Do ANY shops meet commitments anymore? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Do ANY shops meet commitments anymore?

Just venting a little...

I've been working to get my better S1 spider ready for the AROC/PVGP in Pittsburgh starting July 11th. The car has been stripped and is at the paint shop. Paint shop said 3 weeks. Every week I call or stop by and it is "It will be ready next week." It has been 9 weeks now. The car is inside and has had some work done, but I have no idea when it will be ready and the interior still needs to be installed. I also sent all of the gauges out to be rechromed. Called the speedo shop. Got prices. Girl said 2 weeks and they will call you when they are ready. That was 5 weeks ago. I called today. Oh. That girl was fired. The girl I spoke to today said my gauges are sitting on a shelf and we are waiting for your approval before we start on them. They have had the gauges for 8 weeks. Nobody there tried to contact me except via email and the girl said "There must be something wrong with our email system" because people aren't getting them". Nice. I never got an email from them....and they never tried to call the two numbers I gave them. AND it takes 3 weeks to get the rings chromed. CRAP!

Similar story with the powdercoating company I used to media blast and powdercoat the top bow parts. "It will be done it 2 about weeks." It took six but at least I have those parts.

So it looks like I will be down to one Alfa at the AROC/PVGP in July.

My paint guy is very good and pretty reasonable, but it is a small shop and there are always little things...I've sent him 6 cars in the last year and have a completely stripped BMW 2002 shell that came back from soda blasting a month ago ready to go to him as soon as this Alfa is done plus several others that he has seen and know need work. You would think that would be enough to keep him on his toes....

....I reached out to some other paint shops today. I have 5 or 6 cars that need varying degrees of paint work. Most were going to go to the PVGP.

Are all service shops this bad when it comes to making and meeting time commitments? I was a project manager with some really huge enterprise-level projects with very hard deadlines before I retired but these days I always let people tell me when things will be done rather than apply pressure. Then they don't make their own deadlines.

Very, very frustrating.

Alfa-current: '66 Duetto, '69 Spider
Past: '74 Spider, '76 spider, '80 GTV 6
Other-Current: 11 BMWs, Ram 1500
Other-past: 16 BMWs, MGs, Triumphs, other stuff that doesn't count.
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:44 PM
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My two stroke motorcycle crankshaft has been in a shop since the start of February. They will "get right on it" in a few days.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
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A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke

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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 06:46 PM
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Blame the millenials

There is zero interest in "working with your hands" among today's twenty somethings. They would rather sit in their parents house than sand car bodies.

More to the point their parents let them, live rent free in the parent's house, with free food WiFi, Netflix, big screen TV's, overnight guests and so on. It's a pretty sweet deal. Why would you leave that to start a minimum wage apprenticeship at at body shop ?

So basically body shops, repair shops and so are chronically understaffed.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milanoguy View Post
There is zero interest in "working with your hands" among today's twenty somethings. They would rather sit in their parents house than sand car bodies.

More to the point their parents let them, live rent free in the parent's house, with free food WiFi, Netflix, big screen TV's, overnight guests and so on. It's a pretty sweet deal. Why would you leave that to start a minimum wage apprenticeship at at body shop ?

So basically body shops, repair shops and so are chronically understaffed.
Yes, I had the same thought when I read Hodgepodge's rant. I don't know if it's Millenials or just the low unemployment rate, but good help is hard to find, especially today.

The shop's experience with the employee who failed to get Hodgepodge's approval, didn't call, didn't email, ... is pretty typical of the level of employee that a small shop can find in today's market. If you're Google you can hire good people; if you're Joe's Body & Paint, well good luck!

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 06-17-2019 at 08:00 PM.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodgepodge View Post
I've been working to get my better S1 spider ready for the AROC/PVGP in Pittsburgh starting July 11th. The car has been stripped and is at the paint shop. Paint shop said 3 weeks. Every week I call or stop by and it is "It will be ready next week." It has been 9 weeks now. The car is inside and has had some work done, but I have no idea when it will be ready and the interior still needs to be installed.
This is not unheard of. This time of year is the busiest for anything relating to vintage cars. All of them are busy getting cars ready for shows.

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Originally Posted by Hodgepodge View Post
I also sent all of the gauges out to be rechromed. Called the speedo shop. Got prices. Girl said 2 weeks and they will call you when they are ready. That was 5 weeks ago. I called today. Oh. That girl was fired. The girl I spoke to today said my gauges are sitting on a shelf and we are waiting for your approval before we start on them. They have had the gauges for 8 weeks. Nobody there tried to contact me except via email and the girl said "There must be something wrong with our email system" because people aren't getting them". Nice. I never got an email from them....and they never tried to call the two numbers I gave them. AND it takes 3 weeks to get the rings chromed. CRAP!
I have heard that Palo Alto Speedometer uses new trim rings when they service the instruments. The small shop I used also has access to new trim rings. I could not tell a difference between the new ones and the originals. I was told they are sourced from Germany, but I cannot find where.

