Things Dealers tell Customers

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by ak_diane, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    There's no real "profit" in tire mounting (labor)...they're more of a PITA to do than can usually be charged for (especially when it's you whiny/cheap FF's).

    Why would a shop want to pull a mechanic making $15-25/hr, off a job that's paying the shop hundreds or thousands of dollars (and thereby now making that customer upset because his/her bike is not getting worked on), with parts purchased there...so they can install tires that you didn't even buy from them because you were a cheap FF?
  2. pebble35

    pebble35 Long timer

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    Yup - the customer wants to pay £15 for the dealer to fit the tyre and balcance the wheel, but if the dealer puts the slightest mark on his £1,500 carbon fibre rear wheel he wants the dealer to replace the wheel .........................
  3. creggur

    creggur There are no curves here.

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    I dunno - maybe so I'll continue to:
    Bring my bike there for the stuff I can't/don't want to do and pay full shop rates.
    Tell my friends how great their place is to deal with.
    Wander around their parts/accessory area and buy something while I'm there.
    Bring my wife's bike there for service because I don't have time to do it and pay full shop rates.
    Post a great review about their customer service online.
    Tell a few thousand FF's with disposable income how awesome their service/parts operation is, and if they need/want something they should call.
    Maybe buy my next bike there and continue to do all of ^^that^^...


    Basically the same reasons every time a car comes into my dealership we lose money on the oil change, or barely break even on any tire we sell: We want you to come back for brakes, transmission, power steering, and coolant services instead of going to one of the 20 other places in a five mile radius. Or when that check-engine light comes on, or your car won't start, or won't shift out of second gear, or starts making a clicking noise when you turn, you'll call us instead of one of the 20 other places in a five mile radius.
    Maybe if we treat you fairly - instead of attempting to pry every last penny from your pocket on every visit - you'll buy your next car from us and continue to do all of the above...

    You've never owned/run a successful service operation have you?
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    That's BS. Pull a $20/hr mechanic of a $75/hr job to change two tires for $25 each - and if he can do it in under 40 minutes, the dealer is making more than he was on the service work. If the customer brings the wheels in and the junior tech does it in 20 minutes for $35 per wheel, the shop is making really good money. If they're not able to calculate a proper charge for fitting tires that makes enough for the task to be worthwhile, then they shouldn't be running a business. As pointed out by others, the good will alone makes it worth only breaking even on.

    Refusing to fit tires you didn't sell (when you CAN make some profit from doing so) tells me two things:
    1. You're probably gouging people on the price of your tires
    2. You don't understand customer service
  5. cab591

    cab591 Been here awhile

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    :rofl Great stories in this thread. Long post, but here's 3 of my experiences...

    First one was back in 2002, when my mom was trying to buy a new SUV. She was dead set on a brand new Lincoln Navigator, fully spec'd out. She walked into the local Lincoln dealer, cash in hand for a new SUV. That morning, she had been repainting a few rooms in the house, so she was wearing a beat up T-shirt and sweatpants, covered in paint... With 3 kids (10, 12, and 14 at the time) that had just gotten back from soccer / football practice, still covered in grass stains. No other customers in the dealer at the time. All the sales reps were busy watching a basketball game. Prodding around the showroom example for about 30 minutes, nobody even acknowledged we were there. Finally, she went up to the sales reps, told them she was looking to buy. Still, none really did anything. She pulled out an envelope, filled with cash to buy outright. After that, one of the sales reps decided to help. She told them "no thanks", and that she'd take her business elsewhere. Then, she decided she'd try for a Ford Expedition (basically the same SUV). Same clothes, same kids. The sales rep was nice enough, especially with cash on the table. After drawing up a deal on an optioned-out Eddie Bauer edition, the sales rep said something along the lines of "lets talk to your husband about the money..." She made it pretty clear that this SUV was for her, and she would be buying it. Sales rep caught his mistake, apologized, and my mom bought the SUV.



    Second one was more recent (end of 2011). After test driving several cars, I found an '07 Mazdaspeed6 that I liked. First off, the dealer was asking way too much -- $19,000 for an almost 5 year old car. Fortunately I did some research. The car's turbocharged, with a top-mounted intercooler. Running too thin oil causes it to seep past the turbo seals, burning a bit of oil. This causes film around the intercooler seal (where the hood comes down on the intercooler), as well as blue smoke out of the exhaust as the car warms up. When poor oil is used, the car dumps turbo pressure at 4,500 RPM to prevent damage. These symptoms also point to a blown turbo. The sales rep knew pretty much nothing about the car. After walking him through the symptoms of a "blown turbo", and having the local Mazda dealer price out a turbo replacement, I had them drop the price by $6,000 (which put it right around what the car was worth). Happy with the new price, it came time to buy. I was driving an '05 Nissan Altima that I was considering trading in. My family owns a Nissan dealer, so I had a good idea of what they were worth on trade (as well as what they could throw it on the lot for). Dealer offer's me $2,500 on trade. Hell. No. Sold the thing private party for $8,500 (still a little less than it was worth, but I wanted a quick sale), and financed the remaining $4,500. Couldn't believe how much they tried to screw me over...



