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Warranties & Parts
Q: What's your warranty policy?
A: We warranty our worksmanship for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. We do not warranty parts - parts manufacturers warranty their products through our suppliers. Where possible, we try to only use parts with warranties of at least one year for parts replacement and at least 90 days for parts and labor coverage - exceptions are noted on estimates and invoices. (For example, parts that come from dealerships or mail-order sources almost always carry parts-only warranties with no labor coverage.)
Q: What about customer-supplied parts? Will providing parts save me any money? (Or, I can get that part for cheaper from _store_/_website_ - can I get it myself?)
A: While we would be happy to install customer-supplied parts, there is no warranty of any kind on customer-supplied parts, and we will not guarantee that installing them will fix whatever issue(s) your vehicle may have. So, while you may be able to find and obtain parts for less cost than what we might charge, you are assuming all responsibility from a warranty perspective.
If you provide a part and it fails, we must charge labor again to replace it.
Q: I know that a part on the estimate is available for less money - why is the part so much more expensive?
A: Parts are generally available in two grades: cheaper, lower-quality parts aimed at the do-it-yourself market; and more expensive, better-quality parts intended for resale by auto shops. We always price out the better quality part if there's more than one option. Cheaper parts are often a false economy since they often fail sooner than parts of better quality.
Q: I had my vehicle diagnosed elsewhere and paid you to do the job they quoted, but it didn't fix my vehicle. What gives?
A: If you want us to perform some specific repairs that were recommended elsewhere, we're happy to oblige. However, we trust nobody's diagnostics but our own. If you have us perform work that was recommended elsewhere, we cannot guarantee their recommendation was accurate, nor will we guarantee that performing their suggested repairs will actualy fix any given problem your vehicle may have.
Permission To Work
Q: My HOA won't allow mobile auto repair at my home. What are my options?
A: You may want to ask your boss if you can have the repairs performed at your place of work. If that's also a no-go, you could check with friends and/or family living nearby to see if an alternate location can be arranged. Also, some HOAs permit exceptions on a case-available basis and since we're independently licensed and insured and carry cleanup supplies the HOA may grant an exception - check your HOA bylaws and/or with your HOA's current administrators for the specifics on this.
Q: There's a shopping center near my home. Can I have you work on my car there?
A: We can, but only if you can obtain permission from the owner or property manager. If they say "no," we must say "no" as well. If they say "yes, but..." and demand a rental fee for use of their lot, you'll be liable for covering that fee (or splitting it with others if you want to arrange a "block party" - see below for that).
Q: I asked my boss about having repairs done at work, but he/she is concerned about liability issues. What liability risks will my workplace face if I have auto repair work done there?
A: We require all our customers to sign a liability waiver that indemnifies the business owner, property owner, property manager, and any insurance providers and/or underwriters covering the business/property against any liability regarding any auto repair work we perform at a place of business. The business is not liable in any way if there's a problem.
Adverse Conditions & Circumstances
Q: Since you're a mobile operation, what happens if it's raining/snowing/too hot/ too cold?
A: It depends. For some tasks and weather conditions we can carry on regardless, and for some we might have to reschedule. If weather conditions force rescheduling, there's no additional charges involved.
Q: What about hurricanes and tropical storms?
A: Generally speaking, tropical weather systems will force rescheduling of existing appointments. Auto repair isn't a good thing to try to do while swimmming.
Q: I don't have a paved driveway, slab, etc. upon which to work on my car. Will this be a problem?
A: We carry tools capable of lifting most vehicles off the ground even if they're parked on dirt. That having been said, whether the surface will be a problem will depend on what's being done to the vehicle.
Q: I don't want to have a mess in my driveway. Can you work on my vehicle in the street?
A: We carry fluid spill, drip capture, and cleanup supplies so that we can greatly curtail if not eliminate the mess factor, and our goal is to leave the area as clean as it was when we arrived (if not cleaner). Mess mitigation is one of the features of our operation.
That being said, in many municipalities, local code ordinances don't permit field repairs on public roadways. If we begin work on a vehicle on a public roadway and someone from Code Enforcement stops by and states we cannot do that there, we'll have to move the vehicle onto your driveway or cancel/abort the job. (In such situations, additional charges may apply on a situational basis.)
