Why Doesn’t My Mechanic Call Me?

Why Doesn’t My Mechanic Call Me (1)

You drop off your car at the shop and wait for them to call you back. And you wait. And you wonder why you’re not hearing from them. What’s going on? 

Why doesn’t my mechanic call me?

While our policy is to touch base with the client each day that the vehicle is on the schedule, we realize that it may seem like a long wait between phone calls. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of what happens between those phone calls while your vehicle is at the shop.

Step 1: Conduct Testing and Evaluation

Also known as vehicle diagnostics, testing and evaluation is the process of determining what is wrong with the vehicle. 

The first thing to realize is that your vehicle isn’t the only vehicle in the shop, and yours might be second in line. Then, once your vehicle is in process of testing and evaluation, it can take some time to figure out what’s wrong. This time can include both on the car testing and off the car research based on testing results. 

Once the problem has been determined, why doesn’t my mechanic call me? 

The mechanic then needs to communicate with the service advisor about what is going on. Again, the service advisor might be doing work for another client, so this communication may not happen right away.

Step 2: Estimate for the Job

The testing and evaluation is done, and the service advisor is filled in. So, why doesn’t my mechanic call me?

Well, they might. But then your next question will be, “How much does it cost to fix it?” and the service advisor won’t have an answer for you. She now needs to take the information the mechanic gave her and build an estimate. 

If you want an accurate budget number for the repair job required, there isn’t a guide that says X job always costs $Y. There are many variables for what a job will cost, including year, make, model, parts availability, and parts pricing. For example, a brake pad might cost $XX for one vehicle and $YY for another vehicle. Then you need to consider parts quality. Is it an original manufacturer or quality grade part or a cheap aftermarket knock-off? It takes time to sort through all these variables, decide which are the best parts for the job, and how long it will take to perform the procedure on your specific vehicle.

Finally, your service advisor calls you (or emails you) with information about what is going on with your car and what it will cost to fix it. Great!

Step 3: Complete the Job

Again, your vehicle is likely not the only vehicle your mechanic is working on that day. Shops have to coordinate how to efficiently arrange which jobs get done when. So, yes, your vehicle might be sitting for a bit while it’s waiting its turn. But when your vehicle is getting worked on, consider that someone else’s vehicle is sitting waiting for it’s turn. 

Please consider, too, that some jobs take longer than others. You definitely don’t want your mechanic to hurry through the job just to get it to you faster, only to learn that he didn’t do a thorough job, causing your vehicle to exhibit symptoms again. You certainly want your mechanic to take the time that it takes to do the job well so that it gets done the right way the first time. 

But now the job is done, so why doesn’t my mechanic call me?

Step 4: Build the Invoice

You would think the invoice would be built while the vehicle is getting worked on, and to some degree this is true. However, there are two things to consider. 

One, the service advisor is also building estimates and invoices for other clients. Just like cars sit and wait for their turn to get worked on, the billing sometimes will have to wait until the service advisor is able to put their attention to it. 

Second, while it’s easy to list parts on an invoice, labor lines are more complicated and often require input from the mechanic, especially for a big job. Projected labor for an estimate can be different from the actual time the job took (At our shop, the budget number we give will not be exceeded no matter how much time the job did or didn’t take, so we are careful to estimate accordingly). Additionally, if the labor line is detailed (as it should be), the mechanic may need to speak to what exactly he did.

It’s best practice to complete the invoice before calling the client to let them know their vehicle is ready to be picked up, so depending on how complex the job is, it could take some time after job completion for you to hear from the shop.

Step 5: Bill out the Client

Finally, you get the call that the vehicle is ready! I hope this article helps you appreciate that the wait was worth it.

How Often Should My Mechanic Call Me?

While this article is really about being patient while your vehicle goes through the process of testing and evaluation to repairs, you should expect to be updated about where they are in the process on a regular basis. For large jobs that take multiple days, you might expect to be updated daily. Some clients, on the other hand, are fine with just getting an update when there’s a significant milestone achieved. Please be forthright and communicate with your repair shop how much you do (or don’t) want to hear from them. If your request is reasonable, there should be no problem.

Our shop’s policy is that if the client has to reach out to us for an update, we have dropped the ball. We aim to touch base with our clients daily if at all possible. That said, don’t hesitate to reach out once per day if you are really curious.

Marinelli Auto Service is an auto repair shop in Winter Park, Florida. We’ve been serving Central Florida since 2015. We provide maintenance and repairs for a variety of makes and models.

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