from the same part store is $184.90. That's right, they sold it to a guy off the street for less than I could get it for. I'm sorry, but if you want more of my business, this is not the way to do it. I'm cooling off some before I say anything. Should I take it up with the store manager, the sales rep, or call the owner of the company? :angry:

must be vatozone. if you have a commercial account, automatically the person should get 10% off walk ins.

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Some customers are not your customers!

 

Just another story in the #shoplife that loosely pertains to this topic.

 

Had a guy call up today 2006 530XI. Wanted to bring the car in today for a battery. Gave him some possible times to bring the car in but got right down to why he thought he needed the battery. "I brought the car to the dealer a few months ago and they had told me I needed a battery" FIRST RED FLAG! "Also I have been having to jump start my car with a booster pack for a while but now thats not even working" SECOND RED FLAG! Anyway I schedule the guy in. He ends up canceling the first appt and reschedules for later on in the day. Customer drops the car off for a few and leaves. Before he left I told him I would take a look into his battery situation a bit further because the electrical and charging sys on newer model BMWs are very sensitive to voltage. Turns out as expected that he really needed a new alternator (leaking diodes), IBS cable and a new battery. Gave the guy some options on what we could do for him today which was either an IBS + AGM battery or IBS + Lead acid battery. Both options were north of $600. His response was "wow thats expensive, about the same price as the dealer" and finally "I think I am going to decline both" BIG SURPRISE! At that point I said, "ok sure no problem we can have your vehicle back together for you in 10 minutes. We normally charge a diagnostic fee however we are going to waive that for you today." He came 15 minutes later thanked me and left. Before he left he had mentioned he had called a few weeks ago and got an approx price of $300-400 for a battery. Yep a phone shopper and the worst kind. My fault for giving out prices over the phone.

 

GOOD RIDDANCE! Customers like that have no respect for themselves and the vehicles they drive. He was jump starting the car with a booster pack for months and he expected to get away with a $200 battery. GTFO. These types of people are a danger to themselves and you are better off wishing them well and sending them down the road. I didn't even bother charging him and its the best money I never made. Who knows what kind of vindictive nonsense would have came out of that if I would have charged him a charging sys diag. Wouldn't have been worth it. Instead I threw a smile on my face, shook his hand and sent him down the river.

 

 

Point of the story is there are plenty of people out there that will appreciate you and your service. Those are the customers to give your attention to. Send the yo-yos away.

 

Of course there are people out there that have to decline work due to economical situations. Totally understandable and i have bent over backwards for a lot of my customers. The problem with bending your own rules is what if that person comes into a better job and their financial situation changes? Do you think they will magically start paying you for your parts and not bring their own? Hell no. They got away with it the first time so that is now their expectation.

 

Anyway that is my rant on crappy customers which wasn't really the main point of your thread but I hope to have entertained some of you guys with that story.

more and more people like this everyday. seems like we are getting dumber and dumber by the year. hey I guess were number 1 in debt, number 1 in incarcerated people, number 1000 in schooling...

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Mspec, we do little European work for that very reason. People buy these cars at a bargin at a local used car lot and then don't understand why a repair costs more than it did on their mom's ford Taurus. Part of the problem, at least in a rural area like mine, is that almost everyone has a brother, father, uncle, cousin, or some other relative who works on cars and knows more about it than you do! These are usually the same people who don't want to pay a testing fee for their check engine light because "autozone told me it was an oxygen sensor" .

I tell them people to have vatozone fix it for them.

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xrac, red flags all over the place. I know the battery swap is a rather expensive endeavor on a newer BMW but seriously what do these people think they are going to do? Change the game? It is how the vehicle was designed and it is the ONLY proper way to repair. Dealer told them first. Then I told them. Probably off to auto zone to get whatever they can get and throw it in there unregistered and bound to fail again.

 

Some customers are not your customers!

 

Just another story in the #shoplife that loosely pertains to this topic.

