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Alright, so here's the story, got a '74 cb750 that needed quite a bit of work (hadn't run in quite a long time, needed new front tube forks, and more or less minor things after that), due to a lack of space and time decided to take it to a local shop to just have it done. He said it would be better to bring it in in the winter since his shop is slow around that time of year, understandably slow. Figured he'd get to work on it right away getting a parts list together at minimum which was also something we had discussed. hadn't heard anything for three months and he said he needed money for parts. Since then he hasn't even ordered parts if we hadn't brought money in ahead of time and therefore hasn't gotten much work done on the bike other than getting the motor running. The whole time not keeping us updated on what's going on and that he even needed money for parts. Now we've already had enough of this since he said he wouldn't have the bike done before winter (was supposed to have it done this summer). and we now have space to work on it and finish it so we're just going to finish it ourselves.

Question is has anyone heard of a mechanic asking for money before ordering parts? Despite the fact that he knows what we want done??
 

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Depends on the shop and exactly what is he doing. That length of time would concern me.
you should ask him if you could meet with him to go over an accounting of what was purchased and installed on the bike, and that you would like to see the bike.
If he is a good business owner he should be keeping track of the man hours and parts. Here comes the tricky part, making sure you are not getting taken, some of the parts especially OEM parts are getting pretty difficult to find, although I have personally found Honda better than most.
From a business perspective he may see himself putting a lot of hours of actual work and research into finding the parts, a business owners time is valuable as well as the employees he may be paying. Those are hard to bill for, so if he fears he may not get paid at the end of this he may be just trying to cover the initial costs. That said he should have been keeping you up to date, that is just good customer service.
if he can give you an acceptable accounting of what was purchased and installed, pay him that and argue that he wasted your time by not being a little more engaged on the project and see if he will take some loss on the time spent. Personal opinion and would be my approach. I use to own one business and was a partner in a second.
Hope this works out for you.
 

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When my dad was building his '63 Galaxie, he had a local mechanic do some of the engine work and try to find headers that would fit...he paid/was paying for the work done....I was with him one day we stopped in to see how things were going, and nothing had been done since he had last stopped in (3 weeks)...the owners take on it...."Well you know how it is with these projects, just get a little work done on them when you can find the time." Dads take on it....yeah, that's how I would do it too...but you're getting paid to do the work....


the time frame with this sounds similar to the one you're talking about there....I'm with Kirlindy, get an accounting of money spent, and time spent on it so far....especially since it was supposed to be done by this summer....I can understand wanting some money up front for parts....but if you are getting paid to do a job, do the job
 

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A professional business should not need money up front, though I've been hearing more and more asking for a deposit. Alot of it is because they are getting stuck holding on to cars cause people end up not having the money in the end. Now a backyard mechanic, I can see him/her asking for the parts up front.

I haven't had to take my vehicles into a shop in years, but when I did, I always marked the part that needed changing and asked for the old parts back. I've been screwed over before, won't happen again. Paid good money to have a one belt system changed in my car, and 2 weeks later it snapped causing me to lose my water pump, power steering pump and other crap. There was no way they changed the belt, it was worn out more than a the sole of a 10 year old sneaker. I proved my case, and the mechanic had to pay my new mechanic the cost of replacing all my parts. Since then, I mark my parts.
 
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I thought I was the only one who marked parts. As for paying for parts up front I have had to do that before. Especially if they were after market. I do a lot of business with a Honda dealer and I never have to pay upfront but have at other places.
 

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I run a truck shop, I have had guys that own their own trucks, ( better known as owner/operators) not have the money to pay their bill once the truck was repaired. So we sit on the expense until they can come up with the money, sometimes this is thousands of dollars.

On restorations I would think a shop owner would want to make sure he will get his money once the job is done. So I can see why he might want money up front.

As for time, there is no excuse for taking excessive time to get a job done other than laziness. I wouldn't tolerate someone parking my project and not working on it.
 

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A professional business should not need money up front, though I've been hearing more and more asking for a deposit. Alot of it is because they are getting stuck holding on to cars cause people end up not having the money in the end.
It is all about cash flow Zippy. A shop just cannot carry every job on the books until each one gets finished. Repair parts can easily run into the thousands and unless a job finishes quickly the shop needs to carry that on their books a long time or ask for the money up front. It makes sense to me.
 

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I can understand wanting some money upfront for expensive jobs. I know some parts can easily drain anyones bank acct. But if a shop is asking for money up front for such things as a spark plug which is a dime a dozen this would set off some alarm. I know most shops have accts with part stores. I also know the mark up is crazy. For a part they pay 5 bucks for you pay the shop 10. I know they gotta make money too but sometimes its ridiculous.