Service Fees & Fuel Surcharges
Q: Can I bring my vehicle to you and save on the service call or fuel surcharge?
A: In short, no. To be more specific, due to the way they're worded, county ordinances forbid our performing auto repair work at our base of operations since it's not a retail business location zoned for auto repair, but do allow us to work on vehicles at anyone else's home or place of business as a mobile service.
Q: How does the "block party" discount work?
A: If more than one person want to have auto repairs performed in one physical location, such as a common workplace, everyone involved can split the service call fee and/or fuel surcharge since we're already on site for one of them. Businesses in particular can take a lot of advantage of this by setting up a day for everyone working there to get their vehicles checked out in a single operation with minimal expense. And, as an added plus, the logistics are far easier on everyone - nobody has to travel, set up transportation, take time off, etc.
Q: What happens if a job takes more than one day?
A: We automatically add additional fuel surcharges for multiple days on large jobs. For example, if your vehicle requires 10 hours of work we will automatically add the fuel surcharge twice, once for each day. If we don't actually need to use the additional day(s) the corresponding amount of fuel surcharges is removed from the final invoice total.
Q: What happens to the fuel surcharges if an appointment has to be rescheduled?
A: If you let us know in advance or we call you to reschedule, the fuel surcharge moves to the new day. However, if we show up on-site to perform scheduled services and you cancel or reschedule at that time, we must charge the service call fee or fuel surcharge as appropriate for that visit. So, it's important that you let us know IN ADVANCE if you need to reschedule for some reason.
Q: What's all this about "illegal" mechanics?
A: Automotive repair is a regulated industry in Florida. The regulations aren't really that complex, but the state's Motor Vehicle Repair Act, Florida Statutes 550.9x, require that all auto repair facilities and mobile repair operations be registered with the state. You can work on your own vehicles without concern, and you can help a friend out by fixing their vehicle for free, if if you're paid anything - and this includes trades - you MUST be registered with the state beforehand. The fines for non-compliance are pretty stiff.
Q: So what if my car fixing guy isn't legal - he's cheap. What's the worst that can happen?
A: If you have auto repair work performed by an unregistered (and thus, illegal) shop, and something goes wrong that ends up requiring a lawsuit, you have no legal recourse. If you sue a mechanic operating illegally, your suit will automatically be dismissed and you're out of luck. (This also applies to warranties on the part of the illegal mechanic - if he or she decides to not warranty anything you can't force the issue.) Also, if the illegal mechanic is caught, your vehicle can be impounded as evidence and you won't get it back until after he or she is tried and convicted of breaking state law, which could easily mean being without the vehicle for 3-10 years, or permanently if it's seized since it has become part of a criminal operation. (Asset seizure is a pretty common thing in much of the country, Florida included.)
Q: How do I know a shop is legal?
A: The easiest way is to ask the shop for their Motor Vehicle Repair Registration ID, or "MVR number." If they don't have one or become uncomfortable at the question, they're not a legal repair facility. State law requires that MVR numbers be published in any printed advertisement, and legitimate auto repair shops (including mobile ones) will often post theirs visibly as a means of indicating they're legal entities so their customers can have peace of mind about the shop's legal status. Ours is posted right on our truck.
You can also visit the Florida Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Consumer Services website (Link!) and search for registered auto repair shops in your area.
Q: I've heard of people that perform auto repairs in their yards being called "shadetrees" - what does this mean and does it indicate anything about their legal status?
A: "Shadetree" is a pretty old term, and with regard to auto repair it just means the fellow works on a car under the shade of a tree. This basically implies "outdoors," and not in a shop proper. Shadetree mechanics abound and quite a few of these are legal, state-registered, licensed operations that just happen to be home-based instead of having a retail space. However, the majority of shadetree mechanics are not licensed - it pays to ask about their legal status. If nothing else, perhaps if enough folks ask shadetrees whether they're legit, more would register and become legit, and customers everywhere would benefit.
Q: Can I save on sales tax if I pay in cash, split the invoice, or bring my own parts?
A: Florida doesn't allow itemizing sales tax on auto repairs and state law forbids splitting taxable and otherwise-tax-exempt items into separate invoices in order to reduce the sales tax due. So, if we have to charge sales tax, we will, and in the amounts appropriate for the job in question.