Author’s note: My name is Mitch Schaffer and I’ve been in the same business as WSS Westminster Speed and Sound for about 20 years. Like WSS, my store has been named to the top retailers in the nation several times We believe in doing things the right way. We don’t cut corners and we strive for perfection every time.
Last year, I drew from my experiences to write the e-book The Ultimate Remote Car Starter Buying Guide. Throughout the years, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to remote starters. I found that most consumers do not know what to look for when they are shopping for a remote starter. I wrote my e-book to try to save people a lot of aggravation when purchasing a remote car starter.
The owner of WSS, Mark Miller, has been a friend of mine for a long time. Last week, he asked me if I would write a guest post for him based on my e-book. Of course I accepted and I hope that you find this post helpful and informative.
Buying a Remote Car Starter
There are many things to consider when buying a remote car starter:
- Type of starter
- Transmitter range (power)
- Your vehicle
- Warranty considerations
- Where you buy your remote car starter
- How it is installed
All of these topics are covered in my e-book, but I want to talk about what is arguably the most important consideration on the list: Where you buy your remote car starter.
Choosing a Facility To Install Your Remote Car Starter
You can do a lot of research selecting just the right remote car starter. You can ask dozens of questions about features and functions and select the perfect feature set to meet your needs. None of this matters if the shop doing the installation is not highly skilled in the installation of remote car starters.
First a word of caution: ALWAYS buy your remote car starter at the very same facility that is going to do the installation. Do not buy it at one place and get it installed at another. There really is no good reason to ever do this and it is a recipe for disaster. There are a lot of very clear reasons for this and Mark will be covering this in a future post. But PLEASE, if you do not pay attention to anything else I have to offer, trust me on this one.
1. How does the facility (shop) look?
When you walk into the store, look around. Is it clean? Is it cluttered? Is there 1/4” of dust on the top of boxes? If the store is dirty or cluttered, what makes you think that they will take any better care of your vehicle? Think about it, the owner of the store derives his livelihood from his/her store. If he/she does not take pride in the store, why would they take pride in their workmanship or your vehicle. This might sound like common sense, but in our business, clean, organized stores are the exception and not the rule. Take note of it and put a check mark in the “+” column if the store is clean.
2. Interactions with the staff
You can learn a lot about the facility by how your are greeted and treated. Did someone say hello when you walked in? Did they introduce themselves by name? These are good signs that you are in a quality, well run facility. If they take a couple of minutes to show you around the showroom, that is an even better sign. And if they take you in the back and show you the installation area, that is a GREAT sign! You want a shop that is transparent and happy to walk you into their bay un-announced. Again, this shows pride in what they do and this is precisely what you are looking for in a remote car starter installation facility.
I would make it a point to ask to meet the owner or manager. While I don’t see this as an absolute necessity, it will give you a good sign of that person’s availability. It’s always nice to know that the “big cheese” is a real person who is not afraid to interact with his clients and who is accessible.
3. Ask some questions
Gather some insight about the nature of the company. There are some things that you cannot tell by looking around. Ask some pointed questions and listen to their answers:
- How long have they been in business?
- How long has their installation staff been doing what they do?
- How do they connect their wires and why do they choose this method?
- Ask to see some samples or pictures of remote starter installations in progress.
- How long will they need your vehicle? (Hint: You DON’T want the shop that claims they can do it in an hour)
- Ask them to discuss any bad reviews that you might have read online. How they answer this will tell you a lot about them.
- How do they warranty their installations?
If you ask these questions and listen carefully to the answers, you will quickly develop a pretty clear picture of how this company does business.
Other things to consider:
Brand: We’ve already established that, when shopping for a remote starter, the single most important thing is to find the right shop. Notice that I did not mention the brand of the remote starter once so far. Mark Miller and I have very strong feelings about the brands that we carry. We chose our brands based on a lot of criteria: Build quality, feature sets, cutting edge technology, and the people who run the company to name a few. We shop for our brands in the same way I recommend that you shop for a facility. We take our time and make sure that the brand that we choose is consistent with how we do things. So it would stand to reason that if you trust doing business with us, you should trust our judgement in the brand(s) that we have selected. Bottom line: If you trust the shop, you should trust their choice in brands.
Lowest bidder: NEVER base your remote starter purchase on price. While I appreciate everyone’s need to be frugal (I’m the king of being frugal), a remote starter is NOT something that you want to trust to the lowest bidder. If your decision is going to be based solely on price, my best advice is to not get a remote car starter. You can check out this post that I wrote a while back to about why you should not trust your vehicle to the lowest bidder.
Remote starters are possibly one of the very best things that you can add to your vehicle. You will get a great deal of comfort and enjoyment out of one throughout the time you own your vehicle. It is likely that, once you have one, you will not want to be without it.
Take your time and use your head. The decision that you make now will be something that you will have to live with for years to come. Use the tools that I have provided in this post as a basis for making that decision. I offer a great deal more information in The Ultimate Remote Car Starter Buying Guide. Since Mark was kind enough to allow me to do this guest post, I am offering a 20% discount to the first 200 WSS website guests who buy the e-book. Just use discount code “WSS20.” Thanks for reading along… I hope that you found this informative.
About the author:
Mitch Schaffer is a 20 year veteran of the mobile electronics industry and the 2010 recipient of the Mobile Electronics Retailer of the Year. His approach to doing business has been recognized both on a consumer level and by his vendors and peers. Above all, Mitch believes that quality of product and workmanship is the primary key to success in any business.