    Only had one problem with a dealer's service department, and that was when driving said Mazda cross-country last summer. Driving through Dallas at 3 in the morning, in a big downpour. Some jackass decides to merge in on me -- only choice I had was the flooded shoulder. Intake sucked up a bit of water, and fried the mass air flow sensor (MAF). Limped my car to a hotel, and had it towed to a dealer in the morning. They tried charging me out the @$$ for a new MAF. Something like $800 including parts and labor. Talked with the service manager, told him there had to be something wrong. It's 2 bolts to remove, and is right on top -- about 10 minutes worth of work, including clearing the codes. Only way to talk him down was using refurbished parts. No other option, so I spent $200 on a refurbished MAF, hoping it'll at least hold till my destination. I got about 100 miles away before it blew again. Got it to the local dealer, who refused to do the service because it was a speed6, and not a regular mazda6. Service department told me they don't have the tools. :huh Wound up having to do some parking lot diagnostics. The MAF was shorting out, throwing bad codes, putting the car in limp mode. If I got the codes cleared, I could drive until the turbo dumped, then it'd go back into limp mode. Got the codes cleared at Autozone for free, pulled off my entire intake, and ran it slow (not letting the turbo spool). The nearest "speed"-authorized Mazda dealer was the one that did the bad MAF replacement. The next nearest was 300 miles away, a few miles from my end destination. They had just opened a month ago, and I explained my situation. I was essentially limping in, wouldn't get in until late that night. The service department got the owner on the phone, and it was probably the best experience I've ever had. The owner said he'd leave the gates open for me, and to just bring it in whenever I got there. Gave me a number to reach one of his employees -- if I made it to the dealer, I could get a ride to my destination. If I didn't make it, they'd send a truck out to tow me in. 6 hours, and 300 miles later, I made it in to the dealer. Parked it in service, got a lift. They put my car as top priority, replaced the MAF for the dealer cost of the part, and $20 for labor. I was good to go early that morning. Best service I've ever had. Since I was going to be in town for the next week or so, I took my car back to them, and had them do a full inspection. Told them to replace absolutely anything that was going out, or looked like it might go out soon. Glad to give them the business. :thumb
  6. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    No...after 4 years of owning/running an off road business, we had to close because I was always too willing to stop work on the big/high paying jobs so I could take care of all the annoying PITA's with their unprofitable tire mountings and such. But I sure was busy :deal

    You've never run a successful automotive/motorcycle service operation, have you? :rolleyes
  7. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    If...if...if...

    You're the same FF who would pitch a fit (and bad mouth the bike shop here) when they said "Sorry mister FF, but your bike isn't ready when we said it would be...we pulled the mechanic working on your bike to mount some tires for another FF who showed up with tires he bought on the interwebz. I'm sure his good review of us will cancel out your bad review of us."

    Just to clarify, in your opinion "You don't understand customer service". It's my opinion that you don't have a fucking clue what it's like to run a motorcycle shop.
  8. creggur

    creggur There are no curves here.

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    Sounds like you really valued your customers...

    Nope, just successful automotive operations for the past 15 years. But I've dealt with successful moto shops that somehow figured out how to make it work...without gouging my eyes out over something simple. Their doors are still open - even as rough as the industry has had it the past four years - must be doing something right. Oh, maybe they value/appreciate EVERY customer that chooses to darken their doors...

    BTW it's not about dropping everything to provide low-margin services for every price-shopper that calls or drops in - it's about setting the customer's expectations up front, being honest, following through on what you promise, and sometimes going the extra mile for someone (especially if they are in a bad situation (broken down or stranded)).

    I have no idea how you ran your business, and I'm genuinely sorry it didn't work out - nothing saddens me more than someone having to shutter their dreams - but it sounds like you considered many of your customers to be nothing more than a Pain In The Ass...not a formula that generally works out long-term.
  9. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

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    If you're suggesting I have never run a motorcycle shop, you're correct.

