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rcreweread

Quality versus Price

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Many people have commented on this forum about the poor quality of many repro parts and indicated they would be happy to pay more for better quality.

I also subscribe to that point of view, hence when sourcing parts for my various restorations, I have endeavoured to use recommended suppliers - apart from quality new parts, this often involves reconditioning existing parts ( so never throw them away), and I have tended to get more than I need done, so I can make my surplus available to other members/enthusiasts.

To facilitate this, I decided to have a stall in the members autojumble at Stratford. To say I was somewhat disappointed would be a fair assessment of how I got on - maybe I'm a **** salesman, maybe I was in the wrong place, maybe my prices were not cheap enough ( quality??? - but cheaper than main stream suppliers) yet I sold no OE calipers & brake & clutch master cylinders, all rebuilt by Past Parts ( and at prices cheaper than they would charge you), no lever arms for both early and later models, as rebuilt by Stevsons, and properly painted by me, no EP Services water pumps, only 1 Dave Davies fuel pump, no fully refurbed trailing arms, no full rear brake kits, no dashboards or cappings, no OE rechromed bits etc etc - I won't bore you with all the other top quality parts I had.

Of the bigger stuff, I had a selection of IRS diffs, all fully reconditioned by a well known expert ( none sold) , and one OD gearbox sold out of a selection of 7 representing the full spectrum of TR units ( all rebuilt by the same expert).

At the time, the saving grace was that I must have handed out at least 50 business cards to people who seemed genuinely interested and asked for them, yet so far I haven't received a single response from that source.

My one success was the TR alloy fuel tanks - in addition the long range TR4-6 tank created lots of interest, but no orders and the alloy Mk 1/2 GT6 fuel tank I brought along specifically for our TSSC friends didn't attract a buyer - I had 3 people wanting a Mk 3 one!

This was the first International I have attended , not that I got to see much of it apart from the bar in the evening! I was having to attend to my stall most of the "opening" times so I can't really comment on the venue itself apart from the fact I thought it was OK and have been to many, much, much worse events.

The point of this post is not about Stratford as a venue, but rather my experiences - I genuinely expected a better response than I got - will I have a stall again, who knows, but at the moment probably not .

Many thanks to those who helped me, got me drinks, held the fort whilst I went for a pee, helped erect my gazebo when it as blowing away, and helped clear away at the end - I am very grateful.

It was also good to meet people like Stuart and Roger in the flesh and lots of others whose names I can't possibly remember!

I think I had better concentrate in future on my restorations, and forget about the surplus parts and helping others! At least my wife will be happy!!

Cheers from a confused Rich

 

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Sorry to read this Rich,

I rather buy a proper reconditioned OEM caliper, waterpump, MC that any new aftermarket items.

I’m still planning to have my original waterpump (with grease nipple) reconditioned. So if you still have one, I’m interested, please pm me price incl. Shipping to the Netherlands. i will send you a pm.

Best regards,

Waldi

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Hi Rich,

I’m not surprised to be honest, what people say and then do are often at odds (it isn’t just politicians - any party) - I’d also be a little sceptical of using a forum like this (not enough data points to be particularly valid) as a great barometer of overall customer opinion or habits.

These days, unless a potential customer already has some good feedback regarding someones services/guarantees/assurances they may well feel more comfortable dealing with regular companies with some backing from consumer-protection laws - big ticket items like gearboxes/ diffs etc. may fall into this category for some folk.

Without those protections, people are probably looking at a lower cost to try and cover themselves for what they may see as additional risk.

Please don’t take this the wrong way - just trying to offer a view of what may drive behaviour - and I may also be very wide of the mark!

........ Andy 

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Andy - you make some very fair points and I can't hope to compete with the major players, nor would I want to or aim to, to be honest.

My gearboxes and diffs are rebuilt by Pete Cox and hence they all come with a 12 month/6000 mile guarantee, so I'm not sure what else I can do to re-assure people of the quality .

My selection of other companies who I use to do my parts restorations  has come about from following recommendations here on the forum from other forumites over many years, and subsequently my own experiences - nobody can guarantee 100% reliability, but we can choose to mitigate that problem, if we want to.

I thought I would give Stratford a go, as there probably isn't such a large gathering of Triumph enthusiasts anywhere else in a year - I suppose I was being somewhat naive in hoping to get a better response but if you don't try, you can be sure you will never get!  

As for feedback, this is not a business on my part, it's a hobby so you are absolutely right about reputation - I have to rely on personal recommendations which I do on a local level - this was an experiment to cast a bit wider - maybe some of the business card leads may lead to something in the future - I hope so.

