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Old 02-05-2016, 02:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Parts Guy Rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xist View Post
Charlie, do virtually all shops mark up parts? A mechanic told me that when I order directly I skip the store mark-up and the shop's mark-up also.

I also shop for the best price!

Then take ten times as long to fix it!

Win!
That was in response to this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Charlie View Post
The invoice from the body shop was stapled to the RO and one of the things I looked for was whether they had the right parts in the first place. They were, but then I saw what they had charged the insurance company: the rack was $175 over factory list price and the pump was $140 over. The body shop got the parts at a discount from the dealer... You can get to $10k without even trying.
Why wouldn't they mark up parts? My paycheck, the computer and phone I use and the inventory I carry cost the store a lot of money. That's all got to be made up somehow or the store closes. Shops I sell to have to spend time looking parts up and maybe going to get them. They're also expected to back the parts they install. All that adds to their cost and it's got to be made up somehow- it's not a charity. But stores will sell to shops at a discount, so a decent shop shouldn't charge the customer more than list price and should still be making money from the part.

Buy parts off the internet, take them to a shop and pay to get them installed. At that point the shop isn't there to do the entire job of sending you off with a completed repair, you're just paying them for their tech's time. What you're skipping can bite you in the ass: Any problem with the job isn't theirs- a wrong part in the box, missing bit of hardware or anything else is on you and their clock is running, also on your dime. If you misdiagnosed the problem, you'll get parts replaced and not get the problem fixed, maybe with an additional problem to go with it. The labor op we use is "Install Customer Supplied Parts" or "Install Special Ordered Parts." The tech can't promise that the switch you ordered will fix your problem, because he didn't diagnose the problem. And at that point I don't care if you want to pay him for diag, you're also buying the parts you told me to order.

Bringing your own parts isn't evil at all, or even entirely disapproved of. If you have something oddball that we don't really want to be involved in, we love it. If there's something really specific you're trying to do and just aren't a wrench yourself, it's fine. If you don't need the car immediately and have some knowledge of what's going on, we're good. We understand and respect people who don't have money to throw around, we're just like that. Where you get hatred and evil thoughts is when you have the I want a Mercedes and I'm only going to pay for a Yugo attitude. An even better attitude is You guys are evil, and I outsmarted you by bringing my own parts! You do realize that I wouldn't trust my life to $20 brake pads and markup isn't the reason I won't sell them?

My favorite part is when people haggle:
$180? I can get it on the internet for $150.
Okay, do it.
Don't you want to be competitive?
The part's on the counter between us. I think I'm in a pretty competitive position.

I can get tires cheaper than that!
We make as much on a $200 tire as we do on an $80 tire. The more expensive tires cost us more.

$180? Can't you do any better?
Sure, $200. I can go higher if you want.

$150 for that? Downtown has it for $50.
You just told me you've replaced it twice this year and came here for better quality.

Yes, I've had all those conversations. I love my job.

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Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 02-05-2016, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is the complaint more about stores marking up parts or shops? You said that stores give garages discounts, so they should not charge more than full price. I will accept that. I will not argue that every part of the supply chain needs to mark up.

I do not know how long it takes shops to find parts, but that would not be included in their labor. When I needed to replace three hoses in the Forester, the mechanic said that the hoses were $300 each. I found genuine Subaru parts for a total of $540. I planned on doing it myself, but decided to have a different place install them, and I liked them so much, I had them do some more work that I had planned on doing myself.

I do not think that I would normally purchase parts myself that I planned on having a mechanic install, but I also do not purchase aftermarket parts without a solid reputation.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I always buy the cheapest brake pads. The difference between the ones the parts counter guy is trying to sell me, and the ones I'm insisting on buying is the "warranty". Other than that, they are absolutely identical. At 2.5x the cost of the cheap pads, they can shove their warranty. It's just an upsell like gap insurance.

I've gone to ceramics, but only because I never want to replace brake pads again. I'll just keep a price watch out on the pads for any new-to-me vehicle, and when it comes time to replace, I'll already have them, and for the same price as the cheapo metal pads.

Also, I don't let other people wrench on my vehicles. There is no way they care as much about doing it right as I do. Sure, there are great mechanics out there, but the majority are poorly paid, poorly educated, and not really interested in the work. The real shame is that mechanics don't have higher prestige and pay.

To make the problem of pay worse; the occupation will be in less demand as technology improves.

Now auto body on the other hand is an art, and I'm no artist.
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Old 02-05-2016, 06:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you want ME to guarantee, the whole job, you buy my parts at the same price you would pay at the counter where I get them, and I guarantee everything for a year no mileage limit.

