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  #61  
Old 06-05-2002, 09:11 AM
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Speak for yourself, I think one can't count.

I did leave the logic of this post a long time ago. Actually since my last post you have extended this thread with seven posts. Personally i like the subject and I'll continue posting any time someone makes a point either way, worthy of comment.

The subject will continue to come up whether on this thread or others. As others have pointed out, a lot of human nature is exposed here. I represent a number of stereotypes in the auto repair trade and I don't have a lot of trouble discussing them. There are a 100 readers of these threads for every participant. My desire is that my industry is well understood; where ever that takes us.
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  #62  
Old 06-05-2002, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jkazzoun
Tracy,

Where is the worst traffic? I've lived in the SF bay area, Cairo and NYC. Those seemed pretty bad to me...

Cheers,

Joe
Accordingly LA......is the leader on that front
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  #63  
Old 06-05-2002, 11:55 AM
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Location: Northern Calif. (Fairfield Area)
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Tracy.

Thank you for taking the time to reflect on the point.Everyone who receives a salary or hourly wage would certainly become alarmed if told the checks will be about 20% smaller this pay period. I'm sure anyone caught in this situation would try to rectify it rather than take a pay cut if they have alternatives.There is no difference if a business owner ends up 20% short after all incomes and expenses are figured. Some businesses only sell service and no product so their hourly rate is higher.The accounting business comes to mind. In this area accountant services generally run $125 to $150 per hour. Perhaps our industry should just raise the service rates by say 40% to cover parts profit loss and lost time due to parts supplied being incorrect many times. That would resolve the whole issue. What does everyone think? I personally think car owners will end up spending more under this system than would be saved on the owner supplied parts, because the old labor clock will be ticking on sevices and diagnostics where only minor parts are involved.Who knows I might just start a whole new way of doing business here.


Tracy,if I understand that you said it was MB company policy, could you please clarify? I will send you the private email with my thoughts afterwards.
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  #64  
Old 06-05-2002, 12:37 PM
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Peter,

There are a lot of different business models. The auto repair industry is mature Ė meaning it has been around for quite a while Ė and, as a result there is ample opportunity for all involved to make a reasonable living. And yes that includes marking up parts for sometimes more than ďretailĒ to justify putting a warranty on something. In my book thatís not unreasonable. I would bet that many service businesses would thrive if they encouraged the customer to buy their own parts, or better yet, have the customer provide a credit card to the shop and have the shop buy the right parts for the customer, using the customerís $$ and the shopís time. The shop gets paid for their time involved in the order and just sells service. The customer saves, and the shop has folks that love it for going this extra step. Right?

Of course, time has shown that often when using this model, if there is any type of parts problem (which is all too typical), it comes back as being the shopís responsibility in one form or another. The result is the shop is financially responsible even though the customer theoretically understood that the shop had no responsibility for the customerís parts. If it went that far, the courts would probably support the end customer (they almost always do), and while the shop did the right and kind thing in the first place, in the end theyíd be responsible for court costs as well as the ultimate re-repairs that would be then done at another location, plus likely punitive costs. The shop canít win by being a helpful and good guy. Iím sure itís been tried before, so there is nothing gained by trying again.

In the end, the more anyone (end user and/or shop) minimizes their risks, the better off they are. Customers donít always realize this, and, in fact do choke when presented with a bill including a $600 part they later find out they could get for ....lets just say less than $600.

This all makes sense to me. I too am a shop owner and have had these experiences, first hand, on many instances. And on those occasions I have always accommodated the customer even though it was something beyond my control and for which I was not at all at fault, just to make nice with the customer. It sucks. But it almost always pays off in the form of repeat business.

Anyway, I do understand the point, as I hope this illustrates.

Now as to your question, I guess I have to apologize for a possible misunderstanding about customer supplied parts for the local dealerships. The dealerships that I spoke with; more specifically the service advisors at the dealerships I spoke with said they have no problem with customer supplied parts. I didnít imply that MBUSA states this as policy. As you know the dealerships are independent franchises, and only resell MB products without having a direct affiliation to MBUSA or DC except that MBUSA is usually their primary supplier. They can largely do as they please, as can all shops.

