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Old 11-11-2013, 02:25 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,500,683 times
Reputation: 7708

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrician4you View Post
Lol and is that guy gonna stand behind his work if the bolt works loose or. Something he over tightened breaks tightened or forgot to leaves you stranded or worse you wreck your car? Think it won't happen? I'm sure he has liability insurance and will take care of it out of pocket. Sure he will
I have never had a problem with an independent mechanic. I've gotten ripped off by professionals many times. For example they will tell you that it will take five hours of labor to replace your timing belt and water pump. It will, but while they are working on your car, they are working on two or three other cars at the same time. If it was just your car, it would take them an hour and a half. But they charge you for five hours. Including the time they were working on other peoples cars. It's all one big scam.

How many professional mechanics would allow a customer to stand there and watch them work on their car? Think about it.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:40 AM
 
Location: Florida
3,202 posts, read 4,284,065 times
Reputation: 9485
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post
Which is why I searched until I found a mom and pop shop.
Personally, I think mom & pop shops are the best. You build a relationship with them and through your word of mouth, they build their business. It's a win/win situation.

I work on my cars myself but I wouldn't think of supplying my own parts unless it was a very specific part like a certain cam, headers, etc...

I have seen shops that are willing to install your parts but they charge more per hour of labor. In the end, if I didn't work on my own cars, I think paying the shop price for parts would be worth the hassle of me not having to get the parts for them.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:59 AM
 
Location: The Brat Stop
8,353 posts, read 5,758,964 times
Reputation: 2279
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crackpot View Post
Good evening.

I'd like to get some advice for anyone who's taken a car to a mechanic. It sounds like a no-brainer, but do most of you buy your own parts to save on the overall bill?

My 2000 Hyundai Accent is due for a timing belt change now that I'm approaching 60k miles. I've found a nice small family/mom & pop dealership that seems to do well. Been there once and was impressed with their hospitality. I don't do dealerships for obvious reasons, and even the smaller chains are resorting to scare tactics with expensive quotes, even Big O Tires have started this with me after years of being a loyal customer.

So my plan was to buy a timing belt and water pump, which look inexpensive from shopping around. Getting work done without parts seem to run people anywhere between $600-over $1k with parts and labor and I'm hoping that at least with the parts, I just pay for labor since there is an inflation cost for parts.

They do allow you to buy your own oil for a discount on the change (though in the end it costs you slightly more) which most mechanics around here don't do. Only thing I'm paranoid if these mechanics might try to tell me my own parts won't work but so far they've were legit with me and my supervisor who recommended me to them.

Any thoughts?
Just that the mechanic or shop you take it too won't stand by or warranty their labor. If the belt breaks within 30 days or so, you'll need the procedure repeated, and I don't know what belt warranties are, but I'd buy a belt with a good or exceptional warranty just in case.
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:37 AM
 
2,341 posts, read 8,786,010 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
I have never had a problem with an independent mechanic. I've gotten ripped off by professionals many times. For example they will tell you that it will take five hours of labor to replace your timing belt and water pump. It will, but while they are working on your car, they are working on two or three other cars at the same time. If it was just your car, it would take them an hour and a half. But they charge you for five hours. Including the time they were working on other peoples cars. It's all one big scam.

How many professional mechanics would allow a customer to stand there and watch them work on their car? Think about it.
You are more than welcome to come stand at my shop and watch us do anything, any time. Just don't get in the way, and don't talk too much or spill your coffee on anything important. Actually, BRING coffee & donuts, and everyone will be a little happier.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:14 AM
 
10,913 posts, read 41,440,183 times
Reputation: 14130
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
I have never had a problem with an independent mechanic. I've gotten ripped off by professionals many times. For example they will tell you that it will take five hours of labor to replace your timing belt and water pump. It will, but while they are working on your car, they are working on two or three other cars at the same time. If it was just your car, it would take them an hour and a half. But they charge you for five hours. Including the time they were working on other peoples cars. It's all one big scam.

How many professional mechanics would allow a customer to stand there and watch them work on their car? Think about it.
I'm with GLogic above on this one ...

You're entirely welcome to watch us work on your car, and we've got a bunch of big windows in the waiting area looking out upon the shop area. You can even get escorted into the shop area for a closer look, although it can be difficult at times to not be underfoot and it becomes obvious that you may be in the way, hindering progress on your vehicle.

