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I was listening to a fellow rider brag how his buddy is a PHD certified mechanic. So I asked what dealership and he replied the guy's an Indy. Then wondered why I wanted to know what dealer.

I explained that I have met all sorts of mechanics and the PHD cert is only as good as the person that has it. There is one dealer near me that has PHDs on their shop floor. However, I have seen that same dealer f*@& up more than a few simple customer service orders. I mean really simple things like balancing a tire (could not do it if the balancing machine is down and did not know how to do it on a wheel stand), cut one guy's replacement antenna and then offered to correct that by cutting the other to match (ouch), held a customer's bike 5 days after the job was done without notifying the owner that their bike was ready, and my favorite took 3.5 hours to do a prescheduled rear tire replacement (about a year before the balancer broke and this was a morning appointment).

Of course the guy I was discussing this with then asked how much I charge for a tire change, I said $50. He replied his buddy charges $40 and does not balance the tire because most tires do not need it???WTF??? Unless the Indy has grabbed some magic racing grade street tires, about 1 out of 4 I put on the balancing stand need some weight. So I figure 25% of the other fellows business is repeat only because of wear.

Anyway, I thought I would throw that out there to see what happens.=devil=
 

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every mechanic/technician make mistakes

After attending numerous schools on lots of equipment, electronics and vehicles I know for sure all of us make mistakes. It amazing how easy it is to simply not know everything about any problem or service procedure you can possibly find on the job. Some time its real basic stuff and other times it very specialized knowledge. In any event no-one is perfect.

Granted some things are pretty basic knowledge and those who don't know solutions like your tire balancing tricks, create room for there to be doubt about their competency. On-the-other-hand you have to put some things into perspective. For example how may auto-mechanics under the age of twenty-five know how to adjust a set of points or polarize a generator?

Most stealer's will not even consider working on a shovel head. And some consider EVO series to be to old to work on. Meanwhile a lot of the old school mechanics would never work on an injected bike.
 

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Originally posted by toybox99615
Most stealer's will not even consider working on a shovel head. And some consider EVO series to be to old to work on.
The sign hanging prominently in my H-D dealer's shop says they no longer work on bikes manufactured before 1990.
 

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If you think about it, it's no different than any other profession. There's good Dr's and quacks, good accountants and thieves, good lawyers and, um, well, wait a minute...forget that part.

The local dealer here has two senior techs that are top notch, FWIW. The place won't work on anything pre-Evo also. Not sure if many dealers do shovels and older any more, must be the trend.
 

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the older iron problem is deeper than many think and isnt always related to experience or lack thereof. many older machines, including cars, boats, bikes and widgets are worth less than some of the repairs they need. in addition they are prone to pre-existing problems surfacing during repairs that can add a substantial amoount to the repair bill or leave a customer questioning the shops integrity and/or capabilities unjustly.

in many cases a customer will authorize repairs on an older vehicle and decide part way through that they dont want to pay for the repairs (i have a 4 year old abused vehicle at my facility now that has been sitting for 4 months...i finally got the mom to pony up the cash to finish the repair to keep me out of her baby's financial record). the shop performing the repairs is stuck with a lengthy mechanics lien process and a vehicle that in many instances is not worth what they are owed. in a case where they took a down payment before performing the work and something else went wrong while the work was being performed they are left in a legal battle and risk loss to ignorance because they are "an evil repair shop". another reason you see fewer favors today than years ago. i have people show up at my facility saying "you put a bulb i brought you 3 months ago for free. now it isnt working and i think its your fault so you should buy me a new one and install it for free again"...you dont have to believe it...i understand...

the amount of legal jumbo that would be necessary to protect the owner and repair shop in the event of one of these concerns isnt worth the hassle or the time involved. then theres the "you worked on his old iron and not mine so i am going to accuse you of discrimination" card. that card can be played if you ask one person for id when they write a check and dont ask the next for the same (hard to believe?...happens all the time).

the simplest way tom avoid these predicaments is to avoid them altogether. therefore..."we do not perform repairs on bikes built before 1990" may be a reasonable policy to protect your shop and the customer from unnecessary legal bullsh!t action and wasted time.

when i say there is more to it than most believe i am not blowing smoke. just read whats posted in these forums and then try to imagine what it is like to work in the atmosphere that results. put an idea in peoples minds and they will run with it like its gospel regardless of where it comes from. i have gone out of my way to make a visit as convenient as possible for a customer and had them accuse me of treating them like crap. simple solution...advise them to never return...and yes...i am allowed to do that as customers can be accused of harrassment also. there is no requirement that you must service a persons vehicle regardless of their attitude.

there is an explanation fro everything you see. take the time to ask about it instead of drawing a false conclusion and you might be better for it.
 

