Oldfields Garage explains why it says no to customer supplied parts

Tim Benson calls for support from customers and explains why garages shouldn't be afraid to make profit from parts

Oldfields Garage explains why it says no to customer supplied parts
Image: Bigstock.

Occasionally we get asked by customers if we would fit a part they have supplied and we have to explain that we don’t fit customer supplied parts so I’d like to highlight some of the main reasons why. 

Tim Benson of Oldfields Garage.

Firstly, we carry out a lot of work behind the scenes to carefully select suppliers who provide us with the right level of service at the right price and the quality of parts that meet and exceed the job requirements.

We work with those suppliers to enable us to receive brilliant levels of service.

In some cases parts are sourced and available same day from over 60 miles away.

If we don’t support these suppliers, they won’t be here in years to come. 

Supply chain tractability 

Secondly, our parts are sourced through a traceable supply chain so we know they aren’t fake.

Fake parts are becoming more prevalent, potentially causing unnecessary damage and even putting lives at risk.

Our suppliers have invested thousands of pounds in systems that help minimise parts being sent incorrectly.

We’re all human and parts can be supplied incorrectly.

Sometimes this is our fault, sometimes it’s our suppliers fault and sometimes it’s a manufacturers fault.

The end result however, is that it’s down to us to try and resolve the problem.

If we do have issues, we spend the time resolving them at no additional cost and sometimes this can take hours of time. 

Such issues are usually resolved the same day with minimum disruption to our customers.


When we fit parts we provide a minimum 12 months, 12,000 miles warranty against manufacturing defects.

This includes parts and labour.

Our chosen suppliers often support us with parts warranty and also contribute towards the labour aspect and we pay for the remainder.

We accept that where there is a shortfall that it is ultimately down to us to resolve. 

Finally, we need to make a profit on parts.

Garage profit

As a family business with the second generation now leading the way, we’d really like to be here for years to come.

This isn’t unusual or a terrible thing.

Every business needs to make a profit to be able to grow, invest in tooling, equipment, training and employ people from the local area.

With profit we pay taxes, support local school and community events and ultimately put ourselves in a position to survive. 

Selling parts is a by-product of the work we carry out.

Whilst we work with suppliers to ensure our monthly spend means we benefit from trade prices, we realise that in some cases we are not able to supply parts at the same price as customer can. 

Living in rural Herefordshire, I recently came across a potato left from from a field behind my house.

Think about the cost of a potato and how much you pay for a meal out.

You wouldn’t take this potato to your local chip shop now would you?

The same scenario can be applied to pretty much any business. 

Share your comments below.

Home Page Forums Oldfields Garage explains why it says no to customer supplied parts

Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
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  • #190601 Reply

    Occasionally we get asked by customers if we would fit a part they have supplied and we have to explain that we don’t fit customer supplied parts and
    [See the full post at: Oldfields Garage explains why it says no to customer supplied parts]

    #192014 Reply
    Harry Ghatta

    Totally agree I also have the same policy in place, no customer supplied parts. I have so many book a job in only at the end saying ‘ O I have the parts’ when they are told we don’t fit own supplied parts they can’t understand why.
    My 2 reasons are 1. 9 out of 10 they are wrong parts this then holds up the 30 minute job into 2 hr plus as I now have to order the correct parts which I will charge retail for and they will be more costly than the wrong cheaper inferior parts supplied.most customers were then not happy.
    2. Would you buy a piece of steak of your liking from a supermarket at a reduced price and take it to your local restaurant and ask them to cook it and use their restaurant to sit and eat it and only pay for them cooking it . Errm no because no restaurant will allow it.

    #192015 Reply

    Absolutely correct on every level!! I use the same analogy using a steak, you wouldn’t take a steak to a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you.
    Also we had a vehicle in for a clutch and somehow got wrapped up in customer supplying the clutch and flywheel.
    Of course the parts were wrong, but who pays the bill for a vehicle stuck on the ramp until the correct parts arrive, could be a day or two later…..
    But look out for ECP they are pushing garages to stop making money on parts and just put your labour charges up. Why? So they can put parts out at trade price to everyone and under cut all the retail outlets.
    My advice, (for what its worth) spread your spend,keep the local parts supplier in business, we split our spend evenly. Dont let ECP turn into a greedy monster.
    While im here…. Who can fix my car have lost their mind, get out while you can, they are trying to take over the independant garage market.

    #192016 Reply
    Dave Ramus

    Total agree but take the steak example back a bit would you walk round tesco`s asking them how much they pay for goods and expect them at cost price

    #192024 Reply

    Your logic is flawless. However it fails to take account of what a major UK motor factor is currently doing to undermine your business, indeed the entire sector that provides it with the lion’s share of its profits.

    The motor factor in question is Euro Car Parts (ECP). ECP senior management has decided that its current business-to-business model is worth but a small fraction of what ECP could be doing were it to develop its direct business-to-consumer sales. As a consequence, it now has a strategy of selling parts via the eBay platform under such seller identities as carpartssaver, carparts4less as well as of course eurocarparts at heavily discounted prices.

    Until relatively recently, on finding a low price on eBay in an ECP listing, the local ECP branch would either match or better it.

    Now however ECP has made the policy decision that they will no longer do this. So where ECP (through one of its seller identities) has parts are listed on eBay, you can realistically expect the prices to be between 20 and 40% less than the best price the branch can offer.

    Their logic is that garages must become accustomed to making nothing on the supply of the parts (which the customer either supplies direct or sets the price of), and that garages must therefore increase their labour rates to a realistic level to compensate.

