SHOPPING FOR AUTO SERVICES IN HOUSTON
How to correctly price shop for services?
Price shopping has been a major issue between consumers and retailers for several years now. In the retail market, the surge of new discount stores and buyer's clubs have forced many small stores out of business, and the well-established stores scrounging for another niche in the market. For most of us in the service industry this was not a concern, until lately. Consumers have been so bombarded by discounts, sales and specials while making retail purchase decisions, that they have come to expect discounts or lower prices even where professional personal services are involved. This has caused everyone in the service industry to start competing with one another on pricing their services for the "price shopper." I agree that competition is usually good for the consumer and the market place, but what has happened lately between plumbers, electricians, carpenters, carpet cleaners, automotive technicians, painters, dry cleaners, film developers and almost everyone in the service industry has not been good for the consumer. Service-oriented businesses, trying to comply with the "price shopper" mentality of today, have had to lower their prices for their services. The result is that the profits have been lowered and the cost of doing business has only gone up. Most service type businesses have had to do one or more of the following:
- Cut back on the purchasing of top quality materials
- Limit the hiring of experienced and skilled personal
- Cancel employee benefits that are needed to keep experienced professionals on the payroll
- No longer purchase or maintain top quality equipment that was once used to do top quality service
- Some have even resorted to unfair trade practices, dishonesty, giving less service or less warranty than before
Let's face it, how easy is it to recall the last time you had to call someone back out to do the job right, or return to a center for the same problem? When was the last time you had to wait in line because a price wasn't marked correctly, or get back in line at a drive through because your order wasn't right? Price DOES affect the service you receive in any market place. I'm not saying that consumers should expect service professionals to charge anything they want, but it would be good to follow the advice of organizations like Consumer's Report, Underwriters Laboratories, Consumer's Choice, and Good Housekeeping. They all suggest that when shopping for retail items, price is a major consideration, along with availability of service repairs and lengths of warranties. When shopping for your service needs, experience, professionalism, quality of materials and warranties should weigh heavier on your purchasing decisions than cost alone.
Please keep this in mind when shopping for automotive service. Maintaining a professional automotive repair business is very costly these days. Many shops have gone out of business due to the huge number of federal, state, and city fees, along with mandated EPA and OSHA requirements, and the sudden increase of business/liability and medical insurance in recent years.
Employing some of the most experienced, skilled, and award-winning Honda technicians in the country, purchasing and maintaining the latest state of the art equipment required to service and repair your Honda or Acura, purchasing and stocking the most reliable parts for your car, consistently training and upgrading to surpass your expectations while offering a 2 year/24,000 mile warranty, creates a very demanding overhead. This is the professional service we have chosen to offer our customers and have done so since 1987, not bargain-basement discount service that may not last through the week!
All of us here at HCS Automotive strive each day to offer the most professional experience possible, while maintaining honest, dependable service at a fair price. So please, after you have price shopped around, actually take a moment to come by and compare the quality of our personal service. We want to encourage you to be a wise and educated service shopper, for this is hopefully not just a one time visit, but the beginning of a long term relationship for all your Honda or Acura service needs. You can also check out our tips for finding a great shop in this section of our web site.
Sheri Kendrick - Service Manager