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Hello everyone....does this sound too good to be true??


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So I don't know if anyone remembers my car or not ('70 Colorado with suede headliner and suede and leatherette seats)...well long story short, our progress on the car came to a halt a couple of months ago. due to school and work and not having anytime to work on it. all the mechanical is good, but still need to install dash, do wiring and install interior....However we just spoke to a "classic car restorer" and he offered me a deal thats sounds too good to be true, and I need some reassurance... =)

he came and looked at the car and gave me an estimate of $2000. to do the following:

-new better quality suede headliner

-new seat covers with real leather and better suede

-new door panels

-dynamate in the cabin

-install carpet (I have the complete kit)

-check wiring

-leather wrap the dash and install

-install windows

-carpet the trunk

and perform final mechanical adjustments.

Well first he told me he would charge $4000 for all these including re chroming the bumpers and the trim. now he dropped the price to $2000, but will not include the re chroming. He is saying that he wants a car to take pictures of during the whole process and post it in his website (apparently he wants to start a new shop and just fix BMWs) and he thinks my car is the best candidate.

anyyyywhoooo.....now I don't know if I should trust this person. I will write a contract and will get a copy of his drivers license and his signature just to be safe, but what else can I do, so he wont try to do anything funny??? any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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You may have already answered your own question when you said "now I don't know if I should trust this person..."

Deals too good to be true usually aren't.

Tough call, and one which is yours alone to make.

Not a lot of info given here.

How did you meet? Do you know others who've had work done? How long has he been around? Does he have references?

None of these are guarantees, but they will add up to a clearer picture.

Be sure to bring along a witness to any discussions and either get it in writing, or recap your discussion with him in writing and send him a copy before any work is begun. It should read something like: "To recap our discussion about the work on my car, you agree to do X for X $$ in return for using photos of the work on your website..."

Then, if you're comfortable (read trusting him) go ahead.


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Look at it this way. You are making a bet on this guy with your money. If he is good and does the job for $2K you win. If he is unreliable, untalented, or unscrupulous, you lose. There are more ways to lose than to win. If you decide to play, try to minimize the potential losses and increase the chances for success. Keep in mind that the longer the job goes on, the larger the chance you will get hosed.

If you decide to do it, here is my advice.

- First, don't pay upfront. You might have to give $500 or so for materials but make sure there is a big carrot at the end of the job. I have found that when the rent is due, motivation sets in.

- Tell him you are going to drop in every week or so to see how it is going and then do it. If he knows you are coming over to check, he will work hard at least on the 2 days before you arrive.

- It's your car. Make him do it your way. If it looks like he is totally screwing up the job, don't let him finish it. Don't get in a pissing contest. Just say, 'This is how I want it done. Will you do it that way?' If he says no, then take back the car.

- Go with your gut. If you have that churning feeling that something is going bad, it probably is. But do take a moment to weigh the good and bad.

I find my gut is right 95% of the time. The lone exception I can recall is when I had a stained glass window commissioned and it was taking forever and the guy came back and asked for more money for a special piece of glass. I gave it to him because I knew he was very talented from his other work but still I thought I would regret it. When the piece got delivered it was phenomenal. The moral of the story, sometimes taking a risk is worth it.

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Do you watch Holmes versus Home???Same deal. So he tears your car up and either doesnt finish or demands more money. I would physically look at other jobs. Phone references are worthless as is a contract. Remember it costs money and time to sue someone.It sounds like someone needs money. I would bet the two grand price is only good if paid upfront. Trust your gut....

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If you can see examples of his work and talk to the clients, fine. If not,as a possible approach, you might break down the job into parts so you can judge his pace and quality of work. For example, have him install your carpet and give him what he needs for the materials for the headliner and have him install that. That should give you a feel for his reliability and skill. Then you can have a feel for whether you want to continue with him or not.

As Glenn suggested above, make sure you hold back a substantial sum of money until the job is complete. Most construction work is done on "draws", i.e. you complete this part and here is the money for that, complete the next stage and here's the money for that part, etc. Been working for ages, so you might want to consider that approach.

Bob Napier

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Hello again....

Just wanted to say thank you for all the input. Ill make sure to get some referances and go check out some cars that he has finished

02for2 - his shop is on the way to my dad's work place, he had seen a 02 there before and told me to check it out and talk to the person.

I will make sure I have our discussion written down, and will ask him to sign it.

and I will go with my GUT...

Thank you all...Ill keep you guys updated.

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community? A long-established, no-excuses professional shop should not only have multiple rock-solid customer references, they should also be able to supply vendor references as well.

If his customers are happy and his suppliers give him solid references, he's probably ok, but could still be struggling and on the brink of going under. Regardless, proceed with caution - the last thing you need is to stop by one day to check on progress and find the shop locked up with your car inside and the proprietor nowhere to be found.

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giving him only a portion is not a bad idea but if he decides to charge more half way through or does poor work he can always hold the car hostage until he gets paid in full.

Make sure you have everything itemized and the associated cost for that operation just in case you do have to pull the car out. Also try and pin him down for an estimated completion date.

Make sure you emphasize to him that if there is any additional work needed that he must contact you for approval before he does any of it.

Don't be afraid to stop by every few days or once a week to check on progress. But don't stay long and take up his time if he is busy.

Also make sure he has a business license or an automotive repair license if he does things other than just upholstery. I think for just upholstery you don't need an automotive repair license. If he doesn't have any kind of license you are asking for trouble and he isn't being regulated by anyone and probably doesn't have insurance if something happens to your car in his possession. In California he must have a Bureau of Automotive Repair license for doing the electrical work.

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-new better quality suede headliner- WHO can even notice quality of Suede/

much less who cares?? besides having a real shop do this could run $500

-new seat covers with real leather and better suede-REALLY!! see above

-new door panels-this alone can run $400

-dynamate in the cabin-piece of cake, enough to cover cabin, $150ish for materials, but is he gonna remove old sound deadner and ensure good adheison? folks on board spend a good day getting rid of that and another day preping for the dynamat

-install carpet (I have the complete kit) piece of cake you can do it

-check wiring-too vague, the guy could say "yeah, i checked, all wiring is there" now you want me to trouble shoot and repair?? should have included that in quote.

-leather wrap the dash and install, i think there is a group buy for just that leather wrap at or around $1k, plus install it???more money

-install windows, all? doors included time typically costs money

-carpet the trunk, cut a piece of rug in shape of trunk, cake

and perform final mechanical adjustments.--WAY too VAGUE

All of this needs to be properly coordinated, so you are not doing things twice if doing all at once and a little more than $2000 for SURE! Pass on this guy!

Even if you have it all in writing there is no gaurantee he will ever finish. Sorry to rant,

happing o2ing


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