How To Find A Great Auto Repair Shop

Don’t choose a shop just because of convenience. Once you have determined that the shop is qualified, Convenience is a plus. But only after has a good reputation and backs up their work with a good warranty. Remember that a good shop may be convenient but the most convenient shop may not necessarily be the best shop for you.

Don’t pick a shop based on “special offers”. OK, we all do it. It seems to be the market trend nowadays. You want your shop to be competitive, of course. But even more important you need to have the job done right. Unfortunately it is all too common for many shops to bring the car in the door with a loss leader and then charge a higher amount as the work progresses. This is due somewhat to the nature of the industry. But, if you see a price that seems unrealistically low it probably is. You will be better off going with a shop that gives you professional service and backs up their work. Quality will win out over low price every time. The savings will come with a longer lasting and more trouble free repair.

Don’t pick a shop just because they look like “good old boys”. Poor choice. Some of those good old boys are great. Others have never moved out of the past and can’t cope with today’s vehicles very well. Get recommendations and proof of qualifications rather than looking for a good old boy shop.

Choosing a shop based on a low “labor rate”. This is one of the worst ways to choose a shop. Price shopping for a service this way just does not make sense. There are just too many variables. Only one of those is the price. And the final price may not be even remotely related to the “labor rate”. If you need an idea of cost just ask for that and not the labor rate. If you base your buying decision on the “labor rate” you may find a shop that gives you a low rate, takes longer and charges you more for the job than you would have paid at a higher rate shop. The end result could be a shoddy job for about the same price as you could have paid for a professional one.

They can get me in right away! Oh really, then they must not be that busy. If that is so then maybe they are really not that good? Sometimes a good shop can get you in quickly. Often they are booked up for a day or two in advance due to their reputation though. This could really backfire on you if you end up in a shop that is never busy because they are doing terrible work. Getting your vehicle back soon is important. But, getting it fixed correctly is even more important. Wouldn’t you agree?

They can get it done right away. A good job takes some time. A good shop can reduce that time but they cannot eliminate it. Most people do not realize the amount of time their vehicles must be in the shop for certain jobs. Choosing a shop based primarily on this criteria is usually a mistake. Some shops will, unfortunately promise anything to get the job. That does not mean that they will necessarily deliver on that promise once the job has started.

They don’t have very many staff or support people so they can charge me less than a shop that does. Again, this reasoning is faulty. Most modern facilities have a ratio of almost one support person to each technician in the shop. This allows the technicians to do the maximum productive work without undue interruptions and distractions. Therefore the entire procedure is more efficient. With too few support people the production staff will spend way too much time doing tasks not directly related to the services or repairs on the vehicles. The end result will often be lower quality work due to interruptions and higher prices because of an inefficient business model.

My neighbor went there and he said they were great. Actually this is one part of a good plan to choose a good shop. However, before you buy into this recommendation ask a few more questions. What did your friend have done? How many times has he been there? If he had any problems how were they resolved? If he went in one time for an oil change and you need a transmission repair, there may be a problem here. Make sure the shop is qualified to do the type of work that you need. And try to find a shop where an acquaintance has been to more than once. Recommendations are an excellent way to find a good shop. Just make sure the recommendation is qualified.

They seem really nice and I feel that I can trust them. This is actually a very good sign. A feeling of trust is very important when dealing with a service or repair shop. Just be sure that this is one good component out of several. Some folks are very good at schmoozing you on the front counter. That, in itself does not mean they are a good shop. You need to take more into account than that. You need to find out if they are qualified and give you a good warranty as well as a good feeling.

Jumping around to just any shop for small jobs until you need something really important. Not a good idea at all. There are shops today that can and will take care of almost all of your vehicles needs. If you establish a good relationship with them on the smaller jobs they will be much more likely to get you in and treat you right when you need a larger job. Some shops won’t even talk to you for an emergency job unless you are already and established client of theirs. Start with an oil change to check out the shop and to help you decide if that match is right.

Get those recommendations from friends and neighbors. As I said before, just make sure they are qualified. Any shop can have a few folks that have had a bad experience or a bad attitude. However, they should be a very small minority of the total clients. Take into account the personality of the person that is giving you advice before you decide not to consider a shop that seems OK to you.