 

Had a guy call up today 2006 530XI. Wanted to bring the car in today for a battery. Gave him some possible times to bring the car in but got right down to why he thought he needed the battery. "I brought the car to the dealer a few months ago and they had told me I needed a battery" FIRST RED FLAG! "Also I have been having to jump start my car with a booster pack for a while but now thats not even working" SECOND RED FLAG! Anyway I schedule the guy in. He ends up canceling the first appt and reschedules for later on in the day. Customer drops the car off for a few and leaves. Before he left I told him I would take a look into his battery situation a bit further because the electrical and charging sys on newer model BMWs are very sensitive to voltage. Turns out as expected that he really needed a new alternator (leaking diodes), IBS cable and a new battery. Gave the guy some options on what we could do for him today which was either an IBS + AGM battery or IBS + Lead acid battery. Both options were north of $600. His response was "wow thats expensive, about the same price as the dealer" and finally "I think I am going to decline both" BIG SURPRISE! At that point I said, "ok sure no problem we can have your vehicle back together for you in 10 minutes. We normally charge a diagnostic fee however we are going to waive that for you today." He came 15 minutes later thanked me and left. Before he left he had mentioned he had called a few weeks ago and got an approx price of $300-400 for a battery. Yep a phone shopper and the worst kind. My fault for giving out prices over the phone.

 

GOOD RIDDANCE! Customers like that have no respect for themselves and the vehicles they drive. He was jump starting the car with a booster pack for months and he expected to get away with a $200 battery. GTFO. These types of people are a danger to themselves and you are better off wishing them well and sending them down the road. I didn't even bother charging him and its the best money I never made. Who knows what kind of vindictive nonsense would have came out of that if I would have charged him a charging sys diag. Wouldn't have been worth it. Instead I threw a smile on my face, shook his hand and sent him down the river.

 

 

Point of the story is there are plenty of people out there that will appreciate you and your service. Those are the customers to give your attention to. Send the yo-yos away.

 

Of course there are people out there that have to decline work due to economical situations. Totally understandable and i have bent over backwards for a lot of my customers. The problem with bending your own rules is what if that person comes into a better job and their financial situation changes? Do you think they will magically start paying you for your parts and not bring their own? Hell no. They got away with it the first time so that is now their expectation.

 

Anyway that is my rant on crappy customers which wasn't really the main point of your thread but I hope to have entertained some of you guys with that story.

I don't get you guys. I always give a customer what they want. Had a guy coming with a 2010 Audi A6 asking for a new battery. I gave him a good price on a Bosch battery.

He went for it. Later that day I checked his old battery and it was in fine shape. Took that one home to use it in my boat. In the end the customer was happy , and I am happy.

Why mess with that?

As far as why he wanted a new battery, I don't know and don't really care. Maybe he read something on the internet. You know how that goes.

 

Gene

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Gene I think you are missing the big picture. If the customer's real reason for wanting a new battery was because he was experiencing electrical or voltage issues, you did not do him a service. In fact there is a chance the customer will put some blame on you as the shop for not advising him better. Because that customer's needs were not properly met, they could also end up going to another shop that will ask questions and service them properly which totally makes you look bad.

 

I believe as auto care professionals it is our duty to look out for our customers. To ask questions and find out what the customer actually needs. Doctor's don't leave it up the patients to determine the course of treatment to cure them. We shouldn't either.

 

In the particular case I made a post about, the customer would surely get stuck with a vehicle that did not start again due to a dead battery. We are looking at the bigger picture. Long term instead of short term.

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Does anyone know where McDonalds gets their beef? I want to see what it cost's so I can argue the price of my Big Mac.

 

The point is that no one does this to most other businesses. Why do they do it with their auto repair shop?
How has it come to be where customers think this is okay? I had a hot water heater installed this fall at my house. It was $632.56. I didn't tell my plumber that Home Depot had the heater for $239.

 

I am on a quest. A quest to find 1,200 customers who will cheerfully pay me any price I ask.

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Don't let people rent space in your head. I have to work my vendors against each other on each sale. I state my price parts and labor knowing that i will have room for a discount at the end. Other that that i encourage the customer best of luck and i hope he has a blessed New Year. I remind the customer that if they go somewhere else Iwill not be able to help them.

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I run into pricing issues all the time. A lot of people around us call and get pricing on parts so I often have to explain our more expensive part. But I give my parts guys grief all the time - we buy from several vendors and often when I check "my" price and then the retail they are often the same. In these instances the guys will reduce my cost even more - but sometimes the customer can get even cheaper by purchasing online (Advance for ex. 15% off and $25 gift card and even though they are ordering "online" they can opt to pick up in local store!)

