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  1. #1
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Elephant Butte New Mexico

    A good rant from an ex shop tech

    Just make some substitutions for whatever vehicle service industry you happen to work in.

    I don't talk about it much anymore, but I actually worked at a Harley dealership in Brooklyn NYC for two years. This rant is obviously from somebody who actually worked at a harley dealer.

    They liked me good enough, but not my bmw r/75, I always had to park it around back....

    How did I snag the job?..well I rode my pals sportster in to apply for the job, and the service manager ( who told me he'd "get back to me" after the interview) was impressed that a skinny guy like me was able to kick start it (no electric start back then) called me back inside from the driveway as I was ready to roll out, and asked me I was the mechanic that had tuned it. Then he said come back with your tools, ready to work, on monday.
    A message from someone who spent almost 6 years in a Harley Davidson service department

    This week I ended my almost 6 year long tenure of being a service advisor and assistant service manager in one of the largest and busiest service departments in the company. In those 6 years I experienced the best and worst of Harley-Davidson customers, as well as the motor company. Now that I am no longer an employee, I would like to issue this PSA to the Harley-Davidson community to get some things off my chest, educate some of you, and hopefully improve relations for my friends still working in the industry.

    1.) dealerships do not build your motorcycle. You donít know how many calls I got from people screaming at me because something went wrong with their bike, blaming me because we ďbuilt their bikeĒ. The bikes show up completely assembled, we plug a fuse in, fill them with gas, go over a very small checklist, and test ride them. If something goes wrong, thatís where a warranty comes in. It is not the dealers fault, itís the motor company. Weíre here to help resolve the problem, so chill out.

    2.) the dealership does not owe you anything for buying a bike. Your business is appreciated, but the logic of ďI spent X amount of dollars so you need to do everything I sayĒ is ridiculous. You decided to pay for that bike, nobody else. The hurdles you have to clear are yours. The dealer is willing to help, but be reasonable for crying out loud.

    3.) if your Harley is your only means of transportation, thatís not the dealerships problem, and frankly, youíre not very smart for trusting a Harley-Davidson to be your only mode of transportation. Things take time to repair, and Harleyís are notorious for having problems. Add on that all parts come from one place (Milwaukee), expect long shipping times. Screaming at the dealer because your bike is how you get to work and itís not done yet is ridiculous. Be an adult, be responsible for your way to get around, and get a car for the rainy days or unexpected repairs.

    4.) the dealership is not your free hotline for information. I probably donít know the exact torque spec for that one bolt you want to tighten and itís not my responsibility to be your free service manual. This is how we make a living, so if you donít want to pay us to do something, donít get mad when you donít know how to do it right and we donít want to help you for free. If youíre going to work on your own bike, buy a service manual, plain and simple. This goes double for asking to borrow tools. The tools are owned by the technician, and nobody wants to hand over their tools to some person so they can avoid paying the technician to do the work. Not saying we canít answer questions or lend a hand for something, but again, be reasonable in your expectations of what information we happen to know off the top of our head.

    5.) your motorcycle is a toy, so check yourself when you want to flip out on someone over it. Things happen, things get damaged, mistakes are made, and weíll take care of it. Are there shitty dealers/shops who try to avoid that? Sure. But at the end of the day you treating another human being inhumanely and letting your temper get away from you is a quick way to ensure only the bare minimum will be done to help you. You catch more bees with honey. Also, itís just a fucking motorcycle, remember that.

    6.) poor planning on your part doesnít constitute an emergency on mine. You have a trip planned and you realized 2 days before that you need tires, a service, and something isnít working you need diagnosed? Donít get mad when youíre told the bike wonít be done in time. You knew when the trip was, so plan ahead. During riding season or near a big rally, expect the wait times to be longer, and if you donít plan ahead, thatís on you. Again, flipping out will only hurt your chances of someone going out of their way. If something comes up last minute, be kind and courteous to your dealer and I bet theyíll do everything they can to help.

