WHAT IS STANDBY?
We work by appointment, so normally you’ll need to plan ahead to bring your car in. However, life doesn’t always cooperate. Events occur that cannot be planned for. Your car may break down unexpectedly. Or you may find the perfect used car for sale and need an inspection. Or maybe you just had a shift in your schedule and need to have some work performed sooner than you had anticipated. These are all situations where waiting for the next available appointment may not work for you.
As always, we do our best to accommodate everyone, but we must be fair to the people who made their appointments in advance. We’re not going to start work on your car until we take care of the folks who waited days or weeks for their appointments. A standby “appointment” simply means that you bring your car in without an appointment, and if we have time for your project after taking care of our scheduled work load, we’ll take care of your car as well.
IF I LEAVE MY CAR ON STANDBY, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
When you call us, we’ll usually set you up with a “real” appointment in the next available spot. This is the day we guarantee we’ll work on your car. Usually, this day is too far in the future to be convenient, hence the standby drop off. That said, cars dropped off on standby are nearly always started within 2-3 days. We might get to the car on the same day you drop it off, or it might take a couple more days. The important thing to remember is that we make no promises, other than to do our best for you while respecting our customers who made appointments.
What determines when my car is worked on?
There are two factors:
1. How well our scheduled work matches our actual work, and
2. Your place in line among other cars left on standby
Scheduling for a busy shop is more of an art than a science. We try to get an idea of what a car will need while we’re scheduling appointments, but sometimes what sounded like a time consuming project on the phone turns out to be a quick fix. Of course the inverse can be true as well. There are also unexpected snags that occur. A part that’s backordered. Unexpected damage. An injured or sick mechanic. And then there’s the infamous, “another shop said I needed a “X””, only to find that “X” is in perfect condition and there’s now a void in our schedule.
We try to repair standbys in the order they come in. However, this won’t be 100% consistent. If you need a couple of tires, any of our mechanics can do the work. If you need some advanced electrical diagnosis, your car will need to wait until one of our master technicians is free.
Then there’s available time. If your car is a 4 hour project, and a mechanic finishes all of his scheduled work at 4:30 in the afternoon, we’ll likely start a standby that needs 45 minutes of work before yours, even if yours came in first.
What if my car must be done sooner?
Dropping your car off on standby probably isn’t a good option for you. If you can’t afford to gamble on a completion date, don’t.
Try another shop
We’re not the only good shop in the area. Here are a few that we like. You won’t hurt our feelings if you take your car somewhere else. We absolutely understand that you need to do what you need to do. Of course, we hope you’ll like us enough to come back eventually.
Unfortunately, when we’re busy, the other good shops tend to be busy as well. However, if you do a little calling around, you’ll likely find one of them that can accommodate your needs. In a dire situation, there’s always the, um, not-so-great-shop option. They’re almost always available same day.
Rent a car
Some people travel and rent cars all the time. They usually come up with this option on their own. Others, like me, almost never rent cars and the idea may not occur to us. You can get an inexpensive rental car at Rent-a-Relic. If you just need a car for work or life in general, this may be a good option for you. Obviously, it won’t help if you’re planning a cross-country drive or in need of a pre-purchase inspection.