I stopped using a company that cleaned my boiler because they where charging me for a whole roll of paper towels when in fact he only used one or to sheets. How cheap can u be to charge me money for a roll of 99 cent paper towels you used to clean up a mess that you made?
 

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Get your bike and run, very fast. Any shop that wants money up front (except for custom jobs) is not a place I would deal with. Any shop that does good work will have a good reputation and makes enough on labor to cover the costs of parts. The cost for finding the parts should be covered in the markup on them. If they want money up front for labor there is something wrong. If they have to outsource a job such as rebuilding an engine then that might be an exception.

Ask around and find a shop with a good reputation or better yet do the job yourself shop out what you have to.
 

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I have no issue with pre-paying for special order parts that can't be used for much other than your bike, BUT you're getting hosed. Get your bike and whatever parts you've paid for and either do it yourself or hire another shop. This time get an approximate time frame and require communication. The guy quite obviously doesn't value you as a customer or your project. The excuse of "work on it as you can" holds no water. If he's in business to make money he has to finish the project.
Bad business man, possibly a good mechanic, but definitely a bad business man.
 

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I own my business in home repair and never ask for money upfront. I do request payment on a weekly basis, based on performance. I would expect the same from my mechanic.
 

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I do have an Indy that requests money up front for the parts needed but makes the order right in front of me showing what it costs him to get them .. Have dealt with this man for close to 10 years so is no worry there for me in this situation anyway .. He also has no problem with me getting parts needed for a job, but the job itself is beyond my wrenching ability or special tools that may be needed and just charges the fair amount of labor that it takes to do the job ..
 

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When we had our BMW K75 custom built, our dealer was the only one that had a financial stake in the build. Good customer service but not good business. We signed a purchase contract with trade-in of an R80RT but we had no money invested in the build.

All he went on was our credit report from the purchase of my K100LT. But think about it. It was just paper work. We could have left the country. We are honest and would never do that but he didn't know that for sure.

But how many of those could someone do like that and stay in business. Not many because far too many aren't good people. We let him know that when the build was complete and he changed the way he ran his business but he was very exposed there.

Yes he was new to the business and eager to please but you simply can't run a business like that. He himself was too honest and forthright. You have to get money upfront or at the very least as things are completed. Too many dishonest people walk away from their responsibility.

Now he did get support from BMW in Germany after about two months because they wanted to see what the end result would be. But for two months he was really hanging out there. Not good business practice. That means he was covering the cost of the raw bike and all add components. We should have at least paid for the components.

Have to admit, we always got extra good service from him after the build. He realized just how exposed he was.. So it does make for good customer relations but is just too risky for day to day business.
 

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We just finished a major job for a customer, 22,000 dollars. He came in last night, can't get the work financed, wanted to know if we would take payments.
This is the kind of thing that kills small businesses. Fortunately ours is big enough to bite the bullet on this one. We will now need to get a mechanics lean on the truck and see if we can get our money out of it.
I told my boss last night, no more major jobs for small operators without money up front, he agreed.
 

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Ya know, there must be something in the water out there in Cali to have this kind of trust. Our guy was in Santa Cruz. I actually doubt he's still in business. Just do trusting. That "hope for change" thing I guess. You simply cannot trust people. PERIOD! In business or politics. Everyone is not your friend. Sorry. That's the real world.
 

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Service business are stuck between a rock and a hard place sometimes. Asking someone to pay up front is a very difficult thing to do, and most won't. The business owner doesn't want to lose the business, and wants a good customer relationship.
As a service business one needs to be very careful to give accurate bids so the customer knows exactly what the work is going to cost. That is also a two edge sword because sometimes once a job is started other problems arise, and the costs go up.

Many times I have had to bit the bullet because a job ended up costing us more than we expected and wasn't able to charge the customer.

Sometimes it isn't a matter of a dishonest customer or business but thing just not working out the way they were expected to. In our case there is no winner, the poor customer lost because of financing, and we lost due to not making sure he could pay once the job was completed.
 

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I understand where your are Blaine. I had a landscape design business for ten years. Real hard to get people to pay for something they can't see up front. I did all the work myself. Would take me much longer than some.

Most understood it but I had some that would complain that they could have got someone else cheaper and had it done quicker. Of course they could but they used illegals to get the job done as quick as possible and they were out of there.

So support illegals or an American? I finally gave up. Hard to fight cheap cheap labor. But looking at those jobs now, mine are all still working. The others, redone at least once in every case. Some more.

But getting money up front was impossible. I got mine as the job progressed. Hard to do it any other way.
 

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The others, redone at least once in every case. Some more.
I often wonder why there isn't enough time to do it right the first time, but there seems to always be enough time to do it over.
 
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