Or are there? Some customers looking for a “deal” many times take it way too far. I agree that customers should in fact “shop” around when searching for an auto repair facility as well as ask questions related to their needs. Those questions should be, how familiar are you with my specific model of vehicle? How long have you been in business and more importantly how long has the tech that will be working at my car been in the business? Do you have references such as the Better Business Bureau and so on. Then give them permission to take a look at what your concerns are and allow them enough of an estimate to do a thorough inspection.
Customer’s should learn it’s very important to not shop all over the place every time they need something. Instead, the smartest way to get the most bang for your buck is to stop looking for the “deal” and begin looking for a shop that is qualified and one that can be trusted. Murphy’s Law says there will be days when something goes wrong, a defective part, improper install or the planets didn’t align or whatever. It’s at those times when the customer who moves around from shop to shop will not get the service they want. Why should a shop go the extra distance when they know this type of customer will probably not return? On the other hand, when a repair facility recognizes a quality customer it is much easier for them to say, “It’s all taken care of. No charge! Thank-you.” In the long run it will pay off ten fold.
Here is one of my favorite examples but keep in mind, this really isn’t all that uncommon from where I sit. One morning a man calls one of my shops and asks, “I have a brake problem on my van. How much to check it out and what will it cost to fix it?” I told him there would be no charge to inspect it but I could not give an estimate until I did. Then I told him, “Bring it in and we’ll check it it.” In retrospect I wish I hadn’t used those exact words. Later that afternoon my manager was standing in the lobby talking to a customer at the counter when all of a sudden all hell broke loose. Without any warning an old Ford van crashed right into the glass front of the store which sent glass… lots of glass, wood framing, a display of wheels and more all in the direction of my manager and customer.
Amazing at it was, nobody even got a scratch which is even more unbelievable considering a shower of glass cascaded down upon them and a four foot section of 4X6 widow framing shot between the customer and the counter missing her by inches and it even damaged the counter. Then the guy in the van panics and throws the van into reverse and begins backing up!
Long story short… He admitted to me that he had called over 12 shops looking for the “Cheapest” price on of all things a brake job. In my opinion there are some repairs that just shouldn’t be cheap. He finally had found someone who would do his front brakes for some ridiculous price of $29 but when they told him the shoes would be $19 and the wheel cylinders $10 he said, “You must be kidding! I can get the shoes for $14 and the cylinders for $9!” So he supplies his own parts and the “cheap” shop performs a “cheap” job.
What he didn’t know was the parts place have given him the wrong wheel cylinders (too small) and the wrong shoes (also too small). But since they were now out of business and the parts store said, “The shop who installed them should have compared them before installing them.” he was now out of luck not to mention parked in the middle of my lobby and responsible for all the damage.
In my opinion, had this customer dealt with a reputable shop in the first place, the correct parts probably would have been used and even in a worst case scenario they would have been liable for the damage to the van as well as my shop. If that customer had spent as much time making sales calls to new customers as he did calling shops and parts stores I bet he would have been a lot more productive and happy with coin in pocket.
This is just one more case of customer’s taking things to the extreme limit and in doing so everyone loses.