Making people mad with our new policy.

Messages
22,709
Location
Apple Valley, California
Can't win for losing I guess. When a customer calls and wants a Radiator we used to order it from the wherehouse and have it waiting for them when they get to the shop. Due to the 20% restocking fee we can't do this any more. If I order 10 Radiators a day @ $100/ea my cost and nobody shows up we just lost $200 that day in restocking fees! We now require at least a down payment. Same with Radiator rod outs. Pay first. We have many hrs of labor in a bunch of Radiators that never got picked up. Just collecting dust on a shelf and none of them fit anything common. Most customers are not happy with this decision but it's the only way we can keep the doors open to serve the few good and/or understanding customers. Seems like 99% of the customers lately are flakes. shrug Thoughts?
 
Messages
36,537
Location
ME
On the flip side of the coin I had my car in the shop for the e-brake only holding one wheel and they had to special order an adjuster from the dealer. I paid 100% up front. They said they'd call and they never did. I called them two weeks later and they were ??? Next time I was in for an oil change they remembered me and put it in! I wonder if some jerks are getting same day delivery from your wholesaler and buying a cheap same brand rad on ebay or rockauto, then "returning" it when it comes in. Quick, cheap, good, pick any two.
 

Chris142

Thread starter
Messages
22,709
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted By: eljefino
I wonder if some jerks are getting same day delivery from your wholesaler and buying a cheap same brand rad on ebay or rockauto, then "returning" it when it comes in. Quick, cheap, good, pick any two.
We get the switcheroo a lot too.
 
Messages
3,203
Location
Southeastern, PA
Some years ago a I had a local plumber do a job (one I couldn't do). They sent us a bill. Recently for similar work, they present you with the bill (cash, check or credit card) and collect before they leave. Also, for a big job they require a deposit, didn't need that before. I just shrug, it's the new economic reality. If you take a credit card number over the phone, there wouldn't be a delay, right?
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,306
Location
New Jersey
The question really becomes, does someone else offer it different? If someone else is willing to take the risk, and youre not, then they may win customers. They may also loose money because of that risk. But if the suppliers are invoking these fees (likely because of the same reasons, and so theyre passing risk along), then it is what it is. Can you use an alternate supplier? For some more common parts can you take the risk? If someone is a routine customer, would you take the risk? Such a tough thing. But people are very rude and inconsiderate. I dont see how that will change without a major calamity, and even then it may not. I just wish you the best and my only advice, to explain the situation in a few words so those who will hear wont be upset. Those that are arent worth having as customers.
 

Chris142

Thread starter
Messages
22,709
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted By: Rick in PA
If you take a credit card number over the phone, there wouldn't be a delay, right?
Ya...Sorta. Thats a major pain. The CC companies need al kinds of info when doing a phone order. If one number is wrong you get to start all over. A phone order can easily take 30 minutes. Plus people give you a wrong CC number trying to be sneaky.
 
Messages
15,632
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
We require prepayment of anything special ordered. If we have to sent it back to Ford or Mazda we get hit with a 25% restocking fee that gets passed onto the customer. With our vendors that don't charge a restocking fee, if our returns are too high we get nasty letters. We also have a few wholesale customers that we will not take returns from because they use us to find the correct part number, then they buy it from a jobber for less.
 

Chris142

Thread starter
Messages
22,709
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
The question really becomes, does someone else offer it different? But if the suppliers are invoking these fees (likely because of the same reasons, and so theyre passing risk along), then it is what it is. Can you use an alternate supplier? If someone is a routine customer, would you take the risk?
Our only real competition is the large auto parts stores and they often take a few days to order a part when I can have it in an hr. Theres only 2 suppliers around so I really have no choice. No problem ordering stuff for regular customers/ friends. It's mainly the people price shopping that say they are on the way and never show up or call back in 5 minutes asking for the same part.
 

Chris142

Thread starter
Messages
22,709
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted By: morris
chris. i feel lucky to have a good mechanic. looks like you are a good mechanic. we need more like you.
I try. I'm not perfect but I dont burn people. I gotta sleep at night.
 
Messages
25
Location
Northern VA
People are flakey. Do quality work, provide good customer service and you will survive. Mature (emotionally/mentally) customers realize the value of a well run business that provides quality work at a reasonable price. No matter the shape of the economy, you will always have some that are dishonest. Provide an explanation for your policies and "normal" customers will understand. I speak from experience as my wife runs her own business and we have lived these same issues. Good luck and don't give up!
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
46,306
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: Chris142
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
The question really becomes, does someone else offer it different? But if the suppliers are invoking these fees (likely because of the same reasons, and so theyre passing risk along), then it is what it is. Can you use an alternate supplier? If someone is a routine customer, would you take the risk?
Our only real competition is the large auto parts stores and they often take a few days to order a part when I can have it in an hr. Theres only 2 suppliers around so I really have no choice. No problem ordering stuff for regular customers/ friends. It's mainly the people price shopping that say they are on the way and never show up or call back in 5 minutes asking for the same part.
So like anything, relationships are important. Sounds like youre a good guy that has to protect himself. Let the annoying folks go wait two days at the other place. After getting burned once or twice, they may learn and be OK with the prepay. Sounds like youre doing everything right as best as you can.
 
Messages
43,676
Location
'Stralia
My favourite mechanic in town has just put up a sign in the last few weeks "no cheques, and no new accounts, cash or credit card to collect your keys". He's always chockers inside and out. I asked him if the GFC had changed people's behaviours, and it turns out he's owed hundreds of grand by people not paying...they could afford their big TV with their stimulus, but not a fuel pump.
 
Messages
17,954
Location
Silicon Valley
I think this is very reasonable. You have to reduce risk and tell them that you will be charged restocking if customer didn't show up, so you have to get a deposit before ordering or start working. Most reasonable customers would understand. you can't please everyone and get bankrupted along the way.
 
Some customers are not worth the effort. These customers think you cannot live without their business. I spend 80 to 100 grand in Sam's Club each year. If they never saw me again, Wal-Mart would still survive. I understand this. Any customer who's indispensible actually owns your business. If you're in this situation in business, you'll have many sleepless nights.
 
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
It doesn't bother me in the least to prepay on a special order item. As a general rule, with something that's special ordered I'll simply pay the entire cost up front on a credit card that way it's done and over with. Should there be an issue (there never has been) I can dispute the charges. But it affords the business owner a measure of security that I'm a serious customer, not simply someone jerking his/her chain.
 
Messages
932
Location
USA
I think it's becoming more and more common for people want either deposits or full payments upfront. I've found that having long standing relationships with my mechanic, electrician, plumber, and tire shop just make life easier.
 
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