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.
Top Things To Watch Out For When At The Mechanics
November 14, 2015
From the surface, all mechanics look honest and qualified especially when you are taking your car for servicing for the first time. Most people handle this situation as a gamble, but this just ends up hurting their cars. When their cars are hurt, the owners are also hurt. After numerous times of taking my car to the mechanic for repair and service, I have learned how to separate a quack from the real deal. Below are a number of things I look out for before settling on a mechanic as my preferred choice to handle the repair and serving tasks.
I always look for certification
A reputable mechanic will not hesitate to display his certificate of qualification in the repair shop. For the first step, I always look for any sign that the mechanic has had some training in the areas they professes to be an expert. Forming part of the mechanics displays should be ASE certification, or seals of certification from ASA, AAA and other auto industry groups. In case, I cannot spot anything that looks like certification, I always ask to be shown. If none exists, that is a red flag in itself.
I don’t sign a blank authorization form
Putting things in writing is a great step toward ensuring I get the best services. Before I allow the mechanic to put his hand on my vehicle, I ensure they provide me with a written estimate, before I proceed to signing the authorization form. The only time I can be sure that I have gotten the best deal in terms of warranties is before anything is signed. I ask the repair details regarding the my car to make sure I fully understand what needs to be done.
I watch out for double labor
Mechanics are smart and so most of them will take any opportunity to make more money. If a mechanic claims the job will be a double labor, the right question I ask is how long the job will take, since double labor means double payment. Sometimes, the time the job takes is worth double, but at times the time is worth just a single payment. This will help me save money that I would ignorantly have spent.
I watch out for the flush
Most mechanics and lube shops will emphasize on the need for coolant flushes and power steering flush repairs as if it is an emergency. This might throw you into panicking only for you to allow the mechanic to do unnecessary repairs on your car. I read my car manual as often as possible to ensure certain information such as the required mileage for fluid is clear before I allow a mechanic to engage my vehicle. Other things such as cleaning fuel pumps is something I do for myself; do not engage a mechanic in that.
The other area I usually ensure my mechanic doesn’t take advantage of me in, is the old parts that remain after service. I ensure all the old parts are handed over to me before I move out. These ideas and among others are the issues that have ensured I get the best services from my mechanic.