    7.) forums have more bad information than good. Just because some dude on a forum said you can install those bars without changing your cables doesnít mean thatís the right way to do something. As a dealer we have to warranty our work, so we do it right. You want to take shortcuts? Do it yourself and be ready for the potential problems.

    8.) quit bitching about prices. Harleyís are expensive. You knew this going in to it. You want cheap parts and repairs? Buy an old Honda, itíll run forever with minimal repairs and cheap maintenance.

    9.) we DO NOT work for free. Just because your bike is on a lift doesnít mean we can just ďthrow this onĒ real quick. Again, this is the livelihood for the technicians, not a charity.

    10.) just because your bike was just worked on does not automatically mean the next problem you have is our fault. We changed your tire and on the way home your engine blew up? Iíd bet 100% that it had nothing to do with it. Again, be reasonable and use common sense in these scenarios.

    11.) dealers are not the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. We donít make the decisions about warranty coverage, we have nothing to do with the bills you pay to Harley, and we sure as hell donít control part availability or part quality. Understand this difference and youíll understand who to get mad at.

    12.) if you were in an accident, be prepared for a long repair time, as in months. Especially with the covid delays. It sucks, we get it, but we didnít crash your bike or pull out in front of you, so donít get mad at us.

    13.) owning a Harley doesnít mean youíre a billy bad ass or that you have to act tough. Trust me, nobody thinks youíre cool when you from a normal person buying a bike to wearing a bunch of fresh leather, a pointless brain bucket, and a bandana acting like youíre the toughest mother fucker on the road. Just be you, stop pretending you just got signed on to the sons of anarchy show.

    Now the most important...
    DEALERS ARE THERE TO HELP YOU. Trust me, we donít want your bike in the shop either. It takes up space, weíre liable for it, and itís better for business if youíre out putting miles on it. Nobody at a dealer wakes up thinking ďhow can I fuck over my customers todayĒ, we show up ready to bend over backwards to earn repeat business and ensure you leave happy. If you understand this and you treat your service department with courtesy and respect, youíll get it tenfold in return.
    I have met some great people in the Harley world, some truly amazing individuals Iím glad to know. Iíve also met so many awful people that I never want to attend any event with other motorcyclists again. Working in the industry has made me want to avoid other Harley riders at all costs, and completely stripped away my passion for the brand, as well as my passion for riding. Do your part and donít ruin it for the next guy in my shoes.
    End Rant.
    Ride safe, have fun, and be cool to one another for crying out loud.

  2. #2
    steve45's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Took my wife's Chevy in for a safety recall the day. They called me at 5:30 and told me that it wouldn't be finished as promised. No problem, we didn't need it that night. They called back about 9:00 the next day and said it was ready.

    We went to get it and the service writer spent at least half an hour with us going over some software updates that they had also done and made sure it worked with my wife's phone. Service writer said that he had turned wrenches for 23 years before moving up to this spot. He was excellent, and I couldn't be happier.

    I never like having to take one of my vehicles (or toys) to a dealer, but this time I was very happy.

  3. #3
    Xspook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Space coast, FL (Brevard County)
    "a pointless brain bucket"

    I'd be dead if it wasn't for my brain bucket.

  4. +1 by:

  5. #4
    This is how I run a jetski shop in the desert nmpeter's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Elephant Butte New Mexico
    Quote Originally Posted by Xspook View Post
    "a pointless brain bucket"

    I'd be dead if it wasn't for my brain bucket.
    I believe the reference was for a cosmetic helmet, like the ones that break in half if you hit a good sized beetle

    I took what must have been a small bird on the chinguard while wearing a full face helmet. how I stayed upright is still a mystery to me. I thought I had been shot

  6. #5

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Minneapolis MN
    This is an accurate assessment for the servicing of PWCs. On my service writer's desk is a printed list of the typical owner caused problems that aren't fault of the dealer. Basically, people who screw up want others to pay for their mistakes. I couldn't work in that business-I would end up hurting someone...

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