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Monday, November 16, 2009

One Man Shop

The drawbacks of being a one man shop were in evidence this morning. A customer made an appointment with me on Friday to have her vehicle checked out for a squealing noise in the front wheels. I was clear on the phone she would have to leave the vehicle off. However, when she came in she expected to wait for it. I explained I can’t do that and perhaps another shop would be a better fit. The reason for this is I greet all my customers, write up the invoices for estimate, check the vehicles out, get the okay for the work, order the parts, do the job, close up and test drive the vehicle, call the customer and take payment. In between I do maintenance jobs such as oil and filter changes that don’t require ordering parts or a test drive while the customer waits. This may sound impossible but I’ve been doing it for a very long time. It is impossible if all the people having repairs done are waiting in my office.

This customer understood. Since I heard her driving in and I’m quite knowledgeable on the sound of disc brake sensor tang rubbing on the rotor noise, I told her she needed disc brakes and gave her an approximate price if only the pads needed replaced. I told her to give me a call if she couldn’t find a place that would do the job while she waited. She was happy to know what the sound was although she said the people who checked the vehicle the month before said the brakes were fine. I’m sure she’ll find a place where they’ll do it while she waits in these grim times, but the times are still not grim enough for me to start doing these repairs while the customer waits. There are just too many variables. And besides, I’m old. :)


Charles Gramlich said...

I've had students ask me to grade their tests while they wait. I've always said no. Even when I wasn't old. ;)

BernardL said...

I've experimented with it in the past, Charles. The practice of doing labor intensive repairs while a customer waits is the number one illustration of Murphy's Law. It usually begins falling apart when the parts truck arrives with the wrong parts. It descends into darkness from there. :)

Matthew Nowlin said...

I use the shop my grandpa used, and he's been dead for 20 years. I sell them engines and new radiators, and they do a fantastic job on my car.

I do. Not. Wait.

I drop it off and pick it up that night or the next evening. I would rather have things done right than done quickly and incorrectly.

Bernard, I'm sure you have a loyal following of customers.

BernardL said...

Matthew, yeah I do have many loyal customers. They are nice enough to leave the vehicle for anything other than an oil change or minor repair. Thank you for the kind words.

Bernita said...

God bless honest, caring mechanics.
Ours even sold my husband's car for me.

BernardL said...

Thank you, Bernita. You can't imagine how much we mechanics treasure understanding customers we've come to know over decades of service. I'm glad one of us helped out with one of the myriad trials you've gone through in the past year.