Working in this industry for so many years, I not only advocate for and regularly practice proper vehicle repair, but I’m also an ambassador for the high-caliber work you perform each and every day. Additionally, I know that your relentless pursuit of training and education speaks volumes about your repair expertise.
So, whether it be in this column or when I’m in the field covering industry events, I do my part to promote the value of the services you perform on a daily basis — because I “get it.” I understand your commitment and devotion to your profession, and your steadfast desire to keep up to date with technology through training and education. I also understand that you should be fairly compensated for those efforts. Not everyone gets that. I witnessed this recently when picking up my vehicle after a minor repair was completed.
The shop owner was preoccupied with another customer when I arrived at the shop. They were in the parking lot and the customer was pointing at her tires as they proceeded to walk around the vehicle. After several minutes passed, I sensed there was a problem. Knowing firsthand the high-quality work the owner performs, I had a hard time believing the customer would have an issue with a repair.
Finally, she left and I couldn’t resist asking the owner what had just transpired. A family friend, he had no hesitation in explaining the situation to me. The customer had taken her vehicle to another shop for repairs and felt she was taken advantage of, so she wanted to get a second opinion. After looking over the repair order with the customer, he told her the charges seemed to be accurate based on the services provided and tried to explain that the shop had merely failed to explain the reason for the repairs, which would have helped to justify the charges.
He then told me that even after trying to reason with the customer on the other shop’s behalf, she proceeded to say, “You guys make too much money,” in reference to the labor charges she saw on the repair order.
I could sense the owner’s frustration, but I was outright appalled that this woman would challenge labor charges not knowing the time it takes to accurately diagnose and repair a vehicle — not to mention the immense investment in training and education techs need to hone their skills in the first place.
This example underscores the importance of properly educating your customers on how vehicle components work, why they fail and what it takes to restore their ride to top-operating condition. Don’t be reluctant to tout your qualifications, certifications or the countless hours of training you undergo each year. After all, knowledge is power and can pack a powerful punch in squelching misconceptions that threaten our industry’s image, value and significance.