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tomv said:
the older iron problem is deeper than many think and isnt always related to experience or lack thereof. many older machines, including cars, boats, bikes and widgets are worth less than some of the repairs they need. in addition they are prone to pre-existing problems surfacing during repairs that can add a substantial amoount to the repair bill or leave a customer questioning the shops integrity and/or capabilities unjustly.

in many cases a customer will authorize repairs on an older vehicle and decide part way through that they dont want to pay for the repairs (i have a 4 year old abused vehicle at my facility now that has been sitting for 4 months...i finally got the mom to pony up the cash to finish the repair to keep me out of her baby's financial record). the shop performing the repairs is stuck with a lengthy mechanics lien process and a vehicle that in many instances is not worth what they are owed. in a case where they took a down payment before performing the work and something else went wrong while the work was being performed they are left in a legal battle and risk loss to ignorance because they are "an evil repair shop". another reason you see fewer favors today than years ago. i have people show up at my facility saying "you put a bulb i brought you 3 months ago for free. now it isnt working and i think its your fault so you should buy me a new one and install it for free again"...you dont have to believe it...i understand...

the amount of legal jumbo that would be necessary to protect the owner and repair shop in the event of one of these concerns isnt worth the hassle or the time involved. then theres the "you worked on his old iron and not mine so i am going to accuse you of discrimination" card. that card can be played if you ask one person for id when they write a check and dont ask the next for the same (hard to believe?...happens all the time).

the simplest way tom avoid these predicaments is to avoid them altogether. therefore..."we do not perform repairs on bikes built before 1990" may be a reasonable policy to protect your shop and the customer from unnecessary legal bullsh!t action and wasted time.

when i say there is more to it than most believe i am not blowing smoke. just read whats posted in these forums and then try to imagine what it is like to work in the atmosphere that results. put an idea in peoples minds and they will run with it like its gospel regardless of where it comes from. i have gone out of my way to make a visit as convenient as possible for a customer and had them accuse me of treating them like crap. simple solution...advise them to never return...and yes...i am allowed to do that as customers can be accused of harrassment also. there is no requirement that you must service a persons vehicle regardless of their attitude.

there is an explanation fro everything you see. take the time to ask about it instead of drawing a false conclusion and you might be better for it.
agreed. a dude brought in a 80 shovel awhile back. had been patched over patches. oil pouring from valve guides. i told him the only way i would touch it was a complete frame up! then he would still have a shovel------------hope springer dont read this. lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am not talking about working on old bikes. I am refering to the common simple stuff like removing the old wheel weights prior to balancing, calling the customer when the bike is finished, and admitting when the shop messes up as opposed to covering it up.

I got a cohort that has a bigger Indy shop than me (not to be confused with the PHD that refuses to balance a wheel). This cohort is straight old school pre evo. TC's are new to him. He is smart business wise and found a young grad from MMI that took only TC courses to add to his small staff. So he and his shop have adapted.

As far as the old bike/car thing goes. Sure some folks abuse their stuff. No surprise, but if we that actually wrench want to be serious about our passion, then ANY bike old or new will have the potential of discovering something that needs to be fixed in addition to what the customer asked for. If you doubt this, look at all the TCs with cam chain tensioner issues for a start. Good customer service skills and experience leads the better shops to set down with the customer and explain the surprise issue offering optional solutions - the bad shops will either blow off the problem or just refuse to work on some vehicles. #@SasF#

So it again, it comes down to the certification being as good as the person that holds it. :thumbsdn:
 

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if they don't fix them then don't sell them

I think the bottom line is if they will not work on them they should not sell them. I've checked out more than a few bike at dealers. They don't seem to have a problem with putting a price tag on an older bike like a shovel. Ask if they can do some work on it before you go out the door and they don't work on them. It is as if there is a major knowledge base that requires special training to change tires on a shovel.