My techs punch in the timeclock when they are on a vehicle. So if they have reason to stop work on one car and move to another (might be waiting for parts, customer approval, a sealant to cure, etc.), they clock off the one job and clock in on the next car. I went to this policy decades ago so that I could track my cost of labor; some techs get bonuses based upon productivity, some get fired when they are slackers. As a management tool, it allows me to schedule work with my most productive techs as much as possible; ie, the fellow who does well with engine work may not be the tech to assign to automatic transmission work, or the tech who enjoys suspension work and does it quickly and well may not be the guy to assign to doing electrical work. My personal strengths are electrical/electronics and engine work ... so I know that I'm able to do other work in the shop, but I'm far better off and provide better service to my customers by assigning the tech that does the best in a given segment of the work areas. Sometimes that means multiple techs on a car, sometimes I can't schedule that as well as I'd like to do. But the customer will always get a completed job correctly done in a workmanlike professional manner and the results verified by me before the car is released. The difference is whether or not I can make any money on the project when it rolls out the door.

Recently, I set up another shop with a management system where each tech had a laptop on his toolbox which gave him access to the automotive service literature, project work orders, and time clock; the tracking of the use of time by each tech is very sophisticated and a tool for the shop to track their profits/loss centers. With 12 full time techs, their operation had become a management/logistical nightmare over the years and took a lot of front office time and management time to keep everybody and the work flowing smoothly. Now it's all on an integrated management system and the service writers and shop managers can know how much productive time they've got available and the progress of the cars through the shop. They're optomizing their billable time vs clock time to levels not seen before in their shop, let alone in much of the industry. As a manager, you have to appreciate that a shop of this size has to have a lot of non-revenue producing labor to support the flow of work at the technician level. My point: included in those proverbial "5 hours" of billable time is a lot of other work to enable the tech to accomplish his tasks.

We charge labor by the flat rate tables for the work. If the tables say 5 hours, that's what we quote upfront for a job. If it takes one of my better techs 1.5 hours to do all the tasks properly to completion, so be it. If it takes 6 hours to do the work, so be it. Some projects simply don't get done within flat rate times due to frozen fasteners or not having some dedicated factory tooling which would make the job easier to do. Some techs are slower than others, some don't use their tools efficiently. Sometimes the flat rate tables are just wrong for a given job on a car, sometimes because we are working mostly on cars with some years on them before they've left the dealer network under warranty.

Consumer laws require that I must quote a price for work which is to be authorized before I do the work and I cannot exceed the quote by more than 10% without your additional authorization. That's a reason for a tech to be pulled off one car and to work on another. If we need the stall space to work on the next car, that means that the one car may have to be moved out of the shop to our storage lot area ... there's a cost to us in time/labor to change gears, so to speak. We may have to reinstall parts so we have a rolling chassis and push a disabled car out and again into the shop.

My techs always appreciate your thoughtfulness on Friday afternoons when we try to wrap up the projects for that week ... some steaks for the BBQ, a 6-pack of barley pop, and even the pleasure of your company as they celebrate the end of a good week's worth of projects completed before heading out for a weekend. If you can't join us for Friday afternoon, you're always welcome to stock the 'fridge in the waiting area in advance.

PS: I've always maintained that our shop would have fun and make money in providing our services and goods, with that order of priorities. As a customer, if you take away the first component, we're not going to get along. I'll be the first to suggest that I am not up to the tasks that you require and will refer you to other shops that may do a better job for you. Life's too short to put up with belligerent customers who are gonna' dictate to me what is a "fair" profit margin when they don't have a clue as to what my fixed and variable overhead expenses are to be able to provide those goods and services. I don't go to my professional service providers ... accountant, lawyer, dentist, doctor ... and tell them what's fair; if I think they're taking advantage of me, I take my business elsewhere. Similarly, if I need concrete work, carpentry, plumbing, tile setting, window/door installations, other skilled tradesmen ... I don't tell the providers what margins they will work on; again, I don't know their costs of operation and what they actually net on a project. Nor do I go into retailers where I know the common mark-ups are in the hundreds of percent and tell them they're making too much money; either their goods have value in them to me or they don't. I retain the option to not buy from them. Same thing with a restaurant ...

Last edited by sunsprit; 11-11-2013 at 10:43 AM..
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:47 AM
 
Location: The Brat Stop
8,353 posts, read 5,758,964 times
Reputation: 2279
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
I'm with GLogic above on this one ...

