Shopping around for automotive repair is much like shopping for anything else, right? There’s many factors to consider: price, quality, convenience, etc. It’s one thing to seek out the best burger in town; maybe ask a few people and try a few places to get there. It’s also appropriate to investigate options for, say, your next sinus surgery. You wouldn’t, however, call all the burger joints and surgeons in town, ask how much the burger or surgery costs, then go with the one that tells you the cheapest price, right? Or maybe you would. I don’t know. But let’s assume we agree it’s a bad idea to make an important decision, one that costs you taste buds or money, via a mere phone conversation convincing you of the cheapest price. Oddly, this frequently happens when people choose who to have fix their car.
I get it. You’re just wondering how much a certain repair will cost so you figure you’ll call a few shops, see how much they’ll charge and go to the one that tells you the lowest price. That’s smart shopping…You want the best deal.
But see, you also know a good deal doesn’t come at the cheapest price. Either way, you call around the area and ask, “how much does _____ cost?” Maybe someone tells you a price or maybe..worse..you’re told you need to bring the vehicle into the shop! My goodness, how inconvenient. And I know, annoying. Maybe you get mad. Maybe you get irritated. Maybe you just want to know the dang price because you need to budget, or you need to know what you’re up against, or weigh your options. And maybe it’s all really because you don’t know what to ask. Maybe you don’t understand what it is that separates good auto repair from bad. Maybe you don’t know what goes into it. And you just want your car fixed right at a reasonable price by someone you trust.
So what do you do from here?
We’re the shop that won’t give you a price over-the-phone, without having seen and properly assessed the vehicle. (Note: there are SOME exceptions to this rule, where pricing is more standard). We’re the annoying ones who say, “we’ll have to see it in order to determine how much it will cost to fix it, when’s a good time for you to bring it in?”
Because here’s the thing: we don’t give phone quotes because it’s a bad service to you. Yep, that’s it. It does more harm than good.
Mothers will understand me when I say, “tough love, honey”.
See, and you think the shop that tells you how much _____ is going to cost, without even having seen the vehicle, is the one giving you want you want. But this is one of those times where we have to tell our customers or people calling in asking for a price, “I’m sorry, but you don’t know what you want”. First of all, with all that goes into a repair, from the complexity of moving and related components, to all the different parts, bolts, fluids, etc., it is impossible to know exactly what needs to be done and what needs to be used to accurately fix a problem without physically assessing the vehicle. Shops that give you a price over the phone are trying to give you what you want, and trying to do the right thing. But oftentimes, the price ends up being more in the end, or the shop will eat costs and try to honor the price they told you. Either way, it’s not honest.
Without ever having seen the vehicle, there’s no possible way to know for sure. Vehicles are so complex these days, oftentimes there’s a million things that can cause the issue your car is having. Mechanics now are more like doctors; they have to go through a whole process of diagnosing a problem to determine what needs to be done to fix it! And that takes a lot of time and training. Definitely not something that anyone can do over the phone.
Some might try and think they can. But they can’t. No one can. And no one who knows what they’re talking about attempts to do so.
In order to accurately answer your question, to give you the best possible answer and solution; to help you to the best of our ability, we need to give your vehicle a physical assessment. And this is the best way to shop for auto repair: bring your vehicle in, have them inspect it, and get a proper estimate. This way, too, you can see the shop, meet the people, ask any questions, and decide whether it’s the right shop for you.
Our #1 priority is to provide the best service we possibly can. And in sticking to our ethical standards, we don’t give estimates over-the-phone without having seen and properly assessed the vehicle. Honesty is a commitment we have to you. And honesty, my friends…is priceless.
I hope you’ve learned something.Here’s to informed decisions!