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Sportster Motorcycle General Discussion and Problems For discussing problems about your Sportster motorcycle that don't fit anywhere else.

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  #11  
Old 4th September 2012
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ParrotHead ParrotHead is offline
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Originally Posted by Bone View Post
Personally I put about as much trust/faith in the people who bad mouth all dealers as I do the average dealer. That is to say, little to none until they prove themselves.

Where am I going with this?

GENERALLY SPEAKING I don't believe that dealers charge too much for bikes, parts or labor. It's a business, and there are costs (overhead, salaries, benefits, etc) and they must make a profit.

GENERALLY SPEAKING they sell mostly OEM merchandise which carries similar overhead for the company (including liability) and is VERY HIGH QUALITY.

Aftermarket companies - be it shops or parts suppliers, can charge less for their product because of less overhead. That OFTEN means lower quality (sure not always but there are always exceptions).

If you go to an independent shop you MAY get great service and decent parts at lower prices, but you ALSO may get someone who uses cheap parts or doesn't stand behind their work. At least if the latter happens at a dealer you can appeal to corporate.

FWIW these anti-dealer attitudes are not just with Harley/Harley dealers, you see them in pretty much every single motor vehicle manufacturer/dealer vs. owner situations.

But let me ask you this - WOULD YOU/COULD YOU OWN A HARLEY WITHOUT ANY DEALERS?

If so, maybe you'd be a candidate for Moto Guzzi - there are SO FEW of Guzzi dealers in the US you need to be ready to deal with not having a dealer or parts or warranty support for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

Personally I like both Harley and Guzzi, but I'm DAMN GLAD I've got a couple of Harley dealers all within 10-20 miles.
I agree with Bone. A dealership (in the US) is a business run by its owner, not by Harley Davidson. Yes, they have rules they should follow, however if there is an issue with the dealer in most cases it's the dealer at fault, not Harley. I've had my share of good experiences and bad with the dealer near me. Even though I have a friend who is a service writer there who would look after my bike should it go in for service, I choose not to take my bike there for service simply because I can do the work myself.
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  #12  
Old 4th September 2012
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Loner Loner is offline
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HD techs and dealerships are kind of like cops, once someone has a bad experience,
nothing is going to change that persons mind.

I have had issues with dealerships too, but rather than run home and complain about it on a forum or facebook, I talked to the service rep and/or managers and that will usually take care of it.

One time I had a leaky fork seal. fixed under warranty, and when I got my bike back one fork tube was sticking up higher than the other, I took it back got the service wriiter to come and look it, got a "oh sh*t" and he took it in the back and got it fixed.

Personally I'm nice at first, then I go from there.
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  #13  
Old 4th September 2012
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ReddTigger ReddTigger is online now
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Some dealerships suck.. Some don't ! period..

I've seen the Boutique Mindset come into the dealership I worked for. Went from ok to pretty bad.. prices jumped $20.00 per hr, but the tech's got not one nickle more.. so we lost some "GOOD" techs, because the GM thought he could fill the service bays with 2 MMI Grads for every "EXPERIENCED" Tech's salary.. Good for the bottom line, bad for the customer..

I applaud anyone who sticks it out.In todays economy, it's not easy being the guy everyone wants to be, but no one likes....
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  #14  
Old 4th September 2012
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SpartanDen SpartanDen is offline
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I was a commissioned mechanic at a large local Oldsmobile dealership. I know about the rates and how much people pay....and how little the service tech gets. I also bought my own tools and education. People used to complain at $35 per hr flat rate...I only got $10. I still am proud of the fact I never cheated any customer, always did what was asked, did a good job, and kept my eye open for safety issues (ok...anything else I could do to make money) but never twisted things around to "force" a customer do repair work. Yeah, the sales men were jerks there too. Same difference...
My local HD stealership seems to be interested in only those who spend mega dollars there. I always feel like i'm looked down upon. The girls in motor clothing are the only ones who greet me when I walk through the door, although the greet everybody. No one ever comes up and asks if I can be helped. I have never had any service work done there, so I cannot answer to how the service department is. But is appears to be a black hole in the back of the building because I am shoo'd away if I head back there.
Yeah, dealerships may get a bad rap, but they tend to bring it on themselves. All the "good" dealerships I have been in are out of my area!!!
Threat.... you got your good points there. I don't knock a service tech unless he gives me reason to. You guys do know your stuff.
And Bone....you always have a point to make as well. Most often a good one and steer us back down the track!!!
Ain't this a great place to hang???
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  #15  
Old 4th September 2012
Deimus Deimus is offline
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Your "rant" was expressed well. It does occur to me though, that your title is missing "Techs"... as in "In defense of dealership Techs". Because your rank didn't really make me feel any better in general about the dealerships. It only made me think about the good mechanics that are employed at some of the dealerships. Too bad we don't have a way of knowing who the good mechanics are or if they would be the ones taking care of our bikes.
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  #16  
Old 4th September 2012
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1250IRON 1250IRON is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by threat357 View Post
I accidentally posted too soon. As I was saying...