You're entirely welcome to watch us work on your car, and we've got a bunch of big windows in the waiting area looking out upon the shop area. You can even get escorted into the shop area for a closer look, although it can be difficult at times to not be underfoot and it becomes obvious that you may be in the way, hindering progress on your vehicle.

My techs punch in the timeclock when they are on a vehicle. So if they have reason to stop work on one car and move to another (might be waiting for parts, customer approval, a sealant to cure, etc.), they clock off the one job and clock in on the next car. I went to this policy decades ago so that I could track my cost of labor; some techs get bonuses based upon productivity, some get fired when they are slackers. As a management tool, it allows me to schedule work with my most productive techs as much as possible; ie, the fellow who does well with engine work may not be the tech to assign to automatic transmission work, or the tech who enjoys suspension work and does it quickly and well may not be the guy to assign to doing electrical work. My personal strengths are electrical/electronics and engine work ... so I know that I'm able to do other work in the shop, but I'm far better off and provide better service to my customers by assigning the tech that does the best in a given segment of the work areas. Sometimes that means multiple techs on a car, sometimes I can't schedule that as well as I'd like to do. But the customer will always get a completed job correctly done in a workmanlike professional manner and the results verified by me before the car is released. The difference is whether or not I can make any money on the project when it rolls out the door.

Recently, I set up another shop with a management system where each tech had a laptop on his toolbox which gave him access to the automotive service literature, project work orders, and time clock; the tracking of the use of time by each tech is very sophisticated and a tool for the shop to track their profits/loss centers. With 12 full time techs, their operation had become a management/logistical nightmare over the years and took a lot of front office time and management time to keep everybody and the work flowing smoothly. Now it's all on an integrated management system and the service writers and shop managers can know how much productive time they've got available and the progress of the cars through the shop. They're optomizing their billable time vs clock time to levels not seen before in their shop, let alone in much of the industry. As a manager, you have to appreciate that a shop of this size has to have a lot of non-revenue producing labor to support the flow of work at the technician level. My point: included in those proverbial "5 hours" of billable time is a lot of other work to enable the tech to accomplish his tasks.

We charge labor by the flat rate tables for the work. If the tables say 5 hours, that's what we quote upfront for a job. If it takes one of my better techs 1.5 hours to do all the tasks properly to completion, so be it. If it takes 6 hours to do the work, so be it. Some projects simply don't get done within flat rate times due to frozen fasteners or not having some dedicated factory tooling which would make the job easier to do. Some techs are slower than others, some don't use their tools efficiently. Sometimes the flat rate tables are just wrong for a given job on a car, sometimes because we are working mostly on cars with some years on them before they've left the dealer network under warranty.

Consumer laws require that I must quote a price for work which is to be authorized before I do the work and I cannot exceed the quote by more than 10% without your additional authorization. That's a reason for a tech to be pulled off one car and to work on another. If we need the stall space to work on the next car, that means that the one car may have to be moved out of the shop to our storage lot area ... there's a cost to us in time/labor to change gears, so to speak. We may have to reinstall parts so we have a rolling chassis and push a disabled car out and again into the shop.

My techs always appreciate your thoughtfulness on Friday afternoons when we try to wrap up the projects for that week ... some steaks for the BBQ, a 6-pack of barley pop, and even the pleasure of your company as they celebrate the end of a good week's worth of projects completed before heading out for a weekend. If you can't join us for Friday afternoon, you're always welcome to stock the 'fridge in the waiting area in advance.

PS: I've always maintained that our shop would have fun and make money in providing our services and goods, with that order of priorities. As a customer, if you take away the first component, we're not going to get along. I'll be the first to suggest that I am not up to the tasks that you require and will refer you to other shops that may do a better job for you. Life's too short to put up with belligerent customers who are gonna' dictate to me what is a "fair" profit margin when they don't have a clue as to what my fixed and variable overhead expenses are to be able to provide those goods and services. I don't go to my professional service providers ... accountant, lawyer, dentist, doctor ... and tell them what's fair; if I think they're taking advantage of me, I take my business elsewhere. Similarly, if I need concrete work, carpentry, plumbing, tile setting, window/door installations, other skilled tradesmen ... I don't tell the providers what margins they will work on; again, I don't know their costs of operation and what they actually net on a project. Nor do I go into retailers where I know the common mark-ups are in the hundreds of percent and tell them they're making too much money; either their goods have value in them to me or they don't. I retain the option to not buy from them. Same thing with a restaurant ...
Just a quick question, and you don't need to go into fine details.