Maybe the MoCo needs to make parts available through non-harley dealers for older bikes. There are certainly a lot of older bike parts that you can only get through Harley. The dealers don't seem minding taking you cash for the parts.

I understand the older bike issue from owners who want a new bike when the shop screwed up a ligh bulb. When something goes wrong it real easy to blame the shop. On the other hand if they make mistakes they need to be responsible for it. But find a dealer who will actually admit they screwed up is a real far and in between experience.

When I worked at a Honda shop many years ago we simply avoided jobs where you might not get paid by getting a lot of cash up front. Some times we actually had to give a refund when the job came in for less than the estimate. I doubt there is a trade in the world where the customers property can not be worth less than the cost of repair. But it seem that bike shops are leaders in the we don't work on those mode of customer relations.
 

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toybox99615 said:
I think the bottom line is if they will not work on them they should not sell them.
Some dealerships will take old bikes in on trade. They are doing the customer a favor in most cases because these bike are often hard to move. I'm sure they would work on them if it was profitable, but there is not enough business to justify training new mechanics on the old iron. There are some dealerships that still work on the old bikes - i know of one in this area - just depends on whether they are lucky enough to have someone on staff that is qualified.
 

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In my lifelong field of auto collisian repair ive attended many training seminars/clinics, some lasting up to 40 hrs. Most provide some kind of cert at completion. I always found there was much knowledge offered and tried to assimilate as much as possible. However youve always got the asshats that are just there for the paper and couldnt care less that their employer is paying them to be there.
They usually arrive hung over, sit down and slip into a semi comatose state then try to ditch class after lunch.
 

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R-RatedCustoms said:
As far as the old bike/car thing goes. Sure some folks abuse their stuff. No surprise, but if we that actually wrench want to be serious about our passion, then ANY bike old or new will have the potential of discovering something that needs to be fixed in addition to what the customer asked for. If you doubt this, look at all the TCs with cam chain tensioner issues for a start. Good customer service skills and experience leads the better shops to set down with the customer and explain the surprise issue offering optional solutions - the bad shops will either blow off the problem or just refuse to work on some vehicles. #@SasF#

So it again, it comes down to the certification being as good as the person that holds it. :thumbsdn:
in a perfect world your good customer service skills and experience explanation is a fine solution. unfortunately what is agreed upon at the beginning of a repair and what actually happens when a problem does arise can be 2 very different scenarios. it is not common..but get burned a few times by customers who play the yes game and turn on you during the repair and it changes your outlook. blanket policies are designed to protect the shop from these customers and are necessary due to possible discrimination issues if a shop accepts some and not others.

i'll be the last to disagree that there are good and bad shops and/or good and bad techs or management in either shop. i am not defending shops. i am defending the choices some shops are forced to make due to a minority of customers who abuse their responsibility.

for the record...i agree that wheel/tire assemblies should be balanced. i am not disagreeing with that. i thought that part of the discussion ended already.

as far as certifications go...is it any different with a college degree? does a degree from a prestigious college make an honest person or one who is gaurenteed to be better at there chosen proffession? it is a measure of education, not ethics, common sense or good business practice..yet it is a tool for measurement nonetheless. only worth the paper it is printed on....
 

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toybox99615 said:
Maybe the MoCo needs to make parts available through non-harley dealers for older bikes. There are certainly a lot of older bike parts that you can only get through Harley. The dealers don't seem minding taking you cash for the parts.

i dont think you would have a problem finding a dealer that would mind setting up a wholesale account with an independant so they can purchase the harley parts at a discount and sell them at a profit. the aftermarket would produce the parts if they saw enough profit in it...but i dont see anyone tearing them down for only looking at the profit side of the equation.

