How To Save Money When Moving
March 14, 2016
Moving is known to be a stressful process that requires a good deal of planning if you want to ensure it doesn’t become even more of a struggle. The most important first step that anyone should take in the process is finding a trustworthy and competent moving company so that you can know that you are not in it alone. In a perfect world, we would all just be able to move our own stuff, but sometimes circumstances can make that impossible and that’s why we’ve compiled a list of three ways to make sure you find the right moving company while knowing the details to look for:
- 1. Research and interview – If you’re already in the process of moving, you likely have made contact with a real estate agent. Start by calling this trusted real estate agent to ask about good moving companies and choose three that sound appealing. Research these companies online and through a phone book first to see whether these are good options for you and your specific needs. Plan to meet each company in person to speak about the details in order to receive an estimate as well. One of the first questions you ask them should whether or not they themselves will actually be doing the moving or if they plan to contract it out to another company. If they don’t want to move it themselves, move on to the next one.
- 2. Pricing and services for your needs – Based on what your budget looks like, figure out the different prices for each company as well as why they might be priced differently. For example, if one company is far cheaper than most, it is probably too good to be true. Air on the side of caution as it could be worth an extra few hundred dollars if it means that your more valuable stuff will be taken care of. A professional, efficient and timely work guarantee can be the difference between a stressful experience that makes you wish you never had moved, and a pleasant start to a new chapter of life. Also, ask whether they will only be supplying a moving vehicle or the full service.
- 3. Know what you are signing up for and take preventative measures – Be aware that it is the standard and should be considered a requirement that your moving company go over and sign a legal document that sets out the agreement in full. This should be one of the first things mentioned when beginning the process and should include details of all rights and disclosures. On this related topic, get information that can reveal key pieces of information about the service and policies such as:
. The address of the Company (make sure it is a legitimate and verifiable location)
. Get their phone number, email address and other contact information and establish a connection through one of these routes before agreeing to anything, this will also help in the future when there is an issue
. Acquire References (and establish a connection with them by calling, emailing etc.)
If you follow these three steps above, you should eliminate most of the risk of misfortune that comes with moving, allowing you to sleep easier before and after the big moving day.
Tips For Buying Used Vehicles
February 14, 2016
In this capitalistic world, buying a car is almost everyone’s dream, and most people save towards fulfilling this. The dream of most people is to buy a new car from the showroom, but let’s face it, not all of us can get a new one. A used car offers a great option at a lower price; the trouble is knowing how to differentiate between something in condition and one that is not, to avoid being conned. As a mechanic, I have learned a few tricks on how to know if you are getting a good deal or being swindled.
Check the vehicle history report
Before jumping into a deal, the first step is to do a background check on the car you are being offered. I get my vehicle history reports from companies that deal with cars. I produce the vehicle identification number (VIN) or license plate. In case the history report speaks something negative, this gives me the first red light not to proceed with the transaction. The history report shows a lot about a car, such as if it is a salvage title or if the odometer has been rolled back among other things.
Reach out to the seller
Reaching out to the seller always gives me an upper hand even before I see the car, as I have an opportunity to verify what has been put in the advertisement from the seller. Sometimes the seller can mention something that was not put in the advertisement that can be another red flag. I usually make a list of questions that I would like to ask before I contact the seller. On this list, I make sure questions regarding the price come last. Most people fall into the temptation of negotiating the price; I wait till I see the car so that I can tie my price to the condition of the car.
Do a test drive
Any good seller should allow me to do a test drive, whether I have offered him or her my price or not. Test drives enable me to not just see the condition of the car, but also see if the car is right for me. Take the car on a highway and feel how it moves, try it on a hill or a slope and feel how it handles such conditions. Once I have gone for the drive, I ask the seller for the service record to see if the car has had maintenance on time. I avoid getting cars that have a history of accidents and major repairs including transmission rebuilds, valve jobs and engine overhauls.
Do an inspection on the car
Before entering a deal, I ensure that the car is inspected, which has come to save me thousands of dollars. As a mechanic, I have the advantage of knowing how to inspect cars. I advise people to take their cars for inspection by an authorized mechanic before entering a deal. This is usually easier with a private dealer than a dealership company. In case it is a dealership, you do not need to get a mechanic.
