Examining Auto Repair Pricing: The Value of Honesty

Happy Customers - Airdrie Alberta Auto Repair

Our industry is funny one. While most people understand that regular maintenance costs are a normal part of owning a vehicle, the average customer doesn’t exactly look forward to spending money on servicing their car. (I have a friend who works in a golf store; many of his customers are thrilled to spend their money with him, lucky guy!) Because of this, we receive many inquiries from customers about pricing.

In an attempt to determine how expensive we are, (or aren’t), most customers ask about our labour rate. This is when we try to illustrate the difference between price and value. Price is measured in dollars and cents and easy to understand. Value, however,  is a little trickier. Let’s dig deeper.

At first glance, our labour rate looks about the same as most local auto repair businesses. However, because we do not charge a “shop supplies” fee on top of the labour rate, our effective labour rate is already $10-15 lower than most competitors. There are also many other factors that affect the overall value – see “What is your labour rate” in our FAQ section for more on this.

I want to talk a little more about one of these factors: honesty.

This week, a customer brought us an estimate from another auto repair business. They had been quoted around $2500 for a list of repairs and services required to bring their vehicle up to mechanically 100%, and were wondering if we could offer a better price for these repairs. As it turns out, we could; but not for the reasons you might expect. When all was said and done, we got the customer’s vehicle to 100% mechanical condition for around $1300.

It’s important to note that with the 6 items we repaired on this vehicle, we only saved the customer around $100 over what they had been quoted previously for these 6 specific repairs. So where did the other $1100 in savings come from? This is where the honesty factor comes in.

We did not perform 5 of the repairs listed on the customer’s original estimate. These were two maintenance services that had been recommended well before the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule called for them; one repair that had been recommended as a result of a misdiagnosis and would not have fixed the customer’s issue, (we made an adjustment that corrected the problem); and two other repairs that (in our opinion) were not required at all.

We hope that this example helps to illustrate the real value that an “auto repair business that really cares” can offer you.

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