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I ain't your GD mechanic!!

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 4t64rd, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. Seems like since I have a little more time to work on my own car, all my friends and relatives daily drivers take a dump and I've spent the last 5 weekends under somebody elses' car and not my own.

    How often do you get dragged into doing things just to save them a little $$$ and get them back on the road quicker?

    When do you say enough's enough and tell them to "take it to a mechanic"?

    I don't want this thread to turn into "this one time" stories, but I'm asking for advice as to how to tell them that our free time is valuable to us.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,767

    from colorado

    i tell people i don't repair cars, i build them.
  3. kisam
    Joined: Feb 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,920


    I tell them that I am in the middle of pulling weeds in the flower beds, so if they want to pull weeds, I will have time to look at their car. So far, there have been no takers.
  4. :) I have the same damn, problem, but since I opened my business. I hand them a card and my labor rate is $35 an hour.

  5. Gator
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,016


    I used to get a lot of 'friends' wanting paint/bodywork done cheap.

    I started telling them they could take it to Maaco and get it done cheaper than I could buy the paint. (Hell, anymore it's the truth)

    You want to help people out and keep them from getting ripped off, but too many will take advantage of your good nature.
  6. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,773


    5 weeks ago.

    My family used to pull the same thing with me. When I was young and ambitious, I used to do a lot of work on family and friends cars. No 'thank you' and no monetary compensation. After a while they just start to expect it, because you posess this 'special skill' that nobody else in the family has. Nobody I did work for was too poor to pay to have the work done, by me or by a professional mechanic.

    By the time I reached my mid-20s I used the exact same phrase you quoted above. :mad:

    I barely have enough free time to work on my own shit.
  7. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Remove something, tell them you're waiting for a part. Go back to work on yours. After a week or so of walking, they will decide it was OK the way it was.
  8. WildWilly68
    Joined: Feb 1, 2002
    Posts: 1,724


    Sometimes you just have to say no, and it sucks because yes it is family. I finally told my inlaws "sorry" because I got tired of doing stuff they were too cheap to pay someone else to do, or too lazy to do themselves. Do it now and save more headaches down the road.

  9. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    from tulsa okla

    i tell my family that i dont have the tools at home to do THAT kind of work.i send them to a guy i work with ...
  10. The Anarkist
    Joined: Jul 11, 2004
    Posts: 82

    The Anarkist
    from Canada

    I don't worry this year as I almost died in August of Heart failure and my excuse is I can barely get up the stairs to outside anymore. HAHAHAAA!!! But I've really been feeling a lot better and my wife watches every move I make so I don't "hurt" myself!

    So I at least HAVE an "excuse"!!

    The truth is in the past, (Well the above IS the truth, funny how we use words sometimes....) I've avoided even "talking cars" at get togethers etc and never even let people know I'm into cars! That helps some.

    If they see I'm driving something older I just say I "don't know that newer stuff." (Though fuel injection I find is EASIER then carbs to tune in general...Shhhhhhh!)

    But usually I just say I don't have the tools. Or the time. Or......
  11. I cheat a little, since I own an auto repair shop I tell them to call me monday morning and make an appoinment !
  12. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 2,013

    from PNW

    just tell them every job is 25 grand. If they still want it done, who knows, you might make out ok.
  13. rustfarmer
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 160

    from Hawaii

    My father worked as a mechanic. He always took the time to help out so called friends. Basically fixing their cars for free. My mom always said he was a talented mechanic but a damn poor businessman. He is in poor health now. You know not one of his so called friends has stopped the house since he stopped turning wrenches.
  14. hoof
    Joined: Jul 14, 2006
    Posts: 620


    I actually do some things on the neighbors cars that I pay someone else to do on mine!?!? I have great neighbors who looked the other way when my garage was way out of code, so I don't mind. It makes it a lot easier for me to ask for his help when I need it. If it didn't work the other way (him helping me) it would be different.
  15. Flatman
    Joined: Dec 20, 2005
    Posts: 1,975


    Heck, work on the side? That's how I finance my rod build!:D The wife can't bitch then about what I'm spending on it.
    Most of my friends would rather pay me $35-$40 an hour than take it to a dealer and pay $90-$100 an hour. I take tips in whiskey as well....:rolleyes:

  16. 64Newport
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 49

    from Tucson, Az

    Same thing happens to me. Ive always got the hood up on one of my cars, or sparks flying out of the garage and at least four or five of my neighbors have asked me to fix their shit. One of them was this 86 Nova that was so clapped out I refused to even look at it. I told the dude to buy a different car.
  17. that's really messed up..............damn i hate people most of the time. :mad:
  18. Problem was everybody wanted to pay with a case of beer no matter what the job was.....sure the beer was good but the empties don,t pay the bills.
  19. grapejuice1998
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 142

    from Dallas, TX

    When it's family I feel like I have to, even if they don't offer to pay. I have to spend next weekend swapping out a Quad 4 Olds motor for my brother. He's poor and a single Dad wit 2 kids and a shitty job, so what can I do? I know how, he doesn't. I have the tools, he doesn't. It's a no brainer for me. I'll get a reward in Karma (I hope..) and that's enough.
  20. beatcad
    Joined: Aug 1, 2006
    Posts: 150


    maybe i'm lucky. i'm never asked to look at/work on family members cars. dad's a car guy. sis married a car guy. all my uncles are car guys.
    unless it's an emergancy they dont bother me.
    emergancy--my moms battery is dead while my dad is outta town hunting...well, ya gotta help mom.
    emergancy---sister in law wrecks her car....i get a rollback and haul her car safely home, where her (car guy) fiance repairs her car.

