A truck arrives at your small repair shop with a problem your people have never run across before. Sometimes it’s a straightforward remove and replace of a failed component. But other times your diagnosis is more complicated.
Your shop lacks all the extensive resources possessed by large fleet shops which puts you at a disadvantage. But your people are good with their heads and hands so you want to trust them to handle the job. After all, when they were new they had little or no previous knowledge of most repairs yet they managed well. Still, you’re feeling some concerns.
Do you shrug your shoulders and say, “Sorry, we don’t do that here”? Or do you accept the job and consider it a new challenge? But what if it’s a safety issue and you’re not sure how to correct the problem?
Accept the Challenge…if you Can
Sending your customer to another shop, regardless of how well you get along, is almost never a good idea for your business. It’s likely to cost you a customer to the other shop for future repairs of all sorts.
Once you feel satisfied that you’ve correctly diagnosed the issue, you’re next move should be to consult repair manuals or online resources to get the repair procedure. You may even find online videos displaying the correct sequence of repair. Try checking with the OEM for instructive information.
You could even call a trusted competitor, explain the situation and ask for helpful insights. If you have a good relationship with that manager, he or she is likely to provide you with the information you need to complete the repair in shop. Everyone wants to be a hero when they can.
But if it is a safety issue and the procedure and outcome are uncertain, remember that your shop could be on the hook for liability in the event of road failure of the repair if you are found to have incorrectly performed the job. That liability could be the result of failure causing harm to person and/or property. Think about it: that one job could put your shop out of business if the repair is not properly completed. Opting to do it puts your neck way out on the line.
Another option is to sublet the repair to the shop of a colleague that you trust whose people are familiar with the repair and able to handle it. In such a case you would negotiate terms with the repairing shop and have the job invoiced to your shop and not the customer. In this case, your people would deliver the truck to the repairing shop and collect it when completed.
Then you could mark up the repair and invoice your customer. And from the repairing shop you find the procedure on the invoice you receive containing the parts and labor listings so next time the repair is encountered, your people should be able to handle it in house.
Protect Your Shop’s Reputation
Whichever method of accomplishing the repair you decide on, remember that each could affect your shop’s reputation. And it’s your reputation that matters most to customers. They won’t bring their trucks to a shop that can’t handle a certain repair. And they will let others know it.
But by using the sublet method for the first-and only-time, you are a hero and your shop now has the key to handling the next truck that comes in for that repair. And your reputation will receive a boost, and your shop along with it. Always consider a never before encountered repair as a challenge and tackle it accordingly.
Getting the repair completed safely and correctly is your real objective. Make a decision and go with it. Good luck.