Contact some independent sources. Start with a call to or visit the websites of BCAA, the BBB or the local Chamber of Commerce for a list of member shops. The B.C. Automotive Retailers Association is another source of shops committed to customer satisfaction.

Next phone some shops from your list above and ask some questions. Call them to get a feel for how they answer the phone and how you are treated on this first contact. Tell the person that answers the phone that you are looking for a qualified shop for your vehicles. Ask if they can spare a few minutes to answer some questions. If you catch them at a busy time ask for a good time to call back.

Next, ask them what services they can provide. Ask them if they have any industry affiliations such as trade associations. Ask if they have a code of ethics and if they follow it. Ask them how many of their technicians are certified. Ask them how long their technical staff has been in the industry. Ask them how long they have been in business. What is their standard warranty for most jobs. One year is a minimum standard. Ask if they have a technical resource like Alldata or Mitchell on Demand to access service bulletins and recall information.

Evaluate the call: Were they nice or rude? Did they seem distracted when they were on the phone with you? They should be able to handle your phone call with grace. If you like their attitude and answers so far go to the next step. If not go back to your abbreviated list and start again with the shop with the next most qualifications. Keep up this process until you find a shop that feels right to you and then go on to the next step.

Visit the shop. Drive by at first and see if it looks like a place that you would want to leave your vehicles. If it passes that test, park in their lot and visit the office. Note how you are treated, the look of the office and the attitude of the staff. They should look professional and be friendly, courteous, helpful, and efficient and act like they want your business.

Look for certificates on the walls that show government certifications and other affiliations. Let them tell you a bit about themselves. Ask the history of the shop and so on if they have time. Ask if they have any handouts that would help you to decide if they could be your shop. Let them know that you are looking for a shop to take care of your vehicles needs. See how they react to that. A good shop will appreciate your research and will be glad to start a new relationship with a potential good client.

Ask if you can meet the owner or the shop manger. If they are not too busy ask for a quick tour or a look at the shop. See if it looks clean and organized. Get a general feel for the attitudes in the shop.

If the shop passed so far schedule an appointment for an oil change or other minor service.
A note of caution here: If they can’t or won’t set up an appointment for service you probably don’t want to pick them as your shop. A shop that does not set appointments usually does not focus on preventative maintenance and is more of a “breakdown shop”. This is not what you need if you are going to get the best bang for your service and repair dollar. Also, getting you in quickly without an appointment usually means that getting you back out on time with a quality job is not very likely. A well-run shop will schedule appointments and also be able to handle some minor emergencies. If they cannot get you in for an emergency they should have a contingency plan such as rental car availability or a shuttle service to your home or work to help you when you need it.

Keep your appointment. Call ahead and reschedule early if you cannot make it. A good shop will appreciate that courtesy. Make your final decision after your first appointment. They should call you up and send you some follow up information to solidify the relationship. A really good shop will ask you to fill out a questionnaire to make sure that your service was good. They will also ask you for input to help them make the business better for you and their other clients.

Your final decision. If the shop has met all the above criteria to your satisfaction reward them with your loyalty. Schedule your oil changes and other preventative maintenance services with them. You will be glad that you took the extra effort to locate a GREAT shop when you have an emergency. You won’t believe how much less stressful it can be to have your own shop that you can trust with your vehicles from now on. If the shop did not meet all of your standards or if you had a funny feeling about them you will need to start all over with step one again until you find a shop that you can make your own. Sometimes it is not just the shop itself. Occasionally you may have a personality conflict with someone at the shop. You don’t want or need to go to a shop that you feel funny about. Look around a bit until you find one that treats you like a friend.

Factors That Make Shopping Online a Good Idea

Shopping being an essential one for everyone can be fun and easy for some, while some would consider it a chore and irritating. Online shopping is the perfect solution for the home bound and for those who find shopping a difficult task. Online shopping has proved to be a boon for those who live in rural areas too. Whether you’re buying directly from a business online retailer, an individual online shopping site, or an Internet auction site, shopping online can be fun, simple, time saving and economical.

