Report: #138572

Complaint Review: Meineke Car Care Centers

  • Submitted: Tue, April 12, 2005
  • Updated: Tue, August 29, 2006
  • Reported By: szdg Alaska
  • Meineke Car Care Centers
    ROUTE 611
    Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Let me first just say that I work in the automotive field and shame on me for not just crawling under the car and doing this myself.

I have been to Meineke twice in the past two weeks. Last Tuesday I went to have my tires mounted and balanced. Today I went to have some exhaust work done. Long story short I paid $625 for dual exhaust pipes and the catty converter.

Now I realize how we (service techs, owners, shop foremans, etc...) make our money. We buy parts dirt cheap and up charge a substansial amount on the installation. We also up charge on the parts. To my understanding we either sold the $5 air filter for $19.99 installed or we charged $10 for the same filter and $10 to put it in.

Before today I was ok with that... I mean I have been making my money off of these same practices for 3 yrs now(without being a scumbag or ripping of customers). Now to my complaint:

My last visit was average (No "out of the way" customer service). I got in and out quick paid what I thought was a resonsable price and drove off satisfied. I critiqued my experience like a doctor would critique having a check-up. So is was a plain jane experience.

Today was my second time through. Went to the counter(they didnt remember me, you should know your customers people) asked to have my exhaust fixed. This time the manager seemed a little busy so he kinda rushed my request along (give me the keys have a seat and we"ll get to you when we do)

So they pull my car in. They look over it and bring me out to show me what the problem was. The shop foreman was working on my car so I felt pretty confident about the work that was going to be done.

They gave me an estimate of $625 for everything($500 for the part, the rest labor). Now i only needed the cat and those dual pipes going to the manifold(one 3 foot peice). I thought it was a little steep but I know how they make their money. They didnt do me wrong on the tires so I threw them the bone and let them tackle the exhaust.

Three hours later I paid my bill and bolted. The car is running fine. From what I can tell they did good work. Just out of curiousity I stoped by a NAPA auto parts store on the way back home.

I asked how much for that same part. Heres where the anger builds and the sh*t hits the fan. He tells me $244. Now I dont know about you but I was kinda shocked. I asked him to look it up again, make sure he's looking at the correct part. Yeah its only $244.

Wow. Lets do some math. $625-$244=$381 ($400 is a resonable price for this job). Now remember folks $244 is my cost. So whats Meineke's cost??? I called Mike, the boy wonder shop manager. He put me on hold. I waited for 5 mins hung up and called again. Told him the situation(i was in earlier, got a problem who do I talk to) Finally connected me to the mechanic who worked on my car(manager totally avoided me). Told him what NAPA listed that part for. He doesnt know why he charged me $500 for a retail $244 part. He told me he suppossedly MADE THE EXHAUST SYSTEM HIMSELF IN THE SHOP LOL. Meineke doesnt get parts from a supplier they just make them in house! lol what a crock of sh*t.

I asked to speak manager. Get this...he's to busy to speak to an upset customer and make good on what appears to be a huge ripoff to save the face of the sole establishment that he himself is utterly responsible for. Come on people. They bought that pipe for 50 bucks wholesale...they just made $575 off of me. I'm a fool for not doing my research.

They dont care about losing me as a customer though. No resolution was met. When I asked if they thought it was fair to up charge so much they didnt have an answer. The manager was to much of a coward to even talk to me. He had to leave his boy the mechanic out to dry. Its not your fault bud....your a good dude. But somebody needs to fire Jimmy or Mike or whoever the f*** runs that sorry excuse for a shop.

Most shops out there do good work and want to keep your business. Some shop run scams to make a little more.

Do your research. Buyer beware...If you know how to do it yourself then do it...if not you better pull all the papers on whoever you choose to work on your vehicles cause you cant trust anybody.

Do it yourself
somewhereville, New York
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 04/12/2005 04:23 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Jennifer - (U.S.A.)

DIY is right... he should have done his research before hand. Find out what the prices are and then figure in the cost of labor. Then he would have known how much it "costs" the shop to do the work. He can figure out what he feels is a fair price to pay (400 dollars) and drive around or call around until he finds someone to do the work at his price.

He has every right to do that...Good luck next time.
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

Your math is wrong!!

AUTHOR: Bob - (U.S.A.)

As I work in this industry and have a great deal of knowledge on parts; parts costs; and discounted goes.

If the part cost Meineke around $244 dollars and the complete sale was $625 dollars; the gross profit margin is around 60%. Take out the labor ($8.00 per hour..NOT) Factor in insurance, workmens comp; uniforms; etc. and Meineke is probably paying around $15 - $18 dollars per hour per mechanic inside any given shop. It took the mechanic around 3 hours of his time (average labor rate inside a shop $70 - $85.00 per hour).
Add in the fixed costs: rent of building, taxes, trash, electricity, note payments on equipment, etc.

