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Old 11-08-2019, 11:01 AM   #51
bdubblu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08SpecB_DE View Post
I could be completely wrong, but it sounds like a shop that is having financial problems. They don't have the money to pay the vendors so they're charging you to cover the cost of the parts. You should pay them a visit and see what condition your vehicle is in.

Have not seen a shop process charges in that fashion, ever (unless it was agreed upon). I've been wrenching for 13 years.
You are more wrong than right... you can see my earlier post about the way shops are handling business. I live in the DC metro area, and the trend is that shops are charging for parts up front. It's the smart thing to do. Most people have NO IDEA how hard it can be to have aging balances due on your books. And dudes that don't pick up their cars for a week or more after the work is done. Or dudes who start a project and run into further needs, but can't come up with the funds for the additional costs.

IT'S NOT THE SHOPS JOB TO FINANCE YOUR PROJECT.
Ya'lll need to get over this antiquated notion.
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Old 11-08-2019, 07:27 PM   #52
Norm Peterson
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Originally Posted by bdubblu View Post
... I have a lot less time, and frankly place more importance on spending time with my family than the money I’m “saving”, or the certainty that it’s perfect by doing certain things myself. I’ve learned to find out who can do the job correctly, contract them, and hold them accountable for the work.
So by the time you've found these great shops, how many not-so-good ones did you find first? How many times did they not get something right and how much time did you end up throwing away to get it corrected?

What I will give you is that working on more recent model year cars is physically more challenging due to everything being packaged tighter. It wasn't a whole lot of fun to replace the headlight bulbs in the LGT we used to have, but Subaru shop labor at something like $100/hour was even less appealing.


Quote:
There are also situations where the job isn’t worth doing myself. I make more per hour than MANY jobs cost to have done. Why would I pressure wash my house when I’d make 3 times what I’d pay others to do it if I were working?
If you're making that much money, don't forget that most other people aren't that fortunate and simply don't have the same options that you do. I made decent money as an engineer, but it wasn't good enough to support farming every job but the simplest ones out and hoping for the best.


Quote:
So you see, the end all answer to these issues with shops/ work quality/ cost, isn’t “why don’t you do it yourself?”...

That’s kind of a cop out answer when I think about it. One: because some people just are not mechanically inclined at all. But also because people don’t learn to deal with a shop or contractor. Communicating, setting your expectations, following up (staying on top of them without being a nuisance) and inspecting the work are all valuable skills to have. If you don’t have the where with all to do this, you’re going to be more lost in life and have bigger issues than the cost of installing your footprint gas pedal on your 72 skylark.

Edit: and I do all my own car work.. so I’m not arguing this from the standpoint of not being able to.
The cop-out answer from where I'm at is to push the concept that even if you can do your own work your first choice should still be to contract it out. That getting your own hands a little dirty and maybe picking up a skill in the process is something to be avoided.

Over the years I've also done most of our "around-the-house projects", some of them major efforts like a re-roof. And I've had to fix a few things that were done by others there as well. Quicker and way cheaper for me to fix an incredibly poor copper tubing connection into the hot water heater than call and wait for somebody else to get here. Probably had it done in less time that it would have taken anybody to show up at the door. What's nice is to have a sense of self-reliance that you can do these things.


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Old 11-10-2019, 08:16 PM   #53
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If they have to order parts, I'll allow them to receive some money up front because some mechanics, especially performance shops or specialty shops, have horrible cash flow.

OTOH, I had a tire shop demand that I pay them up front, in cash, before they would order some Nitto 555 extremes for my 2006 Mustang GT, and I walked. He was the only Nitto dealer within a 50 mile radius but there was NO WAY I was paying in full, up front, CASH ONLY, just to get a tire place to special order some tires! I offered a credit card payment as a compromise (in the off chance that he decided to shaft ME so I could dispute the charge) and he balked at that...
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:43 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by bdubblu View Post
You are more wrong than right... you can see my earlier post about the way shops are handling business. I live in the DC metro area, and the trend is that shops are charging for parts up front. It's the smart thing to do. Most people have NO IDEA how hard it can be to have aging balances due on your books. And dudes that don't pick up their cars for a week or more after the work is done. Or dudes who start a project and run into further needs, but can't come up with the funds for the additional costs.