I understand the older bike issue from owners who want a new bike when the shop screwed up a ligh bulb. When something goes wrong it real easy to blame the shop. On the other hand if they make mistakes they need to be responsible for it. But find a dealer who will actually admit they screwed up is a real far and in between experience.

it is actually more common than you think...you just seldom read about it because there isnt enough drama in the stories. people generally dont make a big deal about good experiences as opposed to ranting about bad. its common knowledge in any customer satisfaction training. angry people talk...happy people tend not to be as vocal.

When I worked at a Honda shop many years ago we simply avoided jobs where you might not get paid by getting a lot of cash up front. Some times we actually had to give a refund when the job came in for less than the estimate. I doubt there is a trade in the world where the customers property can not be worth less than the cost of repair. But it seem that bike shops are leaders in the we don't work on those mode of customer relations.

because bike shops are burned regularly in those situations...and you deal with them more than you deal with other businesses that have similar problems.
choose to believe it or not...many of the policies you run into with shops are created by those who abuse their rights as customers. it affects every customer in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
tomv said:
as far as certifications go...is it any different with a college degree? does a degree from a prestigious college make an honest person or one who is gaurenteed to be better at there chosen proffession? it is a measure of education, not ethics, common sense or good business practice..yet it is a tool for measurement nonetheless. only worth the paper it is printed on....
Amen there..
 

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2 way street guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by toybox99615
Maybe the MoCo needs to make parts available through non-harley dealers for older bikes. There are certainly a lot of older bike parts that you can only get through Harley. The dealers don't seem minding taking you cash for the parts.

i dont think you would have a problem finding a dealer that would mind setting up a wholesale account with an independant so they can purchase the harley parts at a discount and sell them at a profit. the aftermarket would produce the parts if they saw enough profit in it...but i dont see anyone tearing them down for only looking at the profit side of the equation.

I understand the older bike issue from owners who want a new bike when the shop screwed up a ligh bulb. When something goes wrong it real easy to blame the shop. On the other hand if they make mistakes they need to be responsible for it. But find a dealer who will actually admit they screwed up is a real far and in between experience.

it is actually more common than you think...you just seldom read about it because there isnt enough drama in the stories. people generally dont make a big deal about good experiences as opposed to ranting about bad. its common knowledge in any customer satisfaction training. angry people talk...happy people tend not to be as vocal.

When I worked at a Honda shop many years ago we simply avoided jobs where you might not get paid by getting a lot of cash up front. Some times we actually had to give a refund when the job came in for less than the estimate. I doubt there is a trade in the world where the customers property can not be worth less than the cost of repair. But it seem that bike shops are leaders in the we don't work on those mode of customer relations.

because bike shops are burned regularly in those situations...and you deal with them more than you deal with other businesses that have similar problems.

tomv wrote:
choose to believe it or not...many of the policies you run into with shops are created by those who abuse their rights as customers. it affects every customer in the end.
I am not a mechanic but I use them all the same for work. As you discuss this situation with mechanics should you not ask yourself then why a customer may have such an "attitude" about shops for work? Could they have had a past problem with a shop and now in their minds it effects "all" shops in their mind? Or is this just a thought for shops to have about their customer having been burned once and never again. Shops being forced to make these decisions to protect themselves. Cannot the customer make these decisions to protect themselves as well?

Just sayin
 

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tomv said:
as far as certifications go...is it any different with a college degree? does a degree from a prestigious college make an honest person or one who is gaurenteed to be better at there chosen proffession? it is a measure of education, not ethics, common sense or good business practice..yet it is a tool for measurement nonetheless. only worth the paper it is printed on....
I know alot of college educated idiots, I know certified mechanics that are not very competent (My son-in-law for one) and certified computer repair technicians that can't diagnose problems or perform software repairs without wiping and reloading. It happens in any profession that uses certifications but certifications are still important in general.
 

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certifications in my opinion give you background knowledge and the rite to go out and gain practical experience. The practical experience gives one the basic knowledge to know what to look for when using the diagnostic proceedures that the certifications taught you. In my opinion you should get both.I know plenty of folks that are good mechanics but need to come out of the dark ages with their test proceedures and seen quite a few young guys performing test on a part that I could have told them was not the problem.Experience and certifications will in my opinion produce the best mechanics.
BC
 
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