Recently, I had a situation in which my car, a Honda Acura, was making some odd noises. Since I had a feeling this might be something significant, I decided to take it to the dealer rather than my local mechanic. Sometimes you just have to go to the dealer. They have a big showroom, set up with several customer relations people sitting at desks, all very personable. They build up a rapport with customers. Of course, despite the rapport, dealers can be costly.
In this case, I met with a woman in customer service who was very nice, and after someone looked at the car, she gave me a price of $470 to repair the sway bars which were causing the problem. I was honest, and told her that the price seemed kind of high, adding that I had been there a couple of times before. She then excused herself to speak with her superiors, returning with a quote of $100 less. However, they couldn’t work on the car immediately but instead in roughly an hour and a half. I decided, during this time, to check with a mechanic who had also worked on my car several times before. He told me that, even with the discount, the price seemed a bit steep and he could do it for nearly half the cost.
Now I was caught in the middle, in a quandary so to speak.
On one hand the woman in customer service was being very nice and trying to help, while on the other hand the mechanic, whom I trusted from his previously work on my car, was giving me a better price.
Don’t Take it Personally
I called the woman at the dealership to tell her that I appreciated her help but was going to go elsewhere. She wasn’t there so I left a message, then called later to follow up, and when I did not hear from her, I stopped by the dealership.
The problem was, I was thinking emotionally, which was getting in the way of making a logical decision. The woman at the dealership was trying hard to be accommodating, and I appreciated her efforts, especially being a business owner and knowing what it’s like to try to accommodate a customer. However, the mechanic, was offering a significantly lower rate.
In the end, I went with the mechanic.
It’s a Balance
Lower rates vs. trust and honesty. Sometimes you get lucky, and find both, but not always.
We know that in our window replacement business, we’re not the cheapest guys around – we give fair, competitive rates, but there’s always going to be someone cheaper out there. As we’ve talked about before, the question becomes whether the person with the lower price is that someone you can trust. Are they honest? Do they have integrity? This needs to be weighed against the higher cost of the dealer.
You should also factor the focus of person, or business, into the equation. For example, in our business, we don’t do siding, roofing or decks – our focus, (and expertise), is on replacement windows and doors. Likewise, you may find a mechanic who focuses on brake repairs but cannot fix the in-car computer system. In my case the mechanic had a focus on things like sway bars and knew he could do the job.
But sometimes, despite the cost, you just have to go to the dealer.
All the best