- November 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm #4162
Just wondering if anyone pays to advertise on auto estimate sites like repairpal or honestautoestimates.com, or any of the others out there. What kind of responses do you get and does it work?
- November 30, 2009 at 1:15 pm #7876
I don’t use it but I thought I read on IATN what a shame it was. How can someone who hasn’t seen the car give a realistic estimate.
- November 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm #7877
todd holloway wrote:
> I don’t use it but I thought I read on IATN what a shame it was. How can someone who hasn’t seen the car give a realistic estimate.
I believe that they give a price range for a specific service (car has to be inspected at the shop to see what it really needs) and that it varies by location.
5355 Plainfield Ave. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
- November 30, 2009 at 2:51 pm #7878
What I am saying is say you charge $25.00 a hour and I charge $10. There has to be a difference or should be. That’s why I don’t think it is a good idea. You know as well as I do that a job should not be estimated until it comes to the shop. Sometimes it’s hard to get around it. But usually when people are price shopping repairs they have no clue what it really needs.
- December 2, 2009 at 3:21 am #7880
I Email corrections to repair pal fairly often. The company wants feed back . On a timing belt job they don’t include ten , roller water pump etc. Now when you search they have on many jobs recommended related items that should be included. I was told there database is geo targeted so the prices do reflect many reigns of the usa. Repair pay used to send about 8-10 people to our site a day. Many would call and say repairpal said it should cost this or that .It is the service advisers job to point out that the estimate is just that a rough estimate.Depending upon parts quality the parts cost could differ. Repair pal wants shops to buy premium listings so they are quick to respond to your email.
- December 2, 2009 at 11:55 am #7881
In regards to repairpal, haven’t used the fee based referral service so I don’t know quantity or quality of the leads you get. I have called about cost discrepancies on certain jobs like a timing belt on an Audi A4. I’ve found and they seem genuinely interested in feedback from shops. I have also called squeaking about my free listing; since I’m a little north of Kalamazoo I tend not to show up on a search for downtown Kazoo zip codes. They did listen to my concerns. They told me they use google maps for the estimating and referral/location info.
- December 2, 2009 at 3:59 pm #7883
I HAD RECIEVED TWO CALLS FOR WORK OFF OF THEIR SITE . CUSTOMERS HAD SAID I WAS LISTED AS A REPAIR FACILITY ON THEIR SITE . I HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THEM . CUSTOMERS WANTED ME TO STICK TO THE PRICE QUOTED ON THE SITE . I TOLD THEM I COULDNT GIVE EXACT QUOTE WITHOUT LOOKING AT VEHICLE . I ENDED UP GETTING BOTH JOBS BUT HAD TO CUT PRICES A LITTLE TO GET CLOSER TO REPAIRPALS LOW BALL ESTIMATES . BOTH WERE NEW CUSTOMERS AND BOTH HAVE RETURNED FOR OTHER WORK . I RECIEVED A CALL FROM REPAIRPAL TO SUBSCRIBE TO THEIR SITE ABOUT THREE WEEKS AFTER THE JOBS WERE DONE . THEY WANTED 169.00 A MONTH . I THOUGHT THAT WAS A LITTLE STEEP . THEY OFFERED ME 1 MONTH FREE , SO I DECIDED TO GIVE IT A TRY . BIG MISTAKE ! . OTHER SHOPS WERE LISTED ABOVE ME THAT DID NOT SUBSCRIBE . I WAS SUPPOSED TO RECIEVE AT LEAST 4-5 CALLS PER MONTH . I WAS TO RECIEVE A REPORT LISTNG ALL CALLS AND ESTIMATES REFFERED TO ME . AFTER THE FIRST MONTH WHEN I GOT NO CALLS AND NO REPORTS I CALLED TO CANCEL . THE VERY NEXT DAY I HAD A VERY UGLY REVIEW OF ME AND MY SHOP POSTED ON THEIR SITE . WHAT SUCKED THE MOST WAS WHEN YOU “GOOGLED” (AUTO REPAIR / BARRINGTON) THEIR WEBSITE , WITH MY UGLY REVIEW VISIBLE , CAME UP BEFORE EVEN MY WEBSITE . I CALLED AND ASKED ABOUT THIS . THEY SAID ANYONE CAN POST A REVEIW WITH ABSOLUTLY NO CONTROLS OR SCREENING . I HADNT HAD ANY ISSUES WITH ANYONE LATELY SO I WAS CURIOUS AS TO WHO HAD WRIITEN THE VERY UGLY REVEIW . I ASKED TO BE PUT IN CONTACT WITH THE PERSON WHO HAD WRIITEN THE BAD REVIEW TO POSSIBLY RECTIFY THE SITUATION . THEY SAID THEY WOULD GET BACK TO ME . IN THE MEANTIME MY CREDIT CARD