Time to negotiate
If I like the car up to this point, I enter negotiation. I decide way before on how high I can go with the price, but I start from a very low price to ensure I get the best deal. I am aware of the dealer’s tricks of trying to derail my negotiation when they offer unnecessary things such as anti-theft devices and unnecessary warranties. I am always prepared to walk out as this has proved time and time again to be my strongest negotiating power. Once we agree, I close the deal.
Putting into consideration these tips can help you find a good used car. I have helped buyers seeking for used cars get the right ones by following these tips.
New Vs Old From A Mechanics Perspective
February 2, 2016
The most important and common question that arises whenever people want to buy cars is whether to go for new or used ones. As a mechanic, I have learned that each has its own advantages over the other, and the choice should be based on these. There are those I would recommend a new car to and those I would recommend a used one to. Either way, they both get value for what they offer. Below are a few points to contrast used car and new cars whenever I want to by a vehicle.
Advantages of a new car
Every new car has with it a comprehensive warranty that comes in handy during repairs and maintenance. This can be spread out between three to four years or 36,000 to 48,000 miles, whichever comes first, depending on the model. New cars enable the user to access some of the latest technological advancements available. They come with features and options that you cannot get in used cars. The best part is, I never get to worry about previous wears, bodily damages and mechanical problems since it is a new car and I am the first to own it.
Disadvantages of a new car
The most obvious disadvantage of a new car is the price; this is definitely higher than that of a used car. The moment a new car is driven out of a dealer’s lot, it suffers instant depreciation. Trying to sell a new car immediately after it leaves the showroom calls for at least 15 percent depreciation. The longer it is used, the more it depreciates due to tear and wear, even if its old parts are replaced with new ones. Necessary fees such as registration fees, insurance and tax are generally higher for new cars than used ones.
Advantages of a used car
The best advantage of used cars is that I get them at a price way lower than what they initially cost when they were new. Although this depends on how I negotiate, the price can never go anywhere near what it would cost when it’s a new car. In as much as the old cars depreciate in value, it is not at a fast rate as the new ones.
Disadvantages of used cars
It is harder to get financial assistances such as loans for used cars. Most institutions will not finance cars that are seven years old and above. Although I am a mechanic, warranties are still important. Private sellers do not offer warranties for used cars; dealers may issue warrantees but with limitations that would not exist in new cars. Older cars still use old technology that may be a bit of a problem to adjust to if you are of this era. They attract higher maintenance costs since some of their parts are hard to find, and generally the car will have suffered more wear and tear compared to a new one.
At the end of the day what influences the choice between a used car and a new one are factors such as the cost, the purpose I want the car for, and the cost of maintenance.
Things Everyone Should Own For Their Vehicle
January 22, 2016
Everyone who owns a car knows that buying one is not the end of everything. There are things deemed essential that need to be in a car to ensure your safety and comfort, as well as having repairs and maintenance done without a problem. While I always hope for the best as I drive my car especially long distances, on the other hand, I do prepare for the worst. This improves my security in case the car needs an emergency servicing and I am stuck in the middle of nowhere. It also saves me a lot of time. These things can be classed into three groups as below.
Repair and maintenance equipment
The worst scenario is when I pull over beside the road to change a flat tire only to realize that the spare tire in my trunk also has gone flat. There are certain tools that are a must-have in my car, whether I am going to the store at the corner or for a road trip. A spare tire in good condition is essential, along with it should come a jack and a tire iron. I also carry a tire inflator and a sealer.
A jumper cable is essential when my battery power goes low. Automatic cars do not allow you to push-start the vehicle as the old manual cars used to. Instead, I need to get a spare battery even if it means stopping another vehicle to assist me.
Safety and survival kit
Just like my repair equipment, my safety kit is always inside my car. This has helped save lives in emergency situations that involved my car or other people’s cars. Imagine being involved in an accident and not able to help just because you do not have an emergency kit to do so. A first aid kit with items such as bandages, razor, pain killers, anti-septic and other things are important.
A flashlight helps in case I break down in the middle of nowhere and it is late at night. Energy bars, fire starters, water bottles and a weather radio are just a few items that must be inside the car whenever I prepare for a journey.
Convenience and comfort items
This might sound like a non issue, after all, who needs such things? My experience as a mechanic sometimes means I go way out of town to do some work. Items such as blankets, USB charger, spare money, umbrella and tissue paper have all made my life away from home easier.
Having these things makes my drive experience safer and comfortable. I am well prepared for emergencies should they arise unexpectedly.