Rock and Role!
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  #65  
Old 06-05-2002, 01:40 PM
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I THINK I"VE GOT THE SOLUTION

First a few notes.I've reread all the posts,and it seems to me this thread could supply a great debate team. I've tried to take an objective look at all posts. Just as an aside I think I've even come up with a solution to your problems, Joe. In reviewing your posts I see there is a dealer near you that charges $90 per hour that you could live with if they weren't always booked. You also stated you go on fishing trips to Mexico, pay $100 a plate for dinner and spend hundreds of dollars for a bottle of wine. You are also in real estate and only make $500 per deal. All this tells me several things. If you are able to afford all the above mentioned luxuries, you are closing lots of those deals and can afford the dealer and car rental fares. Since you are in a business that deals with appointments, you should be able to plan ahead to have your car serviced.You could make your life easier by making plans. Should your car break down and need immediate attention, the dealer should be able to jump on an emergency for a loyal client whose developed a relation.


NOW FOR THE SOLUTION

Tracy's business model is making more sense all the time. All MB shops increase labor rates to reflect all the costs I alluded to earlier and order the parts using customer credit card since there probably isn't an American without a credit card. The owner chooses the source or leave it to the shop to use the best source. The shop can warantee everything.The suppliers will probably like it, because they won't have to carry accounts. Those service facilities that carry stock to get work out faster, use their parts and restock with ordered parts when they come in. Only recognized suppliers would be used to keep junk off the shelves. Because of the dawn of internet shopping, this situation is only going to get worse. Just as shoppers use the internet to find bargains, MB service facilities can use the same connectivity through sites like this and IATN (international auto technicians network) to discuss the idea and lay out the ground rules. This may be the only answer. Comments?

Regards,
Peter

Ps: The only opposition I can think of at the moment is the State of California, but that doesn't concern me.
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  #66  
Old 06-05-2002, 07:01 PM
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mis-understanding?

Steve,

Please don't take my comment wrong. I certainly did not mean it as a "take-off" sort of comment. I was actually chuckling when I wrote it. We obviously both want to be on this thread as we've both posted numerous time. I was really just reflecting on how long it has gone on for, and laughed when I stumbled upon that part of your post from some time ago. I have greatly enjoyed this discussionas well.

Also, what did you mean by' "Speak for yourself, I think one can't count."? Do you mean your one comment can't count and you don't think we should have gotten off? Didn't get that...Please clarify. Just curious...

Thanks,

Joe
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Joey

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  #67  
Old 06-05-2002, 07:12 PM
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Autozen,

Thanks for the advice. I appreciate the time. A few things for clarification. I don't actually sell real-estate (anymore), I work for a real estate corporation. I wish I could plan. Unfortunately my schedule does not give me much notice and changes all the time (not of my choosing...). A slave to the company...

I'd rather use the independent. They seem more knowledgable about the older cars and I like to support the little guy. The other reason is I did hear the svc manager talk about squeezing in a customer (that was loyal). They did squeeze him in, could not finish the job, left it half done and kept the car. Tough luck for customer he said... Also, while I preach convenience, there is a price limit. The dealer wants $1300 to change the timing chain and the independent will do it for $600-$700. I think I can mange the rent a car and extra couple of hours of drive time....I'm going to schedule it for next month (as maintenance) and hope I don't have to go out of town at the last minute (again).

The logical thing to do would be to buy a new car with a warranty at a place that always gives loaner cars. But, then I'd have to drive a new car. I just can't bring myself to do that. I like the older cars better. More soul...

And no, I'm not rich, just fortunate.

Cheers,

Joe
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Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #68  
Old 06-05-2002, 07:29 PM
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I misunderstood your comment. I figured it out later. I thought that maybe I had said that comment twice and you had counted it four times.
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  #69  
Old 06-06-2002, 12:58 AM
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Joe,

You finally came clean. I also would go to the independent and save several hundred dollars. It makes perfect economical sense to me. I would just caution you to be sure the service facility you choose be it dealer or independent checks valve timing on both cams at the end of the job. Almost anyone at either an independent or a dealer can roll in a chain, but the job's not done until cam timing is checked.

Good luck,
Peter

Post Script: Has anyone printed this thread? I did, and it is 40 pages long. I'm outa here.
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  #70  
Old 06-06-2002, 08:58 AM
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Autozen, Came clean in what sense?
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Thanks,

Joey

'88 560SL Pearl Black/Java 152K
'94 E320 Anthracite/Grey 89K


Previously:
'94 E420 Black/Bamboo
'90 300E
'71 280SEL 4.5
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  #71  
Old 06-06-2002, 11:00 AM
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Joe,

I was referring to a couple of points. You had created the illusion that you were an agent or broker with the freedoms and monetary rewards that come with either. You also came off as though cost was of no concern; you were only concerned with convenience. You last post indicates you are looking to save a couple which is perfectly normal human behaviour. I would do the same. Anyway remember my caveat about the valve timing.Good luck. This is my last post on this thread; I'm going to throw on my cape and try to help another DIY.

Peter
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