BILL SHOWED UP WITH BILLING FROM THEM . NOW I WAS PRETTY PISSED OFF . I POSTED MY DILEMMA ON IATN AND WITHIN 2 HOURS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE WEBSITE GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME . HE SAID THAT THEY WOULD REFUND MY MONEY AND TRY TO CONTACT BAD REVIEWER . TWO DAYS LATER HE CALLED BACK TO SAY THAT THE SAME REVIEWER HAD ALSO GIVEN ANOTHER LOCAL SHOP A VERY BAD REVIEW . THE REVIEWER WOULDNT REPLY TO HIM TO VERIFY EITHER COMPLAINT . IT WAS EITHER ANOTHER LOCAL SHOP OWNER GIVING EVERYONE ELSE BAD REVIEWS OR THEM GIVING ME A BAD REVIEW SO I WONT PROFIT FROM THEIR SITE FOR NOTHING . HE SAID THEY WOULD REMOVE MY BAD REVIEW . WELL THATS BEEN 4 MONTHS . THE BAD REVIEW IS STILL THERE . JUST NOT ON THE FRONT PAGE . THEY SAID THEY CHANGED THE SET-UP TO REVIEW SHOPS SO THEY HAVE MORE CONTROL BUT I DONT BELIEVE THEM . WHAT REALLY PISSED ME OFF THE MOST IS I PRIDE MYSELF ON MY SHOPS CUSTOMER SERVICE AND INTEGRITY . THIS LOSER WEBSITE RUINED WHAT IT HAS TAKEN ME 7 YEARS TO ESTABLISH , IN ONLY A COUPLE OF MINUTES .
- December 3, 2009 at 3:54 am #7884
Here is my concern with sites like Repairpal.com. I study my cost of doing business and what I determine to be a reasonable profit on my investment to come up with what I need to charge. My prices are not based on what every other shop is charging. I am aware of prices within my market but that is not necessarily the determining factor in my pricing. This is just another thing for customers to use to try to say we are cheating them. I garantee you if someone at my shop gets cheated its me! Although most prices I have checked have been in line I just don’t like the idea of a third party that does not know my business telling my customer what my job is worth. Would like to hear more opinions from other shop owners.
- December 8, 2009 at 6:40 am #7888
Thank you, Joe (Mazur)for starting this conversation about RepairPal and the services we provide. We’re very appreciative of the good, honest dialog that we have seen in this forum, which is why we choose to advertise here. We know that the managers and shop owners here are the types with whom we wish to be associated.
As a technician with almost 20 years in the shop, I’m fully aware of the complexities and variables in estimating and repairing automobiles. To help alleviate this issue, we add notes so that the user understands that our estimates do not include diagnostic fees, waste disposal charges etc., or that a repair regularly calls for additional parts (e.g. timing belt replacement likely to include a tensioner, water pump etc.).
Alan is correct; we strive to quickly respond to repair shops concerns, just as I imagine all of you do with your customers. When we are approached by a shop that has received a negative review, we investigate the issue and work with both parties until the issue is resolved. Joe(Miller), I know that Matt on our team had worked with you personally to address your concerns, and we believed that we had resolved those issues to your satisfaction, and we’re sorry to learn that is not so. Our lines are always open if you would like to talk about this again with us directly: email@example.com or (800) 969-9204
Thank you all for listening and please keep your opinions and ideas coming.
- December 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm #7889
Bret, shouldn’t it be your turn to contact him? As far as the notes that you include, you know that no one reads the fine print. They only see the price. This is just a bad idea to degrades auto repair.
- December 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm #7890
todd holloway wrote:
> Bret, shouldn’t it be your turn to contact him? As far as the notes that you include, you know that no one reads the fine print. They only see the price. This is just a bad idea to degrades auto repair.
Hate to say it Bret, but I kind of agree. When I was reading your post (Bret) I was thinking, “how many times has someone here given a ballpark range of say 400 to 600, and the person latches onto the 400 and never heard anything else”? Now, I totally disagree with giving ballparks for that reason. We should put as close to an exact number as one can, on paper, and best have them sign it; all after fully INSPECTING the vehicle.