Pros And Cons of Buying Used Cars
January 13, 2016
Despite the fact that used cars are cheaper than new cars, people still have fears of them. I get a lot of questions as a mechanic regarding the advantages and disadvantages of buying used cars. People are sincerely concerned about what they will get for every penny they pay. Over the years my experience with cars has enabled me to have some knowledge of used cars, as I deal with them every now and then. Before I commit to buying a used car, these are some of the things I would consider.
Pros of buying used cars
Despite them being used, interestingly enough used cars do not depreciate at a faster rate compared to the new ones. New vehicles reduce in value the moment the first owner drives them from the dealer’s lot. If I get such a deal, I can get something of quality, at a reduced rate of at least 15 percent less than the initial price. If I decided to resell it, my depreciation rate will not be as high as what the original owner endured.
Some used dealers enable the transfer of warranties even when a resale is done. Some dealers offer default warranties for any used vehicle on their lots, and can even offer more for some nominal payment. Such deals make me more confident driving away in a used car. When it comes to fees such as insurance, tax and registration, getting a used car is better as the rates are lower compared to those of new cars.
Cons of buying used cars
Since it has been driven by at least one person previously, in most cases, it is a gamble. It is hard to know how the owner drove, whether they did regular maintenance, or kept to manufacturer’s guidelines among other things. This usually makes me go to the extent of doing inspections and following on performance records to avoid being duped. It puts me in a situation where I have to trust the dealer’s reputation.
Some dealers offer warranties, but most do not. This means I get to walk away with all the problems the cars has without anything to fall back on. Since I am a mechanic, I do my inspection before I buy. For none mechanics, I recommend you get a qualified mechanic to help you in this area.
Technologically speaking, newer cars come with advancements that older versions will never catch up on. Very old cars can mean adjusting to a technology that is way lower than what someone from this era is used to.
Pros And Cons of Buying New Cars
January 6, 2016
Among the investments people look forward to is buying a car whether for business, family or personal needs. Most people would go for a new car, but before making that choice, it is important to know a few facts so as not to get into something that might end up becoming a financial burden. Over the period I have been a mechanic, I have learned that just as used cars, new cars have their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of a new car
One of the things I enjoy about a new car is that, when I am negotiating prices, I do not worry about the condition of the car. I do not have to do an inspection for previous wear and tear, mechanical problems or even accident history. The car offers what is displayed, hence giving me a peace of mind.
Manufacturers provide warranties as a marketing strategy to ensure that buyers have the best experience within the first few years of purchase. Most of these warranties go up to three years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. Commonly nowadays I see vehicles that come with up to ten years or 100,000 miles of warranty for engine and transmission.
The world of technology is advancing at a fast rate that cars are no longer just a means of transport. Every time a new car model comes out, I hear it has something different and more advanced than the previous one. Collision avoidance systems, lane changing warnings, Bluetooth technology among other things have take car to a whole new level they were not ten years ago.
Cons of a new car
Depreciation in value
This is by far the most outstanding of them all. Trying to sell a new car immediately after it leaves the showroom attracts at least 15 percent depreciation. Worse is by the time the loan is done the car will cost 40 percent less its original cost. This even gets worse with very expensive cars.
Insurance premiums are calculated on factors such as age of the car and the model; the newer the car, the higher the insurance will be. All dealerships demand that a new car be covered in full until the end of payment.
Return on investment
Unlike a new home or piece of land, a new car does not have the ability to bring better returns on what is invested. Land increases in value, but a car does not.
In a nutshell, I don’t just buy a car because it is brand new from the manufacturer. There are things I should consider that can help me save money that could otherwise have gone into drain.
How To Tell If You’re getting Ripped
December 27, 2015
By giving my advice regarding the things you need to look out for to avoid being ripped off by your mechanic, I do not mean that all mechanics are dishonest and out to fleece the last dime from their clients. Truth be told, a number of them stand out as bright stars and are worthy of commendation. My aim is to help car owners evade the bad mechanic, and ensure they get value for the money they pay for car repair services. From my experience as a mechanic, here is how car owners can tell they are being ripped off.
Overpriced repair estimates
This by far is the most common one and the easiest to pull off. I always avoid signing blank repair authorization forms since the moment I turn my back from my car, the mechanic has a chance to add other things that were not there initially. A dishonest mechanic can decide to advertise some cheap services just to entice clients. Once the clients are hooked, they cause damages to the cars to create a need for more repair. If I fall for this, it simply means that I will end up paying more than I signed for.
