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Matt's Equipment Repair



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Posted by [email protected] on 15 November, 2015 at 13:15 Comments comments (46)

I talk with a lot of people who have a had time finding a shop that will work on their generator when they don't have one of the top name brands.  If you have a Honda it is easy, you just go to a Honda shop, and Honda has great support for those shops, but Honda generators are very expensive not everyone has one.  So, many people buy Champions, or other imported generators, and then when they brake, they cannot find a shop that will work on them.  I work on all brands, this is the part where I get to call many other shops a bunch of pansy asses that aren’t good enough to work on all brands, they make a lot of excuses why, but either you can fix a generator or you can't.

One of the problems on cheaper generators, is support from the company who makes them.  I see a lot of Champion generators, and as far as the Chinese imports go, this is one of the better brands for having parts and service support available.  One of the worst companies that I have encountered is All Power, these are sold at O'Reilly's auto parts.  I had one customer who bought a number of these, and if there is a brand that I recommend that you avoid it is this one.  Parts are very hard to find, and there is no service help available.  I emailed the company about becoming a service center for them and they replied with an email saying that they forwarded my email to a different department at some Chinese named company, and I never heard from them again.  They are a perfect example of the type of company to avoid.  When people ask me what to buy or not to buy, I always ask whether or not you can get service for the product.  The top brands are usually the best, but not everyone can spend that much money.

So when it comes to cheaper generators my recommendations are Champion, Coleman, and Generac.  These companies do have service and technical help available.   Generac is an American company that is selling at very competitive prices.  One thing that you can do when deciding what to buy is to call the company and tell them that you have a generator with a problem and ask where the nearest service center is, then call that service center and ask questions.  Some companies may tell you that the nearest service center is 200 miles away, or the might not have any.

I do work on most all brands, even the brands without the support of their companies, many parts like capacitors and diodes are generic and can be found from other sources.  I don't turn people away like many shops do just because you bought your generator at Harbor Freight.  If you need something fixed just come see me.

Tune ups --- The Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Posted by [email protected] on 29 October, 2015 at 16:45 Comments comments (44)

I have always struggled with what people are charged for tune ups, and this is one of the industries biggest rip offs.  First let me define a tune up, a tune up is regular maintance done to a machine, it is not fixing any kind of problem.  There are many people who like their stuff kept in top shape, and this is good.  So they bring their equipment to a shop and get ripped off.  I have worked at numerous shops, some are worse than others, but I have never been happy with how much is charged.  Most shops charge 45 minutes to an hour in labor for a tune up on a chain saw, trimmer, or walk behind mower, and how long does it take to do one?  Usually 10 to 15 miutes.  So this looks good as a mechanic, you can bill out a lot more time than it takes.  I'm ok with the time being a little high, after doing the same thing for aver a decade you get pretty fast, so you shouldn't have to charge less because you are good at your job, but an hour for 10 minutes worth of work is extreme.

For most equipment, a tune up is simply replacing filters and plugs, greasing, and sharpening.  Sometimes there are some adjustments, but this is all very quick.  Many people show up saying that the machine "just needs a tune up" then the start listing off all of it's problems.  This is not a tune up, a lot of times you will cover all of the tune up stuff in the process of fixing it, but that is repairing something.  

So really the point of this is that I am happy that I no longer have to grossly over charge people for tune ups any more.  Most should be billed out as 20 to 30 minute jobs, as that is all that they really are.

Getting screwed by the big box stores

Posted by [email protected] on 28 October, 2015 at 13:05 Comments comments (49)

I had a conversation with someone yesterday, it is the same conversation that I have had over and over.  This guy bought a Poulan blower from Lowes, and after four months it stopped working, so he took it back to them to be fixed.  After they had it for a while they told him that the piston and cylinder were damaged and need replaced, they told him it would cost $125 to fix and he was only approved for $85 in warranty work, and this was for a blower that was only $140 new.  I have heard many versions of this story over the years, and as a warranty center for Poulan and a number of other brands, I can tell you that this is absolute BS.  This is their customer that they won't take care of, I take better care of their customers than they do.

Poulan (Husqvarna) is not a terrible company to deal with, you just have to jump throug their hoops, spend a little time on the phone, and get things approved.  If this was really a warranty case, Poulan would just ship a new replacement blower, and then pay a diagnostic fees to the service center to cover their time.  I have done this a number of times.  I don't understand why companies give their customers such a hard time with warranties.  Warranties are part of the game, you have to jump though some hoops and fill out some online forms, but in the end the manufacturer pays for it to be taken care of.  When someone brings me something to fix I am perfectly happy to take the manufacturers money.

So while were are on warranty, let me explain what warranty covers:  Warranty covers defects, it covers screw-ups by the manufacturer.  Things not covered, in this case, a 2 cycle with a bad piston and cylinder, I would have to show that it had mixed gas when it was run.  If the customer used straight gas that would not be the manufacturers fault, and yes we can tell.  The other biggest thing that no manufacteres cover is fuel related problems, if you leave gas in the machine for a long time, especially with todays gas, that gas over time will cause damage, and this is not the manufacturers fault, so carburetors can almost never be covered under warranty.

I do warranties for Poulan / AYP and for MTD which includes Troybilt, Yardman, Yardmachines, Bolens, Cub Cadet and more.  If you have one of these you are not stuck dealing with the store you bought it from.  I am more than happy to take care of any problems that you have.