Friday Free Business Idea: Mechanic Trust

July 21, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

A month ago I got my oil changed at this car shop because they advertised only $19.99. Yay, a good price so I rushed over and had my oil changed. When I returned to pick up my car they said there were x, y and z wrong with it which would cost me another $600. Basically, my car was not drivable with all the things wrong with it. This was completely untrue and I really had no way to guage whether they were full of crap or not. So here is the idea.

Create a neutral third party business that verifies Car Repair Shops.

car mechanic
Do you trust him?

Yes, there are clearly TONS of issues with this but the real problem with mechanics is that you always feel like you are getting screwed. What if they could get verified and have a sticker proving they were decent? I provide the random ideas, now you provide the criticism:)

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10 responses to “Friday Free Business Idea: Mechanic Trust

  1. Sri Reply

    I am a auto mechanie hater. I have taken my car in on numerous occasions and they would always kind of make you feel uneasy….There was one time this guy said I should change my timing belt now or it will snap off REAL SOON….I drove it for another 2 years without anything happening. (and nothing did ever happen)

    I know I have been taken for a ride many many times at auto mechanics…but im a helpless creature when it comes to this. Noah, the 3rd party business u suggested might start out real ethical, but eventually they will become like the other mechanics as well.

    The first time I ever bought my car, i went to do an oil change, and the guy says this car is a piece of junk. My heart crushed when I heard this (cos I forked out almost $500 for this car). Anyhow, I drove it for over 3 years cross country in that little piece of shit.

    I tried to go the other route by getting self proclaimed mechanics of Craigslist but they seem to be the same as well….this guy quoted me $250 for a part that was only $49.99 at Meineke. WTF!!

  2. Nick Gavronsky Reply

    Ive had some bad experiences with mechanics, last year one ripped me off by 3000 by telling me I needed new breaks and brake pads etc etc and of course I believed him b/c I dont know a thing about cars. I dont like mechanics at all and I think this would be a good idea to implement at all workshops.

  3. Alberen Reply

    1. Anyone who charges $40-$90 per hour should not be as poor as most mechanics look.

    2. I agree with SRI that even a “certification” would be easily worked around. Besides we have the Better Business Bureau… we should force mechanics to join or go somewhere else.

    3. Bottom line is that it’s not easy to get around this problem. For whatever reason auto repair shops make most of us guys feel really, primally, insufficient. Mechanic shops make me uncomfortable. Partly thats because I feel like they look down on me because they think I am looking down on them…actually I really admire a good auto mechanic.

    So, when I go in to an Auto Repair shop I have to summon some bravado and courage. Then…
    … I hardly ever get anything fixed unless I know it’s broke or I can hear it making a noise.
    I always tell them to call me with a price quote and ask what all they are going to replace. In big cities get this in writing. If you give them the go ahead tell them to call you if there are any changes.
    Put the repair on a credit card and dispute the crap out of it if the repair did not fix it.

    I hate paying for car repairs that did not repair the car!

    I know this wasn’t a post about not getting ripped off on car repairs but nonetheless…

  4. mr. abstraction Reply

    great problem: in fact, isn’t this true of any industry that has complex workings? i.e. if your grandparents needed their computer fixed, they’d be susceptible to the same fraud. or when your A/C breaks, you pretty much have to believe whatever the repair guy tells you.

    but, auto mechanics do seem the sleaziest of them all

  5. Noah Reply

    You mean a little like these guys? — http://www.certifiedfirst.com/

    However, what *you* want is what auto-repair certification with your local government is supposed to provide. The problem is that it is a corrupt combination of influences — unskilled mechanics + organized crime + corrupt politicos — making the creation of a independent third-party doing the same rather dangerous to start-up.

  6. Eric Reply

    I think the key to this idea would be to have the shop not perform ANY repairs. All you would do is things like vehicle certifications, inspections and provide 2nd opinions on recommended work.

  7. wc Reply

    so, like a mechanic auditing? i agree with eric about the conflict of interest; their sole function should be to verify and consult. but the idea of kickbacks and ‘referrals’ and biased evaluations vs objective evaluations is disconcerting.

    i JUST went through the same thing, mechanic fool changing my oil/filter and then saying i had a leak. brilliant dr. z, brilliant. he didn’t even identify if it was oil gasket or transmission gasket! gotta love the sub-$20 deals…

  8. Laura Allen Reply

    My Dad is an honest hard-working mechanic. When I was growing up I used to joke with him, “Dad, your cars come with a lifetime warrenty!” Because people were constantly pulling into our driveway, day and night, big problem or small. What my Dad figured out was to fix the small-medium problems for free. No problem. Anytime, all the time. Then, when there was a bigger problem, his customers trusted him. Result, the customers that I saw when I was a kid are now sending their kids and friends and everyone they know to my Dad. Zero marketing costs. Priceless word of mouth marketing. Provide a good service at a fair cost, when everyone else is known for screwing you over and you’ll make a pretty good living.