My name is Bill Allen, I have been in the Automotive Industry for some 40 years and have owned Mechanics Plus in Casselberry Florida for the last 15 years. This is an attempt at reaching out to the public to inform you of the tricks of the trade. This article is not meant to harm anyone or speak ill of a particular company.
In the conversation between a repair shop and a customer it is the transference of information between two parties in an attempt at gaining enough knowledge to make a decision. For the sake of relevance we will start with this question. My car needs brakes and I have the day off so, what shop should I bring my car to.
So you are trying to choose a shop; let’s look at what you are trying to find out: “Where can I go that I won’t worry about being deceived or lied to?”
Now let’s look at what comes out of your mouth: “How much is it to fix brakes?”
Somehow the importance of your brake job has been reduced to a price. Simply because that is what you understand: “MONEY”, but more important than money is “INTEGRITY” because when you find a shop with this you will only spend the money you have to and not the money the shop wants to get from you.
Let’s look at it from this scenario: your brakes are squealing. You do what most people do; you start “Dialing for Dollars”. You call a shop like mine and I tell you to bring the vehicle in and I will inspect your brakes and estimate any repairs needed but I can’t throw numbers at you, so you keep dialing and you find a shop that tells you $99.00 for a FOUR WHEEL BRAKE JOB! Wow, that sounds great!
You may not understand brakes but you understand money and that sounds cheap. So here are some
things you maybe didn’t realize:
The company you called knows you will choose them based on price. They also know that statistics show most people will fix their vehicle at the first place they drive to.
Once you give them your information, you trust them with something. They in return will provide you with an estimate of repairs; unfortunately, said estimate is loaded to benefit the shop. They can only hope that trust will get you to agree to it. If not they will try to close you by negotiation.
All of this is predetermined way before your brakes squeaked at all. Years of gathering information has taught them what you will and will not stand for. What to say and what not to say to you was planned at Corporate Headquarters and passed down to the troops on the ground. The sad part is the mechanics that tolerate this style of business are ruined. They check their integrity at the door and steal and lie to the customers all day and then go home to their families feeling one of two ways; remorseful for what they had to do to keep the job, or numb because they found a way to block it out. Just like the slaughter house guy that kills the cows.
Most chain repair shops pay bonuses and commissions to the sales/service person for recommending other things. They are taught that it is unsafe to do a brake service without replacing the rotors and drums. They are taught that they are doing you a favor to rebuild your calipers or replace your brake hardware. However, you do not need these extra parts 90% of the time.
Now the $99.00 four wheel brake job turns into an $800.00 or $900.00 dollar total thanks to Up-selling. Unfortunately, and this is the worst part, they have also replaced perfectly good parts with cheaper, poorer quality ones. When they sell you a discount brake service the only way to show profit is to use the cheapest parts and upsell like crazy. With that being said, after you tell them to do it, they will remove perfectly good shoes or pads that could have lasted for thousands of miles more and replaced them with extra low quality brakes that you didn’t even need.
I have walked into a brake repair center to defend a customer that asked me to help her. I had her truck reassembled after they told her $860.00 to fix her vehicle. She was standing with her three kids and told him “I don’t have the money, just do the $99.00”, and then he asked her in front of a full waiting room “What kind of Mother would put her children in an unsafe vehicle?” She walked into my shop and told me this story and I went into their shop to get her truck. Bottom line: the truck needed front brakes only. The total, including turning the rotors? $189.00. The reason I shared this story with you is many shops are good, and integrity is a priority but you have to look for them. They won’t be advertising “MONEY” they are found on referral sites and heard of through friends and family. So I hope I helped you hold on to your money a little longer.
an Integrity Leaders Company