Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Discuss all aspects of headlight restoration, including marketing, technical, and business advice.
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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by Dempsterglass » August 25th, 2014, 10:02 pm

I always get asked what a replacement lens assembly costs versus resto.
I always tell them between $200-1000 per light to replace with factory housing.
I've worked in a lot of body shops over 24 yrs and seen the bill on far to many headlights so I'm able to give fairly accurate estimate for replacment. Depending on amount of resto needed the cust is more than happy to pay $100-250 as opposed to replacing.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by schotz1 » June 13th, 2015, 9:42 am

Prices need to be updated a little. I just checked ebay, witch is what my cheap customer is going to do and the pontiac grand prix is under 90 bucks. I just had a customer do this. It was a 2002 ford tarus and he got both headlamps for under 70 bucks. The only arguement I had is that those headlamps are not capa certified and I'm not even sure if they are DOT certified. Walmart, menards, home depot, ect are selling cheap kit to do it yourself. I have not seen a profit in this type of service yet. It is more of something I do for free to good customers to make them keep coming back, however the whole loyalty program is falling by the wayside.

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Brent Deines
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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by Brent Deines » June 15th, 2015, 8:55 am

We still charge $100 per vehicle for this service, however we do typically look up the vehicle to see how much new headlights cost and how much labor would be required to install them. If they are inexpensive and the labor is minimal we offer to replace them for the customer instead of restoring them.

As for the DYI kits, we find people do more damage than good when they use these. In fact, we end up restoring quite a few after the customer has purchased a DIY kit and tried it themselves.

I agree loyalty seems to be in short supply these days but we still have a lot of loyal customers. Price is all that matters for some but for others product quality, honesty, professionalism and superior customer service still outweighs a modest price difference. I put myself in that category. I shop for good prices but when I find a vendor who takes good care of me I reward them by being a loyal customer.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by Old Blue 66 » June 15th, 2015, 9:42 am

People in this business need to realize that the money ISN'T in the cars. Go where the money is and where people can see the value. Get out of the car dealers that pay $50/car and start working on fleet vehicles.

We look for local school districts that own their fleet of buses. Thats an easy close all day long. Others that understand and usually acknowledge that they need help are truck driving schools, towing companies and with less of a success rate - used truck dealers. Fleet customers who own lots of commercial trucks are great candidates, but the closing cycle is longer.

I don't do any vehicle for less than $100. And thats usually what Brent mentioned which was "Sam" and the family car who either are in bad need of help OR they tried the DIY kit and failed. All of the fleet vehicles we work on are priced at $125 minimum. Most work out for $150.00. When you compare that a new set of OEM lights cost $600 per set and you can save them 71% with a restoration and a warranty, its very easy to make money in this business.
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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by screenman » June 18th, 2015, 11:58 am

Paul, I completely agree. I built my WSR business up on fleet for the last 27 years, 12 months a year work and service and quality far out ranks price for all of my fleet customers.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by the big welshman » June 21st, 2015, 4:41 pm

Screenman Re MOT TEST in the UK Can a vehicle fail its MOT TEST with a cloudy Headlamp .Are there many Headlamp Restoration company's in the UK

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by screenman » June 21st, 2015, 10:22 pm

Yes it can be an MOT fail in extreme cases. There is always space in any trade for a top class professional who can sell, yes there are some people doing headlamps, but not many.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by Dempsterglass » June 27th, 2015, 9:37 am

schotz1 wrote:Prices need to be updated a little. I just checked ebay, witch is what my cheap customer is going to do and the pontiac grand prix is under 90 bucks. I just had a customer do this. It was a 2002 ford tarus and he got both headlamps for under 70 bucks. The only arguement I had is that those headlamps are not capa certified and I'm not even sure if they are DOT certified. Walmart, menards, home depot, ect are selling cheap kit to do it yourself. I have not seen a profit in this type of service yet. It is more of something I do for free to good customers to make them keep coming back, however the whole loyalty program is falling by the wayside.

I get my prices from the dealer on new factory parts of I don't know off-hand so that's about as current as possible. That doesn't include labor to install and aim. Consider many modern vehicles require front bumper cover and grille to be removed nowadays, most people can't replace lights themselves.
I won't even consider the cheap aftermarket lights. They're junk IMHO and I'll advise against. Now a good used set of OE lights is a different story but they also usually need some restoration
I do offer to replace in some instances where new lights are cheaper than repair and relatively quick to install and aim.
I also give 50% discount to HLR work if I do a glass replacement. Good up-sell as I'm already there and most people need the service to see safely at night.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by screenman » July 6th, 2015, 10:12 pm

If your customers are cheap then your marketing is wrong. That is if you do any marketing.

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Re: Headlight Replacement vs. Restoration

Post by Old Blue 66 » July 7th, 2015, 5:55 am

screenman wrote:If your customers are cheap then your marketing is wrong. That is if you do any marketing.
You don't need to do marketing. I don't spend a dime on anything other than biz cards, website and tri-fold brochures. Advertising online with Yelp or Yellow pages (sites the claim they will push your name around) and mailer advertising is a huge waste of money. This is a face to face sell. The only thing I I have spent money on is making sure that my site is SEO friendly and I run Google Adwords from time to time when the retail side slows down. Adworwds cost about $25/month.

Craigslist is an EXCELLENT place to pick up customer but you better have a good website to link it too so they can read more about you. Again, more retail customers that really aren't my focus but have proven to be an excellent source of leads for fleet jobs on some occasions.
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