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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milanoguy View Post
There is zero interest in "working with your hands" among today's twenty somethings. They would rather sit in their parents house than sand car bodies.

More to the point their parents let them, live rent free in the parent's house, with free food WiFi, Netflix, big screen TV's, overnight guests and so on. It's a pretty sweet deal. Why would you leave that to start a minimum wage apprenticeship at at body shop ?

So basically body shops, repair shops and so are chronically understaffed.
Well... Have you seen the ROI numbers on a college education these days? It is really low because education has become so expensive. I'm spending nearly $400,000 on college for my 2 kids (state and private universities, out of state tuition, undergraduate degrees, not including scholarships). I can only hope it pays off. I'm sure some parents figure it is less expensive to let their kids continue to sit around than it is to pony up the money for college. And our culture teaches that manual labor is for losers....no wonder skilled labor is so hard to find!

But that isn't really th poit of my rant. Shop owners know what their capabilities are. Committing to two weeks and taking 8 or 9 is unacceptable in any business, but it is commonplace in the auto industry. I've heard better excuses for not finishing a project from the kids I used to teach in college.,,and tehy are ALL just excuses.

Alfa-current: '66 Duetto, '69 Spider
Past: '74 Spider, '76 spider, '80 GTV 6
Other-Current: 11 BMWs, Ram 1500
Other-past: 16 BMWs, MGs, Triumphs, other stuff that doesn't count.
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:17 AM
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Fear not....the workers from Guatamala will be on the job soon!
Tens of thousands of them and they all have excellent skills and work cheap!!
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:45 AM
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For me, the Alfa shops never do. The Porsche always shops do.
Not sure what to make of this...

Current: 69 GTV, 2019 Stelvio, 95 Porsche 968 cab
Past 74 GTV, 69 GTV, 74 Spider
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:25 AM
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Here are some “freakonomics” type observations.

In every endeavor there are a large number of people that will pay only the lowest price, a medium number that will pay a medium price, and a small number that will pay whatever it costs to get top work, done on time. This means there is a matching number of shops that operate to meet these expectations. Only the shops that quote a high price up front will have the quantity and quality of staff to perform top work, on time. Usually, shops quote low to get the business, then do subpar work on a slipping schedule.

I got to review a study done by Goodyear service centers many years ago. They split their incoming customers into two groups, those quoted “it will be done today”, and those quoted “it will be done tomorrow “. Then, they split each of those groups into two, again; half of each group had their car delivered today, and half had their car delivered tomorrow.

No surprise, the most satisfied customers were “told today, delivered today”.

Which were the second most satisfied? No, not the ones told tomorrow, delivered today. It was the group told tomorrow, delivered tomorrow.

Customers just want venders to perform as they’ve agreed to do. BUT, a great many shop owners are part of the lowest common denominator. They believe they will lose customers by quoting high prices, and realistic delivery times. If you do business with these people, you are perpetuating their business model.

It can take a little time, but I recommend finding venders whose shops are full of high-end work, with neat floors and benches, and clear evidence of a tightly organized work flow. They WILL be booked ahead, so you have to plan ahead.

Does this work?

I took delivery of a 1960 2000 Touring Roadster in December 2017. I did the disassembly, and got the stripped shell to the body guy in about March of 2018. He returned the ready-to-go painted shell in December 2018. It is now June 2019 and the car is very close to done, and will be shown at Concorso. It would have been done a little sooner, but even my vendor selection wasn’t perfect. So, from rusty, dismantled mess to driving, and totally restored car in 18 months. Well, there’ll be some tuning and tweaking, but that’s just part of Alfa ownership.

Do not do business with the cheap and mid-range vendors who do not zealously protect their customer satisfaction standards. You will be the loser.
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Don P
Carson City, NV

Past Alfas...
59 102 Touring (first Alfa $500 running)
65 Sprint GT (2nd Alfa, $500 daily driver)
102 Sprint (never did anything with it, but wish I had)
74 Berlina (first new car - now certainly rusted into oblivion)
61 Giulietta Spider G-Prod Race Car (where is it now?)
84 Spider Veloce (rarely drove it, so sold it)
86 Quadrifoglio (Dull car - no more 115s for me)
1971 Montreal "The Full Monty". Fair winds and following seas

Current Alfas
59 102 Touring Roadster - restoration complete, enough Alfa for any rational man. Or irrational, for that matter
Oops. Add to the "present" list, 10204 01488, 2000 Touring Roadster project

And past...
Two 1946 Stampe SV4C (c/n 294 "Rocinante" - wife's favorite airplane. RIP), and c/n 235 "La Bon Temps Femme" (gone to a new home, but never forgotten)
Zlin 50LA (+9 -6 gees, titanium spar, 1200 lbs, 260HP rumored to now be in Brazil)
1946 Luscombe 8A
Starduster Too (recently spotted at the Nevada City, CA airport - over 20 years and an entire continent separating it from our stewardship in Binghamton, NY)
1955 Cessna 170B (wife taught me to fly tailwheel in this)

And present...
64 Mooney M20E ("Rambo". My faithful steed for over 40 years) Over 55 years old, and just returned from a trip to Argentina in him
Newest in the fleet
1967 Piper Super Cub on Wipline amphibious floats (a true "all terrain vehicle")
2010 Triumph Thunderbird


You can snap roll an Alfa only one time...
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:25 AM
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Porsche owners are ready to pay for better service....

