Customer supplied parts

I recently purchased a right front axle assy for my Toyota Camry and contacted a number of garages to have it installed. None of them, however, would install the part, each indicating that they do not install customer supplied parts. Why don’t they? Is is because with a customer supplied part they can’t mark up the price of the part and make money on the cost of the part? (My Toyota dealer had no problem with my supplying the part, and they installed it for me.)

A little ‘they want the markup’, but a lot ‘they want to make sure the part is correct, high quality, and that they can stand behind their work if something goes wrong.’ If it was just the markup, they could have quoted you a higher labor cost.

If the part were a quality part, the reason can’t be anything other than the loss of markup.

What was the difference in labor charge between the Dealer and the prospective independant.

The independant might not want to be involve with a diagnosis you made,what was wrong with the old part? what problem were you trying to correct by replacing the axel?

Waaay too many times a customer supplied part also means a customer diagnosed issue. And this inevitably brings the resultant retort " YOU didn’t fix my car !" and the demand to re-repair for the money already spent.
Here at my shop we do install customer parts with the pre-agreed “no warranty on labor”. Unless we diagnosed it first ( say , last week or so ) then they brought their parts when they could afford the work.

Can a customer save money buying the parts from you (I conclude a Dealership front counter) and then bringing those parts to the same dealerships service department? Perhaps not if the inital diagnosis cost is figure in and not waved by service.

They may. In this small town we ecourage the free trade system and will even discuss price matching ( or close ). All we really ask is that they spend their money localy with any of the choices of parts stores here.
In the shop today, a repair order for installation os all four struts, customer supplied parts. Friday, an oil change, customer supplied oil ( they bought our filter ).

If your part is wrong who eats the extra labor of removing it and acquiring a new one? Are you willing to pay a garage to remove old parts, attempt install of new, remove new stuff, wait for new parts and then install.

There is a large hassle factor involved as part are not always as labeled in the box.

When you go out to a restaurant, do they let you bring your own food for them to cook? What would you think of a customer who tried doing this at a restaurant to save money?

In addition to all the reasons mentioned, I have one more to add. Customers who bring their own parts tend to be high maintenance customers, and high maintenance customers can cost more than they are worth.

Whitey beat me to it with the restaurant analogy.

And, as Ken Green pointed out earlier, if the customer misdiagnosed the problem and the supplied part doesn’t actually fix the problem, then the poor schnook who agreed to install the customer’s part will wind up being blamed for “not fixing the car”.

I would refuse to install a part supplied by the customer, simply because of all of the potential hassles that go along with it.

I’m always glad to install customer’s parts. But, there is NO WARRANTY and the labor is doubled. Needless to say, I rarely install customer parts.

Shop owners struggle to keep their operation in the black and as stated above, people who insist on bringing their own parts are usually “high maintenance” and so are their vehicles.

I bet the ‘bargains’ one can find on Ebay make it worse…‘Hey, a front axle for my Camry, only $13!’

The restaurant analogy and comment about high maintenance customer pretty much says it all.
I’ve got into a few of these things and most of the time have discovered problems such as an incorrect part or “other issues” after the vehicle is torn apart.
So while the customer is spending 3 days trying to find the right part or debating whether to fix those “other issues” or slap it back together this means valuable stall space is tied up.
Charge the customer for slapping it back together and then the mechanic is the bad guy.

So I trust that if the reman axle, possibly of dubious eBay quality or whatever, develops a problem you won’t be going back to the Toyota dealer carping for them to stand behind it; “lifetime” part or not.

I never installed customer parts simply for liability reasons.
If the part goes bad, was it a bad part or incorrect installation? It turns into a did to, did not.

Also what would happen if this axle flew apart and it caused an accident resulting in injuries or death. Now who’s fault is it? Part manufacturer/rebuilder, tech., shop manager or the vehicle owner.

Forget the lost profit, this is more important IMOO.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT PROFIT IS NOT A DIRTY WORD. Making a fair profit is not an immoral, sinful, lewd, greedy act. It is what all business’s must do to stay in business, it is what keeps America going.

The reason is, most repair shops/dealers purchase parts from a local parts store. NAPA, CARQUEST…etc. They get these parts at reasonable cost because they have a contract with this parts store. So for example, a halfshaft for them may cost them $65.00, but they mark it up 300%. So you pay for a halfshaft for $300.00 plus labor.

That’s where half the money is made for those who won’t replace customer purchased parts. But I do, with stipulations.


My mechanic doesn’t mind if I supply my own parts. Though I always buy parts that are superior in quality than what the average shop typically offers. For example my mechanic typically uses Wagner brakes. I bring him Brembos to install. Nothing wrong with Wagner, but I feel Brembo is the superior product. I do this because I have a somewhat irrational fear of the mechanic using bargin basement parts and then charging for more expensive parts in order to make some extra cash.

I’ll relate a story involving a guy who performed a repair on a car in which the guy brought his own part in.
This happened about 20 years ago when I worked for a small town Subaru dealer. A guy closed down his shop and went to work for us and we became good friends. Great guy, great tech, and a whale of a car customizer and painter.

A few months before he closed a guy brought a transmssion in, wanted it installed, and he did the usual; told the car owner up front the labor was guaranteed but no guarantee on the transmission. The guy agreed to this, no problem.

Apparently this transmission had developed an internal fault and the car owner (mullet-headed thug with a Firebird) came down to the dealer service dept. and jumped my friend about it. After a few minutes of argument the car owner asked for a statement about the transmission and when my friend turned his back to get a notebook out of the box he got sucker punched in the back of the head followed by this guy jumping him from behind. This thug had 2 buddies outside who appeared to be in on this escapade and they came running into the shop to join in on the beating, which by now had taken a turn for the worse for the thug as the thug weighed about 180 pounds or so and my friend about 250.

I saw what was happening, grabbed a long breakover bar, and went to bail him out. At this point these guys decided they didn’t like the odds, took off running for their vehicle, and hauled hiney for the tall grass.

Two weeks later the thug got involved in a hit and run accident, left his car at the scene, and hoofed it home.
When the highway patrol went out to arrest him he refused to comply, tried to assault the state trooper, and tried to wrestle the trooper’s gun away from him when he pulled it.
This led to the thug getting a .357 round through the mid-section and going belly-up on the way to the hospital.

That’s about the most extreme example of using customer supplied parts I can think of and up until this point even the dealer would sometimes have us install a customer provided part. (small town, everybody knows everybody, etc.)
After this incident, no more.

If the shop installs the part and there’s a problem with the part, are yo willing to pay the shop all over again to do the work all over and to then install their parts? Unlikely. But to do otherwise would be unfair to the shop.

And of the part is the wrong part (more commmon than you’d think), are you then willing to pay for the added time the car ties up the bay whil you return it and get the correct part? I think not.

No shop will install a major part that’s customer supplied. Ther are just too many potential problems.

Your restaurant analogy is bogus. Among the numerous differences include the fact that no restaurant in the world that I’m aware of charges for parts plus labor.

Of course they do. They just don’t give you an itemized bill.