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Old 05-22-2012, 03:06 PM
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Default How to get a GREAT deal on parts...

I wrote this up about 6 weeks ago, but sat on it to refine and consider it.
Above all, I am a hotrodder with no more authority or intelligence than anyone else here. Take what you need and let the rest lay.


It has become the new way of the world to do business on the internet. It is convenient, efficient, fast, and MOSTLY troublefree.
BUT…what about the risk of giving your money to someone who disappears? How do you guard against that? What about getting service after the sale? That is at least as important as the price.

As an OPINION…here are some items that I personally think about when doing internet business as a consumer. Remember this is my OPINION, as a hotrodder, [with some bleedover from my professional experience] and some, little, or none of it may apply to you.

1. If your focus is ONLY price, you will eventually get burned. Think about getting the best value based on quality of technical advice, shipping speed, return policy, simple payment process, etc. If a company has nothing but price to sell, well, maybe they have…nothing. It takes money to operate a business. If you choose a vendor who consistently and significantly discounts the price of the product, they will eventually run out of money to operate. [but probably not before they have used your deposit to finance last month’s utility bill].
2. Good/bad/indifferent reviews only tell part of the story. It is an easy task to search for “[insert company here] problems”. For any given company you’ll likely find plenty. Likewise, that same company is going to have a certain amount of cheerleaders. The trick is to think about the comments that haven’t been made, the questions that haven’t been asked.
3. Bad news is always spoken louder than good news. If there is a complaint, look for the companies response and if there was at least some sort of resolution. Also look for the history of the complainer…how long they’ve been a member, how many posts, what kind of posts. A member who has been on a forum for 5 years with 1,000 posts carries more credibility than someone who joined last week and has 3 posts, all complaints.
4. Get a sales/tech person’s name…and a direct number. Don’t get lost in the corporate maze. Learn to depend on this person for all your dealings with the company, even if he has to “ask the manager”. Find out about his family, what kind of car he has, what his girlfriend looks like…and offer this information about yourself. If you can develop a relationship with your vendor that extends beyond the transaction at hand, you’ll have another layer of protection. If you think this is inappropriate and/or intend to buy from the lowest bidder on your next purchase anyway, feel free to ignore this advice and refer to item # 1.
5. Get a tracking number…or a confirmation from the manufacturer. A good vendor will offer this information freely if asked, because a good manufacturer will not steal their dealer’s customer.
6. Recognize that there is a difference between a true backorder and a held order. Backorders from manufacturers are inevitable, especially in the spring, but an item cannot be backordered if it has not been ordered at all. The typical “reason” that vendors sit on orders is that a manufacturer will require payment for your order at the time of the order. A vendor who discounts heavily does not have sufficient cash flow to cover the time between his order and the arrival of the backorder. That is when you see them start to use “Peter to pay Paul”.
7. Some internet based companies stock nothing, they dropship everything. While this looks good for them on paper, it sometimes hinders the customer service aspect. On some components, it’s totally necessary…wheels, large and expensive systems like suspension, brakes, engines, rearends and body parts are really tough to inventory. Smaller commodity items like gaskets, header bolts, mufflers, air cleaners, fuel pumps, radiator caps…should be readily available for same day shipment [because you will likely need them tomorrowJ]
8. Pay by credit card or paypal. If a REAL problem develops, the consumer has recourse. Don’t send a personal check. Don’t send cash. Real companies do not offer “a better deal” for cash or for checks made out directly to the owner to avoid taxes. Yes, I realize that credit card and paypal transaction fees can add up for the vendor. I also realize that a solid vendor [one who does not sell on price alone] will retain enough margin on his product to cover this "insurance".

These last 2 point are specifically for customers:
9. Don’t suck your vendor dry for information and then run off to the lowest bidder to purchase. Your parents were wrong. That is not the proper way to do business. Support the vendor who has made the investment in buildings, inventory, and technical expertise to be able to offer you the best value, regardless of price.
10. IF you have a problem with your order, the relationship you developed under item #4 will resolve it 99% of the time. Braying about it on a forum accomplishes nothing but feeding the sharks. Don’t feed the sharks until you have truly exhausted all other options. The sharks might enjoy the meal but the honorable and knowledgeable forum members will view [but not comment on] your post as being a bit…premature. Yes, I understand that sometimes there is no other recourse. Maybe the concepts brought forth above can prevent some of that.

I offer these thoughts as a hotrodder. Personally, I want every other hotrodder out there to have a good experience. Professionally, I want every hotrodder out there to have a great experience…so they build another car...and maybe buy more partsJ
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:26 PM
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Great advice Bret. Might have to make it a "sticky".
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bret View Post

10. IF you have a problem with your order, the relationship you developed under item #4 will resolve it 99% of the time. Braying about it on a forum accomplishes nothing but feeding the sharks. Don’t feed the sharks until you have truly exhausted all other options. The sharks might enjoy the meal but the honorable and knowledgeable forum members will view [but not comment on] your post as being a bit…premature. Yes, I understand that sometimes there is no other recourse. Maybe the concepts brought forth above can prevent some of that.
I'm in that group... If you don't FIRST call the vendor and do everything reasonable to solve the issue BEFORE posting here and attempting to waste a company’s reputation, it reflects poorly on ya....
Jim
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camcojb View Post
Great advice Bret. Might have to make it a "sticky".
Definitely a valueable tool for all parties.


Bret - Your passion and professionalism is respected and appreciated.

So much I'm buying a RideTech t-shirt to advertise for you occasionally. Are the shirts with the new logo used on the '33 going to be available on the website?
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:49 PM
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Good points Bret, unfortunately point #9 is going to happen until the end of time.

I agree with you though on your thoughts
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:29 PM
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Bret, This is great Advice from a honest Vendor.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:13 PM
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Very nice post Brett
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Old 05-23-2012, 01:03 AM
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Bret...I love it.

Thank You!
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:19 AM
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Default I agree 100%

Even in this day of the internet, it is still about the relationship for me.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:22 AM
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To dealers, here's how to increase business and have happier customers:

1.) When something is out of stock or back ordered, make it clear before and after the item is ordered. I can't count how many times I have decided to order a part from company X only to find out weeks later when I inquire about it that it's "at the powder coater" or on back order. While it may allow you to get that order, I will pretty much avoid ordering from you again. I currently have one part in this limbo status, a detroit speed wiper motor. Note that DSE states clearly on their website it's back ordered, and although they have pushed the date for when they will have more back 2 weeks at a time for like 3 months which also annoys me, at least they mention it, the dealer who I ordered it through (a site sponsor) hasn't said anything at all, and so they won't be getting another order from me.

2.) Put it on your website. It's a hassle for me to call and order parts during business hours, and if you post your parts in a thread here, that thread goes away quickly so no one knows that you have x or y. I've probably called for two parts, things which pretty much demanded discussion (wheels and rear suspension). Before Ironworks website even let you see their products I had ordered a LS1 mount through it. JCG posted about some nice parts, and that thread is gone and you can't order anything through their website, and now I can barely even remember what they posted only that at the time I thought they had some nice stuff for decent prices. It's very easy to get a website setup to let people buy things, there is no excuse for this.

3.) Don't try to make money on shipping. While I think it's not reasonable to expect people to go out of their way to pick whatever shipping method is the cheapest, don't ship something in a USPS box that clearly costs 5$ and charge me 15$. This is one of those things where when it happens, I'm less inclined to purchase things from you again.

4.) Communicate. If an order is going to take or is taking longer than originally anticipated, send an e-mail or call the person.

There's a reason why people were saying they would just favor Summit and Jegs more after Driverz went south, it's because they do all of this.
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