Then add in the franchise fees and royalty payments. I cannot speak for Meineke or Midas, but being in the franchising business I would definately suggest that they keep close to a 75% GPM per job.

Perhaps next time you need to buy your own pipebender, saws, welding equipment and learn how to do exhaust jobs yourself. To many DIY are experts at everything.
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#3 Author of original report

spoken from a true mechanic

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

I even gave your boys at meineke the benefit of the doubt and said they only made 50% out of the deal(to try to justify why I got charged $625). In reality, they made 82%(a figure I got off of what the mechanic told me). You people seem to be confused. Here in pennslytucky, if the head mechanic drives a $250 car on its last legs, then he makes $8/hr. Your a fool if out of the 82% you made most of it went to parts and labor. Your cost of goods should be under 30%, and your labor under 18%. Your manager is supossed to kiss my a*s and be truthful when presented with a question. Like it or not meineke is ripping people off and making it seem like they give their customers a "deal" and they don't make any money lol. If you believe that auto mechanics has a low profit margin then you got other issues we cant solve here!
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#4 Consumer Comment

This is very funny

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

DIY admits he has no idea about anything he is talking about and yet, continues to try and make a point. What kind of vehicle are you talking about? How about telling us so we can figure out what you're on about. The idea that exhaust is not very profitable is laughable. I average a 90% profit margin on my work in that area. That's much greater than the 70% margin I have with brake work or other mechanical jobs. I worked at a Meineke in Waldorf Md and made 16% of the gross on all of my work there. I sold anywhere from $8K-$10K per week. You do the math. As for the catalytic converter and the piping costing $50, get real. I pay the same as the big guys for all of my parts(I know how to negotiate), and the only converter that can be bought for less than $40 is a generic PRE-OBD2 type. They cost me the same $36 that Meineke pays. Add pipe and the labor to build a Y-Pipe, and the cost has gone up greatly. The Y-Pipes I make in my shop look exactly like the factory originals, that's just how good I am. I don't blow holes in one and buttweld another. I flatspot both after getting them perfect and sleeve them together, just like the factory did it. I am so good at this, the dealerships have me doing them for their cars. If you put mine next to a factory part, you'd be hard pressed to figure them out. And no "DIY", I never did it for $8/hr. Neither did any of the other mechs there. I get $60/hr here in Jax. Meineke uses a program for estimating/invoicing and accounting called Mein-A-Key and it will redflag any job that's not at least 70% profit. If a part has to be bought from outside the Meineke supply train(they use Maremont in TN for exhaust and brakes), then they literally have to double or triple the COST in order to sell the job and hit the minimum margin. I will agree with you that it's stupid to do that sometimes. If a part costs $300 and I can sell the entire job for $600, including $150 labor(not unusual for some manifolds-some cost a great deal more), then they still profited $300 gross. The margin however is only 50%. Meineke will reject that deal. They will reject it because after paying the mech his rate of pay and Meineke Corporate gets their 14%-17% of the whole job, there is very little left to cover bills. The mechanic and the Corporate will end up getting about 35% of the gross sale. That leaves a whopping net profit of about $90. I can make that much profit in 20 minutes installing a muffler. Which way would you make the $90? In 20 minutes or in several hours? Where/how do you earn your living? I am always curious about this kind of reasoning. Everyone out there thinks they should get top dollar for what they do, but the mechs should get minimum wage. I own about $250K worth of tools and equipment. Do you honestly thing $8/hr paid for that? I also know more about the "art" of ehaust work than most people. It is an art form, not a simple skill that can be taught. You have to have a knack for it. The labor for replacing the mufflers on a Mustang is 1 hour each. I can weld in 2 Flowmasters or any muffler you want in 20 minutes on a good day. It never takes me more than 30 minutes for both. Should I give back the 1.5 hours I am charging for just because I am fast? I think not. The guy who owned the Mustang thought I should. Exhaust work is classified as "D" tech work. A "D" tech is a new guy, no real skills. I'll make this so simple everyone can understand it. I asked him what he did for a living. He told me he worked for the utility company(wouldn't say which one). I asked him if he makes more today than when he first started. He said yes. I asked him if he was able to complete the jobs faster and more efficiently now than at first. Again, he said yes. He also admitted to getting increases in his rate of pay as he got more skilled. What a surprise. I then told him that the only way a mechanic gets pay increases is by becoming better(read faster), he began to get a clue. When I asked him and everyone else in the lobby if they really wanted someone with little to no abilities, or me to do the work on their cars, they all decided I was their man. Even the Mustang owner admitted it, begrudgingly. Using his idea that the worker should get paid less if he can do the job faster, he should have been getting pay-CUTS, rather than increases. He did not like that idea and then accepted the facts of life. Doctors and Lawyers are the worst in this problem. I always remind them they are still "practicing", I am a professional. Very few see the humor there. Good luck DIY. Maybe you and the guy from Alaska can band together and open up your own shop. I expect you'll be doing as much for free as the public will take.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

no no no their profit was 82%.

