Don’t choose a shop just because of convenience. Once you have determined that the shop is qualified, Convenience is a plus. But only after has a good reputation and backs up their work with a good warranty. Remember that a good shop may be convenient but the most convenient shop may not necessarily be the best shop for you.
Don’t pick a shop based on “special offers”. OK, we all do it. It seems to be the market trend nowadays. You want your shop to be competitive, of course. But even more important you need to have the job done right. Unfortunately it is all too common for many shops to bring the car in the door with a loss leader and then charge a higher amount as the work progresses. This is due somewhat to the nature of the industry. But, if you see a price that seems unrealistically low it probably is. You will be better off going with a shop that gives you professional service and backs up their work. Quality will win out over low price every time. The savings will come with a longer lasting and more trouble free repair.
Don’t pick a shop just because they look like “good old boys”. Poor choice. Some of those good old boys are great. Others have never moved out of the past and can’t cope with today’s vehicles very well. Get recommendations and proof of qualifications rather than looking for a good old boy shop.
Choosing a shop based on a low “labor rate”. This is one of the worst ways to choose a shop. Price shopping for a service this way just does not make sense. There are just too many variables. Only one of those is the price. And the final price may not be even remotely related to the “labor rate”. If you need an idea of cost just ask for that and not the labor rate. If you base your buying decision on the “labor rate” you may find a shop that gives you a low rate, takes longer and charges you more for the job than you would have paid at a higher rate shop. The end result could be a shoddy job for about the same price as you could have paid for a professional one.
They can get me in right away! Oh really, then they must not be that busy. If that is so then maybe they are really not that good? Sometimes a good shop can get you in quickly. Often they are booked up for a day or two in advance due to their reputation though. This could really backfire on you if you end up in a shop that is never busy because they are doing terrible work. Getting your vehicle back soon is important. But, getting it fixed correctly is even more important. Wouldn’t you agree?
They can get it done right away. A good job takes some time. A good shop can reduce that time but they cannot eliminate it. Most people do not realize the amount of time their vehicles must be in the shop for certain jobs. Choosing a shop based primarily on this criteria is usually a mistake. Some shops will, unfortunately promise anything to get the job. That does not mean that they will necessarily deliver on that promise once the job has started.
They don’t have very many staff or support people so they can charge me less than a shop that does. Again, this reasoning is faulty. Most modern facilities have a ratio of almost one support person to each technician in the shop. This allows the technicians to do the maximum productive work without undue interruptions and distractions. Therefore the entire procedure is more efficient. With too few support people the production staff will spend way too much time doing tasks not directly related to the services or repairs on the vehicles. The end result will often be lower quality work due to interruptions and higher prices because of an inefficient business model.
My neighbor went there and he said they were great. Actually this is one part of a good plan to choose a good shop. However, before you buy into this recommendation ask a few more questions. What did your friend have done? How many times has he been there? If he had any problems how were they resolved? If he went in one time for an oil change and you need a transmission repair, there may be a problem here. Make sure the shop is qualified to do the type of work that you need. And try to find a shop where an acquaintance has been to more than once. Recommendations are an excellent way to find a good shop. Just make sure the recommendation is qualified.