My wife called me the other day and said that the car dealership she had taken our beloved SUV to quoted her $100 an hour for labor costs to diagnose and fix a problem with its air conditioner. I, of course, immediately told her to walk away.
Now, granted, I know how expensive car repairs can be. I understand that fact, but I also have the benefit of having had worked for a local body shop while in high school. I know how maintenance shops charge their customers the national hourly rate for help which is currently around $50 per hour for local shops and about $75 or so for national dealerships, and then they pay their mechanics a set hourly fee far below that based on their experience and education level. So, the $25-50 per hour difference is pocketed by the company that owns the car repair business whether that be a mom and pop type of shop or a shop at a big dealership. So, $100 per hour is on the very high side of a dealership’s range and to seemed ridiculous!
I also benefited from having people in the company I work for who are certified mechanics. So, I sought them out and got a second opinion. Second opinions are one of the greatest sets of checks and balances that we have as consumers. But, not enough people get them because of a host of reasons. We usually think of getting a second opinion with respect to doctors and our illnesses, but it does not have to be limited to our health. You can get a second opinion on just about anything that you do not like at first glance.
Second opinions can be used in a wide range of businesses and industries. My favorite is to get a second opinion with respect to financial planning. I once went to a financial planner when I was right out of college who tried to sell me on a lot of different financial products that I did not need or were not right for my personal situation. The financial planner tried to get me to buy a whole life insurance policy instead of a term policy. He also tried to get me to buy a mutual fund with an upfront sales charge or load. He did not realize that investing was one of my passions in life and that I was fairly well read in the subject for someone right out of college. So, needless to say, I went and sought out a different financial planner (a second opinion).
Why do we balk at getting a second opinion sometimes even when it is obviously in our best interest? A lot of people do not like confrontation. We think that we might hurt someone’s feels if we tell them no or tell them that we want to think about it or that we are going somewhere else to double check. A lot of people do not want to bother checking around elsewhere as well. We often take the path of least resistance and just settle on something even if it might not be in our best interest. Especially when it comes to matters of money, we need to remember that no one has our best interest more at heart than we do. We care the most about our lives, our livelihood, and our future.
You would not accept questionable medical care because it is your life and health in question. You should not accept financial advice either that you do not feel comfortable with or which seems not right and does not have your best interest at heart. If things do not seem right, you should not be afraid to seek a second opinion with respect to your finances as well.