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

i said their cost of goods, the money they spent to get the parts, was 20%...their profit was 82%. So out of $625, 20% went to parts, 4% to labor, and to give them the benefit of doubt, 26% to operational expenses. So they make 50%, a huge gain considering the amount of time and clientel they have to work with!
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

again playing devils adocate here...

AUTHOR: Eric - (U.S.A.)

again playing devils adocate here...because your right We dont know what the part cost them. but i do know it you saw it retail in a aftermarket parts house for $ 244 if they got it retail at advance or whatever parts house, i gurantee you that part was close to $244.00.

You say it took him 3 hours to put on but they only charged you $125.00 labor. Our labor rate here in little o' Savannah is $70.00 a hour, lower than the national average, so 3 hours x
$70.00 dollars is $210.00 for labor that job.

but we both know thats now how it works we work of a mitchell labor rate if the job calls for 1.8 hours i can only charge $125 no matter if it took the tech/installer all day to complete the project. I wonder if you had a more skilled person doing it and he got done faster than the quoted time would you want a refund on the labor?

and no sir a % 20 percent mark up is not a very profitable mark up. check around most shops have a system that tells them what to charge for a part depending on the cost of the part.

again this is just me, cuz on on the "other side"
trying to explain pricing and why
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#7 Consumer Comment

I said $400 would be a fair price

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

Going in not knowing what the parts cost was my first mistake.

But like I said before they probably got that part for $50 wholesale. So if they charge me $400(the price I thought was fair), their COST OF GOODS is only 12%. The gross sales is $400, and net is $326(after tax, the part, and paying the employee). This would leave the with a net gain of 82%(which is still alot, maybe i was being a little generous).

But they charged me $625. That makes their cost of goods only 8%. $625 was the total with tax, after the cost of the part is taken out their net gain is $575 or 92%!!! You got to figure the employee working on it was only making at the most $8.00/hr, and he worked on it for 3 hrs, so their labor cost is 4% out of the gross sale.

Now since we only factor in cost of goods and labor on a per sale level, and not the bills of the facility or other business expenses untill the end of the month, they upcharged me 88%.

Lets just say that they get to keep half of what they charged me(after they pay all their bills and whatnot). When its all said and done, they made a $300 profit, and lost a customer who would have been back next week for a brake job and thermostat. If they had just charged $400(because $400 looked better when I saw that part for $244 retail!!!!!!), they would have made $200 and gained alot of business.

But they lied and told me the part was $500, then when I confronted them they lied again and said they made it in house. So you see you can make lots of money being honest. You want me to come back thats the name of the game. You might have ripped me off once, but you wont ever see me again!

If the part was $244 for the average Joe off the street, then meineke's cost is $100-$125. But they said they made it in house, Eric, obviously to save money right? I would think that aluminum piping is cheap enough that if you buy in bulk you must be saving at least 50% off the original cost.

Remember I am just going off what Meineke told me! So even if the bought the part for $125(which they didnt and if they did their dumber then I thought), their cost of goods is %20(still very very good). Labor we said is 4% and after we pay they shell out labor and cost of goods the net gain is $150. Now if we look at it that way, exhaust systems are not a major money maker. They make their bread and butter off of brakes anyway.

But like they said, they made the parts in house for $50 and made charged me $600 to make $300 in 3 hrs. How is the dealer any different???
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

Lets do your math

AUTHOR: Eric - (U.S.A.)

lets use you math for a second. You say the part a meinke ran $500.00 and the rest ($125.00) was labor. and at first you were cool with that. now your saying the whole job should have only ran $400.00.

now lets do the math again...$400-$ 125 for labor is $275.00. a mark up of only 13%. now knowing you used to work in this field tell me what business can survive making only 13% gross profit on parts. no one. and no most times we dont get parts cheaper than the average joe. we might recieve a 2 % percent refund at the end of our billing cycle if we order a certain amount of dollars worth of parts.

I worked for a national company with over 2,000 + locations so its not at issue of buying power
so no we dont get the parts for nothing and yes we have to make a profit to stay open
its a business that steak didnt cost outback 21.99 and you cant ask dennys to cook your eggs, why is our business any different
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