Why doesn’t Mark’s repair shop, Salem Boys, offer phone estimates?

An adverse byproduct of our success is having to handle hundreds and hundreds of phone calls a week, asking for an estimate unrelated to cars in our possession to be repaired. We’ve provided free car advice via TV, radio and print for the last 23 years. But Monday through Friday, 730 am to 6 pm, we can’t run our business for free, we need to focus on repairing the cars already here and in need of our attention.

We really can't bid repairs unless the car is here and we have a repair order. I (Mark) could pay a full time service writer to do nothing but write bids and we already know that 90% of the bids we are asked for, are good kind folks simply checking their shop’s bid against ours. We are blessed because people ask us because they trust us. Obviously, there is no income stream associated with the time it takes to prepare and verify an estimate.

In reality, a phone estimate is a big huge guess. And it will shame the shop and benefit the caller OR benefit the shop and screw the caller. Why?

In order to provide a valid estimate, we need specific information. Like:
exactly what engine do you have,
exactly what transmission do you have,
exactly what is the production date of your car,
does the labor operation involve cruise control interference,
do you have hydroboost ,
what size is the front rotors and the rear drums or
exactly how many gallons of gas does your tank hold.

These are just a few of the questions most folks cannot answer, yet we need to know to prepare a correct estimate.

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