IT'S NOT THE SHOPS JOB TO FINANCE YOUR PROJECT.
Ya'lll need to get over this antiquated notion.
You sound like a shop owner who can't manage money. IDGAF what the trend is in DC. I'm in DE and that's not how business is done around here. Aside from charging up front, the OP is being randomly charged without reasoning as to what the money is going towards. We have cars that sit in the lot for weeks but the lights are still on and I still get a check every week. The shop provides a service. The customer pays for that service. WTF are you talking about? Some offer 3rd party financing to help with larger jobs. If I come to you with a brake noise, are you going to charge me up front for pads and rotors when I walk in the door? Or, do you look at the car, realize i need brakes, reschedule for another day and ask for parts payment prior to bringing the car back in? Are you going to charge me your wholesale cost or do I have to pay extra?
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Old 11-11-2019, 11:25 PM   #55
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As the old saying goes: "A good mechanic doesn't blame his tools." well in my humble opinion a good mechanic has no need to charge upfront before the work has even began. All mechanics charge once they complete all the labor. Good luck!
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Old 11-24-2019, 12:30 AM   #56
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OP: Did you get it worked out?
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:33 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by nikefanje13 View Post
As the old saying goes: "A good mechanic doesn't blame his tools." well in my humble opinion a good mechanic has no need to charge upfront before the work has even began. All mechanics charge once they complete all the labor. Good luck!
That is true, but a "smart mechanic" would charge a reasonable fee up front. Why? Because i have seen it first hand, customer don't have the money to pay in full on the day of. The car sits at the lot for days, and the lot is not that big so the mechanic needs space for other cars. He ended up getting the car towed out of his lot to the impound lot at the owners expense. Owner was not happy but the shop was losing money everyday that car was sitting at the lot. Not very often but, sometime its the customers that are a-holes. The shops where i lived always charge half price of the total bill up front before even touching your car. Its for their security in case the customer gives them the middle finger and walk off from the deal for whatever reason.
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Old 11-26-2019, 08:14 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by willowlee View Post
That is true, but a "smart mechanic" would charge a reasonable fee up front. Why? Because i have seen it first hand, customer don't have the money to pay in full on the day of. The car sits at the lot for days, and the lot is not that big so the mechanic needs space for other cars. He ended up getting the car towed out of his lot to the impound lot at the owners expense. Owner was not happy but the shop was losing money everyday that car was sitting at the lot. Not very often but, sometime its the customers that are a-holes. The shops where i lived always charge half price of the total bill up front before even touching your car. Its for their security in case the customer gives them the middle finger and walk off from the deal for whatever reason.
Once again, it's not about the shop submitting charges before the work is completed.

It is about a shop periodically submitting invoices without specific explanation of what the amounts being charged actually covered. This sort of on-retainer approach to payment would at the very least need to be specifically agreed upon in the beginning. In writing, with the customer specifically being made aware of it (no hiding it in the fine print).


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Old 11-26-2019, 10:53 AM   #59
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I'm not sure I can think of any business really that charges upfront.

My only experience with that was my mother in law hiring a 'family friend' to do concrete work at her house. Of course, he needed the money upfront.
Did crappy job, turned into a HUGE run around getting it fixed right BECAUSE she was foolish enough to pay beforehand.

Before the job even went south I swear I said, "that was a bad move paying up front, if that guy can't manage his business well enough to buy $1500 worth of materials then I guarantee he's got other issues. That is business 101"
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Old 11-26-2019, 11:26 AM   #60
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The only time I have paid up front (deposit) is ordering in a 'specialty' item that the shop would have a hard time unloading in the case that I did want it installed, i.e. a particular set of wheels / body kit / coil over suspension etc.

In cases where I know I cannot pick up the car after work has been done (for whatever reason), I let the shop know that I am unavailable, and ask if they want to get paid etc. At least the 3 different independent shops (3 different brands) I deal with have no issue until I can get the car. However, it has never been more than 2 days. I do offer to pay for the work over the phone, or my wife has gone and settled with the shop and picked up the keys for the car.
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Old 11-26-2019, 01:50 PM   #61
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The only time I've paid a mechanic/shop upfront was when I pre'paid for a custom tune from Cobb when they first opened shopped many years ago in Southern California. Interesting to see how the rest of the country does it.
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Old 11-26-2019, 04:21 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
So by the time you've found these great shops, how many not-so-good ones did you find first? How many times did they not get something right and how much time did you end up throwing away to get it corrected?

What I will give you is that working on more recent model year cars is physically more challenging due to everything being packaged tighter. It wasn't a whole lot of fun to replace the headlight bulbs in the LGT we used to have, but Subaru shop labor at something like $100/hour was even less appealing.



If you're making that much money, don't forget that most other people aren't that fortunate and simply don't have the same options that you do. I made decent money as an engineer, but it wasn't good enough to support farming every job but the simplest ones out and hoping for the best.



