Originally Posted by ChrisBowers
Actually, I went to the hill with two pairs of skis, one mounted, one not. So I'm "who the hell" who. And honestly, this place is the only shop on the hill. Wouldn't it be a good idea to be able to service any equipment that came through the door? More money, right? And I fail to see how they'd lose money on a job that requires no materials and would take an experienced shop tech 20 minutes.
I think you are right. It would be very good to be able to work on everything. Most shops clearly would profit from that in a perfect world.
Every shop tech has to spend somewhere between half an hour and an hour on each test. This is a small cost. Then, the shop has to be equipped to service the bindings economically. Depending on the binding, this may mean they need jigs they don't currently own, at a price of about $500 a jig. The shop I work at owns somewhere around 100 jigs.
The biggest cost of all is the requirement by most manufacturers that shops participate in the retail program for indemnification. This can vary widely, but may be 5,000 dollars in preseason buy or more. I stated that already. I don't understand why you think you should be able to walk into a Chevy dealership and have them gladly work on your Ford.
Meanwhile, if one shop tech decides to be "service oriented" and work on a binding for which he isn't certified, the manufacturer will not indemnify the retailer and the retailer's liability insurance will probably balk as well because they knowingly worked on something they weren't certified to work on. I'm not saying this isn't SILLY. It is SILLY. I assure you that anyone with a reasonable amount of gray matter can do satisfactory work on every binding out there, given the tools and service manual.
It doesn't much matter that the tech did a good job when the frivolous lawsuit rolls in. As noted, I know people this has happened to. $30 mounts don't happen frequently enough to justify potentially large legal costs, and potential insurance premium increases. You note that you don't understand how this can "lose money". Well, for competent shops it doesn't, but its undoubtedly close to the lowest margin SKU in the store year after year. Simple economics, really...the minimum wage employee can generate more sales of higher margin items with less training when on the retail floor instead of the shop floor.
You note that the mount takes 20 minutes. If the shop doesn't have the jig to mount a particular binding and the ski isn't pre drilled, its not hard to spend an hour doing the job right. For that matter, its not hard to spend half an hour on a routine mount if doing the job right, including the obligatory torque test.
So no, its not a good idea to work on everything. Smart retailers don't work on gear they aren't indemnified to work on, be it because of age, brand, or condition.
|Oh, and go to Jiffy Lube next time, they'll top off your fluids for free.
No, no they won't. They will top off fluids like engine oil, differential, etc.
They won't top off brake fluid, because topping off brake fluid is a dumb thing to do even though many people do it.
Working on skis you aren't certified to work on is a very dumb thing for a shop tech to do. Comparisons to auto mechanics are hilarious, because last I checked auto mechanics tend not to be teenagers paid minimum wage. When you pay 100 dollars an hour for a professional, things are obviously different.
Lets put it this way: When I work on a Look, Rossignol, Atomic, Fischer, Salomon, Marker, and various flavors of branded Marker bindings, I'm given a whole lot of free legal counsel and insurance in case I either screw up or (more likely) some whack sues me because I'm the guy that signed the form on their bindings last. I'm no longer a teenage minimum wage employee...but I'm close. Unless you are related to me, my best buddy, or my spouse, I'm not going to open myself to liability I don't have to.
If I were a professional, I'd have my own insurance against errors. If that were the case, I would be able to work on what I was reasonably certain I could work on safely and completely. The independent auto shop will definitely change a clutch for you, but you may be surprised at what they'd say to you if you asked them to replace an airbag. Regardless, they are masters of their own domain in a way I simply can't afford to be.
Some shops out there will work on anything. Presumably, they've decided thats a risk worth taking and they've talked it over with their lawyers and insurers. From the numbers I've seen and the stories I've heard at a variety of shops, I haven't yet seen a case where it makes sense to take those risks.