Phone quotes, internet quotes…we’re only asking for trouble if we do these, in my opinion.
- December 9, 2009 at 9:21 pm #7891
Bret , why is it that i would need to contact you or Matt ? Matt told me that the reveiw would be removed . It is now 4 months later and it is still there . Obviously , Matt is not a man of his word . Or , is it that you still have no control on editing or content of you’re web site ? I believe it is the latter , or at least I would hope so . I know that when I give my word that something will be done , I will do anything possible to hold to that . If , by chance I cannot hold to my word , I will contact that person and tell them why . WITH ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSES . If it’s me I own up to it . I have not heard from Matt or you’re web site . Obviously , you , Matt and you’re web site won’t own up to you’re mistakes . You won’t admit to possibly damaging someone’s hard earned reputation . I know that I wouldn’t want to do business with someone who won’t stand behind their word . Maybe someday when you have learned a little more about integrity you will understand . SIGNED: A MAN OF HIS WORD . JOE MILLER
- December 14, 2009 at 5:18 pm #7892
Joe, I know that Matt has been in contact with you about this. We
always strive to respond to and resolve any problem that’s sent our
way, and I’m sure that’s the case here. We appreciate you bringing
any problems that you see to our attention.
With regard to the theme of the threat, we completely understand
shops’ hesitance to embrace our approach to estimates and price
concerns. We appreciate the difficulty of the business that you are
in. What we are finding is that our approach is making some of that
business easier–if any of you are ASA members, check out the article
in the December issue of Auto Inc. where a shop owner mentions how
RepairPal is helping him deal with some of his more price-sensitive
and skeptical customers. Thank you all for the valuable feedback.
- December 16, 2009 at 1:24 am #7895
I have to agree with the others, when i first checked out the site i had a gut feel it was jsut wrong but decided to entertain it, i went there and did a couple estimates and if all i did was brake work you guys would be building a lot of value in a brake job but when i priced the water pump for the same chevy truck i wondered what reman pump and low rate tech you intended for me to use. If I price a customer an oe gm water pump and mitchell labor at my shop rate thats reasonable if not low for our area your customers will want to report me to the BBB.
All that aside, phone estimates, web estimates, etc are the devil. It will only promote more self diagnosis (or misdiagnosis that is) by consumers that dont trust us when we tell them the price is more than the site and then have to tell them thats not the problem either, there are enough people in our line of business making us look like liars, we dont need any more. The only way i could see this concept really working would be to collect actual prices for completed jobs and use them as a baseline, that would create a long time and lots of research to get a usable database and thus probably not worth it either.
I was interested but the pricing is off, maybe some work could bring that around but in this business 5 guys will probably handle a situation at least 3 ways, cheap, value, high. and only the guy pricing the job can explain the variance.
- December 16, 2009 at 3:46 am #7896
Have you seen the prices repairpal charges? Gold member $199.95 a month. Maybe we need to start a adpal.com and help them with thier pricing.
- December 16, 2009 at 8:35 pm #7897
The age old argument of pricing over the phone now includes the internet via repairpal, autorepairlocal.com, ad nauseum.
Here’s the facts folks. Giving a price to properly repair a customer’s vehicle on the phone without seeing and diagnosing the problem complaint, cause, and correction is financial suicide. The shops that estimate correctly know it, and the shops that give prices over the phone know it. However the argument will go on as long as cars break.
Repairpal et al have found a new corner in the business. Internet consulting and referral. The customer signs on for free, the web based sales weenie (a search engine) locates a shop (whether signed up or not) and sends a message. The shop owner believes he/she has found an angel to deliver untold riches right to the front door and spends $199 for more untold riches. Per month. Who makes money here?
The website owner. Here’s a list of everyone else that makes money:
If there were a legitimate web referral service (there is by the way, more in a second) they would KNOW you can’t give a legitimate estimate without seeing/diagnosing the problem. But that’s not their concern. Their concern is making money. They don’t care about you, the customer, or anything else. Just the money they can make putting themselves in the middle.
That legitimate web based referral service? Your website. That’s right, your own site. But there’s a kicker. It has to have the elements that matter when your customer searches for you. You see it’s not Whizbangautorepair.com they’re looking for. It’s “auto repair Inverness fl”. If your site is built and optimized correctly it will show up at the top or near the top of the first results page. If you’re not there, it won’t matter what your price is, they’re NOT GOING TO CALL! But if you’re there, and if you answer the phone (correctly) and you sell yourself and that appt. you get a new customer opportunity. And no, I don’t sell websites.