More about Shopping Online…

Since the development of the Internet, all hard-to-obtain, hard-to-do things have become quite simple that anyone can get anything from wherever they are, all by using a your PC. The Internet not only gives you an ocean of information you required, at the same time expands your shopping options like never before! Now, with only a few clicks of a mouse, you can go online to buy just about anything you need or want.

Festival shopping can be a real stress for most of you, and with Christmas just around the corner, it’s time for you to think about the gifts you have planned to buy. Secure online shopping gives you a little less shopping stress and saves more time, especially during Christmas and other festival season when the crowd packs the streets. Shop your things without venturing into the crowded shopping areas and wrestling your way between shoppers. Most important of all, you need not hurry or worry about finding a parking lot for your car. A simple online search can lead you to the right product at the right price, fast.

If you are looking for great online shopping suggestions or you want to find Australia’s best online shopping websites please read on…

Online shopping benefits…

  • Online shopping offers unbelievable convenience to the shoppers.
  • Online shopping allows people to browse through a variety of retailers, items and categories without leaving their home, compare prices with greater ease and order as many items as they can afford.
  • It provides round the clock service that allows you to shop at your leisure, regardless of your time. Unlike direct shopping where you can shop only during the showroom’s working time, online shopping allows you to buy things any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.
  • Compared to physically going to a shopping mall to shop, online shopping can reduce overhead costs in a variety of ways that inturn reduces the prices to an unbelievable amount.
  • Online retailers too offer many attractive sales promotions. “Festival/seasonal offers”, “Discount sales”, “Buy one and get one free”, and “Buy now” could be few of them. Bargains can be numerous online.
  • Online shopping renders you great help if you wish to gift your daughter who is staying in another country, you can make her day special by sending her a jewellery set by shopping online.
  • With a click on your mouse, you can buy anything from flowers to fly tickets. Groceries, clothing, jewellery, gifts, wine, art, pet supplies, pharmaceuticals, sports goods and equipment, toddlers and kids essentials are some of the others you can get online.
  • The transaction you do is purely safe and your credit card data is encrypted.

Use the checklist below to help make your online shopping experience a safe one

  • Be clear with your needs & budget: With copious online retailers in the Internet, supplying anything you wanted are sure to confuse you while deciding on the one you are looking for. So it is important to be clear with your needs and preferences along with your budget to make your shopping easy.
  • Decide with your paying format: Be clear with your payment format, whether using your credit, debit or charge card before shopping, for making your shopping safe. It is always advisable to save and get your transaction records printed.
  • Check out the terms & conditions: Do read the terms and conditions of the site from which you have decide to shop, to be clear with the delivery, refund policies and warranty. It is a good idea to search and shop from retailers within your country, if you want fast deliveries and low shipping fees.
  • Know your online retailer: Make sure you shop from secure and safe online shopping sites.

We hope this info helps you to shop safely and wisely online. Online shopping is the most practical, economical and fun method of shopping that is perfect for everyone. It saves on your time. Browse through different products without going to the market, compare the prices of products offered by online stores and make the best deal for yourself and your loved ones.

Mystery Shopping Fakes and Finds

The times in my life where, for one reason or another, I was looking for a job, I always found the lure of work at home jobs tempting. The work at home jobs that were most readily available were either scams or they cost more to do than you could make. The best work at home jobs were hard to find or they required skills that I just did not have.

My true passion and calling is church ministry, which in my case has moved me across the country a couple of times. It also, until recently, did not pay at all. That meant I had to find some regular paying job that was flexible enough to let me do my church ministry.

My last move was from California back to my home state of Missouri. That left me in a position where I was not yet being paid by the church, and I still didn’t have a secular job. After a short time of filling out applications, I got tired of it and just looked up the city’s business directory and started calling. I didn’t get very far down the list before I was asked to come in for an interview. After the interview process I was hired. The job I landed was a hourly position at a mystery shopping company.

I have learned a lot about the mystery shopping industry and the problems they face with fake mystery shopping companies. These fake mystery shopping companies will often use the real mystery shopping companies name. They ofter refer to the real companies website to enhance their legitimacy. They sometimes even use the names of the employees at the real mystery shopping company.

