• March 2, 2016 at 3:17 pm #64794
    Daniel Freitas
    Participant

    Hello, I have been having a rather annoying problem lately. In the past few months I would have a few customers that would get repairs done on their cars but once the repairs were completed they would not come back for their cars for a couple of weeks to a months time. I am assuming they signed off on the work without having the funds to pay for the job so they think this place is a damn parking lot. When they come back weeks later I bill them for storage and I have ended up loosing a customer over this. Not too mention the wasted time arguing with them why I am charging storage. Also I have another one who has basically abandoned his car here for over a year, owing $1000+ on it. The cost of me hiring a bailiff to put a lien on the car is not even worth the value of the car…

    Have any of you had similar issues and how do you deal with it?

    March 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm #74308
    Tom Ham
    Participant

    You are NOT alone! ALL shops have this problem to some extent. 

    We don’t have a sure fire answer. We start by asking nicely and slowly work our way up to talking to them like a stern parent. 
    I’d love to hear a better plan 😉

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    March 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm #74310
    danrsauto
    Member

    We really do not have an issue with this on regular client base , We have some clients will tell us they do not have monies for three weeks , We make the choice for the vehicle to set her till monies come in.

    On the others we send a certified letter after two weeks for storage charges if not picked up. This usually takes care of it. and they are not your type of client you wants.

    Abandoned vehicles our a different story and different laws. Look for a payment book generally some one is looking for it.

    What ever you decide have it posted in write up area. Thanks Dan R’s automotive

    March 2, 2016 at 7:38 pm #74311
    jamcneely
    Member

    We give them a heads up after couple of weeks and let them know we will start charging them $15 per day storage. If they don’t pick it up after a couple more weeks we then put a lien on the vehicle. If they return for the vehicle we charge them for the lien fees and their existing bill. We don’t charge them for the storage because it didn’t cost us anything but space.

    March 8, 2016 at 2:32 am #74315
    dezertrunner
    Member

    I’m the service manager for a motorcycle shop so this happens all the time. I always let the customer leave his bike for as long as we took to repair it. Some repairs might take 2-4 weeks depending on parts so if it takes them another 2-4 weeks I understand as long as they were not a pain calling all the time asking when is it going to be done. If they don’t pick it up after that I start calling every day twice a day. If they don’t show up I ask them if money is an issue. If it is I advise them that I need them to come down and make a partial payment to show good faith or I will have to start a lien sale. We also work on a lot of older bikes. I always get a deposit if the bike is not worth the repairs. I have even called people daily telling them what they owe me each day for storage. 

    March 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm #74324
    Tom Piippo
    Participant

    Just today I gave a gal an estimate for $$$$ on her PT Cruiser. Historically, she has had to borrow money or wait till the first of the month to pick up the car. Today, I demanded 50% down before I start work. This is how any suspected high risk job should be sold or any job that comes close to the value of the vehicle.

    On another note, I once had a car come up missing, I called the customer to see if he had picked it up, but he said no. I then called the State Police to report a stolen car. A few hours later they called back to tell me the owner of record (a used car lot) took position of the car. It seems my customer was a few payments behind (buy here, pay here type of lot)  and a guy from the car lot recognized the car and repossessed it with the spare key. I was left with the bill and nothing I could do legally. I did some checking and discovered that if the car was in some way physically impounded, behind a locked gate, or even secured with a steering wheel lock (The Club) then I would be covered and anyone taking it would be stealing.

    I don’t have a locked gate for storage, but any high risk cars left over 15 days get “Clubbed”.

    March 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm #74327
    pbrennan
    Member

    Tom Pippo has the right idea: Get a 50% down payment on work over $XXX dollars (arbitrary, but be conservative) for cars older than X years old. I.E. – maybe $700 or more, 50% down for cars older than 5 years old.

    This will help w/the liens & such. You could get the lien, claim the car, and spruce it up & make it into a shop loaner (if it’s worth it).
    Otherwise, put language in the contract & over the phone getting verbal approvals & be up-front about storage fees after X weeks unless it’s arranged in advance. I think it’s really a case-by-case basis, but you should implement these policies just to cover yourself in the event one is left for a long period of time or abandoned. 

    April 6, 2016 at 5:44 pm #74334

    I love it. We have gotten $35k in cars this year from liens. Lucky for me we can park a 100 cars in our lot. 

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