As for Bret, he demonstrated to me he doesn’t give a damn about Joe Miller in his last post. He will be gone soon because of that attitude.
Good day. Oh BTW, Hello Todd, how’s tricks in Inverness?
- December 26, 2009 at 2:02 am #7905
The best thing youj can do for yourselft is sign on with a reputable shop management training and consulting service like Automotive Technical Institute (ATI). You’ll learn how to price and what not to do especially give estimates over the phone or even in person with out diagnosis. Doctor’s don’t for very good reasons. And, never quote hours: only the bottom line for very specific work so that discovered issues are not expected to be included. The work estimate/quote is a contract of payment for performance. External services can serve two masters: it has to be the public or the shop.
- February 3, 2010 at 2:10 am #7911
After visiting honestautoestimate.com and reading their blog “Actual Case of a Rip Off in Fayetteville NC” (look on the right side below the pic) I lost any respect I might have had for them. Sensationalism at its worst. The labor in the example was ridiculous, the prices may have been out of line, but with so little info about the car, who knows how far off it was. Shameful.
- March 24, 2010 at 12:22 am #7944
We are using RepairPal and are happy with our results
More and more new clients are finding us on the internet and RepairPal
has sent a good percentage of those potential customers. As more
customers use the internet for research in selecting an Automotive
Shop it is so important to have your name out there.
I feel very comfortable sending phone shoppers and clients to
RepairPal for research and a “rough idea” of what a repair cost may
be. It is our job a service advisors to work with the client and
explain the variables when they call or visit.
From what I’ve seen, RepairPal has been great about updating any
pricing discrepancies and seem eager to work with us to get it right!
RepairPal is sending me the type of clients I want for my business,
Works great for me:)
- March 30, 2010 at 3:42 pm #7955
Wow! Stunned and amazed at the depth of emotion this subject has raised. I’ve been in business for 15 years, readily give estimates over the phone, won many jobs and have been told countless times that they chose us not because we were the cheapest, but the ones most helpful over the phone. “Other shops wouldn’t even discuss price with me, and the ones that did wouldn’t give me the time of day to discuss anything else” Are we all so busy and jaded that we assume the worst of every customer that calls and assume they are just out to “screw us”? I don’t recall the last time I had a new customer beat us up over a fair market price on a job. Perhaps I am naive, but I believe customers call us up asking for help, not to expect us to perform for little or nothing. If the customer is that price sensitive, we don’t want them, as they will drop us the first time we aren’t the lowest price. As for Repair pal, just like any other marketing, there is no “magic bullet”. It could be a piece of your marketing, but not the whole pie. As for negative reviews, if there are enough good reviews out there, most consumers will see the negative review and give it as much (or little)attention as it deserves. The internet review process cuts both ways and most customers I speak with recognize this. Off my soapbox for now. Thanks for the great site and the discussion.
- April 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm #7959
Great post Dave, I agree with a with a lot of what you state. One think not considered is regional and socioeconomic factors. Here in Michigan there is a LOT of folks down to their last dollar, and repair price does matter. I do cave a lot and help with estimates over the phone, usually only after I’m gone through the enire routine of trying to get the car in the lot. The phone estimate form that is available in the management section is a great tool, especially in regarde to asking what other quotes have been given. I cut to the chase and ask if the car is at another shop when the caller has quick answers to all the particulars need to get a correct estimate. If they are honest and tell me the other price I can usually figure out what they are or are not getting for the money, and I give them some questions to ask who ever is working on the car.
- April 6, 2010 at 11:51 am #7964
This whole thread can be refered to George Witt’s recent article about phone estimates. Many times people don’t know the questions to ask when calling a shop, especially an unfamiliar shop, so they ask for a price. Sure, they want to know how much they are going to spend, so just answer their questions (“brake pads are $xx, labor is $xx) but explain that until someone actually takes the wheels off and inspects the brakes, this price may mean nothing. Offer them an inspection, tell them if there is a charge for the inspection or not. Our estimates are free, but we do charge money to take things apart and inspect. We will waive the charge if we get the job while it is still on the lift. I find customers often just want to start a conversation about their needed repairs when they ask “How Much??”
