This thread is all about 'business,' and not auto mechanics, so I'll spare you the technical details.
Suffice it to say that my truck began to run poorly nearly a month ago, and last week the situation became intolerable. I went to the usual mechanic, who identified a part ... the part was ordered, and installed a week ago. The problems seemed worse - much worse ... yet, an unrelated minor glitch was fixed!
The mechanic, as were several others, was 'all booked up,' well into next week. My truck is my livelihood, and I could no longer wait. So, I got up my nerve and approached a certain shop that had all the hallmarks of big expense: fancy uniforms, huge sign, lots of lights, brand name, and a focus on trucks less than 5 year old. (Mine is almost old enough to vote!)
I was greeted with a 'yes, we can look at it today.' I was given an estimate for the diagnosis. I noticed a 'shop rate' that was 30% higher than most shops in town.
The problem was found, and fixed. The total expense wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected. I noticed very little mark-up on the parts. There was no 'nickel and dimeing' me with miscellaneous charges for 'shop supplies' and such.
Getting service when I needed it was worth something. Having a proper diagnosis done is worth something. Having the problem fixed is worth something. Getting my confidence back in my truck is worth something.
Where the business 'dropped the ball' was in the way they had scared me off ... leaving me to flounder amongst the multitude of lesser businesses. The experience has me examining my assumptions.
I wonder how many of us, in the ways we run and present our businesses, are also scaring off customers - or, at least, failing to get our message through to them?
Therre are business lessons in my truck repair story.
I suppose that's where the shop put me off for all these years ... I saw a 'flash and jive' hustle, when they are no such thing!
Indeed, what I found was a very competent, very reasonably priced shop.
Ever have someone approach you for a 'side job,' simply because they assume the company would not be interested in their 'little thing?' Or, experience their delight when they learn that, yes, you do 'little jobs' as well as the 'big' ones?
If you can't afford to fix it right how can you afford to fix it again.
How true that is.
Double DITTOm here.
Now the thorne! I do "side work" and quite a bit of it. I don't feel bad or ashamed. I charge the going rate for the resi guys in my area,am fully Insured and licensed.
The reason I do (aside from good money). These guys (understandably so) can't make a days pay on these jobs, therefore can't be botherd, with changing out MRS Jones' dinning rm fixture. or repairing that door bell. SOOO here I am. Booming!!! Very proud of it!!! I advertise for small jobs, estimates (most) over the phone and night/ weekend hours.
EDIT: most service work, mark up can be over 100% and nobody blinks. I saw a niche and pounced on it. No appologies or regrets!
Leland, you have no appoligies to make, do a good job at a fair price and people will notice. Fully 80% of my work is old work and service work, the total cost of most of my jobs is less than 500 dollars, yet I still can make a living.
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
That's one point that was raised by my truck repair experience. I would have tried this guy years ago, had I but realized he had something to offer me. Had his 'message' got through my personal "spam" filter, he would have been my first choice - rather than my last.
While I do not intend to open the whole 'side work' debate ... real businesses have to also recognize the reasons the customers might not think to call them. Part of this is 'focus;' I see far too many firms claiming to do everything. Mrs. Smith doesn't want you to 'do everything;' she wants the ceiling fan hung.
One guy here has his phone ringing, and trucks rolling, even in 'slow' times. One of the reasons? He realized that customers could care less about code - but are mighty impressed that his guys wear booties, lay out tarps, and are meticulous in their clean-up. His guy might be the dumbest electrician in town - but he looks professional (rather than the Manson Family reject who works for a competitor). Just as important, he stresses these 'soft' issues in his advertising.