• January 25, 2018 at 7:19 am #65388
    Tom Ham

    It’s easy to explain.

    Labor rates are artificially low in auto repair. They are subsidized by higher parts prices. It’s easy to illustrate. For decades there has been a constant flow of mechanics and others who open shops and announce that you can buy the parts yourself or they will supply them at cost. Virtually everyone one of them soon goes out of business because they do not charge enough to pay the bills (if someone points out an exception it is normally some kind of illegal “underground” shop working out of someone’s backyard while avoiding paying taxes and other typical costs of a legitimate business).

    It’s really that simple.

    Tom - Shop Owner since 1978

    January 31, 2018 at 5:36 pm #74970
    Tina Wilson

    This post would be helpful so I’m hoping there are more responses.  What words do you use when your customer asks why you charge more for the part than what they could get it for over the counter at the part store?

    February 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm #74974
    Mark Bergasse

    Well Tina like Tom said our livlyhood is made up of parts and labor revenue. Just like you friendly neighborhood Steakhouse. You wouldn’t go there and say hey instead of your steak for 20.09 can I bring my own from Topps for 3.99, and just charge me the labour for thowing it on the grill, of course not they are selecting the steak, keeping it tender, grilling it just right, putting it on a clean plate, bringing it to the table and washing the dishes after

    Just like us, we are selecting the best “strut”  (steak) verifiying it’s not damaged or leaking (tender and fresh), installing it correctly (grilling at correct temp) with any add ons that are required like mounts or stab links ( spices, sauce, or mushrooms) and adding a wheel alignment ( baked potato)

    We add value like when our supplied part fails or is incorrect we take care of it (added value) if there supplied part is incorrect or damaged we have to charge our labour rate for the hoist time while they source a second one

    ( good luck with that) and then also upset a customer

    February 14, 2018 at 9:51 am #74993

    Another thing worth mentioning to the customer – time is money. I often see customers running around the city during rush hours trying to find parts they assume are necessary to be replaced and often they choose the wrong part or even worse they can’t find it on their own.

    I tell my customer just to calculate how much it would cost them to take a taxi and go around the city to find things they need.

    The Reason We Charge More are:

    • we can check and exactly tell what part needs to be changed
    • we know how and where to look for parts
    • we deliver parts on our own
    • we take full responsibility for the parts we buy and install

    In most cases this is more than enough for our customers to understand that it’s better to pay a little more than play in a lottery.

    It’s not worth mentioning to some customers that you pay taxes because most of them just don’t care and are willing to save as much money as they can. Sometimes it seems that they live in another dimension. I just try to avoid these customers as they bring only trouble.

    Fun fact: customer who bring their own parts are paying same or even more than we would charge them.

    And yes the best one is “Try bringing your own meat to the restaurant”. I tell this only to my close friends.


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