What Makes an Honest Mechanic

Published on March 5, 2012 under Humble Mechanic

So what really makes an honest mechanic? Being honest of course. πŸ™‚ I just want to tell you how this subject came about. I will tie it together, just hang with me, it will all make sense.~Promise~

When I first started this blog, I started listening to a really great business podcast called “Five Minutes with Jack”. He gives great motivation to keep blogging and building an awesome brand. Jack is one of the main reasons that you guys get a post every day. πŸ˜‰ On top of using social media like, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and G+ to my blog out there, the show talks about using SEO(search engine optimization) to get your brand out there. One of the main things is finding a few keywords you want associated with your brand.

That got me thinking, what do I want my brand to be known as. Of course if someone searches for the term “Humble Mechanic” odds are they are not looking for me. So the word that kept coming up is HONEST. Maybe I should have called the site Honest Mechanic. Well, all that talk about honest got me thinking, what really makes and honest mechanic..

It all starts here. Communication is a skill that is so important, and very underrated. The ability to talk to customers in a way that helps them understand is where a lot of guys fall short. I have talked about mechanics not wanting to talk to customers before, and I firmly believe they are wrong. Talking to customers is one of my favorite parts of my job. I love teaching people about there car. I don’t care if it’s as simple as programming presets on their radio, or talking about advanced computer diagnostics. I do my best to explain things in a way that anyone can understand, even if they know nothing about cars. If your mechanic will not take the time to explain what they are doing, then I would question how honest they really are.

I guess it goes with out saying that you can’t be an honest mechanic if you have no integrity. This one might be a little tricky to find out right away. I can tell you that there are countless ways for a mechanic to “cheat”. Charging customers to replace parts then not replace them, selling services that are not really needed, charging too much in labor hours for a job are all things that I have seen happen. So how do you know if your mechanic has points in the integrity department? I find that asking is a great technique.

  • Do I REALLY need this?
  • Do I need to do this repair today?
  • What will happen if I don’t repair it now
  • Can you show me what you are talking about?

These are some questions that I would ask every time, unless you are talking about an oil change or something really simple like that.

Good communication and a high level of integrity do not mean a whole lot if a mechanic has no skill. You are bringing your car to get serviced, they better know how to do the work. From all of my years working on cars, I have found that the mechanics with the least amount of skill tend to not be so honest. Earning money as a mechanic is not easy, even if you are good, it’s a tough job. Now take a mechanic that is not very good, they almost have to lie cheat and steal to make money.

Be sure to swing by the forum. Remember, if you do not get approved right away contact me and let me know. I try to keep it free of spam, and I don’t want to miss anyone.

Also, swing by Jack’s site, and post a comment to let him know I sent ya πŸ˜‰ I really do owe a lot to him, and it would be a great way to say thanks.

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  1. Marshall

    My service adviser at Honda that I have grown to know and trust always communicate with me. How much the repair is going to be, How long can I hold off on the repair…all the questions you mentioned. I get from my service adviser. Never talked with a tech though…um…maybe I should next time.

    1. Charles

      Marshall, that is a good point. Most of the time the info you get will be from an advisor. Might be time to write a little something about that.

      I think that if your getting the information, you are good to go.

  2. Chris

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Charles. When I got started, I saw some other mechanics do really, really unethical things. And a lot of the jobs I did were fixes for things the guy before me broke and tried to cover up. I told myself every day I’d never do anything to cheat a customer. And I’ll totally admit, it’s cost me big a couple times. But more often than not, it earned a good reputation for our shop, and repeat customers that ask for me by name. So honesty pays big time!

    1. Charles

      Chris, it may have cost you some money on that job, but as you build your customer base, that wont matter. It wont matter when a customer will wait 2 weeks for you to work on their car. It wont matter when Christmas comes around and customers bring you goodies.

      One of my heroes in business is Gary Vaynerchuk, during a speech a few years back he said this, “Legacy is greater than currency”. THAT my friend is something that I have always lived by! If you tailor your game around that mentality, you will have more success than you can even imagine!

      Doing the right thing is NEVER wrong!!!
      (now I am all fired up) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      1. Chris

        That might be one of my new favorite quotes. I never felt too badly about the times where I had to replace something or eat a repair bill, because no matter what it cost, I could sleep at night and be proud of my work. I always look at it as if I left this shop tomorrow, would people say “what a shame, he was a nice young man”, or “good riddance, that guy was a squid.”

        I can only think of one customer who said the second one, cause he didn’t like my $2k write-up on his Lincoln with black coolant :p

    1. Chris

      Haha that’s terrible. One of my favorites was a guy who snapped the wrench point off while doing a serpentine belt, and then stared at it, got the belt on, closed the hood and drove it out. Mind-blowingly wrong.

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