I learned you, a customer, can't do that when I was in my 20's. And I
figured out why the same day.
If you bring your own parts, and maybe you get to because it's an
antique car and you're the only one who has the parts. (You've been
hunting for them for years), then he has to charge more for labor. )
Sounds right to me.
And except for fixing tv's as a hobby, i've never been in business. But
I understand their pov.
I thought everyone charged 100% markup and still did. No?
I would have taken that advice to mean that he liked you, his cousin.
Not that he disliked the practice. Is it too late to ask him?
Indeed, you save an awful lot of money doing your own repairs, and some
take no more time than taking the car to the shop, or waiting for the
repairman to come to your house. Even if you lose time from your paid
job, if you lose 50 from work but don't pay 50 to someone else, you save
the money you would have spent on income tax on the money, had you
earned it. Plus the satisfaction, plus it takes much less time the
second time you do it (although there's a good chance I'll screw up the
third time I do something.)
I used to do my own work. Just had brakes done and I saw what I was
charged for the pads. I know I could have gotten them cheaper, but I
don't get down on the ground so easy any more so I paid to have them put
I also understand the shop had to either stock them or go get them etc.
He has to get a markup, he has to make a profit. What is the
difference if I pay $50 for pads and $50 for labor or if I pay $25 for
pads and $75 for labor? End of the day, the shop has to bring in a
certain amount of money to exist.
That's right. These guys are not getting rich, or Clare would still be
doing that. The mechanics make a good middle income living, I hope,
and the owner makes an upper middle income income, but he has lots of
money invested in the franchise and/or the building, the land, the
inventory, the tools that the mechanics don't bring, the commitment to
pay salaries, etc.
I don't feel that way about dealers, however.
And many very poor mechanics in flat rate shops make good money too.
Many make more money with their pen than with their tools.
In my years as a mechanic , mechanics went from being the lowest paid
trade to being the lowest paid profession.
Same with dealers - and sometimes even more so. They pay huge
franchise fee, and then are REQUIRED to spend on facility upgrades on
a regular basis to keep the franchise - and if they loose the
franchise for not doing what the manufacturer requires, they do NOT
get their franchise fee back - it is GONE.
They are required to buy all the "special service tools" and to
provide "factory training" for their technicians over and above what
the independents need to do.
I spent half of my life as a mechanic as a dealer service manager.
Sure, there are bad dealerships out there - but in my experience, the
big name chain shops - whether muffler, shock, transmission, or tire
related, have a much higher proportion of "crooks", and while there
are many good "independents" (and I worked for a few) there are lots
of inept grease monkeys willing to rob you blind, either purposely or
through their ineptitude, too.
When I was working many hours I found a good mechanic only because my
wife's car stopped in front of his shop on a busy street.
First time I had a car in a shop in 27 years. Frankly, it was scary.
They pushed her right into the shop. Lucky place for her fuel pump to
fail. Used him until my son became a mechanic.
He wasn't cheap and wasn't expensive, and did every job one time only.
Never had to take a car back for something he did wrong.
There's good ones out there. You just have to find them.
A good shop may cost a bit more for the repairs you need, but will
save you a lot more on the repairs you do not need, because problems
were found and nipped in the bud. A properly maintained vehicle
requires a lot less in repairs - the maintenance more than pays for
itself in the long run.
My cousin (by marriage) was just screwing people on parts. That was
the gist of what the mechanic told me. He wasn't adjusting the labor
charges. It was simply added profit.
Most independents don't stock many parts. Parts stores deliver them
as needed. Where I live there's parts stores all over the place.
Around here now too. Used to be there were 4 or 5 "jobbers" that
provided parts to the trade only - and 2 or 3 auto parts stores, plus
Canadian Tire, who would sell anything to anyone - but at "retail".
Now there are about 12 or 15 that will sell to anyone - and to almost
anyone at way below list.
Even the jobbers sell more crap than high quality parts, just to make
a price point.
It's been a LONG time since there was a 100% markup on auto parts -
but also remember the old saying about price and quality.
"If you want first quality oats, be ready to pay first quality price.
If you are willing to settle for oats that have already gone through
the horse, they do come a bit cheaper".
There are parts, and then there are parts - and there can be a LOT
more difference than just the price!!!!
Mabee the wire set he'd sell you was a set that he paid 15 or 18
dollars for at trade - not the cheapassed set you could buy for $10.
I know the service station where I served my apprenticeship was part
of a "buying group" that handled products the average guy could not
buy. Quality stuff like Silver Beauty magnetic suppression wire
ignition cables. That was back in 1969. The technology has now
trickled down and is even used as OEM now - but back then it was
really something. You could take a 3 foot cable and stretch it to 5
feet and the resistance didn't change. I could hose down a dodge
flathead, a slant six, or a Vauxhaul Viva with the carwash and it
wouldn't miss a beat. Sure couldn't do that with the cheap set from
the local auto parts store.
The volume of parts we went through gave us good buying power -
translate that to good discounts - which allowed us to make pretty
good profit on parts without gouging.
Modern "well run", i.e. highly profitable, shops push parts. There is
far more profit selling lots of parts rather then selling labor. If
they can sell you an "assembly", like a complete lower control are
with ball joints and bushings already in it rather then just putting
bushings and ball joints in your old arm, that's what they want to do.
Even if the total bill is the same they make far more profit on THAT
job plus they can move more jobs thru the shop for the same labor
hours. The real money to be made is parts markup.
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