Fake motor parts
The danger of counterfeit parts is that, safety is always compromised due to poor design, low quality materials and low durability. Some mechanics love counterfeits as they are cheap, thereby creating an opportunity for earning more. Detecting counterfeit parts is not an easy job, and that is what mechanics have hugely depended on.
Over the years, I have learned that counterfeit parts come with slight change on the logo or design that may go unnoticed. The designers change how the pack looks, for instance, instead of AZDelco, you get ACDelco. I have developed a keen eye that has helped me detect counterfeit, giving me more power over my money and safety.
Refusal to group repairs when charging
I admit that certain repairs such as water pumps are hard to do as the mechanic must go through other parts of the vehicle to reach them. This sometimes unearths more problems. But the fact is, whether the parts had a problem or not, the mechanic still would open and return it. This means he should not be charging that separately.
I have learned that this is a sign of rip off when my mechanic refuses to put such services under one payment. Other areas that mechanics have tried to rip me off in the past include replacing newer parts with older ones, persistent pressure to do repair, scare tactics to trap me to do repairs and many others. Be on the lookout for such things.
How a Lot of Mechanics Make Money
December 7, 2015
Among the things I enjoy is value for my money, this makes me go home smiling even if I have spent a fortune on the product or service I received. However, that has not been a common situation whenever I take my car for service or repair to other mechanics. Some mechanics have stood out with integrity and that is a fact I cannot overlook. They charge you for the right services and products, and ensure they only take what belongs to them. But a number need to take integrity classes. After a number of rip-offs, below are a few ways I have learned on how mechanics shrewdly make their money.
Misdiagnosis for something that’s fully functional
Among the most famous lines by mechanics is “this must be replaced.” They say it with such conviction that it sounds like an emergency. To ensure they meet their financial demands, they advise for parts that are fully functional to be replaced. Even the parts that can be repaired, to them require replacement. With this, most people end up paying for parts they do not really need.
What makes one wonder is how a simple session of oil-change ends up to the car needing a new transmission. Also known as “wallet flash”, this is meant to ensure that a simple service turns into something that will cost a fortune by the time the car leaves the garage.
Using the car for other purposes after servicing
A number of cars have been wrecked by mechanics who ended up using the car to visit friends and other clients after repairs. This is one occurrence that is becoming more and more common with mechanics, as a number have been caught on cameras. The hardest part of this is that, even if they are caught in the act; as long as the car is not damaged, it is hard to tell the reason the car is being driven around. This makes it hard for me to claim compensation.
Making the client pay for work not done
What I will never come to terms with is how people consciously receive money for the services they did not perform. A mechanic will cold-bloodedly tell me to pay for a filter change yet he did not even open the hood. Some of the motor parts are not easy to change, yet they find it easy to charge for it despite not doing any job. The most common tactic used is the so called “idiots light”, which is based hugely on exploiting fear.
The “check engine light” is used to see if there are any faulty parts in the vehicle. The light shows codes for each faulty part. As famously known by mechanics, every time a code is shown, a part should be replaced, even if the part was only loose and needed tightening.
When parts of my car get stolen while the car is being serviced
Wonder what happened to your car stereo since it came from the mechanic? The worst part of rip-off by mechanics is when they take parts of the vehicle that they know will never be noticed. They spare nothing that their hands can quickly get a grab on, starting from the spare change that seems idle in the ashtray to even your spare tires. Parts that are meant to enhance the performance of the vehicle will go missing only for you to notice much later how the car seems to be different from how it was bought.
The bottom line is, it is time for mechanics to style up and learn the power of integrity. Money comes and goes, but integrity goes a long way in enhancing a mechanic’s business. One way I retain customers is through honesty, which is something I personally value.
Growing Up In The Car World
December 3, 2015
The truth is, everyone who owns a car loves it, and I do not have a problem with spending money on my car for a worthy cause. However, over the years, I have seen a number of people; including me spend extra money on unnecessary things in the name of car repairs and maintenance among other things. My experience as a mechanic has exposed me enough to know what to spend and what not to spend money on. Below are a few ways I have learned to save money over the years I have been a mechanic.
