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I’ve debated sharing my two cents, but figured I throw it out. I’m a detailed guy and so I can relate to your thought process and it’s why I’m a DIY guy myself. I used to be in the business years ago and that is what I’m basing this on.

I don’t know anything about you other than what you’ve shared here, but you give off a high risk, low reward customer vibe in my opinion. I’ll elaborate.

Bringing your own equipment has three big down falls. The obvious is that the shop is not making that margin if it takes your job over another. As mentioned, experience matters and unfamiliar stuff translate to more time to install and setup that may not be time they can bill you for. Related, install mistakes fatal to or defective equipment are less easily dealt with because they can’t just swap something out of inventory to keep going and they are working with your cost not their (lower) cost - not to mention the blame game that transpires.

The excessive detail in communication gives off a high maintenance customer vibe. Most shops take pride in their way of doing things and they aren’t interested in being told how to do the work. These are the same customers that keep coming back for warranty work because some little thing is less than perfect. Nothing wrong with being a high expectation customer, but experienced shops know the drill and will take easier money if they can. I would.

I’m certain their are shops out there that cater to that sort of clientele as the type of installs can certainly correlate with types customers, but you probably need to look pretty hard.
 
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You're right, im usually not this quiet. Im trying to ween myself off of this forum. But as far as your question.. Its hard to say. I can play devils advocate for both sides, but cant give an honest assessment without knowing every little detail, which is obviously impossible. I have a few customers/potential customers that could say very similar things you have.. "yeah i just sent him a list and what i want and idk man he doesnt seem interested".. from my end, those same people were nightmares to deal with. devil is in the details. I just "fired" a recent potential customer who wanted to ship his car across the country because i could already tell he was overbearing and would be impossible to please. I have no idea if this is the case for you based on what you have said, but idk, devils advocate. All of the shops that were recommended to you are all very good. If ALL of them don't seem interested in getting back to you, im inclined to believe there's more to the story that you might not even realize.

Remember, the shops that i recommended and you said you contacted are all TOP of the line shops. Shops like this don't need anyone's work. If someone seems like they're a bit much, could cause headaches, doesnt want to use product they sell and can actually support, they might be best off letting someone else take care of them. Im not the most familiar with the practices of the shop i recommended that's very close to you, but the one south of you has worked with all sorts of customers, ones that i, from 1000 miles away can tell they're a pain in the ass, so im not sure what the deal is there. Something must be up. Either way too busy, or again, we don't have all of the info. Again, i deal with customers who are hobbyists like yourself all the time and im used to these types. Hell, i have a customer coming in for a quick adjustment in his car who has been through SIX shops already in the northeast area. Everyone says he's a huge pain in the ass and to not work with him for one reason or the other (everyone knows everyone, its a small industry).. but I don't really find him that hard to work with. Hes just eccentric, excited, etc.. Shops that don't typically work with hobbyists will find them to be their worst nightmare, usually because they're just not sure how to satisfy them, which is sometimes due to lack of knowledge in their own field.. That is not the case for the shops i recommended to you though.
 

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I’ve debated sharing my two cents, but figured I throw it out. I’m a detailed guy and so I can relate to your thought process and it’s why I’m a DIY guy myself. I used to be in the business years ago and that is what I’m basing this on.

I don’t know anything about you other than what you’ve shared here, but you give off a high risk, low reward customer vibe in my opinion. I’ll elaborate.

Bringing your own equipment has three big down falls. The obvious is that the shop is not making that margin if it takes your job over another. As mentioned, experience matters and unfamiliar stuff translate to more time to install and setup that may not be time they can bill you for. Related, install mistakes fatal to or defective equipment are less easily dealt with because they can’t just swap something out of inventory to keep going and they are working with your cost not their (lower) cost - not to mention the blame game that transpires.

The excessive detail in communication gives off a high maintenance customer vibe. Most shops take pride in their way of doing things and they aren’t interested in being told how to do the work. These are the same customers that keep coming back for warranty work because some little thing is less than perfect. Nothing wrong with being a high expectation customer, but experienced shops know the drill and will take easier money if they can. I would.

