Finding A Shop You Can Call Home


Finding an automotive shop, or any type of service provider for that matter, that you can call “yours” is something many people don’t even know they should have. It’s important on so many levels and will turn your view of the service industry around for the better.  We will discuss in this post a few reasons why you need regular service providers and what to look for when choosing one.

First of all, why shouldn’t you shop around?  I mean getting a great deal is important!  We all love to save money and when it comes down to it, in the case of your car, all you really need is the problem solved, right?  Well, yes, and no.  Finding the right service facility and continuing to use that facility for all your automotive needs allows for not only you getting to know your shop and the people that work in it, but it allows the shop to get to know you and your car.

Lets look at a potential scenario.  “John” is fairly adept at being a handyman.  He knows enough about his car to be dangerous, but just can’t do everything himself, as is becoming more and more common as cars become more and more complex.  Johns car develops a leak.  He believes it to be the engine coolant pump, better known as the water pump.  He makes a few calls to some local shops in town and asks them how much it would cost to replace his water pump.  After all, he doesn’t have a go to shop that he regularly uses.  He calls 4 shops, 3 of which give him a price for the water pump and the 4th shop told him that he would need to bring the car in so they could confirm his prognosis and give him an accurate price.  John didn’t really like the 4th shops answer so he chose shop #2.  The guy on the other end was nice, and the price he gave John was in the middle of shop 1 and 3.  John takes his car in to shop #2 and drops it off, expecting to pick it up the next day and pay the amount he was quoted.

John receives a call from shop #2 and it’s the service manager telling him that the price is going to be higher because there was also a hose needing to be replaced and the thermostat needed to be replaced as well.  Then the service manager went on to discuss other maintenance that was due by mileage.  John ends up approving the additional repairs but declined the maintenance.

Here’s where having a good shop you know and trust and use for all your car maintenance and repair pays off.  Shop #2 didn’t know John.  They didn’t know that he likes to do a lot of the easier maintenance items him self.  So they had no choice but to put John in the position to have to decline some of the recommended work.  Shop #2 doesn’t know John’s vehicle, they have no record of any of the repairs that may or may not have been done on his car and as luck would have it, John forgot that he already had his water pump replaced 2 years ago.  But he didn’t have it done at shop #2 so unless he goes and picks up his car and makes yet another appointment at the shop that did the work the first time, he is going to have to pay for this repair twice.  A shop that knows him and his vehicle would have checked the service history before John even arrived at the shop and would know, even though John had forgotten, that the water pump was still under warranty and could have take care of it free of charge.  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to advantages of using one shop exclusively.

What do you look for when trying to settle on a shop to call home?  The first thing I look for is do I feel welcome when I walk in the door or call the shop.  Do the employees act like they are happy to see me or that I called even though they don’t know me yet?  Do they ask me questions about my concerns with my vehicle?  Do they take the time to explain things to me that I might not understand or that I might not even know to ask about?  What amenities are offered?  Do they have loaner cars?  How are they trying to make this already inconvenient thing called auto repair easier on me?  Are they putting in any effort to build a lasting relationship with me?  Honestly, there are too many things to list here, and you might have to try a few different places to find one that makes you feel comfortable, but when you find it, stick with it!

The bottom line is price is important, yes it certainly is.  No one likes to get or feel ripped off.  However, most people that call around price shopping do so because for whatever reason they feel they have been wronged at their current shop and are looking for a new shop, they don’t place a value on exceptional service, or they simply just don’t know what else to ask!  You will know you have called a good shop when they DON’T just rattle off a price for whatever you are asking for.  A good shop will start a conversation with you.  They will gather information about your situation and will show genuine concern for you and your vehicle.  A good shop will offer up a solution that in the end will far outweigh blurting out a dollar amount that likely will not hold up when the vehicle is actually presented for service.  When a shop takes the time to do all this, then it’s a good bet that they are worth a shot at becoming your go to shop from now on.

The benefits of doing business exclusively with one shop are huge.  Finding that shop isn’t always easy but the reduced stress, quicker and better service and just knowing who you are doing business with is worth the effort to find it.