The way it used to be,the way it is now.

john_gJune 10, 2009

Some of the recent posts remind me of my early years in this trade. Everyone thought that being a mechanic was mindless work. If the car did "this" the fix was "that". That approach was correct just often enough to be assumed to be the right way. On any occasion where the car was doing "this", and "that" didn't fix it like it normally did we would be accosted with the "Don't you know what you are doing? " line. This shell game has made for a very frustrating career at times. If you read the responses through the last few threads you'll notice at one point one poster actually criticizes the effort for working to be better trained. That's where the bad memories really come back to me. People with that attitude, both inside, and outside of the trade spoke loudly but were in fact clueless. Sure it makes good press to claim something should be done for free but like the yellow pages representative I dealt with earlier this year there isn't an easier way to see if someone genuinely understands auto repair as both a trade and a business than to listen to what they think the effort is worth.

The yellow pages rep when he learned that I was adding a towing heading to my shop, and in the middle of pressuring me to get an ever larger add, with a website through them was trying to get me into the $350.00 a month range. ( Yellow pages adds are paid monthly) He wanted to add an extra phone line that could be tracked, and was telling me how I had to tow to my shop for free to get activity.

Yes he told me the best way to build my business was to tow for free.

Now sure, that would probably make the phone ring more often, but that's not because of running a top gun shop. That would be because of an idiot setting up unrealistic advertising. Being stupid with advertising that forgets we have to be profitable to survive and re-invest in order to continue to succeed is just that, being stupid. In short, his advice told me that he has no idea how business works, especially how today's auto service center has to work in order to keep pace with the technology that is being applied to the cars.

I dropped my yellow pages add over that.

If you see "free diagnostics" understand there is no such thing as free. It might appear up front to be "free to me" at that second, but there is a cost for it somewhere. Facilities that try to do free diagnostics often do not have the money to send their techs to schools to continue the techs education. They don't have the same factory scan tools that the dealers have. They set themselves up for the customer to have to come back when the check engine light comes back on and they deserve to be accosted with "Don't you know what you are doing?"

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That is one of the reasons i tell people or posters to
" send it out " and i mean a dealer. I've spent most of my
time in a dealership and we are in school at least 10 times a year only on the cars we were working on. Our dealerships are divided into special sections. Mechanical,
Transmission, body work, tune up, electrical, trim, and
upholstery. Each tech goes to " school " put on by the
factory for the specific area of repair for that perticular
car the tech specializes in. When i'm finished with my
A.C. or electrical repair and there is a break problem on
the same car it leaves my stall and goes to the break
department of the shop. Then it could go over to the transmission shop or what ever else has to be repaired.
I've worked on cars sent to me by other dealers in Canada
and the U.S. I've also worked in a private shop, one of the best ones around in the same cite. Many times i've had
to phone over to the dealer where i worked and ask one of
my tech friends that still worked there for help. The private shop is usually not supplied with factory up dates
or information. The private shop will never get a car still
under warranty. If they do the warranty is gone. One thing
i love about working a dealership is the cars are clean with no rust no grease or dirt. All dealers i've worked for
have different pay scales for their flat rate. the better you are the more you get payed on the flat rate. I did work
for a Ford dealer that gave you 50% of the work order, parts and labour. There was always a lineup hoping to get a job there. Even some of our private shops will say send it to the dealer. Most private shops i know of are jack of
all trades master of none.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:29PM
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It used to be: GM and Chrysler were automotive companies that stood on their own feet.

That was then, but Now: Sigh. Bankruptcy, fire sales, and a bunch of out-of-luck dealers.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:27AM
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lease it, drive it like you stole it, turn it back in and get another one.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 9:18PM
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