Cheers

Rich

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Waldi - thanks for PM - will get back to you shortly but busy painting the sitting room to a deadline - just having  quick break - I hate painting!

cheers

Rich

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Stock sounds excellent, sorry you didn't trade out of more of it.

Part of the problem I feel is, not everybody wants to (or has the room) to hold 'just in case' spares other than touring kits. Its a timing issue

The main problem is when you need to replace OE stuff that has failed in service, and your TR is off the road, then you land up buying **** Chinese junk 

What we need is a source of good OE spares (when we need them) and most of us are happy to pay the extra for the good stuff

......but we know this anyway doesn't we, just saying :huh:

 

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Hi Rich,

the extra background is good info, I understand that this isn’t a primary business for you and i am surprised you didn’t have more interest.....

One thing I didn’t think of earlier is whether the event was aimed at people attending with an up-front intention to make some major purchases (which you could cater for) , or perhaps their primary intention was to meet-up, socialise, have a wander, do whatever makes them smile etc. 

If that (guess) holds any water then a better target might well be the Stoneleigh spares show where it is geared more at purchases, with the Club -stuff being more of a background thing.

Mikes point about less purchasing simply to have in-stock is probably valid as well.

....... Andy 

Edited by AndyR100

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 Hi Rich 

Don't give up been a sole trader dealing in reconditioned OEM parts these will appeal to some who want to do the job once and not replace every couple of years. These customers will fall into two camps;

1) Those undertaking a restoration who will either if funds allow buy parts in advance or only when they are at the required stage or;

2) People who have a failed part and need a replacement.

I think the main thing is it takes a long time to get known and the forum, shows etc are good advertising but it might be worth keeping surplus stock dare I say low until demand calls.

I fall into (1) required stage and will be in touch at some point down the line for a fuel tank as in the short time I've been rebuilding mine reconditioned old parts are the way to go or recommended items of proven quality.

Andy

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Both Andy’s - thanks for your comments which are all validl - I’m probably overreacting as the Friday weather really screwed me up as it was all I could go to get my sleeping tent up and had to leave my parts gazebo till sat morning when the rain had stopped but the wind was possibly worse but thanks to some great help from fellow enthusiasts- we got sorted eventually

i did Stoneleigh earlier on in the year which was ok but like Stratford, lots of interest but few actual deals.

i think I will persevere on the bigger items ( I’ve got no choice because of the cash tied up) but maybe tone down the smaller stuff

cheers

Rich

 

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Surely it's the big stuff that is less likely to sell at an autojumble stall? I think Andy hit the nail on the head above.

Pete

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Hi Rich,

I think you face a number of problems

1. You are still a relatively unknown entity and therefore you lack sufficient credibility, and I don't mean that negatively, but it is about being seen as "the person to go to." for something. You have started the ball rolling, but now you need to keep it going.

2. It is extremely difficult to sell high priced items (irrespective of the quality) as someone who does this as a hobby. It requires marketing and that means expenditure so the costs go up. Social media (including forum posts) is a relatively low cost way to build visibility of what you do.

3. Selling is a misnomer, you are really appealing to people who are ready to buy, and that is always a small number at any specific time, so you need to give them something to remind them of you so that when they are ready to buy, they contact you. (The cards were a good idea, but as was once explained to me "The fortune is in the follow up!") So how do you ensure that people keep you in mind? (which is the essence of marketing).

4. The way I look at it is this:

who do you want to buy from you?

Where do they congregate?

What do you say to to them so they understand what you are offering?

How do you help them to keep you in mind?

Kind regards

 

Tony

 

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16 minutes ago, stillp said:

Surely it's the big stuff that is less likely to sell at an autojumble stall? I think Andy hit the nail on the head above.

Pete

Pete - you are absolutely right - I had a Stag with a 28% A type which I had on show and which had been sold to a contact initially established here on the forum and followed up at Stoneleigh earlier in the year, and that was collected at the show on Sunday.

I wasn't expecting people to come up the stall and say I'll have that gearbox , give me a pile of cash and walk off with it under their arm!

I agreed a sale on a 3A box & A type OD, and arranged for that to be collected during the week once I had been paid and that worked really well ( thanks Conrad!). I hoped there would be more like that , and maybe there will be in time - who knows  - I certainly explained many times the upgrades which are included as standard, the warranty, the reputation of Pete Cox ( surprising how many new TR owners have never heard of him!) and the competitive cost. As an enthusiast doing this in the first instance for my own benefit, and then secondly trying to extend that benefit to other enthusiasts, I'm not sure there is much more I can do other than what I'm doing because it's not a business and I don't want it to be one.

If it comes across that I moaning about what happened, I apologise because thats not why I posted in the first place - I just wanted to point out that lots of people complain about quality, and despite saying they are happy to pay extra, my experience was to the contrary

Regarding the gearboxes, I do tend to build these to order, but I wanted to show to people the range of units available, hence why I had more stock than I would usually keep.