    i've been burned plenty by workin' on "friends" cars.
    i've wasted 1/2 a warm sat afternoon under a car or doin' a contortionist act under a dash only to get a 12 pack in payment.

    the last time some one asked me for help was a co-worker of my wife. she asked me if i could get her mother a door for her '94 thunderbird. of course i could, but i knew what the next question would be, so i said yes i can, but does your mom know how to hang a door on a thunderbird?

    sometimes ya gotta be a smart-ass. sometimes ya gotta be honest as hell. if ya work 40 to 60 hours a week yer weekends are priceless.
  21. I find that by taking it apart and just telling them I cant figure out how to fix, usually only takes once.
  22. 1LIFE2LIVE
    Joined: Oct 20, 2006
    Posts: 422


    imediate family is always done for free, he parents raised me so its the least i can do and my sister would bitch to my dad and my dad would ask me o fix it so... anyone else has to pay, my uncle always wants something fixed and if its to involved and i dont want to do it i just make some stuff up while expalining how hard that kinibler pin is to get out with only a hammer and not the "special" tool required so he should take it somewhere else. My biggest problem is i have a lift and people always need to borrow it. IF they can fix it themselves fine but i keep notes and dont hesitate to remind them that they owe me one
  23. SakowskiMotors
    Joined: Nov 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,242


    First off, as a mechanic, most everyone has more money than me, so they can pay. Or, they don't work as long and hard as me, so they can work as long and hard as me, then they will have enough money to pay. With that said, I have helped my sister when she was in a jam. If friends need help and are in a jam, I tell them to spend the weekend cleaning my shop, then I will try to help. They never take me up on it. I like what a previous guy said about "friends" not coming around when he was too old to work on their cars.
    With that said this is the normal deal:

    I tell people that I have 3 different rates. Off the street customer, friend, and family.
    Regular Customer: $85 and hour, one week.
    Friend: $85 and hour, case of beer tip, some money tip, 3 weeks or so. Don't tell me if I mess it up b/c you are my friend.
    Family.: $85 and hour, have me over for dinner, $100 tip, ready whenever it might be ready, who knows, if the engine blows up afterwords, take it somewhere else to get it rebuilt, but don't tell me about it.

    So, how good of friends are we?
  24. MyBootsOnFire
    Joined: Mar 15, 2004
    Posts: 181


    I don't mind working on immediate family members cars to help them out, but my parents or brothers always offer to kick down cash even though i usually turn them down. For friends i just tell them 'i'm not comfortable working on new cars, i only know about old cars cos they're easier to work on.' Its total bs but it gets you off the hook with out having to feel bad about turning down friends. When i went to UTI one of the first things they teach you is when someone tells you about their car you tell them its broken and that they should take it to a mechanic.
  25. Ya' know, that sounds so familiar...

    Best wishes to Dad; hope he gets feeling better - and still doesn't turn any wrenches for anyone.

  26. greasel
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 325

    from Fresno, CA


    being a full time mechanic 40-60 hrs a week, last thing I want to do is more wrenching...for free. every now and then I wrench on a side job free as a charitable thing, pretty much the only time I do routine maint/repair; but other than that, sidejobs are great for the barter system. You need work done, my car needs tires, we can help eachother out. I do a fair amount of engine swaps/rebuilds and performance engine/suspension work. mostly like to do upgrade/hot rod/unique repair stuff, not stock replacement, routine maintenance. I just tell people what my rate is and when I think I might be able to get to it.
  27. I don't know what you do for a living, but i'm a mechanic so my story is this. I tell people that if i worked on cars as a hobby/for fun, i'd consider working on your car on the weekends. BUT, since i do this for a living, we have to seperate me the friend, from me the mechanic. So, if you want your car worked on, i'll give you a slightly reduced rate, and at my work. My weekends are MINE, and mine alone. So please don't ask
  28. Have you got to the part where you fix something, something else not related to what you did fails and they think it's your fault?

    People used to want me to weld stuff, a trailer hitch for example.
    I told them to buy the steel, come over, cut it out on the bandsaw or chop saw and I'd weld it for them.
    Never had anyone take me up on the offer.

    Geez, some of them wouldn't even go buy the wood for a project even if I was going to do it all.

    Just say, "No, I don't work on cars."

    Works for me....
  29. rodknocker
    Joined: Jan 31, 2006
    Posts: 2,267


    i got one for you, friday my "so called buddy" calls me after being a no show thurs for and LOF and inspection,and says his girlfriends cars wipers stopped working, so me being a nice guy, i say bring it by.They get there,(my buddy and 2 girlfriends) I find the car needs a wiper link,local dealer has it $10 my cost,he says ok,I run down the road grab the part and put it in, he says what do i owe you,i say $20,he says can i pay you later i only have my dads credit card.The lack of respect,and knowing how much i just saved him just burns me up
  30. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    from KCMO

    My brother has a mustang gt. I feel your pain. 2 clutches and 7 cables later...

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