In the Shop
As a farm machinery mechanic and writer, Dan brings a hands-on approach that only a pro can muster. Along with his In the Shop blog, Dan writes a column by the same name as well as the Shop Series for Farm Journal magazine. Always providing practical information, he is a master at tackling technical topics and making them easy for all of our readers to understand. He and his wife, Becky, live near Bouton, Iowa.
Questions Without Answers
Nov 13, 2008
If anybody has good, fair answers to the following questions, please post them:
-If you have a problem with a machine and need answers that can be explained in a cell phone call, should you pay for the time I spend helping you over the phone?
-If I'm on a service call working on your combine, and another customer calls and needs advice, should you continue to pay for the time I spend talking to him over the phone?
-If you bought your equipment at another dealership because they offered a better price, but you prefer to deal with me as a mechanic, how much time should I spend on the phone with you answering questions about the machinery purchased elsewhere...if I'm already working on a customer's equipment that was purchased through our dealership?
-If you're doing your own repairs, but need a special tool for one aspect of the project and drag the pieces into our shop, at what point should you pay for my time and tool(s)?
-If I've got your tractor torn apart in the shop and another customer comes in and needs 15 minutes of my time and one of my special tools, should I stay on your ticket and have you pay for my labor to fix his problem, or bill him for the 15 minutes?
-During tough repairs on your machinery, I break three drill bits, damage the tip on my MIG welder and strip out my 5/16-inch E-Z Out bolt remover. If my dealership doesn't pay for "consumables," should you pay the cost of replacing tools damaged fixing your equipment, or do I pay out of my own pocket to replace tools I need to do my job?
-I checked over your planter, or tractor, or combine during the off-season. I spent a lot of time fixing everything I could find, and you spent a lot of money for me to do that. How many hours into the next busy season should that machine run before a breakdown is "acceptable"?
I have no answers to these questions. Maybe you have answers or ideas that would be fair to all involved. If so, there are a lot of dealership mechanics that would love to hear them.