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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to here both sides of this issue.

A brief back ground on me before i start. I work full time as a manufacturing engineer and i own a small automotive machine shop i run part time. My prices in my shop are about average for the area i live in. Some are higher then my competition some are lower. but all of them are right in the ball park. I am thinking about going full time with my shop in maybe 5 years or so. So i price the jobs like i need to do it full time. I don't undercut them just to get the work even though i could because i don't need the income to survive........

Here is my issue that i just started thinking about. I have a prospective new customer to do a block for. He asked me if he can bring his own parts. I got to thinking about this and it kinda ticked me off. Me and cstraub just had this conversation this week and like he said you would not go into a steak house with a piece of meet you bought at wall mart and ask them to cook it for you,,, Would ya????? The deal for me is how do i tell him in a nice way that i really don't want to use parts that he is going to buy somewhere else????

I understand everyone is on a budget. I don't have $100 bills flying out of my butt either, but you are talking $35.00 worth of cam bearings and freeze plugs for crying out loud.....

When i built my shop i wanted to do all the work my self but did not have the time. So i got prices on poll buildings. I did the site work and i hung my own doors, finished the floor ran all the electric, plumbing etc. But the building it self i had someone build. The contractor agave me a price and i payed him. I never called and asked if he would use my steel, or my trusses etc.....

I'll probably loose the job over this because i know the customer is shopping just on price, but i was wondering what everybody's thoughts Pro and Con are on this subject.

Keith
 

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or Jeff, or Doc, or...
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I have a shock rebuilding business (for snowmobiles only)in my spare time. When they bring THEIR parts, there is NO guarantee. None whatsoever. And they are completed when I get a chance. Not "Next in Line".

Explanation? "I can't guarantee that the parts YOU bring are good. I have no recourse with the supplier. YOU assume the risk when YOU buy the parts. When I buy the parts, they are the ones I am USED to using, and found that the quality can be controlled. I am comfortable with them, and am comfortable that my setups and procedures work with the parts I buy."

Or jack the price!
 

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Kenneth Howard hates me...
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What beenaway2long said!! How can you warrenty your work on an "unknown" part?
 

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Hotrodders.com Moderator
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K
The business situation you're in pretty much mirrors my own situation. I agree your customer is going strictly on price and in the end only you lose. If it all works out and the build is successful, then he's happy and might come back next time. (with his own parts by the way) I say this because what ends up happening is this type of customer tends to search for the "bargains" that are out there. The part where you lose is if something does go wrong due to one of the parts he brought. Who's he going to blame? I'm sure you realize it's your good name at stake. You can build 20 good motors but have just one go sour and your reputation takes a hit. Granted it's only freeze plugs and cam bearings but that's only the beginning. Pretty soon it's no longer your tried and true combination but one built strictly by what the customer picked up, and your choices are challenged at every turn. Trust me I've lived it. Almost as bad are customers who read too many magazines.
I'm not saying that many of the parts he has wouldn't be the same ones you would choose, or that I mean you tack on an additional 10+% onto the prices. However you do have a business to run and a reputation to uphold.
 

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If he carries in his own parts, and if they are decent parts, put them in. Just adjust the bill accordingly. Don't make it an issue.

Let him think he's getting off on the cheap.

It's very common in the machine shop business for customers to bring in their own stuff.

If he brings in junk, tell him what you think of the quality of the stuff, and explain to him that you would really rather put in the good stuff.

You want to build your business, you need customers. Just make sure you make enough money. You need to make money off of PARTS AND LABOR, but if the customer plays that game, just QUIETLY adjust the labor price.


Brian
 

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I only use the parts I supply ( computer and electronics repair) .

If their part fails, I am not supplying the labour to replace the part. If they are parts I supplied I will warranty my work.

Even when I had them sign a waiver, they still whined about me fixing it for free when their crappy parts failed.

Tell them there is no way for you to warranty the work if they supply the parts. Stick to your guns. I made the mistake of tying to please everyone and only ended up having many, annoying customers that I made little $$ off of.

Now I have less total customers but more regular ones, that never complain and I actually make a profit off them.

I will pay for quality work and personal service. If I want cheap pricing/poor service I shop at Walmart/Canadian Tire.
 

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Keith, I totally understand what you are saying.

but.

my experience was like this, when I went and talked to the guy (the owner) he told me that they could do all the assembly, with a year warranty on it, for X amount, for a hundred dollars more, they would install valve covers to oil pan and guarantee it for no leaks for a year. I told him straight up, that I was wanting to do as much on this motor as I could, not so much for money reasons, but I wanted to build my own motor. He said he understood, not too many guys around here anymore want to do anything concerning assembly of their motors. He also told me in the next breath that he'd be happy to help, that He'd get me a list of prices on parts, and if i could find the parts i needed somewhere else cheaper, to get them, He wouldn't spend more money than he had too, to make someone happy. I had the block bored, cam bearings and freeze plugs done there. I paid a total of $265 for the block work, and a 2U crank that he turned in front of me. (wish I'd of had the camera.)(on a brand new grinding machine) I felt I was doing good. He never made me to feel like i was putting the screws to him, but i never asked him to install parts I bought elsewhere...... sooooo....

