Glenn Giammalvo is the Service manager at his family business,
Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales and Service in New Bedford, MA.
Glenn, who has been in the business for over 25 years, is an
ASE Master Tech with L1 certification and is a graduate of The Franklin Institute
in Boston. He describes the family's 8-bay shop, which
has been operating for 40 years, as the place where "guessing ends and testing
The catch word now-a-days seems to be "value." Everybody
wants to know if some thing or some service is a good value. Advertisers
promise the value of products or services. They even use value in the name
of products and services, "value meal." This must be a good value. It says
that right in the name. We all want a good value in everything we purchase,
but when it comes to service, can we recognize good value when we see it?
Lets look at some common services we all use, and see if we can find value
in them. A gardener may do some yard work for you at a set rate per hour.
For that rate he will deliver his own equipment, his skill, and his labor,
to work for your benefit. A carpenter may do some work for you for a rate
slightly higher, but he may be bringing more of his own equipment and skills
to work for you. Telephone company gets $80.00 an hour for their first hours
service charge, more if doing an installation or work for a business customer.
Sounds like a lot of money for just a normal amount of equipment and skills.
Most local DJ's get about $100.00 an hour for their services. Considering
the skills and equipment he will be bringing, the cost does seem high. However
the cost can be spread out to others enjoying the benefits of
his service, and will most likely be an enjoyable event. Some local musicians
get about $200.00 an hour for their service. While they may bring the same
skills and equipment as the DJ brought, one could argue that they also bring
great talent. Some lawyers charge about $200.00 an hour for their services.
They may not have a lot of equipment, but they bring their education and
great information resources to work for their clients. The cost seems high,
but many clients have a specific need for their service that out weighs the
cost of the service. (And at this rate you are referred to as a client, not
a customer). Then there are the services of plumbers, electricians, or, any
one of countless medical fields to be pondered. But what about automotive
service? What does your mechanic bring to you when he delivers a helping
of automotive service? Does he not deliver labor and skills? And what about
equipment? The tool box that is too tall to see over. These tool boxes empty
cost about $8,000. The tools in his box are usually valued at about $20,000-$30,000.
There are tire service machines and brake service equipment. Most automotive
repair shops have more than 200,000 invested in equipment. Then there are
the alignment machines, the ignition analyzers, the exhaust emission analyzers,
the hand held testers and oscilloscopes, it kind of sounds like an equipment
warehouse. Speaking of warehouse, your mechanic brings a place to hold your
vehicle while it is being serviced, and also to remove any unsightly pollutants
it may leave behind while it is there. He has great information resources
either in paper book form, or the more common computer disk systems. These
CD ROM systems hold more than 15 million pages of information to service
each different model. That's right, 15 million pages. Automobile manufacturers
like to change their vehicles every year so no mater how much information
the technician tries to gather, it will soon be out dated and not enough.
Because automobiles are always changing, the technician also brings
continued education as a service for you. You would not want him to try
to diagnose your distributor-less ignition system problems with distributor
ignition theory, would you? And what about constant training on new equipment?
When the shop buys a new alignment machine, or new computer software, your
mechanic gives up his time off to train on the new equipment, which will lead
to still improved service skills for your benefit. And at what cost does
his place of employment bring these services to you? $45.00 to $50.00 an
hour? Is this a typographical error, or is this just Great service value?