What surprised me more, to be honest, was the lack of interest in the smaller parts.

Cheers

Rich

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50 minutes ago, tthomson said:

Hi Rich,

I think you face a number of problems

1. You are still a relatively unknown entity and therefore you lack sufficient credibility, and I don't mean that negatively, but it is about being seen as "the person to go to." for something. You have started the ball rolling, but now you need to keep it going.

2. It is extremely difficult to sell high priced items (irrespective of the quality) as someone who does this as a hobby. It requires marketing and that means expenditure so the costs go up. Social media (including forum posts) is a relatively low cost way to build visibility of what you do.

3. Selling is a misnomer, you are really appealing to people who are ready to buy, and that is always a small number at any specific time, so you need to give them something to remind them of you so that when they are ready to buy, they contact you. (The cards were a good idea, but as was once explained to me "The fortune is in the follow up!") So how do you ensure that people keep you in mind? (which is the essence of marketing).

4. The way I look at it is this:

who do you want to buy from you?

Where do they congregate?

What do you say to to them so they understand what you are offering?

How do you help them to keep you in mind?

Kind regards

 

Tony

 

Tony - just lost my first response so here goes again - I would like fellow enthusiasts to be my main customers, hence I rely heavily on word of mouth and personal recommendations.

I do put ads for some of my bits in Classifieds and that does generate some enquiries, but more often than not,  people expect dirt cheap prices!

My local group are well aware of my antics ( they call me Del-Boy!) and I've tried to widen my customer base by doing Stoneleigh, anfd just now Stratford, and picking up leads from the forum  .

The quality of my parts normally speak for themselves but to be able to trust that , people need to see them and understand the background to their sourcing, which I will happily disclose, so I'm not sure there is much more I can usefully do if I don't want this to be a business, and I don't!

As per my previous response, I don't ant this to come across as a moan, rather an observation of fact as opposed to fiction!

Cheers

Rich

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51 minutes ago, ntc said:

Rich

Sorry to be down beat BUT you will have problems along the road,may I point out a few to give you somethings to think about.

The supply of parts for these car from a good known source is down to those you know and will stand by you if anything goes wrong,eg I have had and know of others who have used the names you posted and did not end well.

There are now alas so many breaking the cars and using this forum and others like a car boot sale, with only profit in mind in the old days that did not apply.

I do wish you well in your endeavour but above is just a few points for you to consider there are more. I hope this post will not get zapped before you read it.

 

Pete - you make a fair point about known names being no guarantee of success - that is true in all walks of life and I won't pretend that I haven't had to deal with any warranty issues - the issue to my mind is how they are dealt with, and I don't think I have ever let anyone down, irrespective of the nature of the part or it's value. If a supplier of mine won't honour a warranty issue, then I will, because that's the person I am. Whether I would continue to use that supplier would be another matter!!

In many cases ,we are dealing with original parts which are decades old and trying to keep them going - if people are baulking at current typical prices of OD gearboxes, for instance, what would they do if every part was replaced with a new one - run the proverbial mile at even a fraction of the cost!

I don't doubt the issues I will face , and have already faced - the point is, it's only worth doing if it's worth it, and I suppose the only person who can make that decision is me!

Cheers

Rich 

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2 hours ago, rcreweread said:

Tony - just lost my first response so here goes again - I would like fellow enthusiasts to be my main customers, hence I rely heavily on word of mouth and personal recommendations.

I do put ads for some of my bits in Classifieds and that does generate some enquiries, but more often than not,  people expect dirt cheap prices!

My local group are well aware of my antics ( they call me Del-Boy!) and I've tried to widen my customer base by doing Stoneleigh, anfd just now Stratford, and picking up leads from the forum  .

The quality of my parts normally speak for themselves but to be able to trust that , people need to see them and understand the background to their sourcing, which I will happily disclose, so I'm not sure there is much more I can usefully do if I don't want this to be a business, and I don't!

As per my previous response, I don't ant this to come across as a moan, rather an observation of fact as opposed to fiction!

Cheers

Rich

Hi Rich,

I fully understand where you are coming from, and I believe you when you say you offer excellent quality. I also believe the quality of the parts you provide are not an issue. If you don't want it to be a business then you are facing an uphill struggle, but that is your choice.

I think what I was really focusing on is the timing of would be customers. Unless someone needs the item you are selling right now to solve a problem, and they are prepared to pay to resolve the problem, and they accept to pay the price you ask, they will not buy.

What you are doing is telling a likely group of people that you have something they might want, but the person hearing your message makes all the decisions.