The cop-out answer from where I'm at is to push the concept that even if you can do your own work your first choice should still be to contract it out. That getting your own hands a little dirty and maybe picking up a skill in the process is something to be avoided.

Over the years I've also done most of our "around-the-house projects", some of them major efforts like a re-roof. And I've had to fix a few things that were done by others there as well. Quicker and way cheaper for me to fix an incredibly poor copper tubing connection into the hot water heater than call and wait for somebody else to get here. Probably had it done in less time that it would have taken anybody to show up at the door. What's nice is to have a sense of self-reliance that you can do these things.


Norm
Look, we get it, you're a Boomer.

Lets come back to the main point. This is OPs main (IE: only) mode of transportation. He contracted a shop to get what sounds to be like some more than basic work done (he mentioned pulling a trans). For a DIY-er, a trans swap is going to cost literally THOUSANDS of dollars in tools that is not cost effective for one trans swap. You bring up "spend a little time to learn a trade". A trans swap is more than "a little time" especially to someone who is completely new to this. Lets throw the cost effective point out the window, he was told this would be done in a week or less, no way would that degree of mechanical work take him a week or less so the benefit WAS that he gets something done significantly faster than he would be able to do it and for significantly cheaper than if he bought all the necessary tools himself. You're point of "well if you just did it yourself this wouldn't happen and you'd learn something" doesn't even hold weight because you're putting the blame on him when its the shops fault for not holding up their end of the bargain. And heaven forbid he goes the route of trying to do it himself and screws it up because you know, swapping a trans is as easy as putting on new spike lug nuts.

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Old 11-26-2019, 04:22 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
Once again, it's not about the shop submitting charges before the work is completed.

It is about a shop periodically submitting invoices without specific explanation of what the amounts being charged actually covered. This sort of on-retainer approach to payment would at the very least need to be specifically agreed upon in the beginning. In writing, with the customer specifically being made aware of it (no hiding it in the fine print).


Norm
A shop that charges without notifying the customer beforehand is a "bad" shop. Shops can charge you more fees if in the process they find something else wrong with the car and is obligated to repair it. But they always need the consent of the customer first. In this case, the op was not notify, thus who knows what they were using his card for. But like i said, shops where i lived make you pay half price up front. Its like a deposit to let them know that you are serious about getting your car repair.
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Old 11-27-2019, 08:18 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by willowlee View Post
A shop that charges without notifying the customer beforehand is a "bad" shop. Shops can charge you more fees if in the process they find something else wrong with the car and is obligated to repair it. But they always need the consent of the customer first. In this case, the op was not notify, thus who knows what they were using his card for. But like i said, shops where i lived make you pay half price up front. Its like a deposit to let them know that you are serious about getting your car repair.
Exactly.


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Old 11-27-2019, 09:15 AM   #65
Norm Peterson
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Originally Posted by mtarr07 View Post
Look, we get it, you're a Boomer.

Lets come back to the main point. This is OPs main (IE: only) mode of transportation. He contracted a shop to get what sounds to be like some more than basic work done (he mentioned pulling a trans). For a DIY-er, a trans swap is going to cost literally THOUSANDS of dollars in tools that is not cost effective for one trans swap.
The only transmission-specific tools I can think of offhand would be the transmission jack and the clutch alignment tool (you'd be stupid to not refresh that while you've got access to it). You can work around not having the transmission jack with a regular floor jack if you're careful.


Quote:
You bring up "spend a little time to learn a trade". A trans swap is more than "a little time" especially to someone who is completely new to this.
I'll give you that it would come down to aptitude for doing more serious 'wrenching' than oil and filter changes, but that doesn't make the job un-DIY-able.


Quote:
Lets throw the cost effective point out the window, he was told this would be done in a week or less, no way would that degree of mechanical work take him a week or less so the benefit WAS that he gets something done significantly faster
You could expect the shop to be able to do the job faster, though OP's shop was a month into the job over two weeks ago. I think you're over-estimating how long it might take a reasonably competent DIY'er to do the job, just to make the "let a shop do it" option look better.

OP hasn't mentioned what work was being done. Maybe we need to know what that was before trying to throw wild guesses up as roadblocks to DIY-ability..


Quote:
You're point of "well if you just did it yourself this wouldn't happen and you'd learn something" doesn't even hold weight because you're putting the blame on him when its the shops fault for not holding up their end of the bargain. And heaven forbid he goes the route of trying to do it himself and screws it up because you know, swapping a trans is as easy as putting on new spike lug nuts.
You missed my point entirely. I'm not blaming OP for anything here. What I am questioning is why the whole notion of self-reliance, of doing jobs yourself, seems to have gone out of favor. For not even considering DIY as an option.

