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Why Pay More Auto founded on the principle of sound diagnostics

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 09:00
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There aren’t too many shops that tender a question in their title, but Why Pay More Auto Service makes perfect sense when you think about it. Founded in 2012 on the principal of sound diagnostics, owner Russell Bates felt that customers were paying an excessive amount of money just to learn what was wrong with their car.

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At a Glance:
Why Pay More Auto
Essex, MD
Location
Russell Bates
Owner
1
No. of shops
6
Years in business
5
No. of employees
3
No. of bays

“I’ve always thought if I can’t get a good grasp of what’s wrong within a solid hour, then something’s wrong with me because that’s a long time to be looking at a car,” Bates explains.

“If you spend $800 and we don’t fix your problem, that’s back on me because I didn’t do my job correctly. I feel we have enough equipment, enough tools, enough knowledge, enough databases that we can get 90 percent of the stuff diagnosed and repaired right the first time. 

“Is it an easy thing to do? Absolutely not,” Bates continues. “We make mistakes, but it’s my job to stand at that counter and tell the customer that we screwed up, we missed it, and we’re going to take care of it. You’d be surprised how many people appreciate that.”

A lifelong resident of the Baltimore, Md. area, Bates explains that while his shop is only seven years old, he’s been in the industry as a technician for over three decades. His reputation is such that a former instructor recommended him for an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) panel to help refine their certification test.

“I think there were 11invites from across the country,” recalls Bates. “But with hundreds of thousands of qualified technicians available nationwide, I wondered ‘why me?’” This question led him to ignore ASE’s calls at first. “I hung up on the guy; I thought it was someone in the shop screwing around,” he laughs.

But once he learned it was legit, Bates headed to ASE’s headquarters in Leesburg, Va. “They basically wanted us to look over (their questionnaire) to decide if there was a right answer, a wrong answer or a ‘maybe’ answer,” he explains. “We got rid of the ‘maybes’ to help guys understand the test better. I did three categories: electrical, brakes, and engine performance.

“I was known for electrical work when I was a technician,” he notes. “I brought it with me when I opened this shop up, and I always try to hire somebody who at least understands how a power circuit works and how a ground circuit works, because I can teach them the rest.”

For Bates has incredible acumen for electrical systems. “For some reason I can look at wiring diagrams and understand where everything’s going, what it’s doing,” he observes. Plus his insights help teach others; “I told (a technician) don’t ohm anything out anymore, do voltage drops, it’s more accurate — it’s a better picture of the circuit. He said ‘I’ve never had someone explain it to me that way before.’”

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