I am current owner of a car audio / home theater shop in AZ, we have always focused on quality and value, I have never cared that some dude on craigslist is underbidding me by a huge margin, and we had a good deal of success and tons of happy customers over the years. However, It has been a disturbing trend in the last year or so in regards to the car audio side of things, there have been several 'hack' shops popping up all over the place, killing the market totally. We are competing against shops that are making $20 on a deck install(including the deck), $75 on a remote start installation, and no regard to quality or customer service, yet people go to them in droves! And yes they are hack shops, I have seen and fixed their work many times. They only care about moving product and getting that sale and having you in and out as quickly as possible.
However, in the home theater side of the business we have been very successful, and we find that customers prefer quality and recognize that hiring an experienced tech that can give them a top notch job is worth a few extra bucks. So naturally, we have been focusing our efforts in that arena.
Here is my take on it, the average car audio consumer seems to think in regards to car audio that they should always choose the best deal - they do not see the value of experience and paying someone who is a true skilled professional, who charges based on what they need to make on a job. A 'fair' price is not paying someone pennies to do a skilled labor job, and quite frankly car audio and security is a fairly complex field, quite a bit more so that people realize.
Bottom line, as a shop, I simply will not dip down to where we are barely scraping by just to get jobs in the door, I feel like I cannot offer a quality service at that level, I personally would rather throw in the towel than conform. And let me say our prices are very reasonable, but we are constantly losing bids to these 'hacks'. It ***** to say this, and I see other real deal shops around going through the same thing, many of them close. So IMO, if this trend continues by some point the 'old school' or good shops are going to be gone.
So, I know this is a car audio forum, and most people here are going to be a little better educated in regards to what it really takes to do a good job, and what a fair deal is, but any other pro's out there feel the same way? Is there really no need for us anymore and are people truely happy with mediocre service? Hack shops and the home of the $1 dash fire have really de-valued this industry. Is the lowest possible price always going to be the winner at the end of the day?
Anyways, thats just my rant, I love cars and love to work on them, but it just doesn't pay the bills anymore.