How do you handle a situation where one tech might need the assistance of another for let's say removing-installing engines, transmissions-axles, or some suspension work? Something that requires another set of helping hands?
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,500,683 times
Reputation: 7708
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarageLogic View Post
You are more than welcome to come stand at my shop and watch us do anything, any time. Just don't get in the way, and don't talk too much or spill your coffee on anything important. Actually, BRING coffee & donuts, and everyone will be a little happier.

Can I also bring a stopwatch and only pay for the time you are actually working on my car?

Anyways, if you are not bluffing, then your garage is the only one I have ever seen that doesn't have a sign like this.

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Old 11-11-2013, 12:16 PM
 
2,341 posts, read 8,786,010 times
Reputation: 2040
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
Can I also bring a stopwatch and only pay for the time you are actually working on my car?

Anyways, if you are not bluffing, then your garage is the only one I have ever seen that doesn't have a sign like this.
If you're going to be an obnoxious PIA, no you are not welcome in the shop area. I will personally escort you out, and will not claim it's for insurance reasons.

What you need to understand is that if I've told you that a repair will be (for instance) $400.00, and you agree to the repair, it doesn't matter how long it does or doesn't take me. If you'd like for me to explain to you what I'm doing, as I'm doing it, I'm happy to do so - provided you don't get in the way. If you'd like to have me tell you what every tool I'm using costs, as I'm using it, I'll do so. You might be surprised.

Nobody gets ripped off at my shop. If you'd like to take the old parts home with you, to prove that they needed to be replaced, you're welcome to do so (if there's a core charge, you'll have to pay that). And if you think you can get cheaper work done somewhere else, you're welcome to do that as well.


Bring your coffee & Dunkin Donuts (to keep your mouth full) and come on down.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:25 PM
 
10,913 posts, read 41,440,183 times
Reputation: 14130
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Originally Posted by NoJiveMan View Post
Just a quick question, and you don't need to go into fine details.

How do you handle a situation where one tech might need the assistance of another for let's say removing-installing engines, transmissions-axles, or some suspension work? Something that requires another set of helping hands?
that's a common situation on many projects, and includes not only the mechanical type jobs that you mention, but is also beneficial when doing diagnostic work, bleeding hydraulics, or similar situations where one person simply can't be in two places at once.

as I have quoted a time upfront for the project, it's up to me to maximize the efficiency of my techs.

If that 2nd set of hands/eyes on a project can make a task easier/more efficient, that's my business perogative to utilize the labor and skills that I employ to produce finished work product.

If it appears to be more than a minute or two of assistance required, then the 2nd tech punches in on the ticket and punches out of the project he'd been working on. The customer still sees the labor figure as quoted on the estimate for either vehicle.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:36 PM
 
10,913 posts, read 41,440,183 times
Reputation: 14130
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaaBoom View Post
Can I also bring a stopwatch and only pay for the time you are actually working on my car?

Anyways, if you are not bluffing, then your garage is the only one I have ever seen that doesn't have a sign like this.
We quote by the job, and if you've signed our estimate for the repairs, then that's what we've contracted to do in accordance with the laws of our state. How much time the job actually takes is not part of the discussion once the ticket is authorized.

If you think we're ripping you off with our estimated labor charge, you're free to seek services from other shops. I have no issue with you being a smart consumer and shopping the marketplace. If the lowest common denominator service provider meets your requirements for work product, then ... by all means ... do business with them.

And, I might add, if you're as obnoxious in person as you appear on this thread, you've sent up a "red flag" to me that says I don't want to do business with you. I'll refer you to the true rip-off artists in our area who can better serve your requirements and fulfill your expectations, but I will firmly decline to work on your car. I really don't need to waste my time on folk whose operating premise is that I'm a thief and you're going to teach me a lesson or prove how I ripped you off as your primary entertainment for the day. I've no need to teach you anything you may need to know about how to operate a business and I'm not working for free anymore than you do.

I don't have one of those "insurance regulations" signs in my shop. But I will ask that you not enter into the shop work area without being escorted ... I don't want the unattended liability or loss risk that you present to my other customers cars, my shop equipment and tools, or that of my techs. As far as those insurance regs signs go, in my recent travels through a lot of other shops in my region for my consulting biz, I've only seen a couple of those signs. Most independents I know are pretty proud of their work and facilities and are happy to show you what they're doing on your car and explain the necessity for doing so.

Last edited by sunsprit; 11-11-2013 at 12:54 PM..
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