Finding the best garage in town and staying with it
Relationships built overtime ensure that a business is both beneficial to the mechanic and the car owner. Very few mechanics will rip-off their long term customers even if they had the opportunity to do so.
Over the years, my business has been able to grow majorly because of the clients I have managed to retain to for a long time. I benefit as a mechanic because I do their routine services and repairs, but they also benefit since a number of times I will do simple tasks such as rotating their tires for free. Besides that, I ensure their cars are handled with the best mechanic service, which enables them to stay away for longer without needing frequent repairs.
Walk around as you shop for different rates
As a mechanic, I encourage people to keep walking around other repair shops to ensure that the deal they get from me cannot be outmatched. I tell car owners to visit different mechanics even if they are not going for services. This will help them know how to value services they get.
Comparison of prices ensures car owners get the best deals around. This is also a way of them detecting rip-offs by rogue mechanics. Taking simple services such as diagnosis to at least two mechanics does not harm in anyway, as it works best against rip-offs.
Minor services such as diagnosis do not require one to be a mechanic
My advice to car owners is that, they need to get their own code readers, and learn how to do their own diagnosis. With technological advancement, most cars now come with an inbuilt code reader. Besides, I can perform diagnosis through my phone, which does not take one to attend an engineering class. Through this, car owners can save a lot of money and time.
There are repair and replacement services that I believe do not need the presence of a mechanic. Checking and replacing of filters, changing oil, and replacing tires are but a few of these do-it-yourself tasks. Over time, I have realized that repairs such as replacement of brakes and rotors can also be done by car owners.
Avoiding charges that duplicate
A repair situation comes in for a mechanic to perform certain replacements; they have to thoroughly inspect certain parts of the vehicle. As a mechanic, I will charge higher for this service because it has more work entailed. For instance, if I am replacing a squealing drive belt, I may need to go through the radiator horses and water pump thermostat. When charging for such services, I charge inclusive of the parts I passed through to get to the part I wanted.
For a car owner to save money on such, I would advise they negotiate the prices of the entire repair inclusively so as to avoid being charged double for a repair that is worth no payment.
These are just some of the few areas that growing up in the world of cars have helped save money. I gladly share my experience to encourage car owners to avoid unnecessary expenditure on issues that can be sorted at home.
Why I Think It’s Important To Be Honest
November 29, 2015
Businesses struggle for many different reasons that sometimes are unavoidable; but in my time running a motor repair business, I have learned that most of these factors can be avoided. One such factor is dishonesty, whether with your staff or clients. This is something that somehow has been overlooked in this industry, as mechanics find it easy to rip-off the same people that keep their businesses going. Below are a few reasons why I think honesty is an important part of any business, especially to a mechanic like me.
It builds better reputation
True to the core, a good name is better than gold or silver. Dealing with my clients has helped me over the years to build a reputation that cannot be bought with money. When I do an honest diagnosis of a client’s car, the next time a friend of his asks for a mechanic, he does not hesitate to refer that person to me. I do my best to ensure I deal with everyone with honesty, so that the good name is retained and the chain continues.
It creates customer retention
Whenever I repair a client’s car, my aim is to give them a touch of quality since it is what I have come to learn everyone values. A quality service means my clients will take longer before returning to the garage. To other mechanics, this might sound like an invitation for rainy days. But this is how I see it: if I do a shoddy job, it means the car will run for a short time then it will need to be serviced.
The common thinking is that the car will be brought back to my garage, but over time I have learned that the client has a higher probability of looking for another garage. Well, they might be back a few times, from the first service but mostly just because they have not found another place. Once they find a way of sorting this, I never see them again.
It buys into the mission
The mission of my car repair shop does not just depend on my expertise; it depends on how my employees and clients buy into it. If my mission is to repair cars and reduce accidents, yet every now and again, vehicles leave my garage prone to causing accidents, then this means I will be the only one buying into my mission.
If my staff does not trust my word, then they cannot trust that I can lead them towards fulfilling the mission. If they can trust my word, they will be motivated to drive the business forward sometimes even without minding so much about what I pay them.
The golden rule
I treat my clients and employees in a way that I want them to treat me. This creates an environment of trust and support. As an owner I have trained myself to keep away from temporary gratifications for the purpose of long-term success. This helps me avoid being caught up in the cloud of deception that comes with dishonesty as I avoid greed and envy. In the long run, I earn more and my car repair business keeps on thriving.