Monday, 19 September 2011

Why your local Audio Specialist shop is important!

Why your local Audio Specialist shop is important! Next time you pop into a shop and ask to have an item fitted, stop and have a think about what you are actual asking.

Just because you pay peanuts for your product doesn't mean we have to fit it for peanuts. You buy cheap Chinese electrical's from Ebay or some online retailer then expect us to fit it like it was an Alpine or Pioneer unit. It doesn't work like that. Cheap brands are made without the manufacturer even seeing the car. Half the time the units stick out over an inch from the dashboard because they don't have the correct fixtures and fixings. Then 3 weeks later WHEN the unit goes wrong we are expected to look at the unit and find out what the problem is for free! We didn't sell you the unit! We only fitted it for you, your warranty lies with the person you bought the unit from not us. So you are going to get charged.

If you want a professional service you have to pay for it. You'll quite happily go out and spend over £400 on a smartphone but when you want the technology in your car to make that smartphone work with your car audio system you expect it cost a tenner. You want to be able to control the iPod/iPhone/Smartphone from the factory head unit and steering wheel controls. Minimum cost on that is going to be £150 so don't kid yourself or listen to anyone that tells you otherwise.

Pretty soon there won't be any specialist left in the UK to fit your own equipment. Specialist shops are important to you. The main dealer can't answer the questions you are asking. The sales person will tell you anything you want to hear to get you to buy the car, even if it means bending the truth. Most car sales people don't even know there own cars let alone the electrical equipment that's inside them. They come to people like us too!
Mercedes specialist's such as Braybrook's give information to the Mercedes Benz dealer! That's questions about their own Mercedes product! Comand systems, telephone pre-wire, factory parktronic, iPod interface, they're all Mercedes Benz parts but the dealer still have to ask Braybrook's about them because Braybrook's know more about the electrical equipment in Mercedes Benz cars than a Mercedes Benz dealer.
Dealers do NOT have auto electricians anymore, they have diagnostic equipment that tells the mechanic, if it operates between this range and that range then it's ok. If it doesn't then it's broken and to replace the part. They replace the part at your expense just to find out the fault is still there. This continues until the fault is fixed and you are out of pocket to the tune of £500 or even £1000.

We'll take the Radio Centre in Colchester as an example. They have to make approximately £280 per day just to open the shop. That's easy you say. Not really, not with the profit margin on the equipment they sell. I'll give you an example. The Pioneer AVIC-F930BT, Pioneers flagship Nav unit, retail price is £899.99 inc VAT, cost price is £658.00 + VAT = £789.60 inc VAT. £899.99 - £789.60 = £110.39 less the difference in VAT @£18.40 = £91.99 profit. They make their money on the labour to fit the product not on the product itself because there isn't the mark up on the equipment like there was in the 80's and early 90's.

The advantages of buying the unit from your local dealer. Well for a start most places will give you a full demonstration on how to use the unit, including some of the advanced features of the unit. The pioneer Nav again as an example. You buy from your local dealer, you fill out the registration form. This provides you with your warranty with Pioneer. It also means provided you register online with Pioneer, within 28 days of purchase, you'll get a free navigation map update worth over £250. You have a small problem, the specialist will generally have a look at the unit immediately, if it can't be solved immediately they will book you in on a day that is convenient to you, not them (unless the diary is full of course but even then they try to get you in as soon as humanly possible).
Lets face it, are you going to sit down and read the manual? No you won't, because people don't read instructions anymore, not because they can't, it's because they don't really understand most of the instructions in the manual. So you pop back to the shop to ask the question, if you bought the unit from that shop they will be more than happy to help you. If you didn't don't surprised if they turn around to you and say "RTFM" which in laymans terms means READ THE F*****G MANUAL! Lets face it, you wouldn't call Vodafone customer support to ask about a problem with your iPhone if your with O2, regardless of the fact the handset is the same!
Likewise if we don't supply you the unit don't expect us to give you customer support for a product you've bought from the internet! Go back to the place you purchased the unit from. We will support the installation of your product not the product itself, so if the unit powers up and switches on, generally the fault will be with the unit and not the installation. We will then charge you for removal of the unit so you can send it back to the place you bought it from simples!! Your warranty is provided by the place you purchased from not the installation company. If you didn't buy from us, why should we provide you with technical support? If you'd bought the unit from us in the first place you wouldn't have these problems.

Now I can't speak for all car audio specialists but I'm sure most will be feeling exactly the same way and are too afraid to speak up. Mainly because they're shop's are hanging on and just surviving. You could go to Halfords, but you'll be served by some spotty 20 year old kid, (Male or female it doesn't matter). You really think that your going to get the correct information about your car.
Would you really want some spotty kid without proper installation training, installing your parrot kit under a gazibo in the carpark, to your £30,000 new car? Apart from the fact that if they have to remove trim from the car or the radio doesn't slide out with a set of removal tools they are not actually allowed to do the work. They then have to book they're installation company to come out and fit the equipment for you at your home or place of work. Then when they arrive, they tell you that Halfords have supplied you with the wrong parts so they can't do the installation. Then you have to wait another 2 weeks maybe more to get the product fitted. In the end you get so annoyed that you go to your local car audio specialist to have the equipment fitted. In few more years the way things are going, you won't be able to do that because your local car audio specialist shop has closed. Tell me I'm wrong if you think but I beg to differ.
I see this happen on a regular basis!

Seriously people get real, you want the latest gadgets and technology in your cars but you don't want to pay the right price to have it done. So get your mate, who know's how to fit a radio to wire in your Parrot kit and when they have spiked your Main ECU in the the car causing in the region of a £1000 worth of damage, you'll then realise there is a reason why the shops exist. Car audio/electrical specialists are a dying trade and need your support. They are not ripping you off, they are providing you with a quality service and extreme specialist knowledge.

Just remember, there is a reason why they are specialist. They know more about a variety of cars, Audi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW, Kia, Hyundai or Maybach. You can't go to Audi to ask a question about your Ford! But you can ask your local specialist.

Read and Digest people, this is my rant over. If I have offended anyone tough! I really don't care, I've said what I need to say. If you have a problem with anything I've said use the comments form below! I WILL reply to anyone who thinks they know better!
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