11 June 2004

Friday morning

Yay, it's Friday And being that it's Friday, a thought comes to mind. Scheduling.

There are generally two mindsets in the auto repair world. One says you work by appointment. A customer calls or stops in, saying their car is doing something wrong. Someone at the shop looks at it, determines whether it's safe for the cutomer to drive or not, and makes the customer an appointment a few days hence, after taking down the vehicle info to order parts.

The other says, leave it now and I'll fix it. Stay away from these guys, they're looking to make a quick buck. These guys don't look long-term and don't care if you come back once you pay the bill. These are the same guys who, when you call to see about your car, will use a myriad of excuses to explain why your car will be done at a time other than that specified originally.

When I make you an appointment it gives me time to get the correct parts for your car and I have the time blocked out to give it my undivided attention. In Harry's place there's no mad scramble at the end of the day because we didn't have time (or forgot) to work on so-and-so's car and they're coming to pick it up in 15 minutes. Haste leads to mistakes, wrong parts, sloppy workmanship, etc. Mistakes, enough of them, kill a business. Harry's been in the same spot for 35 years; do you think he would be if word got out he was a fuck up? We have customers who've been coming there that long, their children bring their cars to us, and their grandchildren that are driving bring their cars to us. Know why? Becasue we don't jerk them off or feed them bullshit.

As much as we do like to think we're perfect, once in a great while mistakes do happen, even to us. But the idea is to admit them and make things right. As I said, we have 3 generations of some families giving us their business. They wouldn't do it if they didn't trust us. Look for a guy who makes appointments (emergencies are emergencies, but not everything is 'right now' or 'today'), who takes down your name, daytime phone, and a description of your complaint. If you go into a place because you hear a noise and the guy says, 'leave it and pick it up tonight', best move on. Look for a guy who'll take the time to fix your shit right, not fast. And most of all, advise them to call you with an estimate of the repair cost before they do any work. If they're not willing to do you the courtesy of calling before they spend your hard-earned money, you shouldn't be going there. There should be no surprises when you pick up your car. They only surprise you should have is when the bill comes in under cost. A pleasant surprise that is.

With that, off to the mines.

Friday, Friday, Fri-day!

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