Reader Question: How do I choose a good mechanic?
Dear concerned car owner,
Pay attention to first impressions. Picture yourself on a first date. Imagine that you are a woman and are picked up for a date by a man whose hair is dirty, his shirt is torn, and his car looks like California after an earthquake. You’ve got an absolute slob on your hands. He had better be very entertaining, because that first impression is permanently implanted in your brain.
You probably won’t have a good date, because that image will haunt you all night long. If you like the person enough to contemplate a long-term relationship, this aspect of their personality will certainly be something you will want to consider. Well, hopefully you and your repair shop will also be able to establish a long-term relationship—and even though YOU don’t have to bunk with him, your car will.
So don’t leave your car, a huge investment in your life, in the hands of a slob. I know it is a repair shop and it gets dirty, and yes, many of the employees have to get dirty to do their jobs.
I won’t eat in a dirty restaurant, or take my kids to a school riddled with graffiti-why take your car to a filthy dirty shop?
Let’s face it, cleanliness plays a major role in our lives, and your auto garage should not be an exception. Don’t think that because the shop is a little dirtier or not as fancy as some of the other shops that you will get a better price. I know of a few shops in my city that are very dirty looking inside and out and they charge a higher hourly rate than most other shops.
A new customer of mine told me the other day that the reason she visited a competitor was because they “looked cheap.” She soon found out that looks can be deceiving, and she felt over-charged for service that she had requested. Customers who don’t know what to look for may perceive this shop to be a “good ole boy” repair shop where the mechanics spend all their time working on cars and not on cleanliness. You are probably saying to yourself "I just want my car fixed, why should I care about thier house keeping habits"...you should!
I have heard this is true in certain ethnic restaurants, that the ones with the best food have the dirtiest kitchens. Where's the logic there? So do you believe the service from these shops will be less expensive than the clean and fancy shop with the neon signs and the well-kept lawn? Probably not!
We are looking for a shop that we can call home for a long time. You should feel comfortable in this shop while wearing white tennis shoes or new penny loafers. A clean shop will attract clean and well-educated mechanics, service writers, and any other shop personnel. Dirty shops attract dirty people. We are looking for honest, outgoing, and easy-to-deal-with people who will bend over backwards to please us. These quality people are not working at shabby, out-dated, or untidy shops. Let's see how we can find a quality shop at a fair price that WANTS your business.
Austin C Davis
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