    Perhaps all of this boils down to one simple question. What proportion of garages are prepared to carry on using a supplier that is systematically doing it’s level best to destroy the viability of the very businesses it purports to serve?

    #192028 Reply
    Darren Jackson

    Couldn’t agree more with your stance especially the point in relation to supplying your own food to a restaurant. It’s also up to suppliers to ensure a trade price remains a trade price to trade customers.

    #192044 Reply

    I’m fully agree with this. Just one thing I don’t think the consumer would accept. The steak argument, as they could argue that they don’t pay a labour rate in a restaurant. Maybe I’m over thinking it

    #192050 Reply
    Peter Miles

    For Stuart above, I can see what you’re saying but a lot of restaurants add an “optional” service charge to your bill.
    As regards ECP I stopped using them a long time ago simply because of the quality (as in lack of!) of the parts they were sending. Also I have my reasons to believe that some were deliberate fakes but probably best if I say no more of that in public! The fact is that a good factor has an interest in making sure their customers are successful and I don’t believe ECP care who is successful as long as it’s ECP!

    #192122 Reply
    Auto Butler

    Many of our garages, simply say no to fiting parts (supplied). The biggest risk is forgery, Ebay is littered with them..

    #192226 Reply
    prof h

    just thinking outside the box, public liability Will not cover you for fitting customers parts, if you Accept said parts, you by law are saying they are fit for purpose and take over the warranty and liability.

    Ecp are Now launching an offer apparently offering certain garages to fit the parts they have sold them mail order.

    I say certain garages as they wont go to garages that they know will show them the door.

    in essence you would get Transmech clutches, Eicher brakes, Crosland filters, Rtx electrics and Starline steering,

    all of which Ecp Own

    none are allowed in our building, even when fleet companies send, we Reject and insist on quality

    #192465 Reply
    Ken Ashton

    We fitted wishbone to a Fiat (part supplied by customer) and it turned out to be the wrong dimension though initially it looked the same . Customer then arranged for another part to be delivered to us which was for the other side of the car !!! Finally we got one from our regular supplier and finished the job . Bottom line is the cheaper factor is supplying rubbish parts to the public and we don’t fit customers parts .

    #192466 Reply
    Peter Fearnley

    Definitely agree with the no fitting of customer supplied parts leave it to the cash cowboys to fit them .
    I thought it was just me not using ECP anymore it seems lots of people have the same thoughts when they sell batteries delivered at less than I can buy them for fro ECP with no VAT on top on EBay there is a serious problem I think by what I have read on here today the mighty parts giant may be alienated by garages that made them so big also I wouldn’t buy lots of their parts through quality concerns if you have ever fitted an RTX starter motor that has taken lots of time to fit to find it gives up a month later then you have to pacify the customer & recover the car & spend lots of time to replace it or MOT a car to find steering ball joint covers in tatters on joints that you fitted LAST year for MOT stay away & use your trusted suppliers instead

    #192598 Reply

    I agree with the not fitting customer supplied parts and I also see the points being made regarding ECP’s pricing.
    Where I struggle is the quality of there parts, as an OE supplier to ECP we supply the very same products to ECP as we supply to the motor manufactures not cheap Chinese parts.
    You have to look at what you buy from ECP and other factors if you buy the budget brands your not going to get the OE part, hence the part is bound not to be the same. In 99% of cases ECP have a cheap brand and the OE brand, its all down to choice and cost. Cheap parts are cheap parts who ever sells them, ECP’s cheaper range will not be any worse than any other cheap part supplied from China.

    #192716 Reply
    jim profit

    It’s a brave new world. I use Indy’s and pay for labor only and supply my own quality parts (bosch/pagid/airtex), if you guys want to be greedy and get a double slice of profit, you are heading for extinction especially with the free movement of cheap labour from eastern europe (polish/czechoslovakian/romanian) workers who will change brake pads for a tenner!

    #192717 Reply
    david page

    It might be a new world but who is going to pay for training and a workforce to repair vehicles (garage owners that’s who ) the sooner they make it law that you have to be licensed to repair a vehicle the better this would see off back street garages and stop ecp and alike selling cheap parts to retail customers, years ago it was common to see trade only signs at counters we need to get back to it and leave the repairing to the professionals

    #193032 Reply
    Dennis Eves

    Mr. Page, you’re living in the past, but not the present. The reason motor factors are no longer Trade Only is because they sell where the business is, and lots of that business is in selling to private individuals. Why should you be allowed to rip off customers by making a profit on parts they can buy for themselves? You’re not making the parts, you’re fitting them, and I have no problem with paying for what you actually DO.

    So far as licensing goes, I am more than capable of replacing pads and discs, serpentine belts, alternators, starter motors, batteries… The list is long. I can strip and rebuild an engine, and it will fire up first go after I’ve done it too, but I choose to have a pro do it if necessary because I can’t be a***d any more. Why should I pay somebody else to do a job I’m more than able to do myself?

    #200460 Reply

    We have a policy of not fitting customer supplied parts anymore after a part we fitted for a customer caught on fire! Turned out it was cheap rubbish bought off eBay. Not worth the hassle. When you supply parts to the customer you know what quality you are getting and where it came from. Also having to wait for the customer to re supply a part could leave their car on the ramp for days!

    #200567 Reply

    We don’t see an issue fitting customers parts, just charge them for removing the wrong/faulty part.

    Just push it outside, where it can stay until part around that correct

    If part fails we just say we didn’t supply it.


Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)


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