As the mechanics wife, I do lots of greasy filthy laundry. I wash all his clothes in Purple Power, my favorite grease getting solution (sold at hardware stores if anyone is interested – will get grease and oil off almost anything). Yes, you get odd looks at the laundromat when pouring a gallon of degreaser in the washer, but I’m over that.
However, I decided it would work to wash the shop rags. I took the bags of dirty little red rags that had been used to wipe oily hands, clean up small spills and about any nasty use for them that the guys in the shop can come up with. There wasn’t anyone there when i loaded them in the washer (thankfully!) and I poured in the Purple Power , put the quarters in and set back to relax for a moment. The black water the ran down the little round window had me looking around to ensure i was still there alone. The washer did its best , washing and rinsing and spinning and still the black water swirled around. The cycle finished and i began pulling them out to be dried. They were quite clean, However, the washer – not so much!!
The entire window and rubber seal was coated with a quarter inch of sludge ( would not wipe off with a paper towel i might add) The entire drum was slimy and a funny black gray color. With no solution, i pushed my little buggy of clean rags over to the dryer. As i was loading up the dryers in walks a lady with her nice big comforters. After a moment of panic, i just calmy suggested she didn’t use that washer, it didn’t work quite right. she informed me she needed all the large washers. I tried again , i said it seemed to be not very clean and didn’t wring out very well. ” I need all of them, I have 4 big blankets” and she started putting a blanket in it. She must have been blind to not see the black on the window. My solution, put quarters in the dryer, and quickly and quietly walk out the door .
I told my husband to have one of the guys go get the rags at the laundromat in an hour when they would be dry.
“There are times when using a technician to help close a sale makes sense. Sometimes the customer is skeptical, and using technicians as a “technical tag” can be very powerful. learn this technique and use it on those tough sales” – If that paragraph made you go huh?, why does a repair shop need to convince someone they need something fixed?, we agree!! That statement is part of a newsletter sent to us by a well known auto repair management system. If you think its a little scary, we agree.
Lets back up a bit and let me introduce myself. I am wife of a mechanic who 6 years ago decided to quit his job of 20yrs and open his own auto repair shop. He has been working as a mechanic since he was 18, so he has a ton of talent but has never owned and run his own business. I have worked in the construction field for the last 20 years and likewise have never run a business. We also have never really been consumers in auto repair as he has always done our work. Everyone has heard the stories about how crooked the business is, but we assumed it was a bit over dramatized. We officially stand corrected.
Once we got started we decided to go to a management success weekend seminar to get some tips on being business owners. Yup – we got tips and left the weekend thinking to ourselves – We’re never doing that!! Tips of how to never give prices over the phone, need to get the customer in the shop and then explain how it really needs to be done before they leave, it can’t be driven this way bullshit. The realization that people were paid commissions to convince people to do other work to their car when it only came in for brakes. Definitely a rude awakening for how the business of auto repair is inherently dishonest.
These rude awakenings were solidified by some of the vehicles that came into our shop and the stories there owners told us. For example when my husband informed a customer he needed new tie rods. The customer said – oh no, those are brand new, just had them done last week. To make a long story short, a call was made to the previous garage and the response was – Oh, we forgot to tell him we didn’t do that yet as the parts didn’t come in in time. The however didn’t forget to charge him and send him on his way.
I guess we grew up too poor and working to hard for our money to take advantage of people and “convince” them to spend their hard earned money on repairs they don’t actually need. We’ll probably never get rich because we’re too honest but we can go to sleep at night. The best advice we can give – Find a mechanic you can trust and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
Thank you for hanging in during my rambling. The hope of this blog is to maybe make you laugh sometimes, give some good advice on occasion, and give some insight on the auto repair business from a female perspective.
I have had some female impact on our shop already. I don’t like crack. Ass crack is bad. So if a person is working in our shop they must keep their pants pulled up. I am doing what I can to protect other woman from being exposed to crack and will continue on this crusade forever.