    I can tell you with absolute certainty, however, having seen a significant number of motorcycle (and car) service operations come and go. Everybody knows the ones with the best customer service, and the best attitude - and those are usually the ones that succeed.

    I would not expect anyone to drop what they were doing to mount my tires. Nor would I want them fitted at a loss to the shop. However, I would not expect to be told to sod off when my tires could be fitted just as profitably as the service work. A good service manager will know which jobs could be delayed to attend to a "walk-in" customer and when/how to politely inform that customer that there will be a delay.

    We're obviously not going to agree on this - and you've probably got better things to do than debate on the interweb with someone you're not making any money from.
  10. bwalsh

    bwalsh Long timer

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    :huh

    I really don't want to get involved in a pissing match but I have to say your conflicting(IMO) statements don't add up.
    I think you answered your own question(to satisfy your theory) and according to your post, you did the exact thing you are saying business's should not do and it caused you business to shutter it's doors... :huh

    Most places aren't going to stop what they are doing and jump on any walk in work unless they either have an extra employee standing around or are having a slow day.
  11. creggur

    creggur There are no curves here.

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    Exactly! We try our best to accommodate them, but they understand up-front if our shop is full of appointments they may be waiting awhile... He'll, I'll give them a ride to get lunch or wander the mall instead of sitting in the waiting area watching the clock...
  12. GI_JO_NATHAN

    GI_JO_NATHAN Long timer

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    The independent shop that I used to use (which unfortunately had to close it's doors) had no problem putting tires on for me. He understood that I did all the work I felt comfortable doing. Which mounting tires wasn't one of. I in turn understood that he had other customers. So I would drop my tires off in the morning, and he would get around to them whenever he found the time. Then I would pick them up in the afternoon.
  13. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    Y'all are doing it wrong...
    Hire a kid for minimum wage and teach him a skill - tire changing.
    Then you give him a bonus of $10/tire he changes that doesn't have a 'comeback'
    He will not only change as many tires as he can, he might even get his friends to come in too.
    You charge $30/tire and keep $20 (costs didn't increase because he was the shop kid already)
    *all rates based on SFBAY CA shop rates of $100+/hour - adjust as needed for your region
    Before you know it, he's your most profitable 'mechanic' in the shop.
    Then you use him to detail bikes, change tires, replace bulbs, etc... as he learns a trade while making you money.

    Get a kid with the right attitude and personality and word will get around. I've paid for several tire changes and never once did a mechanic get pulled but every once in a while a mechanic that had nothing to do did it. More often though, it was the kid that just put down the broom and had a big smile on his face because he got to play with the tire machine.

    Oh yeah, I was that kid back in 1988 at a gas station doing car tires, patching, replacing and eventually balancing. I also changed spares at no charge to the customer per the shop but often got a tip from the 'customer'.
  14. single

    single Been here awhile

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    I just skipped from page 1 to page 29 and noticed the conversation was still mainly about tire mounting... Don't think I will read in between... :eek1
  15. GI_JO_NATHAN

    GI_JO_NATHAN Long timer

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    But then you'd miss out on the FWD, 4WD beat a dead horse athon..
  16. Buzz363

    Buzz363 Been here awhile

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    trc, I was that kid in a garage in 1981 to 83 pumping gas, changing oil, tires, helping with tune ups and cleaning the shop. Jobs like that are few and far between now as we have quick lubes rather than corner gas stations.


    It seems most motorcycle shops have bankers hours As a parent I don't think I'd encourage my kid to go that route full time although everyone's dream is different. Evenings and weekends though it would be a great job.
  17. trc.rhubarb

    trc.rhubarb ZoomSplat!

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    Everyone needs a job while they figure out what they want to do when they grow up... or while going to college :D

    Hard work builds character and respect for those that choose to do it for a living. My dad was self employed and made me do all the worst jobs to show me why I wanted to stay in school. I'm not self employed but I do intend to have my child work her butt off for things when the time comes. She can get a good glimpse of what it's like in the working world and decide for herself where she wants to go.
  18. GoNOW

    GoNOW Long timer

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    Changing motorcycle tires is nothing like car tires.
    I used to teach a collage level automotive class to do quick services. I can do an oil change, full inspection (brake pad thickness, every hose checked, battery tested and checked, etc) and tire rotation in 12 minutes. And I can teach any motivated high school kid to do the same.

    Street bikes are a PITA.

    Step 1) Figure out how to get the tire in the air. When you work on every make and model of bike, this is always different. Bodywork under most street bikes will prevent you from getting any kind of lift or jack under it. Big cruisers will often have an oil pan or exhaust hanging below the frame. So then you have to use the overhead hoist, lifting from the handle bars, passenger foot pegs, etc all while not scratching the paint or chrome.

