How We Save You Money

The Business Plan

The most important factor in keeping your repair costs down is our Business Plan. At car dealers virtually everyone is on commission: the mechanic, the service writer, the managers, the parts people. This creates an environment in which it is not in anyone’s interest to keep your bill down. In fact it is exactly the opposite. This goes on because the dealers have a steady stream of customers supplied to them by their new and used car departments. There is no real need to keep the customers coming back. We on the other hand are paid on salary, profit sharing, and efficiency bonus. We rely on our quality work and fair prices to keep our customers coming back. We do not advertise, and this formula has been working well for 15+ years.

Another way we feel that we save the customer money is to make it our policy to treat the patient and not the laboratory. By that I mean that while any shop could make technical decisions and condemn almost any part on any car that has more than 50,000 miles, they would be only technically right. Morally wrong, but technically right. The specifications are written to be interpreted by professionals. We prefer to be professional and to use them as a reference to complement our years of experience and knowledge so that any recommendation we make is the one that is RIGHT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL CAR AND OWNER.

An easy example: Two cars; each one has a squeaky ball joint due to water penetration.

Car A has 75,000 miles and is driven 15,000 miles a year.

Car B has 150,000 miles and is now an extra car used mostly on weekends.

While the two ball joints are both technically defective, our experience tells us that if we force-lube the ball joint in Car B, the odds of the ball joint ever actually needing replacement are slim to none. NO CHARGE.

Car A on the other hand most likely will develop play and a safety issue will arise within a few months due to longer trips and more mileage, so we would of course recommend replacement.

It is our belief that over the course of a year we save the average customer hundreds of dollars by this personal treatment. There are other ways we save our customers money. Here are a few:

Diagnostic time: We do not use diagnostic time as a profit center. We strive to keep diagnostic charges down to a minimum. We have seen many instances in which customers have been charged more for diagnostic time than to replace all of the possible components that are being tested. We would rather give you the option.

Labor combining: If we are doing a water pump or alternator and have to take the belts off anyway there would not be a second labor charge for the new belts. We use labor guides to estimate jobs. However we tailor them whenever there are overlapping jobs and discount accordingly. Seems like common sense, but we are amazed at how often this is not done.

Repair vs. replace: If it is cost effective for the customer, we will attempt to repair an expensive component rather than replace it. However, we will also recommend replacing an assembly if the money saved in labor reduces the assembly price enough to make it in the customer’s best interest.

Parts inventory: We have an extensive inventory of parts. Conventional wisdom says that a shop should only stock the minimum and rely on “on-time” delivery. We think this is foolish and costly. In the real world of DC area traffic a delivery from a warehouse in northern Virginia to Kensington can take three hours. Meanwhile the car is sitting there all taken apart. At this shop we not only stock the fast movers but have many of the little parts as well.


Mercedes Benz Specialists

6:44 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

» Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm

» Free Ride to Grosvenor Metro

» Discounted Rental Cars Available

» Hal Wheeler, Manager (15yrs)


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