 

We used to try to meet local retail prices, but often I am not making any money and esp if the labor is 30 min on repair - I have no choice but to increase part price just to make it worth our while. Many arguments with my partner about the part pricing issue but i think now even he is getting sick of losing money.

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in regard to the "i can't afford to fix the car I had to have" people - I really think new car dealers esp should be required to disclose repair costs associated with even the most mundane of repairs. My favorite is trying to explain to the CTS owner why changing out their $3 turn signal bulb is going to cost them over $100 because we have to remove their bumper. That always seems to go over like a lead balloon.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gene I think you are missing the big picture. If the customer's real reason for wanting a new battery was because he was experiencing electrical or voltage issues, you did not do him a service. In fact there is a chance the customer will put some blame on you as the shop for not advising him better. Because that customer's needs were not properly met, they could also end up going to another shop that will ask questions and service them properly which totally makes you look bad.

 

I believe as auto care professionals it is our duty to look out for our customers. To ask questions and find out what the customer actually needs. Doctor's don't leave it up the patients to determine the course of treatment to cure them. We shouldn't either.

 

In the particular case I made a post about, the customer would surely get stuck with a vehicle that did not start again due to a dead battery. We are looking at the bigger picture. Long term instead of short term.

He didn't ask me to do any diagnostics. Just The battery. So I gave him what he wanted. Iam in the service business I am not his mother.

"I believe as auto care professionals it is our duty to look out for our customers" I think you live in a fantasy world.

I gave up on that idea decades ego.

I have three other shops next to me. If I dont make the customer happy , the other shops will be more than happy to do it.

Gene

Edited by _2080
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Does anyone know where McDonalds gets their beef? I want to see what it cost's so I can argue the price of my Big Mac.

 

The point is that no one does this to most other businesses. Why do they do it with their auto repair shop?

How has it come to be where customers think this is okay? I had a hot water heater installed this fall at my house. It was $632.56. I didn't tell my plumber that Home Depot had the heater for $239.

 

I am on a quest. A quest to find 1,200 customers who will cheerfully pay me any price I ask.

How come you didn't get it done your self? The water Heater.

"I am on a quest. A quest to find 1,200 customers who will cheerfully pay me any price I ask." There was a black man ones who also had a dream.

We all know what happened to that.

Gene.

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He didn't ask me to do any diagnostics. Just The battery. So I gave him what he wanted. Iam in the service business I am not his mother.

"I believe as auto care professionals it is our duty to look out for our customers" I think you live in a fantasy world.

I gave up on that idea decades ego.

I have three other shops next to me. If I dont make the customer happy , the other shops will be more than happy to do it.

Gene

 

We all thought you were trolling but i guess you are a real person lol

 

If you dont subscribe to our "fantasy world" thats perfectly fine Gene but i dont think all the successful shop owners i know are wrong in their business philosophy. I think its time for you to wake up and smell the... Ill let you finish that line :)

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In California we can be held liable for customer supplied parts. Under most circumstances we will not install customer supplied parts, however if they insist we charge enough labor to cover the cost of the part and the labor to redo the job. We make sure they understand this. So, if it is a 1 hour job we charge 2 hours plus the cost of the part. I then tell them when we supply the parts they are also receiving a 2 year 24K warranty which includes lodging, towing, etc. should that part fail. I've only had 1 pot grower decline the warranty and had us supply his Orielly diesel injectors at double the labor and an extra $750 to cover the injectors....stubborn, stoned or stupid!

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I have actually had to tell a few customers to get rid of their BMWs. Some people just don't understand what it takes, ex: cost, to repair some vehicles. I had one in today that needed front brakes, almost metal to metal. I gave him a price, and he told me his friend down the road can do it for cheaper. I agreed with him. I also told him to make sure his friend uses ceramic pads, new sensor, and new rotors. I found out a long time ago once you sense this type of customer there is no reason to try. Just send them on their way.

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You can only stay calm for so long. The guy put his own foot in his mouth when he told you about the switch. Call him out on it. This is what I do. I found it easier to ask if there are any other concerns or issues during customer write-up. That way these thing get nipped in the butt up front (most of the time). I will never let any customers downgrade our employees or ethics. I always say, "We repair cars, not break them."

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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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