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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm kicking around the idea of starting an extended tune-up service on 1st gen Pilots. I would like to do the service at the customers location, but I might have a place to work on them if needed. It would be these services below. I was wondering what I should add/remove, and what would be a good price. I would provide all of the parts/fluids. Would need to figure in travel, consumables (gloves, paper towels, lubricants, electricity, damaged tools, etc...), and time.

-Valve lash
-Valve cover gasket and associated seals
-Throttle body cleaning and gasket
-EGR system cleaning and gasket
-Spark plugs
-Coil pack health check
-Check engine mounts and advice
-battery health check and cleaning, and associated wires to: Alternator, Starter, Main fuse box, and Ground wires
-Inspection of vacuum and cooling hoses
-Cabin/Engine filter replacement and cleaning housing boxes
-All fresh fluids (Power steering, brakes, transmission, engine, coolant, rear diff, and if equipped transfer case
-Transmission/engine filter
-Radiator Cap
-PCV valve
-Health check Serpentine belt
-Health check pulleys
-Health check Timing belt
-Inspect brake system and advice
-Inspect suspension and advice
-Check Rack and Pinion and advice
-Inspect tires and inflate
-Clean wheels of road debris
-Rotate tires
-Inspect lights and replace burned out including interior
-adjust headlights if needed
-Grease hinges
-lubricate door/window seals
-inspect windshield wipers and advice
-bench test/clean transmission solenoids and advice
-check throttle cable and adjust to preference (tight/slight slack)
-check for leaks and advice
-ATP AT-205 power steering, engine, and trans fluid
-check exhaust and advice
-inspect everything is where it should be and nothing missing and advice
-install missing hardware (clips, screws, bolts, etc...)
-check torque on critical components
-Road test and advice
-Check steering components and advice
-Check rubber joints and advice
-Check ball joints and advice
-Check for rust and advice
-Check wheel bearings and advice
-Check CV axle and advice
-Check drive shaft and advice
-Replace power steering O-rings if leaking


I'm thinking maybe after the initial extended tune-up setting up a schedule to maintain them after. Oil changes, inspections, re-torque, etc... Once all of the above is done, not much more then regular oil changes would need to be done for at least a couple years. Create a profile for each vehicle to refer back to.
I'm sure I'm missing some things. I don't think I want to actually fix any of the advice items, unless they are easy enough. I'm thinking 1-2 days, hopefully get proficient enough to knock it all out in a full work day eventually. Except you never know what you will encounter. Maybe schedule 2 per week. Monday and Thursday and work into Saturday if need be. Take Wednesday off if lucky.
How much would you all pay someone to do the services above (like any of you would have someone do any of the work above, lol)? Would you allow someone to work in your driveway?
 

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I would be worried about the customers who have an actual problem, who would hire you to do a checkup, (what maybe $99?), and think that you are going to fix things. Or think you have just roped them into a situation where you are "upselliing". Like when you tell them that they are risking engine failure if they don't replace that timing belt. Or you need a new battery, etc.
 

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I think this has a lot of value, but I'm not clear on who your customer would be.

My impression is that first-gen owners loosely fit into three categories:

1. People that DIY and like their first-gen because it's relatively easy to maintain.
2. People that are spending as little as possible and will walk away when something major happens.
3. People that get their cars in for regular service "just because".

If that's reasonable, then the service you propose would be most attractive to the #3's, because they don't have to drop it off, pick it up, etc. However, as @Blackcat notes, when you're done, they still have to drop it off to fix the stuff you identified. The trick is determining if there are enough first-gen Pilots owned by people like that within an hour's drive.
 

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I'd be happy to see you here for all those things I'm either too lazy or too incompetent to do myself. (y) How far are you willing to travel? :)


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, those are all valid concerns, and ones I have myself. They are all things I do when I get my new to me vehicles. I wouldn't offer individual services, such as fixing things, unless it is simple. I don't want to work on cars, just offer a standard service. All the advice after inspection would be performed by another mechanic, so I don't know how I would be able to take advantage of them, but I do worry that if I miss something, or break something, or something related breaks after service, that I will have customers wanting me to fix everything for the life of the vehicle because everything that follows is my fault. I was thinking who the target audience would be. I would think new owners would make up a majority, or non-car people. After my service I will have a pretty extensive list of faults in the vehicle, that I would advice on service, so that would be a piece of mind to many, and valuable on its own.

I am Native Canadian, and Native American. Mostly Welch. I do have dual citizenship, and am visiting Canada in June. Alberta though. Going to be there for a week visiting family and updating my membership. I even lived and went to school up there for a short time in my youth in the 90's. Alberta to Montreal and back to my home might as well be in another country though. lol.
 

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First of all you'll need a business license. You'll also need liability insurance in case a repair goes wrong. And as a business, if your draining fluid i.e. hazardous waste you also have additional licensing requirements. The paperwork and paper trail for handling hazardous waste can be cost prohibitive. Also, just personally speaking, I would not be too anxious about hiring someone without some sort of Honda certification to come over to my house and start replacing parts on my Pilot.

Don't get me wrong, I wish you luck in your new endeavor. It's just that I've started 3 different companies (in a different field) and the best advice I can give anyone is that no matter how much you think it's going to cost to get yourself rolling... triple that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, I have already looked up the licensing, business, insurance requirements, and didn't even think about the hazardous waste requirements. I've gotten certified in the past to transport hazmat for driving jobs. Not on my dime though. I'll have to look into that. No way am I going to hire anyone. I have started several failed businesses. I know some of the risk involved, and know how even if you think you got everything taken care of, there is always some hidden thing you miss, or regulation that gets you. Luckily a lot of the time they just allow you to get in compliance if you're new to it. At least they have in the past, with the things are now, that might not be the case. Thank You for those things to consider.
 

