Does Anyone Know a Good, Cheap Mechanic?

I’ve seen this question pop up on various social media platforms lately, and I’m often surprised at the comments. I recently had a great conversation, with a great customer, about pricing. He told me that he loved our service, and thought it was high-quality, but he wondered why prices vary so much when calling other shops in the area. My answer lies in value, not price. Let me explain.

When customers compare shops, and other services like a plumber, etc, price often becomes the only question they ask. But price is only one part of the equation. Do you know exactly what you’re getting for the price? Many people aren’t sure what questions to ask to determine the value for their dollars spent. Some key questions to ask, and answers to consider, could be the following:

• Are the technicians ASE master-certified? Are the certifications present and displayed?

• Are the employees at this shop well-paid, and do they have a comprehensive benefits package? Simply put, are you supporting a local business which creates quality jobs?

• What is the shop warranty on parts and labor?

• Is the warranty valid anywhere, or only at the shop where the work is performed?

• What is the quality of the parts installed, and how were they chosen? What brand is that part, or that oil?

• What is the result if this repair is done incorrectly?

These are just a few questions, but there’s even more to consider. The automotive industry is one filled with technology and constant change (self-driving cars are just around the corner). Newer cars (anything from 2000 on) are basically computers on wheels! As such, a shop is responsible for providing the required continuing education and training resources for a technician to stay current and relevant in the field. There’s also tooling, equipment investment, and upgrades for the shop which are all necessary in order to stay “up to speed.” For the shop, staying current in a world of constant change is difficult, and expensive, but ensures the customer’s car is properly and safely maintained. If not, you may end up paying more in the long run when the less expensive “repair” doesn’t actually work.

Customers should consider the environment where their vehicle is being serviced. Is it a clean, organized, safe, and technologically sophisticated environment? Are the needs of the employees being met? For example, many of our customers are pleased when they discover our staff has a comprehensive benefits package. As Ashlanders, and Rogue Valley residents, we value our community. By shopping locally, we support local employees and their families. We help create, and keep jobs in our community.

In summary, we’re talking about price vs. value. Understanding the value of the service you’re getting is crucial when determining whether or not the price is right for you. If you don’t understand why the price is what it is, I encourage you to ask questions. Any well-run shop will be happy to explain to a customer the factors which contribute to the price.

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