This article’s purpose is to teach you how to avoid the fakes and take advantage of the finds by; showing you what to look for in the fakes, where to look for the finds, and the best way to make the real deal profitable. This article should give the person looking for a work at home job with flexible hours the information they need to make mystery shopping a profitable venture.

Beware of checks in the mail! If you receive checks in the mail from a mystery shopping company before you have done anything, chances are they are a fake. They may email you or even call, but if they send you money that has not yet been earned, be afraid. Be very afraid! Some unsuspecting people have called our office asking where their money is. They followed the instructions carefully. They deposited the checks and wired the money, but now their bank account is overdrawn and they are demanding answers. My only answer is they have been duped and we had nothing to do with it. It breaks my heart to tell them that they will probably never see any of that money again. If you have lost money due to one of these scams, you should contact any companies involved and the FBI as well as alert local authorities. Don’t expect any of them to be too reasuring though. Your money is probably in another country right now.

If the checks or money orders are fake, why doesn’t the bank catch them right away? The evil doers that make these fakes are really good at what they do. The only way the banks can know for sure that the checks or money order are real, is to run the transaction. That takes a couple days. Meanwhile your bank account if full of imaginary money. When you pay for something or use money out of your bank account, that money is real. If you wired money to these people or where ever they told you to wire it, that money was real as well. When the imaginary money disappears, the bank holds you responsible for the difference.

There are a plethora of other schemes out there designed to make money off anyone who might be a little to trusting. The general rule is, you don’t give or use money that you couldn’t afford to lose. If you are given money in the form of a check, money order, or even cash, give the bank time to verify it is real. Do not spend the money or send the money until it is verified. Open a separate account so as not to mix the potentially fake money with your real money. Be very careful about giving out personal information.

You might be thinking that you should just avoid everything that comes along with the words “mystery shopping” attached. Please don’t come to the conclusion that mystery shopping is always illegitimate. There are opportunities out there for those that want to shop businesses for money. Businesses rely on mystery shopping to make sure their front line employees are meeting their standard of customer service. Sometimes they do the shops internally, sending in upper management undercover. Sometimes they ask their regular customers to evaluate their service. The most common and most effective mystery shopping programs are done by third party businesses.

Mystery shopping by its very nature is secretive. Companies do not want people or other companies to know about their mystery shopping program and shoppers do not want people to know that they are mystery shoppers. Mystery shopping companies have to be very careful about how they promote their business. They can’t go around saying, “we have shops at McDonalds” to the whole world. They have to be somewhat generic. “We have fast food shops in this city” they might say. These generic advertisements rouse suspicion among those who mystery shopping companies would most like to reach. It is a catch 22.

People who are looking to become shoppers can find a few places where they can be sure the opportunities they are getting are real. One of those places in the Mystery Shopping Providers Association (MSPA). The MSPA is like the Better Business Bureau, except they deal exclusively with mystery shoppers and mystery shopping companies. Their website is mysteryshop.org. They help connect shoppers with legitimate companies.

You can also find mystery shopping forums where shoppers talk to each other about what companies are the best and worse. Most mystery shopping companies will have somebody out there calling them a scam on these forums, but take those comments with a grain of salt. These shoppers probably did not complete the shop according to the client details specified before they accepted the opportunity. There are always bitter people out there who’s goal in life is to destroy the reputation of businesses they feel cheated them out of a couple dollars. Check and see if everybody is complaining or if it is just one voice in a thousand.

You can also check out the webpage of the company and any of their social media pages. Look specifically for others who have posted on the companies blog or Facebook page. You can tell a lot by how many friends a company has on their social media platforms and how active they are. Keep in mind that shoppers are pretty private people, so you won’t a whole lot of comments on public forums. You will see enough to verify there is some life though.

Legitimate mystery shopping companies will have some sort of sign up process. Some are long and somewhat laborsome. Other companies sign up process is as simple as using a Facebook automatic sign up button. A sample of your writing might be required and other information you. It is not unusual for a mystery shopping company to ask for your Social Security number or EIN. They need this for tax purposes. If you make over $599.00, the company will have to send you a 1099 form. They may also require a W9. If the company does direct deposits they will need some bank information. Asking for any of these thing should not make you think that the company is illigitament. All these things are a necessary part of doing business with you as a independent contractor.