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Maybe this kind of service would work well as a pre-buy inspection. Then there's clear value, and someone that really knows Pilots could bring a lot of value that people would be happy to pay for, and doing the repairs is clearly off the table. I think you could even trim the scope down a little to make it a 3-4 hour session with a report you print out when you're done.

Maybe partnering with the local independents that specialize in Honda would be a good approach, too - you refer the work to them, they refer the inspections to you. Bonus if you could do it on their lift, in their shop instead of in @ConrodM 's driveway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That is not a bad idea
Maybe this kind of service would work well as a pre-buy inspection. Then there's clear value, and someone that really knows Pilots could bring a lot of value that people would be happy to pay for, and doing the repairs is clearly off the table. I think you could even trim the scope down a little to make it a 3-4 hour session with a report you print out when you're done.

Maybe partnering with the local independents that specialize in Honda would be a good approach, too - you refer the work to them, they refer the inspections to you. Bonus if you could do it on their lift, in their shop instead of in @ConrodM 's driveway.
That is a great idea. Gets less muddy that way if dealing with fluids becomes an actual issue. There is a youtuber in my area that does mobile mechanic work. He has done fluids in parking lots for customers and their houses. I'm trying to see if he will guide me a little. Still want to make sure it is feasible first. I have been burned in the past, and now I don't jump the gun, thus this post.
I get asked to find vehicles for family/friends all the time. Thought about doing it as a job. Finding and fixing junk vehicles that others turn away. That's what I do for family/friends/self.
 

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Where do you see this business going? Is this a short term venture between other jobs or do you think you will do this for 30+ years? I ask because it may get pretty old in really hot, really cold, rain, snow, ice, gravel, burning asphalt, dirt, mud, salt, etc. doing this type of work.

I'm always trying to look long term with my professional decisions, things that will hopefully allow me not to work or to work for fun comfortable when I'm older. IDK about where you are, but a lot of the Counties, Cities, Towns around me are constantly hiring mechanics and operators and those jobs usually net you steady hours, pensions, really good healthcare, etc.
 

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It's viable but only of there are lot's of pilots around to make a good base of customers. I have a buddy that runs a mobile car repair service where he works on cars at the person's home or work. He's in Jacksonville FL though so the cars are not rusted out like here in Canuckistan. He does oil changes right up to head gaskets and timing belts, brake jobs etc. He's a licensed Mechanic though. Full mobile shop in his van with press, welder, torch etc. so he can fix and get a car back on the road 99% of the time the same day.
 

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a long time ago when I worked retail auto parts store sales I would get asked almost daily to work on people's cars, trucks, boats, etc. sometimes it was just people on vacation and something weird happened (Myrtle Beach, SC) and other times it was just a local resident trying to save a buck. I never offered to do overly complex jobs or work on things I felt could lead quickly down a hole where other things would start popping up and need addressing. I've done driveway work for people on brake jobs mostly but also a radiator, alternator, belts, light bulbs, wiper blades and filters and fluids. I've also done a lot of electrical diagnosis and engine light troubleshooting.
Complicated issues I would refer people to any of a number of local shops I felt could help the person. Steering them away from the bigger shops I knew would rip them off and upcharge things they did not need.

Ultimately it all comes down to time and liability. You have to prepare yourself against these dirtbag people who will bring you problematic vehicle and try to blame you for causing it. Never happened to me personally but I've seen it happen to shops. Lots of people are professional con artists unfortunately.

I've also had people befriend me because of my generous nature have me work on their vehicle any and every time an issue arises. Be prepared for phone calls from such people who will become extremely reliant on you for their vehicle issues.

Most of all, good luck 🤪
 

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It's viable but only of there are lot's of pilots around to make a good base of customers.
Actually, that was one of the first things that jumped into my mind when I originally read the post. You may gain a small cult following of customers but I don't think there's enough of these models in any one area as to where you're going to be able to set the world on fire.
 

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He could include "cousin" cars, like Acura MDX, Honda Odyssey, Honda Ridgeline...
Good point. If the number of people posting here about their bad used Pilots is any indicator, there are a lot of people that think Hondas last forever. If they had someone check a car out for them first, they might not have made an expensive mistake.
 

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The hundred or so bucks a pop I paid a mobile inspection mechanic, which led me to decline 3 or 4 vehicles which had made my short list before buying my 2006 Pilot, was some of the best car money I've ever spent.
 

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IDK if you go there, but, there is a facebook group called 2003-2008 Honda Pilot owners (or something like that) where people write about their problems. Every couple of days, someone writes about a problem that has been discussed here. I always want to tell them to go look it up on the Piloteers forum, but I'm too chicken to put my name out there. It might be a place where royalbiggster can find people that need his help. (although the people on it are from all over the country, so, it'might be a slim chance that he can find someone near him). Likewise, he should sign up to the "car cousin" pages too, if there are any.
 

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IDK if you go there, but, there is a facebook group called 2003-2008 Honda Pilot owners (or something like that) where people write about their problems.
Actual car problems, or the usual slough slew of Facebook people problems? :p
 
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