    Step 2) Remove the stuff to get the tire off. Be it bags, brake calipers or entire exhaust systems. Then if it's shaft drive, you may have to remove the tire from the final drive, or remove the entire final drive with the tire still attached And be mindful of all the spacers that will need to go back in the right order. They may not have come out in the right order.

    Step 3) Removing the tire from the rim and mounting the new one. Sometimes easy, sometimes not. If it's a painted rim, then you have to be very careful not to leave a single mark on the rim. Many of the Harley rims have a weak layer of chrome with a clear coat of paint over it. The chrome will often let loose before the paint will and take off a 2" strip of chrome. Then you have to buy them an entire new rim/hub/spokes. Some cruiser tires have absurdly thick sidewalls, along with spokes, a tube, and poorly painted rims. We once had 3 techs working on getting 1 tire on the rim because it was being such a pain.

    Step 4) Balance. The Harley worth 20k will run the cheapest tires. The balance machine will show that it needs 5 ounces and that is really too much weight to put in one spot. So you will have to pop the tire off the bead, rotate the tire on the rim, air it up again, and try again.

    Step 5) Installing it back on the bike. Making sure to get all the spacers and brake caliper bracket in line as you slide the axle in. Then adjust the chain, check the brakes, clean the blood off, whip the chrome/paint down, and return to the customer who is wondering why it takes so long.

    Sure. We could cut corners and do it cheaper, but that's not us and we will not work that way. When something with chrome rolls in the shop, the best techs take care of it because the risk of a junior tech scratching the paint is too high.
    The shop down the street charges less then we do, so we still have to complete with them. The cost in labor it takes to mount one difficult tire seems to balance out the money we make from doing several easy tires. But I am not in charge of the books, so I don't know for sure.

    Dirt bike ties are mostly easy. Your going to be in a fight when someone brings in a 10 year old Maxxis tire on a rim with 2 rim locks, with a tube that is too large for the tire so it wants to pinch, but at least you can man handle it on. Most of the tires do go on and off relatively quick and easy tho, so we make money on them.
  19. GoNOW

    GoNOW Long timer

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    How about a things customers tell dealers.

    Ring Ring:
    Me: Hello, (insert motorcycle shop name here)
    Her: How much to fix a tire?
    Me: What kind of bike is it on?
    Her: A dirt bike, and I don't want to spend a lot of money.
    Me: If you bring the rim and tire off the bike, it's $20 in labor. Depending on the problem with the tire, you might need a patch or a new tube, or a new tire, so that will be extra.
    Her: So it's $20 out the door for all the tires then?
    Me: No, it's $20 per tire for the labor. What you will need to fix the tire will be additional.
    Her: So for 2 tires it would be $40 total then?
    Me: For the labor, yes. But you will likely need new tubs, and maybe some rim tape, so that will be additional.
    Her: But you said it was $40 total. I am on a tight budget so I need to know exactly.
    Me: No I did not. I said it was $40 for the labor. If you know the size of the tires, I could look up tube prices and get you a better quote. But you still might need rim tape, have loose or broken spokes and other things that add cost.
    Her: So it's $40 for both tires then?
    Me: For the labor, yes. (I gave up at this point)
    Her: OK

    Someone, not her, drops off two tires the the guy at the counter explains that two tubes will be needed and they are an extra $10. Bringing up the total to $60. He said that will be just fine. The tires are fixed.

    Before they are picked up, the word of the extra $20 for tubes gets back to the lady and she calls me up. She was irate that I didn't quote her the right price and she has to pay $20 more then the $40 I told her to it would cost. She beat up on me for a good 5 minutes, but said she would pay my overcharges.

    The part that made it all better was when the guy came to pick up the tires, we asked him if at anytime we where not clear on the price and told him about the phone call. His responsive, "Everything is fine, she is just a b*tch.".
  20. bobnoxious67

    bobnoxious67 Baby steps...

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    Customers in bad situations (and with good attitudes who don't walk in demanding you drop everything to service their needs) is way different.

    No, I did not treat my customers like they were a PITA...I closed very busy, with people in line, having to disappoint and turn people away. One man show, too willing to "drop everything" to help out the guys who "were in a bind"...just didn't make enough money to cover the overhead (unless I wanted to live at the shop and wreck my marriage).

    There should be a happy medium here between a business owner's need to be able to do what's right for his business vs. what the "customer" feels he deserves.