Advantages of Independent Shops versus Dealerships
So how do you decide? Dealer or Independent shop? Not surprisingly, the answer to some extent depends on who you ask, however it has been found that independents have higher rankings than dealerships in customer service, according to Consumer Report Survey.
Dealership Service departments
Dealerships work on hundreds of cars each month and have many service bays and the ability to have factory-trained technicians, although not all technicians are trained and certified. Most technicians are apprentices and or early in their careers.
Customers meet with service advisors to determine what their car needs and likely never meet the mechanic.
Dealerships specialize in repairing and maintaining your car brand only.
If your car is under warranty, the manufacturer covers the cost of most repairs. After the warranty expires, you can buy an extended warranty or pay for repairs and servicing as needed.
Independent Service Departments
Typically, these are smaller service shops, also with many service bays. These independent shops also see a large number of cars for service, although not as many as a new car dealer as they deal with a lot of brand new cars and warranties.
Less overhead, meaning cheaper prices.
Customers have more direct convo's with service advisors, more know how of what is going on with car and more involved in entire process.
Many shops have started and staffed by former dealership technicians.
Many work on a cross-section of car brands.
Some independent auto shops honor third-party warranties.
Independents: More personalized, often cheaper Independent mechanics ranked higher than dealership servicing for customer satisfaction, price, quality, courteousness and on-time repairs, according to a 2014 Consumer Reports survey. If you go this route, make sure your garage has its industry wide standard Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certification. To find the right mechanic, ask friends and family for recommendations and search online reviews. Always remember to shop around to compare prices — and include a quote from your dealership, too.
Independents can be as technically proficient as factory-trained dealership mechanics.
Dealerships can use the manufacturer as a scapegoat to justify unnecessary work and or high costs without any repercussions.
Dealerships pay higher salaries for manufacturer-trained and highly experienced technicians. But this means you’ll pay higher prices for their services. However not all of their technicians are trained, and usually have masses of low paid technicians to be more profitable.
Independent garages can get original manufacturer parts for repairs and servicing, but they can also offer less expensive, alternative parts, or even rebuilt parts, that perform the same function.
Dealership service departments are required to use factory-made equipment and parts from the manufacturer. This ensures high quality control, but if a part is out of stock, shipping times can be longer and prices higher.
It can be easier to build a personal relationship with independent garages, since there are less people to go through to get your answers. More direct Q&A for all customers.
Independent mechanics answer to you; they have no loyalty to the manufacturer. Dealerships must have loyalty to the manufacturer and follow their stringent rules or get fired.
Independent shops start from scratch to build relationships with paying customers, without the years of free service to foster goodwill.
Dealerships have a constant flow of cars coming for free repairs under warranty, so they don’t have to work as hard to attract or keep customers.
Dealerships also answer to their manufacturers, and service managers will make a commission from their work. So when they recommend a repair, they get a percentage of the parts and labor.
Facilities usually are smaller and have less overhead than dealerships. This can mean significantly lower prices for customers.
It takes more work to find the right auto shop, because there can be a couple of dozen corner garages in the same town.
Dealerships are more likely to have cushy chairs and flavored water in a sparkling-clean waiting room.
They’re more likely to have shuttles or loaner cars available while mechanics work on your car. However some independents to come close to giving you the same appeal and services.
Independent shops may work on multiple brands.
They may turn down repairs if they don’t specialize in your car brand.
The customer-satisfaction gap compared with independent garages is smaller for luxury car brands than for other auto dealerships, according to the Consumer Reports survey.
Tesla is the only manufacturer with higher customer satisfaction ratings than independent shops for servicing.
More specialized Dealership service departments have that brand-name power. They can offer manufacturer-backed extended warranties and check for the latest repair and recall bulletins every time you bring in your car. But if you stay with the dealership, be prepared for higher prices. Keep your owner’s manual handy, so you don’t have any unnecessary work done on your car. Make the choice If you have a luxury car, value a nice waiting room and don’t mind paying a little extra for specialized training and equipment, you won’t go wrong at the dealership. If you’re more interested in finding a good deal and having a relationship with your mechanic, try a local auto shop.
Traditionally, dealerships' hourly rates were higher than the independent shops because of overhead, cost of tools, and training. That trend is changing. Why? Because independents are realizing escalation of costs associated with the rapid technological changes taking place ... the need for ongoing training and purchasing of new equipment and tools.
In addition to a personal relationship, the independent offers versatility of services on diverse makes and models of vehicles. Today, top quality independent repair facilities also offer nationwide warranties through the parts suppliers and the associations they deal with. Comparing them with the dealerships, the "scales are balancing" in this arena! As far as the hourly rate for work, as I mentioned earlier, independents have been able to offer better prices.
The technician is usually paid an hourly rate (based on his actual performance) or a salary. There is no incentive to hurry through a job or compete with other techs for the "easier" job as techs at dealerships often do. Also, seasoned techs who have worked in independent facilities have a wealth of experience and knowledge from years of working on a variety of vehicles. They are an excellent resource for difficult car repairs.
“I’m a firm believer that you should find an honest independent shop, who is well trained in all aspects of business; to include, mechanical repairs, technology training, advanced training, ongoing training, certified technicians, diagnosis completed by certified technicians, installed by rigorously trained technicians, ability to advise correctly, trained service advisors and most importantly a shop that keeps the integrity of building their business with honesty which is sorely lacking in this industry." said by Thomas Lloyd Here are a few tips of what to look for when finding a quality Service Repair Shop: - Dealer cost more, Independents cost less - Dealers target customers who have newer vehicle still on warranties - Independents give more one on one service to each customers - No hard sales targets given to independents by outside entities. Manufactures stress hard sales and bonuses which are given to dealers, in long run the customer becomes a number and simply a profit sign - dealers held back by manufacturers to warranty work - dealers held by manufacturers to charge set labor hours; no movement to work required - independents can repair modules and wiring looms, where manufactures do not allow dealers to do so. Mr. Thomas Lloyd acknowledged that dealers labor costs are often a lot higher than independents because of much larger overhead, bigger buildings, bigger operational costs, bigger taxes, and overall just a lot more overhead that needs to be covered.