You bring the parts my labor goes up 25% (the markup you cost me) and my labor is guaranteed. Your part fails, you pay me again.

Seen 4 aftermarket starters fail, then a Nissan lasted ten years. The correct gear reduction starter for the 6 cylinders drew about 165 amps, while the $39.95 ones (direct drive 4 cylinder) drew closer to 300 amps.

You did not hire a parts tester. I could return electrical parts.

regards
mech
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Excessive markup is bad, and it was the body shop marking things up enough to make me blink that brought this up. But... markup is necessary. And yes, every layer needs their markup because every layer has it's own costs. You can bypass those costs if you're willing to bypass the value that those layers add.

What we really don't like is people expecting to get everything for nothing. You don't get the tech to diagnose your problem unless you're paying him. You don't get my help so you can go downtown and buy the part there. And if you casually ask me for the part number as you leave, you'll get a part number. Good luck running to Napa and cross referencing it or googling it and finding someone on the internet to sell it cheap.

That reminds me of one of my favorite recurring phone conversations:
Hi, I'm in the coolant aisle at Pep Boys. What kind of coolant should I buy?
I'm holding a bottle of the right coolant right here.
No, I'm looking at 15 kinds right here, which one?
How should I know? It's their job to tell you which of their coolants is right for you.




I sell the mid-grade pads. I sold silly expensive ones once to a maniac who wanted green ceramics and sometimes the customer's in a rush and we don't have many choices, but those are the only times I go high. Mid grade parts are usually the right move- the same quality as the lifetime warranty ones, and better than the "You want cheap? Okay!" Going cheap doesn't generally save money in the long run and it's not good for the customer. What, you think I'm trying to take advantage of the customers? You can take good care of customers and make money- cheating them is not only not called for, it's a Bad Thing To Do.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 02-05-2016, 11:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I cannot imagine looking up another store's phone number to ask for advice while in their competitor.

This happens regularly?

Wouldn't it be easier to use Google on their phone"
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Old 02-06-2016, 03:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Not for idiots who would make that phone call. I usually end them by saying they can use ice cream (a very tasty coolant) for all I care.

My all time favorite was some years ago. IIRC, the guy on the phone in the parts store fluid aisle had an NV-3500 transmission, which takes a fluid called NV-3500 Transmission Fluid. That's it, that's what it's called. It wasn't ATF or 75-90 or something that you can just grab somewhere. He kept asking "but what kind of fluid is it?" We had an amusing round of Who's on first until he eventually gave up. I left a couple bottles out for the rest of the day in case he came by, but I guess some random fluid was deemed good enough.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 02-07-2016, 02:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Step 1: Purchase tub of ice cream.
Step 2: Drive with the heater on and the windows down, eating ice cream.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Profit!

What happens if someone uses the wrong transmission fluid and who do they blame?
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Old 02-07-2016, 09:55 AM   #9 (permalink)
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They tow it to the dealership and demand that it be covered under warranty, obviously.

In reality, nothing. Usually. Lubricating oils are good at lubricating and coolant is a good heat transfer medium. Most often the fluids are chosen for a specific effect under specific circumstances. Lots of factories changed to 20W engine oil from 30W to gain a half a smidgen more efficiency. You can use either without breaking the engine. But if you have a limited slip differential, you're going to hear the clutches chattering if you don't add the friction modifier fluid. I'm not an engineer, but I don't like hearing noises like that. Coolant flows through several pieces of metal. Aside from heat absorption, there could be issues with electrolysis or corrosion. I don't know, I'm not a metallurgist. I don't care, either. What does it matter to me what can be substituted when I have the factory specified fluids on hand?

When we get an oddball European car coming through, that gets really annoying. I'll waste a lot of time making sure the oil we use meets the OE spec. Hell, just for our own vehicles we've got two different kinds of 5W30 synthetic, in addition to 10W30 synthetic. We also have 0W20 and 5W20, 0, 5 and 15W40 synthetic, all for our own vehicles. There's another kind I don't remember the description of because we've never sold it, but I got a case last fall because I came across something that called for it. And it's different somehow.

I don't know or care about the whats or the whys. I get pissed at people (not customers) who pretend to care, but really don't. They just want The Dealership to tell them that the cheapest fluid at Wally World will be exactly what their car needs- so if their neglectmobile blows up a week later, it's somehow the factory's fault and they can yell about getting a new engine for free.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepdog44 View Post
Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 02-07-2016, 10:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When I wrenched for a living and fixed cars on the side, I split the parts markup 50/50 between myself and my customer. I'd show them what I paid and what they'd have to pay if they walked up to the counter. Never had a complaint.

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