I can't really say much about the sales side of the house. What is there to say really? It's full of salesmen. Enough said.
As a mechanic, I'm really in defense of the dealership techs here. I'll be the first to admit that many dealership techs are entry-level techs who don't really have the experience, knowledge, or skill that customers expect and deserve. A lot of dealerships, mainly in AZ and FL where MMI campuses churn out new techs regularly, cycle through mechanics every few months. Also, a lot of dealership service work does not provide the tech with the opportunity to perform a wide variety of jobs and broaden their skillset. However, we are not all this way.
I spent a handful of years wrenching and building bikes in a couple of custom indy shops. I did repairs and services, frame-up builds, and custom fab work. I made little money, had no benefits, and loved what I did. It was pretty awesome and just fine when I was single. Then, I got married and had a couple of kids. Suddenly, the need for a higher income and health insurance became a priority, so I turned to the dealer side. Now, I do less custom work, and more tire changes. I never had a desire before that to work in a dealership, and have spent an awful lot of time lately contemplating going back to custom work. The point is this. As a "stealership" tech, I know that there are many (particularly on several internet message boards) who would be quick to dismiss me and the other dealership techs as legally-retarded grease monkeys who can only competently change oil and spark plugs. However, I have been wrenching for over a decade, and have the experience, knowledge, and skills that go with it. I can change your oil, rebuild your motor and transmission, and strip your bike down to the bare frame and rebuild it. Many dealership techs fit this same description. It's unfortunate that so many riders seem to have bad dealership experiences, particularly in the service department. If your local dealer sucks and employs useless techs, I apologize on their behalf. Just know that we, the mechanics, do not set labor rates or labor times. We don't necessarily get to dictate how your service requests will be handled. Much of what we do is trickle-down from the factory and tweaked by our managers. Many of us are wrenching flat-rate, getting paid only a fraction of what you're actually paying to the shop, and doing what we do because we love it, not to get rich. Most of us who have made a living out of wrenching are just bikers trying to work with and for other bikers, and we try our best. I know I don't know everything, and I'm constantly trying to learn more. That's the main reason why I'm on xlforum. There's a wealth of valuable knowledge here that helps me to help you. I know there are a lot of other dealer techs on this site for the same reason. Most of us do actually care about the customer, and more importantly, keeping your bike out there on the road where it belongs.
Have you ever thought about stating your own repair shop? Be a good way to help out the people complaining of the dealership woes and help yourself get back to what you really enjoy doing instead of tire changing. Plus you would get the money your working for rather than doing all the work and splitting what you deserve with the dealership.
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  #17  
Old 5th September 2012
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threat357 threat357 is offline
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Good replies on this thread. I was going to follow up with something, but I've pretty much said all I had to say. Hmmm...dealerships (like most other businesses) are good AND bad. I guess I feel like you should know that while the front of the shop may seem like they're out to hustle you sometimes, the dirty wrench benders in the back ARE on your side.
Deimus - you're right. I did title this wrong.
1250Iron - I'm working on it...
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  #18  
Old 5th September 2012
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threat357 threat357 is offline
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thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts on the matter.
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  #19  
Old 5th September 2012
Fat Tony Fat Tony is offline
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The biggest dealer scam is the way they charge the same shop rate for a senior wrench as they do for the noob who just graduated from MMI.
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  #20  
Old 5th September 2012
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wilkin4 wilkin4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fat Tony View Post
The biggest dealer scam is the way they charge the same shop rate for a senior wrench as they do for the noob who just graduated from MMI.
Very true. If you are a senior tech and do quality work, you will out produce a new tech that will have a higher defect or return rate.

Same in my field, got over 35 years experience and get paid the same as a newb out of school, or never had any training.
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