Technology and the way we shop has changed dramatically within the last 10 years. Everything today is ruled by ecommerce and online shopping. When is the last time you were in a store? I bet its been a while. I personally can't remember the last time I've been to the mall! We are now trained to find the best deals online and only purchase for the bottom dollar price otherwise society tells us, "We've been ripped off!" I have to admit, I am certainly a bargain hunter for a lot things like clothes, electronics and even groceries online. We are trained to shop for commodities, things that are easily comparable. For example, what is the difference between buying a macbook from apple or another reputable online retailer? Other than price the answer is not much.
This line of thinking does not hold true for automotive repairs. The question you are asking yourself is, "how is it not?" Well the method of repairing a vehicle can vary greatly as well as what is the overall value and benefits of the repair. Is there a certified technician with years of experience servicing your vehicle? Are the necessary and proper supplies being used or is the shop taking shortcuts? Are the right tools being employed? Is the shop making it convenient for you to service your car with them? Are they using quality parts? Are they providing a warranty? These are some of the reasons why comparing repair shops is never comparing apples to apples but rather its apples to oranges.
That brings up the next topic which is quality of parts. In the automotive world, parts can vary greatly in grade and quality. There are many companies out there now making inferior and knock off parts that are many times pawned off as Original parts that you would buy from the dealer. There are also defect parts that are also being sold by these retailers. We have to remember that parts retailers are in the business to sell parts, not repair vehicles. Generally these parts are for the DIY (Do It Yourself) crowd that have the tools, space and knowledge to tackle the job themselves. Besides selling parts these company may offer a warranty. This is however very misleading in that for you to claim that warranty you have to physically remove the part yourself and ship it back to the company. Many times that means your vehicle will be inoperable for days, even weeks at a time. Hopefully you also have a place to keep your vehicle as it is all taken apart.
Your next question might be, "well why can't I just buy my own parts online and bring them to a shop to install?" That itself seems like a very logical conclusion until you start thinking beyond installing these parts being a one and done deal. For all the reasons stated above, the shop may run into issues of parts quality or incorrect parts. If you ordered incorrect parts or incorrect parts are delivered, it may leave your vehicle inoperable for a time until you can source a replacement part. That said shop would also be liable for the whole job at that point even if expressly agreed that no warranty would be provided. How would you feel if a oil gasket seal was replaced and all of a sudden you broke down on the highway with all of the oil pouring out of your engine? You know you have no warranty as agreed upon but the thought that the shop possibly not performing the work properly has to creep in your mind. Now ask yourself, what kind of professional and reputable business would actually put themselves in a position to fail and disappoint their clients? Probably not the shop you want working on your vehicle!
The right shop and the one that you want to have a relationship with is one that will own the work they are doing for their clients. For a shop to guarantee a job from start to finish they also have to guarantee parts quality. Every part that is produced no matter how efficient and technologically advanced the manufacturer process is will have a percentage of defect. For you the client, you want to make sure that after you pay for a repair to your vehicle that it is 100% covered. No one and no shop in the world can guarantee fully that a job is done right the first time. However as much as they try this is just virtually impossible. What they can guarantee is that if there are any issues with the vehicle then you will have a phone number to call if you break down. That road side assistance is available to you if you need your vehicle towed. You have a loaner or rental car so your life doesn't miss a step. Finally that if you have a parts failure that the repair can happen with speed and no additional cost to you. Work with a shop that has your back and is going to take care of you.
Do you still want to buy your own parts?