I think, adjust your labor charges accordingly, and make sure you let him know, there's no warranty on parts YOU don't provide. I'm sure He'll be back.

there aren't enough good machinist's out there, we need all we can get. Don't let this cause you to loose a customer. unless he's a shatner about it.:cool:
 

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In this situation, the way we operate is similar to what beenaway2long said. We will work with people and their own parts, the warrantee is just adjusted accordingly. The prices are the same either way. What I will say is different is that we have many customers that use the parts we tell them, listen to our advice and those customers have a better relationship with us. We do a lot more things for that type of customer that the average joe just doesn't get. Some realize it, some don't. But the ones that are that cheap, we don't really care if they go away or not, it just isn't the type of customer we want to deal with.
 

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hey k-star, I built my own shop like you- have started w/customers and will say I only work with my brands due to familiarity- if I am not familiar with them I can choose to not do the work, not gaurantee the work or discuss how it can be remedied. If they are offended I just say that is the way I do business. I haven't lost a job yet as they have seen my work and want it. (yeah- I'm lucky!!) I have even ground out bodywork a young man put in his car to prep FOR me- but as I was not familiar with his products and skill- changed it- (he HAD filled over old paint, rust, etc. so it was a GOOD thing I did it that way...) It the end YOU have to feel confident with the materials you are working with. If they don't like it maybe they won't come back, but the guys who had you do it your way will appreciate the good work and tell others!:thumbup:
 

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Tazz
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I don't see what the big deal is.

If he supplies the parts or if you do whats the diff? Wouldn't you just adjust the price of the install to not include the parts he brought in? If you don't want people bringing in their own parts then put up a sign and refer them to it if they ask in the future.


Tazz


Rat Rods Rule!
 

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In situations like this I never warranty labour. I explain that up front. I also explain that if the part is wrong (which happens alot) then they will have to pay any extra labour involved in removing that part and reinstalling the correct part. Also if its tying up a service bay or a tech or both then its straight time labour while we wait for the customer to get the correct part. If they can get a part cheaper elsewhere then thats fine with me but no warranty on labour, extra time if required and usually once all that is explained they wind up buying parts from me and everybody's happy. I make more on labour than I do on parts so I always try to sell labour. I don't like to loose $1000.00 labour for $300.00 in parts (or whatever). Also, because I am a dealer, if a customer wants to use aftermarket parts as opposed to OEM replacement then the same deal applies. Parts warranty only.

Steve

P.S. If I'm dealing with a machine shop building an engine I always have the shop supply the important parts such as pistons, rings, bearings, heads etc. I'll supply the intake, water pump and stuff like that.
 

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We run into this situation a LOT in my shop. There isn't a good answer for it. One hates to turn away work, but one hates to have to stand behind parts he didn't sell.

There are legal problems with trying to install a customers parts without any guarantee. If you are the one installing set of valves, or boring a block for pistons, you can be sure the judge will see you as the cause of any possible failures to those parts because YOU are the professional who charged the customer money to install/machine them. Remember, judges know only what they see on the TV-- you know, the "exposes" of the crooked repair garages ripping off unsuspecting customers.

One thing that we have done is we stopped assembling engines. We had a few come back with detonation or fuel wash down damage but somehow WE were at fault and were liable for repairs. Now, we give the customer an engine that is ready to assemble (pistons hung on rods, heads assembled, parts cleaned and in bags, etc.). This has workd out well for us. Those customer who want engines assembled are referred to a guy who used to work in our shop who now has his own business. (And HE has had his share of the headaches we USED to have)

So when we get a customer with his own parts, we bite our tongue and stick strictly to the price list, and making sure he gets charged for every extra bit that we would normally do for nothing or just a little extra for the guys buying the majority of the parts through us. It's only fair.

tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks

I want to thank everyone for there insites.. It really gives me something to ponder over.

I have in the past used customer parts with very little drama. I am not sure why this seam out of place to me. I guess i was looking at the down the road effects of it... I was clear with him that any issues from those parts are his problems...

TOM, I built a test stand, and i run every engine i build. I wonder if the customer gets the tune all wrong and destroyes the engine would i still be liable. Plus 90 percent of what i do is racing engines and we all know about the guarantee on them......

Keith
 

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lol, all this freaking beating around the bush!

Just tell him what you think! Say hey, I want your business and I appreciate you as a customer. Its our policy that we don't allow outside parts into our shop because of quality issues we've had in the past. I'll put your parts in this time, because I want to make you happy as a customer and you didn't know about the policy before. But in the future please trust us to give you a fair price on labor AND good QUALITY parts. I will stand behind the parts I sell, I cannot stand behind other's parts. So if the parts fail, its very difficult for my shop to help our customers if we don't know the origin or quality of the parts.

Enjoy your motor, have a great day, and here's my business card for all your future needs,

Just my .02 (done a fair share of butt-kissing in my day)

K
 
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