Question:

Q. Can I bring my own parts to a mechanic? I was told recently by one that I
couldn’t, why would he say that?

A.  You should certainly be able to bring them. You’d be welcome here with them,
it’s much simpler for me. I don’t have to wait for a part AND I don’t have to lay
out any money, BONUS! I’ve heard of some shops charging an extra premium on
any parts brought in, (that’s ridiculous to me, it’s less work not more, please)
but at least they let you bring them in. Anyone who doesn’t is just being greedy.
There, I said it!

Question: dontgetwrenched@gmail.com

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About dontgetwrenched

Elayne Kling, was the owner of a downtown Manhattan auto repair shop for 25 years and recently in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, www.ZPAUTO.com. Elayne knows the particular ins and outs of the auto repair world and keeps up her blog because people will always need help navigating the potential pitfalls of that world. Due to the crazy NYC real estate market she has since closed down her shop and started a new business called Projects Unlimited Inc., helping other small businesses. www.projectsunlimitedinc.com
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One Response to Question:

  1. Renee Isley says:

    Greetings Elayne, I have been enjoying your blog right up till I read your reply to this question about customers bringing their own parts to be installed. I also am a woman who along with my husband own and operate our own auto repair business in a suburb of Chicago for 12 years. I have to disagree with you and tell you why.
    First, part of a shop’s profit comes from selling parts. We purchase parts from our vendors at a wholesale rate, then we mark them up when we sell them to the customer. This has been working well for us because we choose NOT to be “greedy” and mark up our prices at an appropriate percentage in accordance to the demographics of our target market. Walmart does it, Target does it, NAPA, AutoZone and Advance Auto all do this. So should independent repair shops. As my husband likes to question the customers that ask this of him, “Do you bring your own eggs to the restaurant for breakfast?” No, of course not.
    Secondly, more often than not, the part the customer wants to bring in may not cure the problem they are experiencing. So if the shop installs the part and the customer is not happy, I certainly would not tell them to bring it back and get it repaired at no charge. A proper diagnosis must be conducted in order to pinpoint the exact cause and what it will take to correct the condition. I have to pay my mechanics to take the time to diagnose it, so the cost of the diagnosis needs to be passed on to the customer. If you want this shop to fix it, you must allow us to discover the cause and find the right part at the lowest price. Saves everyone time and money.
    Finally, we did run into this problem when we installed customer provided parts. The customer comes back, the part is not working right (used, probably), so we have to take the part out, give it to the customer, the customer runs back to the parts store or junk yard they got it from, try to get another, run back to us, and all of this takes so much time and keeps our bay at a standstill. Not at all conducive to getting the daily workload in and out. Or, here’s the other scenario: the part is working fine (or so the customer thinks) so it must have been the way we installed it. Cant be their fault, it is always someone else’s fault. Now you have an unhappy customer with a comeback. Fixing it for free on a comeback, if it was NOT our part, simply does not not instill confidence in customers. Trying to tell the customer at this point it was not our labor that is the problem, it is the piece of crap part they insisted be installed into their car is the problem. The customer does not believe us, and leaves, and we lost future business.
    For these reasons, we do not install ANY part the customer brings in because we are a NAPA Auto Care center and we have to offer our customers a warranty on parts and labor. It is certainly not because we are “greedy”, it just does not make good business sense.

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