If that shoe fits your foot it's not because I threw it at you personally.


FWIW, I've done a few transmission swaps and R&R as well, and they were far from impossibly difficult. Keep in mind that that means that the first time was successful, else there might not have been a second time. The remove and replace part really isn't much more than basic wrench work, albeit with some muscling being required. Even I'm not expecting many DIY'ers to go any further than that (like inside the transmission/transaxle to replace bearings, synchros, or gears, which still isn't beyond a patient DIY'er).


Norm
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:40 AM   #66
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You missed my point entirely. I'm not blaming OP for anything here. What I am questioning is why the whole notion of self-reliance, of doing jobs yourself, seems to have gone out of favor. For not even considering DIY as an option.

If that shoe fits your foot it's not because I threw it at you personally.
If you were on a roofers forum you might find a bunch of guys asking you why you'd pay to get a roof put on your house and not just do it yourself.

Or a tree service guy could ask you why you don't just strap on your spike toe boots and belly strap and climb 95 feet up an oak tree with a chainsaw hanging from your belt to cut the top of the tree off, and then do that every 20 feet on your way down.

Literally every business in the world exists for the faction of a population that is willing to pay to have it done, hence our great economy in this country.

I just paid somebody to do my timing belt. I've done them before, I can do them myself, but I work 60 hours a week and I was more than willing to pay $1500 for somebody to spend half a day doing it for me.

I sure as hell didn't pay for the job in advance either.
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Old 11-27-2019, 01:05 PM   #67
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Literally every business in the world exists for the faction of a population that is willing to pay to have it done, hence our great economy in this country.

I just paid somebody to do my timing belt. I've done them before, I can do them myself, but I work 60 hours a week and I was more than willing to pay $1500 for somebody to spend half a day doing it for me.
You also expect them to be able to do the job correctly and quickly. OP has definitely drawn the short straw on the quickly part, and I'm sure we've all seen misses on the correctly side as well.

DIY'ing should at least be an option. Not necessarily the only way you'll use, or even your first choice. But I think for a lot of people many more tasks should still be on the DIY table than people are leaving there.


Just so you know, I did my own re-roof back around 1990, and would have considered doing it again a couple of years ago if I hadn't picked up a bit too much sensitivity to heat stress. I cut down a number of trees when they were somewhere around 45' tall (and I was younger). Cut the limbs off going up, cut sections off the trunk on the way back down. Jobs like that really aren't that hard to figure out how to do even for the first time.


Quote:
I sure as hell didn't pay for the job in advance either.
Would not expect having to; there shouldn't be much up-front cost to the shop in terms of outlay for parts. Even an individual guy doing that job on a moonlight basis shouldn't have to request it. I didn't ask a co-worker for up-front money when I replaced a radiator in one of his cars, or when I did a brake job for somebody who worked with my wife.


Norm
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Old 11-27-2019, 02:20 PM   #68
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if services require parts that are large $$, usually pay a deposit for a certain percent of the parts. pay for remaining balance which includes parts and labor.
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:20 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
I cut down a number of trees when they were somewhere around 45' tall (and I was younger).


Norm
I cut down 100-120 foot trees annually, but if one was within striking distance of the house and leaning the wrong way I ain't climbing 100 feet up to top it, I'll write a check for that.

I'm happy to pay anybody who's willing to climb 100+ feet with a chainsaw hanging from their body.
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Old 11-28-2019, 11:21 AM   #70
Norm Peterson
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Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
I cut down 100-120 foot trees annually, but if one was within striking distance of the house and leaning the wrong way I ain't climbing 100 feet up to top it, I'll write a check for that.

I'm happy to pay anybody who's willing to climb 100+ feet with a chainsaw hanging from their body.
You can always find specific cases that are outside any given individual's comfort zone. 120' might have been outside mine, but working within 10' of the house or the fence for reasonably straight 45's wasn't.


Some peoples' comfort zones are so limited that they're afraid to tackle much of anything themselves if it's outside their job description or profession. Or so it seems.

And that's probably a function of whether you got to see your Dad and other men in the neighborhood tackling various projects themselves (whether automotive or major house & yard projects). Most of the men in the neighborhood that I grew up in just did those things without thinking twice. They were familiar with using hand tools, at least some machine shop equipment, and welding. "Handy", to use an old-fashioned term. "Problem solvers", to use a more recent resume buzz-word.


Norm

Last edited by Norm Peterson; 11-28-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:06 PM   #71
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Definitely wait until the work has been completed before payment. This is the standard practice. You may want to contact your CC company.
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