In most cases, unless you are applying for editing, scheduling, sales or some other type of office job, you will not be hired by a mystery shopping company. What I mean is you will not become an employee of the mystery shopping company. If you do mystery shopping you will be doing it as a independent contractor. Congratulations! You are running your own at home business. Mystery shopping companies are how you connect to the clients who need shoppers. They also do all the scheduling and editing for the client. Basically, the mystery shopping company is a liaison between the mystery shopper and the business. Without all the tools that mystery shopping companies have, shoppers would not be able to deliver the kind of reporting that companies require. Without the mystery shopping companies, businesses would spend a lot more time and money on mystery shopping programs. Mystery shopping companies are a valuable asset, both to the businesses who need shoppers and to the shoppers who want to shop for businesses. The important thing to keep in mind for those looking to be shoppers is, you are not an employee. There are benefits to that and drawbacks. but you are your boss and your client is the business. You will probably never have any contact with the person who is really paying you. Strange but true. Mystery shopping is kind of a weird world.

Different mystery shopping companies have their own way of telling you what shops are available. Most mystery shopping companies will give you a login to their website where you can see all the available shops in your area. You accept the shops you want to do and after the shops are awarded, you are responsible to follow the client details for the shops you have accepted.

After completing the shop, you will normally fill out an online survey. When you have completed the survey, some mystery shopping companies will have editors review the survey, and if there are any problems, the editors will return the shop to you to correct those problems. If you fail to follow the client details or fail to complete the survey thoroughly, the editors may reject your shop all together and look for another shopper to complete it. You will not be compensated for time or money spent doing the shop. This is the risk of being an independent contractor. If your work does not meet the agreement when you accepted the project, the client does not have to reward you.

On the other hand, if the survey is filled out thoroughly and all client details were followed, you will receive the agree upon amount of money. You may also receive an agreed upon amount of reimbursement as well for purchases made. The business will pay the mystery shopping company for their services which includes the shopper pay. The mystery’s shopping company will disburse the money owed to the shoppers. The disbursements are made using pay services, paper checks, direct deposit, etc… The day of the disbursement also varies a great deal. It could take up to 90 days to receive the disbursement for your shop. It could be as quick as 15 days from the day of the shop.

There are shops that could earn you large amounts of money or reimbursement in one shot. Normally those shops require a lot of time, a large amount of money up front, and/or some risk. There are shops where you are earning a meal, product, vacation or service completely reimbursed. You will have pay for these things first, but if you do the shop correctly, they will be 100% reimbursed or up to the agreed amount in the client details.

On the other hand, a majority of shops available earn much less money. Shops can earn as little as $2, but most are in the range of $5 to $20. Some shoppers aren’t really doing it for the money and just shop for fun.

Other shoppers develop large routes so they can do as many shops as they can in one day. They can turn $10 each into $100 easily. Many shops are in close proximity and if planned well, can make the shopper a lot of money in one day. To do this they have to sign up for as many mystery shopping companies as possible.

Route shopping takes a lot of organization. You have to be able to work with the schedulers from the different mystery shopping companies and make sure the shops can all be done on the same day. You have to allow enough time to travel between locations and enough time to fill out all the surveys. Some companies require the surveys to be turned in the same day that the shop was completed. You also have to be thorough in your reports or they could be rejected. If you miss due dates or forget about shops, you could get black listed and not be able to do anymore shops for some companies. For those that can plan and organize routes, they have the most potential for making a significant amount of money.

Most locations can be done more than once by the same shopper, there are usually rotation times. Rotation times could be as little as 30 days all the way up to a year. Some shops will only be able to be done one time and will never be able to shop that location again. It just depends on what the client needs.

Mystery shopping companies may also have affiliate programs, where the affiliate is rewarded for referring shoppers to the company. These programs could pay for every person referred that signs up or even for every shop completed by the person who was referred. Some also pay for sub-affiliate activity as well.

Mystery shopping can be a viable, flexible and fun source of income. Even if you have heard horror storys of people being taken advantage of, you can confidently choose legitimate mystery shopping companies to shop for.