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Old 04-18-2013, 10:41 AM #1
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Why some shops are more expensive

I have often been asked, "why are you more expensive than that other place?". Or, "why can I buy that cheaper somewhere else (online)?".

Here's a little explanation of why some specialty shops or vendors cost more than others. It's the little things. People today are more educated or informed because of the wonders of technology. Whether its television, internet, or some other form of communication such as online forums. People can attain the knowledge of how to do something. Or they can see what is possible with experience.

Lets chat "retail". You can most likely buy something online for cheaper than buying the same product in a brick and mortar store. You won't have to pay sales tax, if it's out of state. You can usually get it shipped to your door for free (Amazon). When you do this, you have probably done a lot of your own "research" online. You've learned about the product you're buying. You've gotten "reviews" from others about that product. Online retailers don't have to do anything with your order other than process it through a computer. There is very little overhead, if any, for customer service. Online retailers look to move quantity. Some don't even have to stock any inventory (Amazon).

This is where brick and mortar stores come in. They provide customer service. They have the experience with that product and can answer any of your questions intelligently. Or should be able to. Customer service goes beyond just answering questions. They provide a connection between you and the product. Whether it's after the sale with warranty concerns or during the sale if it involves installation. It's a service. And that deserves some recognition. We are assuming here that the representative is knowledgable, courteous, and friendly. If they don't have those qualities, walk of that store and buy it online. If they can't provide that customer service, they should not get paid for it.

Now let's chat about "service" or "installation". What makes a shop a specialty shop. Long story short, they should have better qualifications than your average repair facility. Do they have experience? Are they familiar with product installation? How do they treat your vehicle when it's in for service?

What comes to mind are alignments. In particular, lifted truck alignments. A shop has to have experience with doing them. You can not align a modified vehicle to factory specs. Well, you could, but it would not be in the best interest of the vehicle or tires. There are also ways to align a vehicle without "properly" aligning it. For those that are familiar, it's called "set toe, let it go". This is when caster/camber settings are "close" enough to factory specs.

I will not even begin to explain the differences of pricing when it comes to demographics. I believe my audience knows the difference between living in a highly populated metropolitan area and a farm town with more cows than people.

Here's a recent timing belt service done at our shop. It is a modified 4th gen with a Shrockworks bumper and a lift kit. Our tech has taken the time to mask the bumper so that our air hose and other tools do not damage any paint. You'll also see a foam piece protecting the A/C condenser and radiator from any potential damage from having to lean over the grill/brush guard. Some people may think that we're doing this to CYA. And it is. But it's also because we care. It is now more difficult to perform a standard timing belt/water pump replacement. So there is some slightly added labor to a standard timing belt repair. Nothing extreme, but a few bucks to protect your investment.
Why some shops are more expensive-henessey-001-jpg

This isn't all just to "toot" our own horn. I just wanted to take the time to explain why everything isn't the same price everywhere you go.

Oh, and next time you want to go out to eat...find a mom and pop establisment. Not your typical "big box" restaurant. Chances are, you'll get better food, better service, and an overall better experience. Plus, you'll be supporting a local business.

Last edited by Ducmonsta; 04-18-2013 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 10:56 AM #2
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but why pay a shop when my 5' 4" wife can do it even with a 3" lift. I guess there's no bumper bar in the way though..
Why some shops are more expensive-img_0867-jpg

Why some shops are more expensive-img_0866-jpg

Why some shops are more expensive-img_0868-jpg

sorry had to do it, I definitely understand overhead and quality service. But I think your speaking to the percentage of people that don't service their own vehicles so I just wanted to play lol.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:40 AM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aha2988 View Post
but why pay a shop when my 5' 4" wife can do it even with a 3" lift. I guess there's no bumper bar in the way though..

sorry had to do it, I definitely understand overhead and quality service. But I think your speaking to the percentage of people that don't service their own vehicles so I just wanted to play lol.
Nice! Is she looking for a full time position?
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:45 AM #4
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Originally Posted by Ducmonsta View Post
Nice! Is she looking for a full time position?
haha She's good at cleaning the engine, not so much at the wrenching part. I just took those pics while she was cleaning out the timing case that was caked with mud before I put in a new timing belt.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:15 PM #5
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I know that @Ducmonsta aka Bobby wasn't trying to "toot his own horn" but the points he makes are spot on. Since he is a humble guy and probably won't go on about a bunch of success stories, I will post up my experience:

When I finally got my Shrockworks a couple weeks ago, I gave Bobby a call and scheduled an appointment to have them chop the factory frame rails and weld on the end caps provided by SW. I also had a panhard drop bracket that I was going to have them weld on because I'm running the taller LX450 coils in the rear. The first sign that I had called the right place was that he knew exactly what I was talking about and exactly what needed to be done (I didn't call around or anything but I'm pretty sure that most shops would have no clue what I was talking about).

Fast forward to the day I brought it in. Their shop was about a 45 minute drive for me so I decided to just wait with my truck. Before they even started the install, Bobby came up and asked me if I really wanted them to install the panhard drop bracket. He brought me into their shop (which was super nice BTW!) and explained that my panhard bar angle actually wasn't too bad and that unless I was having issues with the panhard bar hitting the gas tank skid (which I wasn't) then the bracket wasn't really necessary. In the end, I decided to have them hold off, at least for now. Right off the bat, I was extremely impressed with how knowledgeable he was, and even more impressed with his honesty! I know that most shops would have just welded it on and gladly taken my money, but Bobby went out of his way to show and explain that it isn't really necessary even if it ended up taking some $$ out of his pocket.

Side note: During the wait, I got a chance to chat/BS with Bobby about Toyota's and T4Rs (he has a 5th gen but previously owned a 3rd gen). It was awesome to talk to someone who is as passionate about our trucks as I am.

When my truck was done, Bobby took me out to the shop again to inspect everything and make sure I was satisfied with the result. I was completely satisfied! The welds were nice an clean and they even put a couple coats of black paint over the bare metal, which really isn't a big deal, but I wasn't expecting it, so it was nice to see.

Finally, when I went to pay, he handed me an inspection sheet. I didn't know this, but they perform a thorough inspection of every vehicle that comes into the shop, regardless of the work being performed. Again, this is not something that I was expecting, so it was great to see the time and care they put into every vehicle they work on.

All in all, I had a great experience and I would highly recommend them to anyone and everyone. They do pretty much any/all regular maintenance, but also specialize in off road vehicles so you know the job will be done right the first time. Are they a little more expensive than an average shop? Yes, but it is absolutely worth it because Bobby and his guys at High Tech take a little extra time and go out of their way to make sure the job get done correctly and cleanly.

I will close by saying that I am one of those people who prefers to do most of the work on my truck myself, but I also know that I am limited by knowledge, experience, and the tools that I can afford. So, when I have to take my truck somewhere to have work performed, I would much rather spend a little extra money to take it to a shop like High Tech where they will go the extra mile and treat my truck like it's one of their own.
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Last edited by 4ever4running; 04-18-2013 at 01:20 PM.
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