Compared to Dealerships
Most dealerships do not have a good career path for technicians and thus they have a high technician turn-over rate. This leads their techs to not know much beyond their current lineup of cars – their bread-and-butter. Your ‘old’ car is not what they work on everyday and unless it represents easy money it will get low priority in their schedule.
The best technicians (ours) work where they are appreciated, where they are looked after, and with a team they enjoy. We create this environment for them because we like to work with great people too.
Dealerships are forced to toe the company line when it comes to repairs. Their factory maintenance schedules are rigid and do not have regional or driver-type adjustments. Much of what they do is biased by a need to maintain their brand image. (Did you know that Rolls-Royce require their owners to sign an agreement NOT to tow their cars on any open tow-truck?)
We love cars, and by extension we love their manufacturers. But we have the freedom to admit that they don’t always get things right. Our interest is keeping you happy and sometimes that forces us to correct what dealerships cannot.
Compared to Quick-Lube places
Quickie lube shops have a simple business model: reduce costs to get you a better price on a specific service. More recently they’ve expanded into simple add-on services to increase profits.
To be plain we cannot compete with them on price. First we are not owned by an oil company and thus cannot get the wholesale oil pricing they can. Second, and much more importantly, we hire certified automotive technicians to work on your vehicle, not entry-level trainees with low or no certification or experience. You might think that changing oil is a simple enough task. Often it is, but it is a very critical one – if done wrong the price will typically be a destroyed engine. Our shop emphasizes preventative work in everything we do because we know this is the real way for you to save money. We also know it is the only way to help you get the most out of your vehicle. Instead of trying to get you in and out as quickly as possible we use this time to allow our certified technicians to give your car a look-over and make sure things are as expected. During every service visit we also do a full written Integrity Inspection so that, when you leave, you have a written report card on your vehicle from a qualified technician. This might cost a little more or take a little longer than a quickie place but we know that long-term it really will save you both time and money.
Compared to other Independent Shops
One of the real challenges of running an independent shop is the constant business struggle between spending time coping with business and spending time organizing it. Most independent shops were founded by a good technician tired of working for someone else. Unfortunately most of these technicians, although good at their trade, are often not good at the critical skills of running a business. This causes so many problems that will translate directly to the quality of service you receive. For example, if the owner is not a good money manager, odds are he/she won’t be able to invest in the equipment to do a better job. Or, if he/she is a bad people person he/she won’t be able to build a team that enjoys working together – such a team has a natural disadvantage when trying to deliver quality.
We come from a business background. Our business knowledge and skills are respected by some of the top trainers and training companies in our industry; in fact three of these companies have recently offered us work training shop owners and automotive technicians.
Another point of comparison that we like our clients to be aware of is our insistence in honesty in advertising. We do not pay slick third-party companies to write our marketing materials or newsletters. We do not use stock photography or fake models to misrepresent our clients, their vehicles, or our services. We take our own photographs, earn our own complements and use real quotes for our testimonials. It’s all part of being Integrity First.
We cannot completely discuss differences amongst automotive shops without considering certifications. We insist on ASE certification for all our staff. The ASE is the ONLY certification in the US that requires re-certification. In fact it requires it every five years. ASE certifications aren’t easy – they require two years of hands-on work experience and even then they have a 33% failure rate. There are other titles and certifications shops will advertise but, unless the qualification is relevant today, it isn’t worth much. ‘Factory training’ is a favorite example – if this experience is 10 or 20 years old it isn’t very valid. Today’s Ford has much more in common with today’s Toyota (as random examples) than it has in common with a 20 year old Ford. This fact is why the ASE requires re-certification. 10 or 20 year old automotive training is very comparable to 10 or 20 year old computer training – it doesn’t apply much to today’s technology. At Integrity First Automotive, your car is always serviced by an ASE certified technician.
We deliver: on time, fixed right the first time, and on-budget. Build a relationship with us and we will look after you and take the smart approach to saving you money and making your vehicle ownership simple and enjoyable.