The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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12:37pm on Friday, 29th July, 2005:
I finally got around to investingating further the possibility that there might be a car body repair shop in Colchester that doesn't want to charge me more to repair the scratch on my car door than it would cost to replace the entire door with a new one. There are three companies that do this all on the same industrial estate, so I paid them a visit.
The first company wanted £30 to give me an estimate of how much it would cost. They wouldn't give me an estimate of what their estimate would be.
Me: "Look, it's going to be more than £2 and less than £2,000, so how much can we bring those fingers together just to get an idea of what it might cost?"
Them: "It's going to cost you £30 to find out."
The second company I went to was more reasonable. They only wanted £25 to give an estimate. What's more, they were prepared to extimate their estimate, and said it would be at least £700 (plus VAT). Appreciating my view that this was a rip-off, they directed me to the third company on the estate that did body repairs, M.P.S. Vehicle Refinishers.
The mechanics at M.P.S. were all eating sausage rolls for their tea break when I arrived, but one of them came and had a look. They'll fix it for £280 +VAT. They seemed decent sorts, and didn't have 3 people on the phones to insurance companies the whole time (which was the case for the other firms I checked out).
So, two lessons here.
Firstly, it pays to shop around.
Secondly, if you're looking for a new business opportunity, set up a body repair shop charging three times as much to insurance companies as it actually costs you to dothe repairs. You'll make a fortune.
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