It is often frustrating and stressful when your luxury BMW is in need of servicing and/or repair and you aren’t quite sure where to take it for quality repairs at a reasonable price.
Choosing to take your BMW to a local independent BMW mechanic instead of the dealer can save you money and help you build a relationship with a trained technician working on your vehicle.
By taking your BMW to an independent repair shop, costs will generally be lower than what the dealer charges. This is because OEM parts aren’t marked up as much, and hourly labor rates are lower since overhead is significantly less.
David Bluestein, owner of Foreign Motorcars, Inc. in Quincy, MA. points out that going to the service department at the dealership for repairs often leads you to pay retail price on parts plus 10% over, with an hourly rate of 27-30+% more than what independent shops charge.
“[At the dealership] customers walk in the door expecting to pay because they are at that dealership to pay, and they are going to get what they expected. BMW is going to charge them over and over. When they go to an independent shop, like mine, and walk in the door with something they got quoted $1100 for and I quote them for $800, they are pleasantly surprised.”
Bluestein goes on to state that fear (of the cost) is one of the biggest stressors when people walk into a dealership, and that dealerships often portray a sense of urgency with items that need to be repaired. “They want to sell you as much service as they can. People get scared because it turns into you need this and this, and you need it done now. All of a sudden you bring your car in for an oil change and you leave there with a $2500 bill of stuff that doesn’t really need to be fixed right away.“
Prioritizing repairs proves to be key at independent BMW service centers. “We prioritize very well,” says Bluestein. “If someone comes in with a laundry list of items from the BMW dealer that they need done to their vehicle, we’ll go through it and prioritize what needs to be done now, and then later.”
Personalized Service from Trained BMW Technicians
Oftentimes, there is a huge disconnect between the technicians in the service bays, the service advisors and the customer.
Independent BMW service centers tend to offer genuine, personalized service, where you can build a relationship with your BMW mechanic, and not feel disconnected.
Some of the best BMW repair centers are run by BMW trained techs, like Bluestein, who work on your car, and are in direct communication with you each time you come into their shop.
By going to an independent BMW repair shop, you don’t have to deal with talking to a different service advisor each time. Also, the odds are pretty slim that you’re going to get the same mechanic working on your car each time you bring it in to the dealer.
“What sets independent shops apart from dealers is that independent shops genuinely care about their customers,” says Bluestein. “At the end of the day, I want to feel like I accomplished something and made your car better, more than just taking your money.”
A special thanks to David Bluestein at Foreign Motorcars, Inc. in Quincy, MA. for help in preparing this article.
Search for a local, independent BMW repair shop with BMW mechanics that have dealer-level expertise at a fraction of the expense.