The Cost of Compromise


“I don’t care how good the repair is. Use bubble gum for all I care,” said the client’s representative.

“Sorry, that’s not how I do things,” said I. ” I do the best repair possible, each and every time.”


I had been called out to one of our auto dealership clients to repair a windshield on a lease-return vehicle. The lease period was up and the car was to be returned to the bank. The dealership was not going to be putting the car in its inventory for resale.

My client, the auto dealership, was really just a middleman in this transaction. Once the bank took possession of the car, the dealership would never see it again, except perhaps at auction. They had zero vested interest in the car.

The representative I was dealing with had sold a new car to the former lessee, and to grease the skids on getting the sale, probably told the customer that he would pay for the windshield repair out of his own pocket. This is not an unusual tactic. Sometimes the salesman does actually open up his own wallet, sometimes it’s the store that pays. In this case, the salesman was paying with his own money, and he was trying to “grind” me on the price of the repair. The less he had to spend on the repair, the more commission he got to keep.

So, the question for me was: Do I cut my price, do a quick, shoddy windshield repair, and help the salesman keep more of his commission? Or do I hold my price and maintain my normal quality standards…possibly alienating this guy and not getting any future work from him?

Not a difficult decision. I told him, “I do the best repair possible, each and every time. I won’t cut corners. The price is what it is.”

He paid me my regular fee.

Quality only takes a little longer to deliver, and the benefits last. Visually, the repair is looks as good as possible. In most cases, when I’m finished with the repair, you have to really look for it to find it. Structurally, the repair will last as long as the windshield is in the vehicle. That’s why we can give the strong guarantee we do.

Cutting corners saves a couple of minutes, but that is the only benefit. The repair will be very noticeable, with little or no improvement in the appearance of the rock chip. And there’s every likelihood that the repair will fail at sometime in the future, making the investment in the repair a waste since the windshield will have to be replaced.

Had I compromised, the salesman would have quickly forgotten the details of the deal, but would forever remember that I compromised on quality. Do you think he would have called me back to repair the windshield on one of his repeat customers’ cars, or his own car? In addition, he most likely would have told his buddies about the “deal” I gave him. And had the dealership management heard what I had done, I might have been banned from ever working on their vehicles again.

I don’t need that kind of publicity. I would rather be known as the guy who won’t compromise on quality, thank you very much.

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