I’m certain their are shops out there that cater to that sort of clientele as the type of installs can certainly correlate with types customers, but you probably need to look pretty hard.
this. absolutely all of this.

Honestly guys, hobbyists tend to be a headache to deal with. We get it.. you are in love with car audio and want to dictate the entire install and be super detailed since its your thing and you're paying a lot of money for it. But why would any shop want to deal with that, a high maintenance customer who brings in their own gear over someone whos willing to talk for a half hour or so about options for their car, and drop 20k on labor and equipment. Zero incentive to do that when people are literally lining up to do said half hour talk, 20k for a 5 day job. Thats what a lot of these really good shops are getting, and what im trying to shift my focus towards for obvious reasons. In case they weren't obvious, its not just a money thing. Its mostly a maintenance/headache thing. My customers who arent full fledged hobbyists are always the easiest ones to deal with, always end up with a great end result, and are always understanding on various points. I don't know what it is, but hobbyists (at least in this industry), can be extremely hard to work with in most cases. Obviously this isn't always the case. But its more common than not.
 

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i can tell you when i have a client call with there own equipment (unless its new and i am familiar with it) and there own ideas i always refer them elsewhere. to much headache dealing with others gear and ideas and not enough reward for the it IMO, i am in home integration and fabrication, i would run like hell if i was in car audio.
 

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That said, if you really want me to asses what is up, entertain the idea of bringing the car to NY and shoot me a message ;)
 
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this. absolutely all of this.

Honestly guys, hobbyists tend to be a headache to deal with. We get it.. you are in love with car audio and want to dictate the entire install and be super detailed since its your thing and you're paying a lot of money for it. But why would any shop want to deal with that, a high maintenance customer who brings in their own gear over someone whos willing to talk for a half hour or so about options for their car, and drop 20k on labor and equipment. Zero incentive to do that when people are literally lining up to do said half hour talk, 20k for a 5 day job. Thats what a lot of these really good shops are getting, and what im trying to shift my focus towards for obvious reasons. In case they weren't obvious, its not just a money thing. Its mostly a maintenance/headache thing. My customers who arent full fledged hobbyists are always the easiest ones to deal with, always end up with a great end result, and are always understanding on various points. I don't know what it is, but hobbyists (at least in this industry), can be extremely hard to work with in most cases. Obviously this isn't always the case. But its more common than not.
Personality plays a role too. The assertive, detail obsessed person will let that shine everywhere. I’m less assertive, but highly detailed. You should see the install I did for my home humidifier wiring. I had to redo the hack job on my thermostat from the home builder HVAC contractor in the process. For those things that I can’t or won’t do myself, I simply have to lower my expectations before I even have the first conversation. It’s just not worth the stress.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Gents, I understand what you're saying. I will address one thing that has been mentioned in every one of today's posts. I do not have a bunch of equipment ready to go. I am more than willing to spend my money buying gear from them.

I have not pursued a relationship with all of the shops in my area. For a quick example, I'll talk about one. I went in and talked to the person working the counter. I asked about what they recommended after summing up that I wanted to keep the head unit and upgrade the rest. Amps, drivers, dsp, sound deadening, and possibly a custom, stealth sub enclosure. They asked what products I wanted to use. I asked them what brands they sell. They told me and I mentioned the products I liked from what they had to offer. They quickly gave me a price for the hardware and that was it.

As far as being a pain in the ass customer, it's simply not me. Yes, I am frustrated with this forum a little bit because there are more posts dogging what someone asks about than ones genuinely trying to understand and offering helpful advice. This is not directed at anybody in particular and it's not even directly about my own posts. I've seen the way many others are treated and I see no reason for it.

Finally, how often is a customer going to take a whole day to drive back to a store to get an adjustment on their system? Perhaps people with nothing better to do I suppose, but the odds are pretty low.
 
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