- April 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm #7966
I just began using repair pal and have had several interactions with them in regards to what I considered lowball estimates. I was contacted as to what my time would be and will wait to see if the changes are made. I am getting a lot of calls thru the service just cant seem to get the customers to commit. I am afraid they are shopping for the low price “quoted” on the reapir pal sight and will call till they get that price. If this continues I will drop the sponsered service I am paying for cause so far it aint paying for itself.
- April 13, 2010 at 1:37 am #7969
Did you get the awesome new report from RepairPal this month?
It gives us a list of all phone calls made through them and
you can Listen in on each call to find out: which calls turned into
sales, which didn’t and maybe the reason why…..
What an incredible tool!
- April 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm #7970
Yes I did. The report is cool. I still believe tho that the bulk of the calls are price shoppers that will call till they find a shop that meets the low price or will bend to it. Maybe I am to cynical but so far the numbers are not adding up for me. I also found a lot of calls from out of this area. Many are from metro areas as far as 100 miles south of here. Ya I know people move around and cell phones do not reflect that but? I would like nothing more than for it to work, time will tell.
- January 27, 2016 at 10:37 pm #14423
RepairPal.com review by hard working tech trying to make a living :I use repairpal.com. My rep talks a game, she always has a explanation as to why their price is inaccurate, generally too low, below cost that any part supplier can find me the part for, or why the manufacturers book shows 1.8 hours and her book shows .8 hours.The two issues I experience are customers upset that my first estimate is higher than repairpal.com. The second is that repairpal.com is too low and I am required per the contract according to my rep to match the price or else she will cancel me.Now she says the following ” if your price estimate is higher we will refund you if we find an error on our site” So I found an error, their price for labor was pretty close within $8 I can deal with that, but the part price was $178 less than the ford dealer, and $180 less than the manufacturers list price for an aftermarket part, and $80 less than the lowest cost I could find from any local parts house. So I spoke with the customer who would not hear it – she wanted the repairpal price, so I spent an hour searching online if I could get any new part for close to the repairpal price, so with amz prime I found it for $9 less than the repair pal price (dont forget that with prime I paid for membership to get the free shipping…) and this was the only way I could meet their quote but I want to make the customer happy even though I was making only $9 on the part and my policy is we sell at the manufacturers suggested price, not even a mark up, but just mfr list. Remember that.So I adjust the customers invoice, order the part, its in the next day, done. I email my rep at repair pal and she starts the double talk “well, what you needed to do was show the list prices and then show the difference and dollars off in order to comply with our price guarantee. Since you just gave her the repairpal prices its not eligible.” huh? she goes on to threaten me “if your list prices dont conform to our pricing model then we can cancel you..” really? Ever hear of the Sherman Act? This issue is not over yet, but rest assured, exactly what I expected to happen when I signed up has, they under price the job to attract clicks and consumers and now they dont want to cover me for somewhere between the $80 and $180 I think I am entitled to. I pay $199 a month for this?Look, when my customer has an issue and wants a refund and they have been a loyal customer who spends $2400 a year – would you kick them off over less than 1 months billings?This is my feelings about what you may experience. I am asking my rep to contact her management team. If this is the sharing economy, I am not feeling it. Technician shops are performing multiple trades, extensive knowledge of many systems, massive capital investments and tools, and generally less net income than a building trade (I am sure hard working and conscientious, no disrespect) but at some point shops should demand fair labor rates to offset the many factors we face daily.To that tangent – I will end by saying I called a three garage door repair men who said their hourly labor rate was $150 – per man hour – to fix a garage door, If I was not so busy fixing my customer cars I would take the time to do it myself. He showed up with a 3/8″ 16″ long steel round bar and a 5/16″ wrench and fixed my door in 50 minutes and billed me $300. We are in the wrong business 🙂
- March 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm #14469
As an update to the previous RepairPal.com feelings, let me advise all repair shops and consumers that RepairPal.com agreed with me, sent me a check to make good on about the amount it should have been, admitted their system has estimating errors, and then…..bounced their check to me. My bank advised me a week after deposit the “account is CLOSED”. They wrote checks on a closed account? I think writing a check on a closed account is worse than coming up short, I think its a felony?I called the CFO who was almost weirdly cryptic in his conversation, like he was whispering and hiding under his desk. They promised to make good on it in a few weeks. When I addressed the NSF fees I had to pay my bank he said he would see what he could do. I hope he knows that writing a check on a closed account is a felony. I don’t intend of prosecuting anyone, but it seems when the money is flowing towards them all is dandy, when the Guarantee goes from them to a shop there is a question here.Regardless, you should establish your own feelings prior to doing business with any intermediary.
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