How to Find a Great Auto Workshop: Don’t choose a store just because of convenience. Once you determine that the store is eligible, Convenience is a plus. But only after having a good reputation and backing their work with good guarantees. Remember that a good store may be convenient but the most convenient store may not necessarily be the best store for you.
Don’t choose a store based on “special offers”. Okay, we all do. It seems to be the current market trend. You want your store to be competitive, of course. But more importantly, you have to get the job done right. Unfortunately it is all too common for many shops to bring a car to the door with a loss leader and then charge a higher amount as the work progresses.
This is due to its industrial nature. However, if you see a price that seems unrealistic, it probably is. You would be better off going with a shop that provides professional service and supports their work. Quality will prevail over low price every time. The savings will come with longer lasting and more trouble-free repairs.
Don’t pick a store just because they look like the “good old boy”. Bad choice. Some good old boys are great. Others never get out of the way and can’t handle current vehicles well. Get recommendations and proof of qualification instead of looking for the good old shop.
Choose a store based on a low “labour rate”. This is one of the worst ways to choose a store. The price of shopping for services in this way is unreasonable. There are too many variables. Only one of them is price. And the final price may not even have much to do with “labor rates.”
If you need an idea of the cost, just ask for that and not the labor rate. If you base your buying decision on “labor rates,” you may find a store that gives you a lower rate, takes longer, and charges more for the job than you would pay in a higher-rate store. The end result can be shoddy work for about the same price you would pay for professional work.
They can get me right away! Oh really, then they shouldn’t be too busy. If so then maybe they really aren’t that good? Sometimes a good shop can get you in quickly. Often they are booked for a day or two in advance because of their reputation. This can really backfire on you if you end up in a store that is never busy because they do a poor job. Getting your vehicle back right away is important. But, fixing it properly is even more important. Do you disagree?
They can sort it out right away. Good work takes time. Good shops can reduce that time but they can’t eliminate it. Most people don’t realize how long their vehicle has to be in the repair shop for a particular job. Choosing a store based on these criteria is usually a mistake. Unfortunately, some shops promise anything to get the job done. That doesn’t mean that they have to fulfill that promise once the work begins.
They don’t have a lot of staff or support people so they can charge me cheaper than a shop that has one. Again, this reasoning is wrong. Most modern facilities have a ratio of almost one support person for each technician in the shop. This allows technicians to perform maximum productive work without undue interruptions and distractions.
Therefore the whole procedure is more efficient. With too few support people, production staff will spend too much time performing tasks not directly related to vehicle service or repair. The end result is often lower quality work due to distractions and higher prices due to inefficient business models.
My neighbor went there and he said they were great. Actually this is one part of a good plan to choose a good shop. However, before you buy into this recommendation, ask a few more questions. What has your friend done? How many times has he been there? If he has a problem, how to solve it? If he leaves in time for an oil change and you need a transmission repair, there may be a problem here.
Make sure the shop is qualified to do the type of work you need. And try to find a store where an acquaintance has visited more than once. Recommendations are the best way to find a good shop. Just make sure the recommendations meet the requirements.
They look really good and I feel like I can trust them. This is actually a very good sign. Trust is very important when dealing with a service or repair shop. Make sure that this is one good component of several. Some people are very good at tricking you at the front counter. That in itself doesn’t mean they are a good shop. You need to take into account more than that. You need to find out if they qualify and give you a good warranty and feel good.
Browse any store for small jobs until you need something really important. Not a good idea at all. There are shops today that can and will take care of almost any of your vehicle needs. If you build a good relationship with them in a smaller job, they will be more likely to accept you and treat you right when you need a bigger job.
Some shops won’t even talk to you for emergency work unless you’re already their client. Start with an oil change to check the store and help you decide if the match is correct.
Get those recommendations from friends and neighbors. As I said before, make sure they qualify. Each store can have several people who have had bad experiences or bad attitudes. However, they must be a very small minority of the total customers. Consider the personality of the person giving you advice before you decide not to consider a store that you think is OK.
Contact several independent sources. Start by calling or visiting your local BCAA, BBB, or Chamber of Commerce website for a list of member stores. The SM Automotive Retailers Association is another source of stores committed to customer satisfaction.
Next call some of the stores from your list above and ask some questions. Call them to get a feel for how they answer the phone and how you are treated at this first contact. Let the person answering the phone know that you are looking for a qualified repair shop for your vehicle. Ask if they can spare a few minutes to answer some questions. If you catch them at a busy time, ask for a convenient time to call back.
Next, ask them what services they can provide. Ask if they have industry affiliations such as trade associations. Ask if they have a code of conduct and if they follow it. Ask them how many of their technicians are certified. Ask them how long their technical staff has been in the industry.
Ask them how long they have been in business. What is their standard warranty for most jobs. One year is the minimum standard. Ask if they have technical resources like Alldata or Mitchell on Demand to access service bulletins and recall information.
Call evaluation: Are they nice or rude? Do they seem bothered when they talk to you on the phone? They should be able to handle your phone calls gracefully. If you like their attitude and answers so far, move on to the next step. If not go back to your abbreviation list and start again with the store with the next most qualifications. Continue this process until you find a shop that suits you, then move on to the next step.
Visit the shop. Drive ahead and see if you want to leave your vehicle. If you pass the test, park at their place and visit the office. Pay attention to how you are treated, the look of the office and the attitude of the staff. They need to look professional and friendly, polite, helpful, and efficient, and act like they want your business.
Look for certificates on the wall that show government and other affiliate certifications. Let them tell you a little about themselves. Ask the store history and so on if they have time. Ask if they have a flyer that will help you decide if it could be your shop. Let them know that you are looking for a shop to meet your vehicle needs.
See how they react to it. A good shop will appreciate your research and will be happy to start new relationships with good potential clients.
Ask if you can meet with the store owner or manager. If they’re not too busy, ask for a quick tour or browse the shops. See if it looks clean and organized. Get an overview of the attitude in the store.
If the store goes this far, schedule an appointment for an oil change or other minor service.
A note of caution here: If they can’t or won’t make an appointment for the service, you probably don’t want to think of it as your store. Stores that don’t make appointments usually focus less on preventive maintenance and are more of a “broken shop.” This is not what you need if you want to get the best for your service and repairs.
Also, getting you fast without an appointment usually means getting you back on time with quality work is highly unlikely. A well run shop will schedule appointments and can also handle some minor emergencies. If they can’t take you in an emergency, they should have contingency plans such as the availability of a rental car or shuttle service to your home or office to help you when you need it.
Keep your promise. Call ahead and reschedule early if you can’t make it. A good shop will appreciate that courtesy. Make your final decision after your first appointment. They should contact you and send you some follow-up information to strengthen the relationship. Very good shops will ask you to fill out a questionnaire to make sure that your service is good. They will also seek your input to help them make better business for you and their other clients.
Your final decision. If the store has met all of the above criteria to your satisfaction, reward them with your loyalty. Schedule your oil changes and other preventive maintenance services with them. You will be glad that you took the extra effort to find a GREAT store when you have an emergency. You won’t believe how less stressful it is to have your own shop you can trust with your vehicle from now on.
If the store doesn’t meet all of your standards or if you have a strange feeling about them, you’ll have to start all over again with step one until you find a shop that you can create yourself. Sometimes it’s not just the shop itself. Sometimes you may have a personality conflict with someone at the store. You don’t want or need to go to a store that you find funny. Look around a bit until you find one that treats you like a friend.