'64 Guilia Spider
'67 GTV
'68 Giulia Super

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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPeterson3 View Post
Here are some “freakonomics” type observations.

In every endeavor there are a large number of people that will pay only the lowest price, a medium number that will pay a medium price, and a small number that will pay whatever it costs to get top work, done on time. This means there is a matching number of shops that operate to meet these expectations. Only the shops that quote a high price up front will have the quantity and quality of staff to perform top work, on time. Usually, shops quote low to get the business, then do subpar work on a slipping schedule.

I got to review a study done by Goodyear service centers many years ago. They split their incoming customers into two groups, those quoted “it will be done today”, and those quoted “it will be done tomorrow “. Then, they split each of those groups into two, again; half of each group had their car delivered today, and half had their car delivered tomorrow.

No surprise, the most satisfied customers were “told today, delivered today”.

Which were the second most satisfied? No, not the ones told tomorrow, delivered today. It was the group told tomorrow, delivered tomorrow.

Customers just want venders to perform as they’ve agreed to do. BUT, a great many shop owners are part of the lowest common denominator. They believe they will lose customers by quoting high prices, and realistic delivery times. If you do business with these people, you are perpetuating their business model.

It can take a little time, but I recommend finding venders whose shops are full of high-end work, with neat floors and benches, and clear evidence of a tightly organized work flow. They WILL be booked ahead, so you have to plan ahead.

Does this work?

I took delivery of a 1960 2000 Touring Roadster in December 2017. I did the disassembly, and got the stripped shell to the body guy in about March of 2018. He returned the ready-to-go painted shell in December 2018. It is now June 2019 and the car is very close to done, and will be shown at Concorso. It would have been done a little sooner, but even my vendor selection wasn’t perfect. So, from rusty, dismantled mess to driving, and totally restored car in 18 months. Well, there’ll be some tuning and tweaking, but that’s just part of Alfa ownership.

Do not do business with the cheap and mid-range vendors who do not zealously protect their customer satisfaction standards. You will be the loser.
The problem is, even if you are willing to pay a high price, there is no guarantee you will get the work done on time when you are talking about things like classic restoration. See the long thread on Vintage Customs if you want evidence of that.

As someone currently having a car painted, I'm certainly frustrated by the pacing. It was promised in "Mid January", and here we are in June and the car hasn't been delivered. There have been lots of "two more weeks" promises. I don't mind waiting for quality work, but I do mind that they can't follow their own schedule. If it was going to take until June, they should have told me so up front so I could plan. Under promise and over deliver seems to be a lost art.

1986 Spider Veloce Turbo
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:49 AM
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Some what off topic but .......High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University, I refused to pay for 4-6 more years of high-school. My daughter went to the top Barber/Hair school in NYC ($60,000 tuition) she makes a very excellent living. Her talents are in high demand she can get a job anywhere.

The older I get.. the faster I was....
Tom
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:07 AM
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Some what off topic but .......High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University, I refused to pay for 4-6 more years of high-school. My daughter went to the top Barber/Hair school in NYC ($60,000 tuition) she makes a very excellent living. Her talents are in high demand she can get a job anywhere.
Perhaps, but being a bodyman is difficult work that could be very hard on your health, and is hardly a path to riches. I understand why people might not be lining up out the door to take it.

1986 Spider Veloce Turbo
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Garfinkel View Post
For me, the Alfa shops never do. The Porsche always shops do. Not sure what to make of this...
As 101/105 guy wrote, it's real simple: the Porsche owners understand the "Freakonomics" principles that DPeterson3 outlined in post #9. Putting it more simply, "you tend to get what you pay for".

Quote:
Originally Posted by nealric
The problem is, even if you are willing to pay a high price, there is no guarantee you will get the work done on time when you are talking about things like classic restoration.
True, even some high-priced shops don't know how to schedule, let sub-par work go out the door, etc. So yes, "Porsche-level" prices don't always guarantee good work. However, "Trabant-level" prices pretty much always guarantee disappointing work.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 06-18-2019 at 09:27 AM.
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 10:51 AM
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I have the same problem with body shop delays. The body owners have to make money doing insurance work and restoration projects are set aside. I tell owners that you should send you car to a restoration shop that does not work on insurance jobs but, unless you are a special customer you have to get in line with the other restoration projects. I received a finished body last week and will get another one today if it passes inspection. I use a body shop that repairs Porsches as well as Alfa and they do good work for the same price.
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