Often a person will make do or put off the decision to buy for reasons that are specific and personal to them. The only thing you have control of is the message you want them to receive, and a way to remind them that you are there when they need your service.

I do wish you all the best in what you are doing, but don't give up hope. When the time is right people will look to find the person who can solve their problem. You just need them to remember who you are at the right time!

(I am still looking for an exchange diff for a TR4A, but only when I can justify the cost! At the moment I have too many other calls on my finances.)

Kind regards

Tony

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  • Some very interesting comments Rich.

I could not make S on A, this year, arrival of new grandson meant I had little chance of a 48 hr pass.

That said, a couple of obvservations, was Stoneleigh better?

What I think you need to perhaps consider is pre ads and ordering .

e.g. if you go to Stoneleigh next year, hit the forum just after Cristmas, with a listing, and get some orders, so you are not doing the job three times, I know I,ll have clutch master and slave cylinder off you now?

John.

 

 

 

 

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Hi Rich

I was unable to get to the show this year so wouldn't have seen your stand as I prefer to buy good quality original parts where possible also, however I'm improving my good TR4a as I go along, have you a wooden dash in burr elm by any chance?

Chris

   

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Hi Rich 

I am a bit shocked to hear how it went for you, as we are in the same local group I came over to your stand three times to say hello and catch up with you, but gave up due to the amount of people waiting for your attention. 

I came away thinking well done you convinced you had done a roaring trade.

 I would say don’t give up it probably takes time for people to make their minds up we all want and need parts for our cars so I’m sure orders will gradually feed through.

chris.

 

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Guys - thanks for all your comments - am going to be out of action for most of the day on grandchildren minding duties so may be some radio silence

Be in touch later

Cheers

Rich

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Hi Rich,

you can take a horse to water................................

You are on a good mission - but you will wonder why one day.

 

Roger

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25 minutes ago, RogerH said:

Hi Rich,

you can take a horse to water................................

You are on a good mission - but you will wonder why one day.

 

Roger

"you can take a horse to water...but you can't make it drink"

But the farmers addition to the quote is..."but you can salt it's feed" hence giving the impetus to drink.

That's the impetus what Rich needs, whether that is because 5 - 10 or 20 customers say " his products are immaculately reconditioned and outlast other products on the market" (that's going to be about a 10 year window). Or whether he maintains his standards but then markets them at a price to compete favourably with existing products and pricing (this can be done immediately but will need to accept a lesser profit margin which may not be possible if the products are a better quality).   

It's an age old problem and prevalent in a market where there are several competing remanufactuers ...I wish you well.

Mick Richards

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6 minutes ago, Motorsport Mickey said:

"you can take a horse to water...but you can't make it drink"

But the farmers addition to the quote is..."but you can salt it's feed" hence giving the impetus to drink.

Mick 

you don’t want to “salt” triumph parts, they’ll never sell that way !!

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I blame it on customer education and the internet. Many new TR owners are still professionally active, spoilt and don't know about parts hardship back in the days. Between the immediately of getting your supply on the cheap in one-click with guarantee (cough) and after sale service (cough-cough) and spending hours and days scooting for OE - for a price, the maths are quickly done. It boils down to a business decision IMO. 

What you could do is to hookup with small suppliers focusing on quality and customer relationship i.e. TR shop and propose your parts there. They themselves are offering OE recon but they are struggling to respond to the demand so it's very much dependent on availability. The advantage is that you will benefit from the exposure, brand and marketing machine of a well established business and won't have to build your brand yourself.

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Hi Rich,

My mate Mark and I had a chat with you on Saturday evening when we were on our way to the forum drinks meet.

I definitely fall into the category of "interested party" and in my opinion, you did a great job of convincing the listener as to the technical substance of your products.

I am interested in a replacement diff but I just need to be convinced that  a. it is really my diff that is the problem and  b. that I want to go the replacement route rather than have mine refurbished. So I will very likely be back in touch.

Keep up what you are doing. I agree with others on here that your products are definitely desirable but not the kind that someone will just pick up and carry away from a stall. Thatdoes not mean that your attendance at the event will not result in sales!

Cheers,

Sean

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1 hour ago, trchris said:

Hi Rich

I was unable to get to the show this year so wouldn't have seen your stand as I prefer to buy good quality original parts where possible also, however I'm improving my good TR4a as I go along, have you a wooden dash in burr elm by any chance?

Chris

   

Chris - yes I do have a Burr Elm dash for a 4A - an excellent choice in my view as a bit lighter than Burr Walnut which I thinks suits the 4A better. - if you add matching door cappings ( you either love them or hate them), it looks the dogs bo——is in my view

Send me a PM with your contact details and I will get in touch

cheers

Rich

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