Where will you take your car to be serviced, repaired or MOT`d next time? How do you decide? Friends recommendation, internet search, local paper or it doesn`t really matter, as all garages have high standards and do the right job at a fair price. Would you let anyone babysit your children? would you share your banking passwords with a stranger? would you throw your hard earned cash down the drain? I think not. My car is like my baby, it`s as personal as my bank account and I watch every pound I spend on it. I have put a few ideas together that might make your choice easier next time.
Finding a Garage;
Carry out an internet search of garages in your area, if in doubt use Autocare or Approved Garages as key words on a search engine. Has a garage got a website? are they members of an association or scheme? Do they state any terms or conditions? Are there any negative reviews on feedback? Are their staff skilled? Are they insured? Do they offer a warranty? sometimes warranties do not cover 100% of the failure. What happens if the job goes wrong? Are they an MOT station? These are all considerations I would be making, or would end that site visit and move on to the next. If a business doesn`t make the effort to have a website are they the sort of business that you want repairing your car. After making your choice you may be able to make an internet booking, I prefer to telephone. How long did it take to answer the phone? Was it answered mannerly and professionally? A bad telephone manner could result in bad repair manner, there`s no excuse for poor customer relations. It`s still not too late to say no thank you and put down the phone.
Estimate or Quote;
Ask for an Estimate or quote over the phone. Remember an Estimate is only a guide, the repair invoice could be 10%-15% higher or lower. A Quote is the price to do the exact job and the garage can not charge any more. Just ask for an email confirmation before booking. How was the garages attitude when asked for a quote? or asking to email it. Bad attitude, no means or knowledge to email; is this the right garage to use. It`s still not too late to say no thank you and put down the phone.
Please! Please! Please! always follow this procedure to get the correct cost. Firstly ask how long the said repair or service will take. Secondly and most importantly ask their Hourly labour rate. Thirdly are there any chargeable extras to complete the job. In my experience some garages (even small ones) advertise a rate to get a customer in and then charge what they can get away with, so be warned, check the labour rate. Ask the price and the quality of parts used, the same parts are available as cheap poor , mid range to quality standard. How long is the work guaranteed for? and what does the guarantee cover. Be warned do not pay top price for poor quality parts that could lead to premature failure. Some garages may subsidise a lower labour rate by overcharging on their parts. It`s still not too late to say no thank you and put the phone down.
The day of repair
On arrival at the garage,look around the outside areas is there a parking space are the areas tidy? (no scrap cars and rubbish) what is the reception like, is it tidy,manned and are there any trade certificates on show? Are the mechanics wearing clean overalls? How was your greeting? was it polite and courteous? Walk around your vehicle and note its condition, take photos even if the car is immaculate.Record the mileage. If in doubt ask to look around the garage. It`s still not too late to say no thank you and drive away.
Collecting your vehicle;
Ask if there were any problems with the car and if all went straight forward. Don`t forget to get the service book stamped if the car had a service. Before payment check that the final invoice is the same as the estimate or quote. Make sure you have a fully itemised invoice and do not settle for cash payment, an invoice is your proof of that work. If there was an issue at a later date it could well be denied if an invoice can not be produced and a warranty then voided. Ask to see the old parts that were taken off, it has been known for filters to be charged for and then not fitted.Check the interior and exterior for cleanliness and damage, check that the mileage has not drastically increased. Raise any issues before leaving the garage, damage and cleanliness could be difficult to prove later. If driving quality is poorer after the work has been carried out, arrange to take it back for investigation.
Please do your homework and find the right garage. A small garage does not automatically mean it is cheaper or gives a better service. All garages what ever the size have overheads to meet. In my opinion medium size independent garages employing more staff are better value for money. They give a better service as the extra staff allows for holidays, sickness and training. Smaller garages generally find training difficult to attend as it means their garage has to be closed.
A J Reynolds Car and Truck Services are a repair garage in Frome, Somerset and was established in 1991 and are members of Autocare, Approved garages and TopTruck. We offer a free independent dispute resolution company to show how confident we are of delivering first class service. All jobs are estimated before booking and if further works are found the customer is contacted with the extra costs. Extra works will not be carried out without the customers authority. All work is covered by a warranty.