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.
Carson City, NV
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
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
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)
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...