I'm lucky to be able to work on everything from chainsaws to piston aircraft. Besides, I'm far too picky to let anyone work on any of the motorcycles and cars that I own.
Furthermore, you couldn't afford me. Removing a valve cover isn't as simple as just removing a bunch of fasteners and pulling it off. The whole area gets cleaned to the nth degree before it gets removed. Do you think a shop does that...yeah right. I see very little point to using quality oils and filters if I am letting dirt into an engine.
Some of us do not have use for the trades...I already had to fix two plumbing eff ups (yep, licenced trades) in the first year in a new home. I also fixed the Honeywell ignitor unit in my gas furnace (two $2.50 relays). You don't want to know what they wanted to charge for that job.
The trick is to be self sufficient.
We're really not getting many opinions here. I do have a question: Do most folks on the forum believe that no tech cares about the quality of work performed on a customers motorcycle? The same question for dealer principals: Do most folks think the dealer principle doesn't care either? Honest well thought out responses would be sincerely appreciated.
I wanted to replace the ignition wires on my car. The choice was either a factory set at almost $500 or replacement aftermarket ignition wires made and sold by a private individual directly or through a popular parts vendor. Its a good thing I didn't trust the quality of his cables. I have heard of some of his crimped terminals coming off and it wasn't till now when I repaired the ignition wire of a local owner that I saw how poorly made they were. No quality control, period! I invested in the very expensive Beru crimping tool, made my own set and recouped my money slowly by selling Beru replacement ignition wire sets.
1975 R90/6, 1980 and 1982 R65, !959 TR3A Triumph Car
The business is no where near as profitable as many think. You need to take in 12 months of revenue in an approximate 8 month period for most of the United States. If you can't do that you go thru the cycle of lay-offs which benefits no one especially the customer. Most service departments actually lose money on a 12-month basis as hard as that may be to believe. It's an extremely tough business to remain profitable year after year. Proof in the pudding is how many have gone out of business over the last 4 to 5 years. Many due to their own stupidity and many just not comprehending the cost of doing business.
It just like home owners who get themselves in debt they cannot handle. Business owners go through the same thing. Most folks will seriously underestimate the cost of their life style as well as the cost of running a business. People that want to get rich don't open motorcycle dealerships, they go into another field.
I do the work that I am capable of doing because I have the time. I mostly enjoy it. It's not so much about saving money. It's about doing things in addition to the minimal required; things I don't mind doing myself but may mind paying someone else to do. Example: my bike is cleanest after a service because I use a general rule of cleaning things that I removed before re-installing. I also clean the parts of the bike that would be hidden by the removed item. I wouldn't expect any dealer or independent tech to do the same (although some might surprise me).