Finding Your “Forever Shop”
““I am moving out of state, where can I find a shop like LexTechs to take care of my vehicle?” I dread hearing this because it pains me when a member of our LexTechs family leaves us. On the other hand, I am deeply honored that we are their gold standard for auto repair.”
Occasionally, a customer will ask me the question that I dread hearing. “I am moving out of state, where can I find a shop like LexTechs to take care of my vehicle?” I dread hearing this because it pains me when a member of our LexTechs family leaves us. On the other hand, I am deeply honored that we are their “gold standard” for auto repair. I like to have fun with them and reply, “The short answer? Sorry, there is no other shop like LexTechs of Atlanta, ha-ha.”
Ironically, about six months ago, I had to wrestle with this very question. The issue of finding a good mechanic out of town was not for me personally, but for my college bound daughter. Most of the schools she was considering are out of state. When the question of what would happen when the vehicle needed service was posed, I simply told her, “Sweetie, I would prefer that you not meet any other mechanics besides me” And I never gave it another thought. In the end, she settled on a school in a region where there are negative temps and heavy snowfall. She will not be taking her vehicle with her. Problem solved.
But seriously, let’s look at this question more closely. It can be very stressful to find a shop that you can trust whether you’re new in town, or simply looking for your “forever shop”. My answer to this question continues to evolve. As we continually work towards giving our customers an experience that makes them want to return, we are learning what may seem attractive to someone who is looking for a repair shop for their vehicle.
Once you’ve done some googling, don’t be afraid to interview a few shops. You can do this over the phone or in person. In fact, I suggest the latter if you’ve got the time. This comes easy to some people. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing more than a few customers coming to us and stating they were tired of dealing with amateurs and ready to find their “forever shop”. Or, they were a little more subtle and began very cautiously and slowly asking detailed and serious questions. But what if this is not something you’ve done before? Maybe it’s out of your comfort zone? I can help.
Let’s start by identifying what you’re looking for. For most people, trust is the main issue when taking their vehicle to an unknown shop. For others; competence, timeliness, or price is important. Some are looking for peace of mind. In my experience, people value convenience very highly, but not at the expense of good workmanship or decent service. Whatever that thing is for you, there needs to be a conversation first. An excellent question for your next potential shop could be: “Why should I bring my vehicle to you instead of Joe Schmoe’s Garage?” Or you could ask “What is your business all about?” Another favorite is “What is the benefit of using your shop?” Just pretend you’re in an episode of “Shark Tank” and YOU are the shark. This is their golden opportunity to “wow” you. At the very least, it’s a conversation starter. This is when they should be telling you all about what they offer as a business. Do they have loaner vehicles? Shuttle service? What is their warranty? Are digital inspections of your vehicle provided? Is there a night drop? Finance options? In other words, have they made it easy for you to do business with them?
Regardless of what questions are asked, you can get a good sense of what the business is all about by listening to the answers and how they are delivered. Also, you can quietly ask yourself 3 questions during your interview.
– Do I like this person?
– Can I trust this person?
– Are they a credible expert?
If these boxes are checked, you’ve probably found your new shop.
A lot of people think the best way to pick a shop is based on price. This will inevitably lead you down a road to misaligned expectations and certain unhappiness. If you look for the cheapest shop, you’ll have no problem finding one. There are multitudes of them. Some of them even exist in the manufacturer’s dealer network. These are the shops that give our industry a bad name. The cheapest shop cannot produce a good result because they will be forced to take shortcuts while repairing your vehicle. These shortcuts include using low quality or used parts, hiring under qualified or incompetent staff, and offering little or no warranty because they can’t stand behind the mediocre repairs they perform. Patronizing these types of shops usually doesn’t put people in the type of relationship they want to be in with their mechanic.
Ultimately, it may require a few visits to your newly found shop to figure out if it’s a good fit for you. Give them a chance to earn your business and your trust. If you feel like you can trust them, and they seem competent, there’s no reason not to let them do what they do best. A reputable shop will hold themselves accountable for their advice and workmanship. And they’ll be appreciative that you gave them the chance.
My name is Matthew Durdin, Service Manager with LexTechs of Atlanta. I want every Lexus or Toyota owner that leaves our shop to feel they have just made a great investment for the future of their automobile. Stop by anytime and let us explain in detail what we recommend for your car as well as address any concerns or questions.
by Matthew Durdin