Jerry Dork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:03 p.m.

I had asked my local normal shop for a ballpark $$ for new struts/shocks all around the MR2 and alignment (Koni yellows for reference). He gave me $650 for labor and alignment, and whatever the struts were (Amazon was around $180 if I remember)

I attended a grand opening weekend before last for a new shop not too far away, and a few friends were going so what the hell. Free burgers, hang out with likeminded while SWMBO was with friends. Just before I left for Hocking Hills Friday I sent them a Facebook msg asking for a quote for the same, curious to see what they had to say. I expected worse, but woah:

$185 each for the struts, $789.95 w/ tax. Labor 222.50 but 10% off for being at the grand opening, $80 for alignment = $1072.45 (Normal place would be ~$1465 using same amount for struts)

Holy E36 M3, $400 difference?? Normal shop is owned by an SCCA member, former board member, does a E36 M3load of work for all of us & I trust him enough to hand him my credit card and say "just charge me whatever it takes, I'll be back" if I ever had to. New shop I know little about, looked promising and a rallycross/rally friend is now affiliated with them in some fashion so they must have something going on.

My question I guess is did normal shop quote way too high, or did new shop leave something out? If it were $100 difference I wouldn't care, but $400 is significant!

JohnRW1621 UltimaDork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:05 p.m.

Which owner has the bigger boat payment?

logdog Dork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:28 p.m.

Its usually 1-1.5 hrs per strut (Unsure of the exact on an MR2). At first glance shop 2 seems low. Either they are not charging enough per hour to keep the lights on or they left something out. My .02.

EvanB PowerDork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:30 p.m.

Original shop has plenty of work, New shop just wants to get cars in the door and build a customer base?

Dr. Hess MegaDork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:33 p.m.


HappyAndy SuperDork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:42 p.m.

Or which one is hungrier

$305 for struts on all 4 corners and an alignment sonds awfully low to me. Seriously, I do side work at underground economy rates (ghetto price in common terms) and thats not far off what I would charge, and the only alignment that I can do is toe using a tape measure.

It might be a perfectly legit shop, and this is just an introductory deal to get new clients in the door. Proceed with caution I guess.

FranktheTank HalfDork
Oct. 14, 2013 7:51 p.m.

I'd give the new shop a chance. Even crack dealers sell the first few times really cheap.

Then if they jack up their prices or do a poor job... You can go running back to the tried and true.

Worst case scenario with $400 to fix whatever and a bad alignment.

gunner Reader
Oct. 14, 2013 7:55 p.m.

Or first shop doesnt really want to do it for whatever reason so if they quote you high if you do take it there they get PAID. Probably not this in your case but I've seen it happen.

wlkelley3 SuperDork
Oct. 14, 2013 8:07 p.m.

New shop just opened up, have to build a client base. A way to do that is give deals initially to bring in business and word of mouth will help send more their way. Of course, this is caveat to them doing quality work.

Second already has a client base and a known standard for quality work. Your choice.

clownkiller HalfDork
Oct. 14, 2013 8:14 p.m.

New shop building clients, and they may get a better price on shocks and mark them up to offset labor.

patgizz UberDork
Oct. 14, 2013 9:15 p.m.

new shop has marked up the piss out of the parts, and chances are if you take in your own stuff from amazon they're not going to honor $305 labor.

16vCorey PowerDork
Oct. 14, 2013 9:27 p.m.

And sometimes shops just make E36 M3 up. A local shop (that does good work, but who's normal clientele has more money than sense) told a friend of mine that it would take two techs two hours per corner to change the struts on his E36, so 16 labor hours total. I did the job in about 5 hours on jack stands in the gravel behind my garage. There are variances in labor estimating programs, there are variances in labor rates, but sometimes they're just making E36 M3 up.

Knurled UberDork
Oct. 14, 2013 9:39 p.m.

I can't see one person two hours per corner if you have to cut the top of the old strut off and press in an insert like some Yellows require.

I'm going to say it's a little of Column "Established business vs. new shop trying to build customer base" and a little of "Established business vs. new shop that may have misunderestimated the amount of work."

Or it could also be "Shop charges $30 an hour and pays workers $5 an hour and moves a lot of cars through but can't seem to get/retain any kind of skilled workers."

We see a but of that up here, and we fix a lot of their work too. We charge high yet competitive rates, and we're keeping busy judging by the state of my cars. The economic index is as follows: Knurled with badass car = slow at work. Knurled limping along a car held together with hastily-applied zip ties and chewing gum = busy at work.

But on the plus side, there's a strong possibility that Knurled + busy is going to equal owning a car that isn't just a piece of E36 M3, but is 100% E36 M3...

codrus HalfDork
Oct. 14, 2013 10:41 p.m.
16vCorey wrote: And sometimes shops just make E36 M3 up.

I once asked a random shop for a quote on replacing the clutch & flywheel in my Miata. They looked up the hours to do the clutch (3 or 4, I think), then looked up the hours to do the flywheel (same, obviously), added them together, and quoted me a price based on that. Uh huh.

I'm not sure if the guy doing the quoting was an idiot, or if they just didn't want to do the work.

MichaelYount Reader
Oct. 15, 2013 6:56 a.m.
Jerry wrote: I trust him enough to hand him my credit card and say "just charge me whatever it takes, I'll be back" if I ever had to. New shop I know little about...

There's your answer....take it to the guy you trust. Tell him you want him to do it. AND tell him about your experience at the other shop....ask him if he's sure he estimated it correctly.

Jerry Dork
Oct. 15, 2013 6:58 a.m.
FranktheTank wrote: I'd give the new shop a chance. Even crack dealers sell the first few times really cheap. Then if they jack up their prices or do a poor job... You can go running back to the tried and true. Worst case scenario with $400 to fix whatever and a bad alignment.

Maybe this is the answer (not Miata this time).

cwaters New Reader
Oct. 15, 2013 7:41 a.m.

Which is harder: Trying out a new pediatrician or a new auto repair shop?

cghstang HalfDork
Oct. 15, 2013 7:58 a.m.

New shop is good people, likely less overhead, trying to get established. Knows rally/rallycross. Let me drive his (old) rallycross car on multiple occasions.

Jerry Dork
Oct. 15, 2013 9:32 a.m.

In reply to cghstang:

I was hoping someone local would chime in with insight without naming names. Thanks.

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